My good pal Rod Belcher, one of the country’s most successful writers of fantasy and sci-fi, is settinghis next novel in southwest Virginia (he lives in Roanoke). He needs your help and here’s his note being more specific.
“Hello social media fam, I’m starting a new novel that will be suspense/ horror. It is set in south-west Virginia. Most of it is in and around the Roanoke / Salem/ Vinton area, but not exclusively. At this point, anything goes.
“I am reaching out to folks to get your freaky / weird / scary / messed-up / supernatural and paranormal stories and urban myths to possibly include in the novel. It will all remain confidential.
“Some folks I know may very well end up as characters in the book, but I’ll clear that with folks beforehand and names can always be changed to protect your privacy. I grew up around here and I’ve heard scraps of stories for years:
- Why the Native Americans were hesitant to stay overnight in the Roanoke Valley,
- That there is a secret society of some kind in Salem,
- Stories of ancient spirits, haunted strip clubs, ghosts of railroad lantern men,
- Conspiracies and secret societies.
“Hell, we have a giant, glowing five-pointed star on top of a mountain here. It kind of writes itself…
“These are all things I’d love to hear more about, and more—or find out if they are just bullshit rumors. I would love to hear more about the ‘underworld’ locally (criminal and supernatural) again, full confidentiality.
“I’m not judging, I’m not looking to get anyone in hot water. I’m trying to tell a story and I’d like to make it as realistic as possible.
“I reached out a while back to—and was awful at following up with—the local tattoo artist scene. I’d love to send you folks a brief set of questions, or interview you in person about what you do, how you got started and about your experiences and war stories. Any tattoo folk are welcomed to reach out.
“I really, really appreciate it. So please PM me or email me at email@example.com if you have anything you’d like to share. It would be most welcome. This isn’t the kind of stuff you can find in most history books.”
So now, the ball is in your court. Rod is awaiting your bell.