My forthcoming novel He Has Many Namesshould be arriving just in time for Halloween. It’s the story of a ghostwriter sequestered in a haunted hotel with one month to pen a novel. The hero, Noelle Blackwood, is a horror writer who knows her way around a scary story. Her imagination has explored every haunted hotel in pop culture. She has run a black light over the tropes and clichés residing in every room.
I’ve armed Noelle with all of my influences and she is proud to wear them on her sleeve, name-dropping the films, books, and paintings that inspired He Has Many Names. This way I could pay homage to my influences while promising to take the story someplace different.
Over the next few months I’m going to take those influences to show and tell. Let’s start by talking about the films that inspired He Has Many Names.
Mike Enslin has spent his career trying to prove there’s an afterlife, searching for ghoulies and ghosties in the hope of proving his daughter is in a better place. His quest has turned him into cynical critic of haunted hotspots. At book readings he tells his audience he’s never seen a ghost and it wasn’t for lack of trying. One day he receives a postcard that says, “DON’T STAY IN ROOM 1408 OF THE DOLPHIN HOTEL.” Mike adds the numbers together and gets 13. It’s a cute dare.
Mike reserves the room, much to the dismay of the hotel owner who warms him of all the natural and unnatural deaths that have occurred in there.
What happens in room 1408 of The Dolphin Hotel and room 1901 of The Oralia in He Has Many Namesare very different. Still the heroes of both tales have quite a few things in common. Both characters are fascinated with the paranormal and yet they’re both intrinsically skeptical.
Mike Enslin, John Cusack’s character in 1408, has spent years seeking proof of life after death. It’s left him jaded. He sees how people deceive themselves.
Noelle Blackwood, the hero of He Has Many Names, was diagnosed with a fantasy prone personality at a young age. She had to learn to differentiate between a set of complex maladaptive daydreams and reality. She developed her skepticism as a coping mechanism.
As for the rooms themselves 1408 and 1901 have little else in common. Once the digital clock starts counting down from 59:99 1408 has a clear mission: kill its guest in under an hour. Room 1901 of The Oralia, a forest themed fantasy suite, has a far more mysterious purpose. Continue reading The Films That Inspired My Novel: He Has Many Names