Write your story.
Add the details.
Don’t forget your characters.
Leave no event untold.
Leave no rock unturned.
Write your book.
Your life story.
Write it in blood.
FILL THE PAGES
Fill the pages of our lives
with words and stories.
Leave no blank pages.
Fill them with people and events.
Stories to tell our children.
Words to light our journeys.
We need to stand in the light.
Enjoy life to its fullest.
It is our right to fill in the pages.
Fill in the pages.
Fill the pages with
words and stories.
The world does not
have to be dark.
It does not have to be dreary.
We do not have to be alone.
We need to fill our lives with
people and events.
Stories to tell our children.
Words to light our paths.
No hovering in the darkness,
waiting for our time to come to an end.
But we need to stand in the light
and enjoy life.
It is short and precious.
But it is our right to fill in the pages.
Thanks so much for interviewing me!
Susanne Leist is a good friend and mutual supporter whose Dead Game is an innovative addition to the indie horror genre. A fellow native Brooklynite, Susanne brings her unique insights and lively personality to Center Stage for our interview…
The town of Oasis was the home of an upscale community in your novel. Did your current hometown of Woodmere, New York provide an inspiration for your story? Did you envision the same kind of people and places when describing Oasis?
The town of Oasis is the polar opposite of Woodmere, Long Island. In Woodmere, no one ever walks. People take their cars everywhere, even to the corner store. Most people don’t bother to say hello when they pass you on the street. Strollers aren’t pushed by mothers but by their housekeepers or maids.
In Oasis, Linda loves to walk each morning through town, waving hello to everyone she meets. Only Charles Wolf refuses to wave back, but that leads to another part of the story. Oasis is a friendly town, except for the supernatural element, but I’m getting ahead of myself again.
Dead Game was an innovative contribution to the vampire genre in incorporating the surrealistic hallucination angle. Was this your original game plan, or did you add the vampire to the concept of End House?
My books was originally going to be a simple murder mystery. A murder mystery in small town. It was to begin with End House and the mysterious party. Two of the young residents were to be murdered. The rest of the book was supposed to be the journey to find the murderer.
Instead, End House became alive to me with trap doors and deadly saws. This turned out to be only the beginning of the whole story. Dead bodies turn up on the beach. The reclusive residents don’t come out at night. The story snowballed into a supernatural thriller with a surprise ending.
Charles Wolf was undoubtedly the bad guy in this novel, but it seemed he took a back seat to Todd Morrison as the more sympathetic figure. Are we going to see more of Morrison, or are you planning a Dead Game II?
The Dead Game is the first book of two books. The first book resolves the murder mystery, but at the same time, opens a Pandora box of new mysteries. Its surprise ending will lead to more surprises.
I have just begun to work on the sequel. My outline and notes are ready. My writing often leads me in unknown directions, so I won’t know how the book will end until it does.
Todd Morrison will play an important role in the next book as his relationship with Linda becomes more complicated. That’s all I’m going to say for now.
The novel seemed to portray the guests at End House as being upwardly-mobile professionals who would be considered somewhat materialistic. Could the hallucinations at End House be perceived as an allegory of their self-delusuons and conceits?
No, please no. I left the world of finance to escape into the world of my imagination. My imagination doesn’t include allegories or self-righteousness.
This would be an extenuation of the last question. Could it be argued that the vampires were a further metaphor symbolizing what many feel is upper-class society, feeding on the working class, having the tables turned on them?
Vampires are the upper class. They’re the upper class of all creatures. That’s why they’re bad and have to be stopped. And now we’ve brought politics into my imagination.
Readers could be excused for perceiving a homosexual relationship between Mike and David. It seemed as if David played a feminine role throughout the novel.
If women are silly and scared all the time, then David played a feminine role. But not all women are silly and easily frightened. And not all men are heroes and act brave. And who wins the woman at the end? Not Mike.
Father John seems as if the stereotypical religious figure in the novel. Were you just going with the generic flow in the horror category, or was there a reason you didn’t choose an evangelical preacher or a rabbi?
I used a priest because that’s who I’ve usually seen in horror movies and read about in books. I can’t picture one of my rabbis running after a vampire or chanting spells.
The church and devil worship have a long-standing relationship. I was just continuing the myth.
Most of your Facebook friends would describe you as a religious person. Does it play an important part in your daily life? Do you feel that writing provides a platform for believers?
My religion guides me on all matters. It has taught me to be kind to others and never to embarrass anyone—ever. My religion has a lot of rules so it definitely affects my everyday life. I usually miss out on a lot of things. The Sabbath, each week, keeps me grounded.
Writing could be a very important platform if used properly. However, I’m not using my writing for this purpose. I’m writing to bring adventure and enjoyment to my readers, and a little escape from the humdrum of day to day living.
You moved from Brooklyn to Woodmere. As a fellow Brooklynite, I’ve seen it change enormously in my time. Do you still have family and friends in Brooklyn, and do you see it evolving when you visit?
After my parents passed away, I had no one left in Brooklyn to visit. All their friends are gone. Everyone my age has left the neighborhood behind. I do go back to see Sheepshead Bay. It was and still is a very beautiful area.
Check out Susanne’s Amazon page!!!
Open a book.
You will be amazed on what
you’ll find inside.
You will be opening your mind
to new thoughts and ideas.
Why be closed minded if you
can explore a world of endless possibilities?
As the car neared the house, a stunning sight slowly unfolded before their eyes. Encased in a tight circle of trees, shimmering from the lights strung through their heavy branches, the glass house sparkled against the dark night sky: a huge glass ball shooting green sparks of light from within its rounded walls. Its great dome twinkled as radiantly as the multitude of stars shining down from above.
Todd left the car with the valet and led the way up the marble stairs to the rounded front door. Two armed men, dressed in tuxedos, guarded the door, their holstered guns only slightly marring the fantasy image running through Linda’s vivid imagination: for as soon as she turned away to admire the scenery, she was once again in fantasy land.
The panorama facing her was doused in white. Gleaming white snow caps covered the tops of the tall trees and the great dome of the house. Snow was playfully falling on them from somewhere. She could feel snowflakes melting on her lips. They felt wet, like real snowflakes. She touched her face and hair. Her hand came away wet. She actually had snow on her fingertips. She searched the grounds for a snow machine, but couldn’t locate anything—not on the glass domed roof or in any of the trees. She couldn’t believe that genuine snow was falling on them from the dark sky. The landscape resembled a winter wonderland despite it being fall in Florida.
Todd placed his hand against her back to escort her into the house. The others followed them into the glowing green ball that was alive with dazzling lights, music, and laughter.
Once inside, Linda was mesmerized by the glittering glass walls that mirrored the dancing images of the guests twirling around the marble dance floor. These images were cast in bright halos of light reflected from the myriad of crystal chandeliers hanging throughout the room.
Soft candlelight from mounted crystal sconces flickered across the intricate patterns carved into the green walls. It was definitely the most beautiful and fascinating house that she had ever seen. She glanced back and watched as Shana’s mouth slowly dropped open. She was certain that Shana would agree that the house appeared simply magical.