First of all, I'd like to tell you a little about this book that you might not know. It was the first book of this series that I wrote. It's gone through quite a few revisions before it became what it is today. When the book started out, the actual "beast" that haunted black pond was a creature known as a "grim." (You might have heard of a "grim" from the Harry Potter series. It actually is based on the legend of "black dog" ghosts or "hellhounds.")
Anyway, the original "beast" in the pond was a spectral dog that dragged unsuspecting victims in to drown them. While I liked the image, it didn't seem to fit. So I used the idea in another story that I began to work on in tandem called Spine Chillers: Big Bad Wolf.
A little off topic, those who have read the story Spine Chillers: Big Bad Wolf know that the actual creature chasing Jane isn't a black dog or wolf but a wendigo. A wendigo is a spirit of someone who was a cannibal when they were alive. It's an Algonquin legend. I did a great deal of research on the subject and tried to stick as close to the legend as possible. The only way I deviated that I know of it is that it originally came to Jane in the form of a spectral wolf. The reason it took the form of a wolf in my book was because it possessed a wolf to continue to hunt humans in an inconspicuous way. The imagery of a terrifying wolf spirit was taken from the original story of The Beast of Black Pond, but I think it works better in Big Bad Wolf.
Anyway, the real villain of Spine Chillers: The Beast of Black Pond is something much more terrifying because the legend is still alive today. I didn't realize this until I did the research and started noticing imagery of this creature on signs, subdivision names, etc. In a few days I'll talk a bit about it. (I don't want to give away any spoilers here, so I won't tell what it is just yet. I'll be sure to tell you that the blog post is a spoiler in the title.)
Another bit of trivia, Duane is my favorite investigator of the series. This is why it is his idea to create the club to fight monsters. He was an NPC in one of the games I ran for my friends called Little Fears. He was the "rich boy" but his parents were negligent. They aren't maliciously negligent, but his father is a surgeon and his mother is a nurse, so they tend to work long shifts and are tired when they get home. Because they don't approve of Duane's dream to write horror novels or horror comics, he tends to be the black sheep in his family. (Because his father is a surgeon, in the incident on the boat his father was able to bandage Duane's leg and stop the bleeding. He sent Duane to the hospital because he didn't have the supplies to treat the wound properly on the boat.)
The working title of this series was originally based on Duane's club called "Junior Investigator's Club." I chose Spine Chillers because after composing a list of potential titles it seemed the best. I didn't realize at the time that the name was taken. I even did a search for the name and nothing came up. Ironically, I did a search after publishing the first book and found out later this series name has been used before. I chalk it up to fate. If I had seen that there was another series with the same name, I wouldn't have named it the same thing. Funny how that happened. I think I give the theme of the "spine chiller" a darker style anyway.
I guess for now I've talked enough, but I'll be continuing to blog about this until the next book Spine Chillers: Empty Eyes comes out on October 28th. We're almost to Halloween. Spine Chillers: The Beast of Black Pond and Spine Chillers: Empty Eyes take place around this special occasion, so please pick up a copy soon to live out the story at the perfect time!