Writing Bloc is pleased to announce our second full-length single-author work! GRACE FALLS was produced under the Identity Crisis Books imprint, which is managed by Head of Editing Cari Dubiel. We were so pleased to work with G.A. Finocchiaro on this collection of short works, all set in the small town of Grace Falls, Pennsylvania, where Lovecraft meets Stranger Things.
We talked with Finocchiaro about his book, the process of writing it, and what is coming next.
Tell us about GRACE FALLS and how it came to be. What was your inspiration?
GRACE FALLS started out as an idea to grow the mythology of the world I was creating. I was inspired by the way Stephen King connected his worlds together, and I wanted to do the same with the way he wrote the town of Derry. I love how he, and his son Joe Hill, winked at the reader with subtle hints as to the larger scope of the events taking place. With that mythology in mind, I wanted to write a bunch of short stories that were fun, creepy, and allowed me to pay homage to my favorite episodes of Twilight Zone, Amazing Stories, Tales from the Darkside, Tales from the Crypt, and more.
I grew up in a small town, and there was always that creepy house, or that strange place that stirred rumors. Small towns have this way of creating their own mythologies because of their isolation. So I drew a lot of inspiration from my own childhood.
How are the stories linked together, and how do they fit into the greater universe of your work?
The outcomes of the individual stories bleed into each other through the characters and events over the course of one calendar year in Grace Falls. Sometimes it’s merely a suggestion that a character was there, and other times it’s through the direct outcome of the previous story. Every event is connected in some way, and those willing to dive in should be able to pick up on connections between each story within this anthology, as well as to my first book, The Knightmares.
This town and its inhabitants are at the center of a mystery that will ripple outward into every story I write. Their lives and histories will set up the overall mythology for everything that happens across all of my books. I was always fascinated with World War I, and how there were many events that led to the outbreak of war. That’s how I see my novels—each story building up to a breaking point.
“Mum,” the first story in GRACE FALLS, will ultimately be the start of the chaos within the book, but it is only a symptom of a greater threat to the town and its people. And as you finish the book with “Extraordinary,” you’ll get a small glimpse at the cosmic levels of danger involved. The stories in between, in particular “Breacher” and “Pajamas,” have a direct connection as they share the same, literal, back yard. “Cubicle 43-B” is the most isolated story, but its protagonist has direct influence on the life of the characters in “Extraordinary.” However, the best thread throughout the anthology comes in the form of its mysterious villain… but I won’t give away the fun.
What’s your writing routine like? Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I’m actually somewhere in between. I usually plot out all my chapters, but then I find that the narrative or a character’s arc organically should go a different direction, and I adjust. I also end up with a ton of notes, adding and subtracting things, throughout the course of writing my drafts. I view writing a lot like sculpting from a piece of rock. Everything starts with a large whole, and as a writer I slowly whittle it away, refining, until I have something I like.
Your book is set in the 80s. How did you choose this timeframe? What did you research to make sure the setting was accurate?
Pop culture exploded in the 80s. I love that era, growing up, and look back fondly on it. It was a super weird decade filled with some of the most fascinating movies and music we have ever seen as a culture. To pay homage to the things that made me into who I am begins back then with The Monster Squad, Goonies, The Last Starfighter, and more. I wanted to tell stories about innocence versus darkness like the heroes of my youth.
What are you working on next?
I am currently working on a 4-part story (tentatively) that takes place, in part, within Grace Falls and includes some of its many characters I established within this current book. The series as a whole is called Cataclysm, for now, and is separated into these four titles:
- The Raptor
- The Omega
- The Two-Eyed Man
The story is a love story set against horrific events, both fantastic and real-life. I like to say it’s a cross between 13 Reasons Why, The Crow, and Clash of the Titans. This story will expand upon the characters of Grace Falls.