Guest Blog: John Claude Smith

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This Darkness… 

When I signed on for the For the Night is Dark anthology, it was primarily because the cover caught my eye.  Lucky to make the cut, my next thought was: now what?  I had no idea what to write.  I was in Rome, Italy, at the time, working through some other fiction, so I put it on the back burner until I got back to the States in October, 2012, when I realized it was time to get serious about it.

The theme simmered, feeling through the dark caverns of thought… and pulled up a memory for me one morning upon awakening, a life event I could use as the foundation for the story.

Yes, there was an incident up in the mountain that triggered the story.  I had driven into the mountains east of Portland, Oregon, with an ex-girlfriend and another friend and had… an encounter.  That encounter was the starting point as the story took off from there, adding layers to a simple idea—something that often happens with my fiction—and “This Darkness…” was born. 

Stories start many ways for me, often with an image, which the incident in the mountain had burned into my brain.  I was happy to take that image and expand on it for this excellent anthology.  The title, on the other hand, was a bear, simply trying to find something appropriate.  I’m usually good with titles, having often started with just a title and creating from there, but this one, for some reason, I could not think of anything that worked, until I read and read again the story and those two words stood out, powerfully capturing the essence of what the story dealt with.  “This Darkness…”  The darkness up in that mountain; the darkness that Susie Chambers had to deal with on a much more intimate level than anyone should ever have to… 

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For The Night Is Dark

for the night is dark final cover 

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