A Review of This Brilliant Darkness and Interview with Author Red Tash
I’ll begin with this: I’m a sucker for a well-written, fast-paced story with a twist that involves physics and supernatural phenomena. My bias clearly labeled at the outset, I’ll begin my review of Red Tash’s well-written, fast-paced story of twisty physics and the supernatural entitled This Brilliant Darkness The physics part of it involves the appearance of a star, Stella Mirabilis, above Bloomington, Indiana. It’s the star’s behavior that provides the twist to the tale—a time traveling star that flickers in and out of our reality like particles flicker in and out of our reality. The star draws out the supernatural, and for one Christine Grace, the consequences of its appearance suddenly and abruptly pound down into her own reality—a reality shared by her erstwhile boyfriend who is desperate to marry her and start a family, who is caught up in the strangeness that begins to define their existence in Bloomington.
The characters pop from the pages, and the interactions among them keep you turning pages. What’s up with this character (I particularly liked Tristan)? How is Ms. Tash going to draw all these seemingly disparate threads together (she does, and that’s the only spoiler I’ll provide, because I want you to READ IT). It’s smart. Ms. Tash pulls no punches in the explanation of the physics of the problem, no punches in the questions Ms. Grace’s class at the university throws at her. The university setting is eminently believable as well. I felt like I was on campus, at The Corner, standing with Christine at that ATM when … well, I won’t spoil that part, either. Let’s just say the whole thing plays like a movie in your head, and you’re going to not want to push “pause” and put the book down.
The chapters are quick and tight. I thought I’d appreciate that—that there were places where I could put the book down without guilt because, after all, I was at the end of the chapter. Well, by midnight, I had not put the book down, and had no intention of putting it down. At 12:15am, my fourteen-year-old son stumbled out to get a drink of water. “You’re still up?” he asked. “Go to bed.” I looked up from my Nook, smiled, and said, “Not on your life, dude. Not until this ends.”
The point of view changes with the chapters. Ms. Tash gives a summary of the characters in the beginning of the book, as if we’ll get confused by having so many players. I didn’t read the characters summaries. I found, as I read, that the characters are so well-drawn and memorable, I didn’t need to read the summaries. I had no problem keeping the who’s who of the cast straight because the personalities were so diverse and the mannerisms and dialog were unique to each. Sometimes the prose devolved into the rapid-fire stream-of-consciousness musings of a particular character. That’s not a bad thing in the least. It set the pace of the story in those places; some of the stream-of-consciousness writing leaves the reader breathless. It’s a catharsis of sorts for the character, but it’s creepy in the best of ways for the reader. Talk about a joy to read.
(I purchased This Brilliant Darkness on Smashwords in ePub format for my Nook (No Nookie Like My Nookie). 5 Stars for a great, twisty plot, awesome rendering of supernatural characters (hey, now, that one creature creeped me out beyond measure!), great pacing, and a fantastic read)
And now, as promised, an interview with author Red Tash! Enjoy!
JM: How long have you been writing and what got you interested in writing?
Red: I started writing for publication about 29 years ago, when I was a kid. I got a poem about autumn published in the local newspaper, and from that point on, I was writing satirical newspapers about my fourth grade classroom politics (complete with my own hand-drawn comics), horoscopes for the camp newsletter, a horrid tween fantasy about the social dynamics of being the kid at camp with the curly perm (nobody told me perms were out, damn it!) and stuff like that. I won all kinds of awards for writing growing up. Contests, magazines, stuff like that. EVERYONE assumed I grow up to become a writer.
Instead, I let some kind soul with the heart of Voldemort convince me that I would be better served by pursuing a more *practical* career. I got my degree in accounting and lived miserably as a tax preparer and auditor for years, before I started writing again as a form of release. In a few short months after beginning that first online anonymous blog, I had a regular writing gig for an international website for Moms. I was being paid, even. Then, a local newspaper column. Then that column went national. Then…then…then…here I am.
I’ve written poetry on and off, mostly when I can’t control the impulse, and there’s truly nothing more therapeutic than sharing a good old tear-jerker from one’s own personal history, so you shouldn’t rule out poetry and memoir in this writer’s bibliography in the future. The thing I REALLY have always wanted to do, though, is be a novelist. From the moment I picked up the first three Harry Potters ten years ago and read through them straight, I knew there was no turning back for me.
JM: Where do you get your ideas or information for your books?
Red: My fiction ideas just come to me. I don’t know where they come from. They just appear. It’s like that saying “The teacher will appear when the student is ready.” Right now I’m overwhelmed with editing responsibilities and a full writing slate, so I’m *only* booked about four projects in advance. I know before I reach the end of that list, I’ll have another idea step up and say “Me! Me! Choose Me!”
My non-fiction stuff, which you are totally welcome to keep up with at http://LesleaTash.com all comes from my life. I don’t have to go looking for stories. They happen, and I feel the need to talk about them, so there I go. I’ll be releasing a collection of my newspaper columns about family & parenting under that name, pretty soon.
JM: Why do you think fans of horror movies should read horror books and how
can we appeal to them?
Red: Well, books are essentially movies in your head. They can be as intense as you want them to be, and you can go back over and over again and watch them in a way you can’t do movies. Every time you learn something new, it changes the movie in your head just a little bit. And that book you’re reading? Only *you* see it that way, so it’s like a personalized movie. Custom-made for you. Who can resist such an invitation? I sure can’t.
JM: Where do you hope to take your writing in the future?
Red: It’s not where I hope to take it–I can’t wait to see where it takes me! I’ve already met so many tremendous people. I look forward to the continued journey of writing, and the exciting new path we’re able to travel now, as writers.
Thanks for all you do, Amy! Thanks for having me!
Thanks, Red! And THANK YOU for allowing me to read and review your book! We’re going to be seeing GREAT THINGS from this author!
Visit Red Tash online at her blog: http://RedTash.com
THIS JUST IN! RED TASH WILL GIVE AWAY THIS BRILLIANT DARKNESS FREE TO THE FIRST TWO WHO COMMENT ON THIS POST!!!!
This Brilliant Darkness has been in the top 100 for Dark Fantasy for most of the CoffinHop, and just received another five star review last night:
Get it from Smashwords here: http://www.smashwords.com/book/view/86715
COFFIN HOP 2011 CONTINUES!