Prophet’s Debt by Robert Creekmore released last Tuesday in the Dark Contemporary Fiction genre.
At fourteen, Naomi Pace knows she loves her best friend, Tiffany. During the Perseid meteor shower of summer 1993, she finds out Tiffany feels the same, just as they’re outed.
Naomi is sent away to a conversion program in the remote Appalachians of North Carolina, knowing nothing of the horrors that await or the strength they will catalyze.
Escaping into the frigid wilderness, she forges her own destiny. Trapped in hiding, Naomi fights to conquer fear and find her way back to Tiffany.
Taking bloody vengeance to end a cult that tortures and murders children seems impossible, but so is having the guidance of a mythic creature of strength and violence.
Those who hurt Naomi as a girl will come to fear the woman she has become and the path she will tread to find revenge, safety, and Tiffany.
When I awake, my face is swollen and my head throbs with each heartbeat. I hear the muffled sounds of a woman singing hymns. It is the voice of Shelby Howell, the pastor’s wife. I hear the clank of dishes and the water running. Shelby is the kind of person who likes to occupy herself with chores during a crisis.
I sit up and attempt to swing my legs off the right side of the bed. My arms are snatched back with a clink and rattle. Both of my wrists have been secured to the bed with medium gauge chains, no more than a yard in length. The links have already left marks on my skin. The padlocks holding the loops of chain around my wrists clatter when I moved. I hear the water in the kitchen stop running, followed by the high-pitched snap and clap of cheap flip flops. Mrs. Howell is a woman in her late sixties, short, round, and pale. She has a shitty perm, which gave her hair the appearance of a puffy white helmet.
As Mrs. Howell enters the room, she comments, “I thought I heard you wrestlin’-bout.”
“Where are my parents?” I ask.
“They’ve gone out of town with Pastor Howell.”
“They’ve gone to get help for you.”
“I don’t need help.”
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Robert Creekmore is from a rural farming community in Eastern North Carolina.
He attended North Carolina State where he studied psychology. While at university, he was active at the student radio station. There, he fell in love with punk rock and its ethos.
Robert acquired several teaching licenses in special education. He was an autism specialist in Raleigh for eight years. He then taught for four years in a small mountain community in western North Carolina.
During his time in the mountains, he lived with his wife Juliana in a remote primitive cabin built in 1875. While there, he grew most of his own food, raised chickens, worked on a cattle farm, as well as participated in subsistence hunting and fishing.
Eventually, the couple moved back to the small farming community where Robert was raised.
Robert’s first novel Afiri, is a science fiction love letter to his childhood hero Carl Sagan. It was nominated for a Manly Wade Wellman award in 2016.
Robert’s second novel is the first in a trilogy of books. Annoyed with the stereotype of the southeastern United States as a monolith of ignorance and hatred, he wanted to bring forth characters from the region who are queer and autistic. They now hold up a disinfecting light to the hatred of the region’s past and to those who still yearn for a return to ways and ideas that should have long ago perished.
What research you did for this book?
None. I have never been, nor will I ever be, a literary tourist. I come from a unique region of the world. To write convincingly about the south, specifically a diverse state like North Carolina, you have to live it. Nothing gets my novelist hackles up like impostures to southern culture who publish whitewashed narratives of my home. At the top of that list is a homophobic author whose last name rhymes with, ‘parks.’ The Southeast is a gritty place informed by the mores of cult-like churches and isolated communities suspicious of the outside world. It’s not saccharine sweet romance fodder.
Much of the United States, and western democracies for that matter, have slowly transformed into a monoculture of neutral accents and lives defined by bland metropolitan capitalism. The south refuses to budge, for better and worse. Southern Gothic lit still reigns as the mirror which shines a critical light on seedy bigotry, but also on those here who defy it.
It’s convenient for outsiders to wag a disapproving finger at the entire region with smug disdain. This allows them to wash their hands of it. Doing so discounts the diversity of the south, but is also an erasure of those native southerners who are victims of horrific policies and norms.
I primarily write about queer and autistic southerners in Prophet’s Debt. I’m not kind to the Evangelical cult I grew up immersed in. Escaping the mental prison of hatred ingrained in every aspect of your life from day one is a herculean task. This is especially true when you’re raised in a forgotten place before the internet’s tendrils had delivered opposing viewpoints to our doorsteps.
For me, the public library provided that window. Then, I found punk rock in my late teens. As a young adult, I discovered that the people I was taught to fear and despise as a child, have always been kinder to me than the ones who infected me with their prejudice. That same hatred kept me submerged in an ocean of despair and ignorance during my boyhood. At seventeen, all I had to do was untie the tether placed around my leg and swim to the surface.
Find his website https://robertcreekmore.com/
This post is part of a tour. The tour dates can be found here:
a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC