Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The Nightmare Room by Chris Sorensen

The Nightmare Room
The Messy Man Series
Book One
Chris Sorensen
Genre: Paranormal Fiction

Publisher: Harmful Monkey Press

Date of Publication: 1/25/2018

ISBN: 978-0998342412
ASIN: B07943P5S8

Number of pages: 273
Word Count: 45,000

Tagline: The past is always present in the Nightmare Room.

Book Description:

A boy in a basement, a man in a booth and a darkness that threatens to swallow them both...

New York audiobook narrator Peter Larson and his wife Hannah head to his hometown of Maple City to help Peter's ailing father and to put a recent tragedy behind them. Though the small, Midwestern town seems the idyllic place to start afresh, Peter and Hannah will soon learn that evil currents flow beneath its surface.

They move into an old farmhouse on the outskirts of town—a house purchased by Peter's father at auction and kept secret until now—and start to settle into their new life.

But as Peter sets up his recording studio in a small basement room, disturbing things begin to occur—mysterious voices haunt audio tracks, malevolent shadows creep about the house. And when an insidious presence emerges from the woodwork, Peter must face old demons in order to save his family and himself.

The man threw
open the basement door. A rush of mildewed air rose up from the darkness, like
the hideous breath of some subterranean thing. He flicked on the light, and the
cascade of descending stairs came into view. Among their number was the
treacherous one midway down, the one that bent like a bow at the slightest
“Are you going
down on your own or do I have to make you?”
The boy looked
up at his father. The anger that had fueled him thus far was fading, seemingly
sapped by the trip from the boy’s bedroom. Instead, his father looked pained.
If he didn’t know better, he might think the Old Man was about to cry. But his
father had said he was tired. Dead tired. And perhaps it was as simple as that.
go," the boy whispered, and he took the first tentative step down.
The change in
temperature was immediate; it was like diving into a cold pool. He took another
step down, and another.
He paused on the
third step and looked back at his father. The bare bulb above paled the man’s
countenance. The grey circles under his eyes made him look like he’d been
“Git!” the Old
Man snarled. The boy went. When he reached the sagging step, he stopped, took a
breath and leaped over it. His heel hit the lip of the next step, but the wood
was damp, and the boy came down hard on his butt.
“Get some sleep.
And no more dreams.”
As if he could
help it.
His father
closed the door, and the lock clicked. It would not open again until morning.
The boy
descended the final few stairs and stepped onto the floor. Ice-cold cement
sucked heat from his soles. He squinted, trying to adjust to the dark.
The usefulness
of the light bulb ended a few feet into the basement. And there was no more
source of light until he reached the…
The gears in his
head ground to a halt, stopping short of allowing the dreaded name to be
He started
picking out objects around him. The solemn metal face of the furnace, a stack
of water softener salt bags, the frame of an old bicycle.
Straight ahead
lay a distance of twenty or so feet before he'd come to a door. Three-quarters
of that stretch was in pitch black. To get to the door, to get to the room, he
had to dash through the darkness until his hand found the doorknob. Then, he
would throw the door open, reach to his right, flip the wall switch and presto.
An island of light in an ocean of black.
He girded
himself for the sprint.
He hesitated…but
why? He’d already made this run two times this week. Both Monday and Thursday,
he’d awakened screaming, bringing down the Old Man’s wrath, and sending him
here. To the penalty box. To time out. To the Night—
The boy startled
at the sound of his own voice, and he lurched into motion. He hurtled into the
darkness, his feet slapping the floor, echoing off the walls in hollow
He bumped into
something and spun, temporarily throwing himself and his inner compass off
balance. He skidded across the floor and came to a stop.
Heart pounding
in his chest, he quickly located the lit stairs off to his left. He made a
rapid calculation and turned to face the invisible pathway to the room. He
bolted, coming to a halt only when he slammed head-on into the door.
His hand
floundered before finding the knob. He launched into his practiced routine.
Open door, flip switch, step inside.
In seconds, the
boy slipped into the room and slammed the door shut. A pink light overhead
bathed him in imaginary warmth—he had made it.
He stepped back
and sank into the waiting beanbag chair, facing the door. The small room with
its mint green walls and rollaway bed felt almost welcoming, an odd feeling for
a place that was meant as a punishment.
The boy pulled a
quilt from the bed and wrapped it around him tight. For the first time in his
life, he felt safe here in this room—in the Nightmare Room.
Because he
hadn’t bumped into something out there in the dark. He had bumped into someone.
He was almost
certain of it.
He kept one eye
on the door as the minutes hummed past on the illuminated clock on the
nightstand. He busied himself with crayon and paper, doodling to keep his mind
quiet. Soon, his vision began to flutter; the room began to strobe. And, in the
space between two breaths, the boy sank into his beanbag chair and fell into a
fitful sleep.
The doorknob
The boy bolted
upright. He pressed back into the chair. His whole body started shivering, and
he feared he would wet himself for the second time that night.
A thought…no, a
voice crept into his head.
Coming in.
The door
quivered as if someone was leaning against it, trying to stifle a laugh. Nails
scratched against the wood.
“Dad?” the boy
The door
“Is that you?”
Knowing it was not.
“Please don’t.”

About the Author:

Chris Sorensen spends many days and nights locked away inside his own nightmare room. He is the narrator of over 200 audiobooks (including the award-winning The Missing series by Margaret Peterson Haddix) and the recipient of three AudioFile Earphone Awards. Over the past fifteen years, the Butte Theater and Thin Air Theatre Company in Cripple Creek, Colorado have produced dozens of his plays including Dr. Jekyll’s Medicine Show, Werewolves of Poverty Gulch and The Vampire of Cripple Creek. He is the author of the middle grade book The Mad Scientists of New Jersey and has written numerous screenplay including Suckerville, Bee Tornado and The Roswell Project.

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Where do you get inspiration for your stories?
I’ve learned to listen when ideas stop by for a second visit. Most fade away—either they weren’t for me or they didn’t have much to them. The ideas that come back to me, the ones that are persistent salesmen, I jot down for my files. Sometimes it’s a character, sometimes a situation. Sometimes it’s simply a title. The phrase Bad Bones has come knocking a few times. I think I’ll let it in the door.
How did you do research for your book?
Since The Nightmare Room takes place in a fictional version of my hometown, I traveled the streets using Google Maps. It’s surprising how quickly a virtual tour of a place brings back memories. I traveled down streets I hadn’t seen since I was in high school. A lot has changed and a lot hasn’t. 

My main character is an audiobook narrator, and since that’s my day job, I’ve been researching aspects of this story for the past ten years!

Do you have another profession besides writing?
As I said, I’m an audiobook narrator—that’s what pays the bills. I’ve recorded around 200 titles. Everything from kids books to histories to books on quantum physics. It’s made me quite the reader.

If you could go back in time, where would you go?
Funny you should ask. My first book, The Mad Scientists of New Jersey, is a time travel book for middle grade readers. When I do school visits, that’s one of the questions I ask the kids.
I can think of a dozen times and places I’d love to visit, but I’m going to have to say I’d like to go back and have one day with my dad again. Nothing special—just grabbing coffee, going for a drive, visiting a college (he was a professor and loved visiting college campuses). It’s been about seven years since he passed. He would have loved reading this book.

What is your next project?
I’m busy outlining the second book in my Mad Scientists of New Jersey series—The Defenders of Ong’s Hat. I’m also hard at work on the follow-up to The Nightmare Room called The Hungry Ones. Truth be told, I have more ideas waiting in the wings than I’ll ever have years to finish.

Thanks so much for having me!

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