J E Cammon has lived in the Southeast since the summer of 1998, uprooted from the soil of the Midwest and replanted in different clay. He graduated from high school, and college there, too, and he enjoys spending his days thinking of fantastic pasts, paranormal presents, and possible futures. When he talks to himself, it’s always in the form of questions like “what if” and “why not” and he only rarely answers out loud, preferring instead to write things that seem a bit like answers, but mostly like stories.
A star fall’s light briefly uncovers the obdurate mask of evening over a world that looks suspiciously like our own. What it illuminates is the underbelly of an eastern US seaport, and the creatures hiding beneath in an effort to understand, belong, and simply exist.
Who is David, and why is he so far away from his clan? Before Nick, his only friend was a vampire named Jarvis, however Nick’s only gift seems to be a curse: to bring change wherever he goes, so maybe he isn’t much of a friend.
Where the three disparate souls find secrets, and answers to their questions, they also find a volume of yet more mysteries and it’s possible that by story’s end, all of them will have wished they hadn’t been present on the evening when everything changed irrevocably forever.
Is it worth trading everything to the darkness to know anything? After all, shadows lie, but what’s a supernatural creature to do when where shadows lie is home?
Recent events were becoming more difficult to believe by the moment. Scholars of his mentor’s type, his contemporaries’, could go decades before even getting sight of a vampire in the flesh.
Nick had shaken one’s hand, and he had only been attached to the Academy for… well, that wasn’t important. All empirical evidence was beginning to suggest that he, Nicholas Hughes, was destined for truly fantastic things.
It was especially fortunate that he had run into David in that alley the previous night. Who knows, a left turn instead of a right, and he’d have to fix this situation all by himself instead of having assistance…
Nick had run, or he had tried. There was crab walking and rolling and crawling and screaming. At some point the other man had shouted his name, and at some point Nick had regained his footing and broken into a maddening sprint. All he could see were those eyes boring into his soul through his skull. He stopped just long enough to throw up. Then he passed out, or maybe he had fallen, or maybe it had caught him.
An Interview with J E Cammon
1. In three days, all electricity is going to be shut off for a very long time. What items are you going to gather in preparation for this event?
Books, of all kind, to use for trading and for educating, protection and solace. Gas engines may run off that fuel, but without spark plugs, people aren’t driving anywhere unless it’s by self-propelled transportation. Of course, I’m also assuming you mean all electricity everywhere. And if so, then people’s neighbors will become their friends again, and their communities will become their family. And really, I’m not really the walk-a-hundred-miles type. So, as the world grows big again, and things slow down, I’d have it in mind to kick my feet up somewhere cool and just read.
2. Where did the idea for the work you are promoting arise?
Where Shadows Lie, the series of books of which Bay City is only the first, grew into a substantial enough idea to write about during a period when I was personally inundated with the paranormal and the supernatural. Television shows, reality and otherwise, comic books, movies, even role playing games I heard about created kind of a perfect storm to imagine what my kind of urban fantasy world would be like. I felt like I had a really good grasp on what established people thought, and what popular ideas were floating around, so what I was able write was my own twist on the genre.
3. What do you like to read?
I’m at a loss for a category, but mostly I like to read unexpected things. I’m not sure if I believe in the axiom that there are no new stories, but I always perk up a bit when I come across a story I haven’t heard before, or one told in an unanticipated way. Beyond the appreciation garnered from just experiencing someone capable of sophisticated line writing, or just enjoying a well-spun yarn, I really invest in the kind of creativity that jumps off the page and makes me pay that much more attention.
4. Tell us about the most exciting place you have ever visited?
Definitely had to be Puerto Rico. I had never traveled much before then, and the only reason I went was for a college friend’s wedding. He asked me to come personally, to preside as a point of fact, and so from the moment that I committed to going, it became a quest. Months of planning and waiting, boarding the plane, surviving the trip, then adventuring around the island with everything so different and foreign. I wasn’t even in the same state as my comfort zone. And on the third to last day there, I delivered some words I considered to be the most important I’d ever write.
5. What is the most mundane, day to day, thing you can share about yourself?
I have a daily contest with a troublesome gang of potholes that live in the path leading up to the parking garage at my job. They’re mostly arranged as a crash course in the right lane, so depending on the oncoming traffic situation, sometimes their mischief can be minimized. But I’ve never once hit them the same way. It’s always a surprise: which I hit, which I miss, how often I misjudge the width of my tire tracks, and how close the curb is. It’s a goal of mine to sail to work one day, teetering into none of them at all. It’s a bit like playing Pachinko.
6. What scares you the most?
Being wrong, but not about something little, but something big. Like, if deciding to commit to making the writing thing, writing professionally for a living, work because of things I was told and confidence I was given turned out to be a mistake. If I was too bad for people to listen to, or if I was too good for people to hear. Casting aside all the popular sayings and things like that, just practically dying as someone who tried extremely hard, and failed to achieve his dreams, terrifies me.
7. Tell us anything but keep it G rated.
Hippy orange curves dancing
to the beat of smoldering wings,
hovering to hug her, eyes hungry
and blind to the hot wick.
Each of them crowd in,
a swarm of lust, legs aching,
outstretched, to touch that beautiful
death, smoke-kissed, and not knowing fear,
needing to suffocate her,
even as she inspires them.
With each pass, her heart burns
them each just a little.
There is no place else none of them
could ever be.