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SECRETS BETWEEN THE NOTES—EASTER EGGS FROM BLACK HEART BOYS’ CHOIR by @c_lawson | Book Tour and $25 Amazon GC #Giveaway | #Horror

Black Heart Boys' Choir by Curtis M. Lawson is on virtual book tour. The horror stops at Readeropolis with an author post. Be ...

Black Heart Boys' Choir by Curtis M. Lawson is on virtual book tour.

The horror stops at Readeropolis with an author post.

Be sure to enter for a chance to win the giveaway for a $25 Amazon GC and follow the Silver Dagger book tour (for other dates see the link at the bottom of the post).

By Curtis M. Lawson
The town of Enfield, MA where BLACK HEART BOYS’ CHOIR takes place, borrows its name from a disincorporated town located in the now flooded Swift River Valley. Enfield was knocked down in 1938 and flooded, along with several other towns, to make room for the Quabbin reservoir. 
The idea of flooded ghost towns is very evocative to me. And yes, I know all the buildings had been burned and leveled before the Quabbin was filled, but I still like to imagine that the ruins of old towns still stand beneath the water, teeming with ghosts.
Enfield isn’t the only flooded ghost town to be mentioned in BLACK HEART BOYS’ CHOIR. There is a scene where the choir is dumping some pesky forensic evidence into the Swift River and Lucien mentions that it will be washed all the way to Prescott, another town lost beneath the Quabbin in real life. PARAMNESIA, one of the stories in my collection BLACK PANTHEONS, takes place in a fictionalized version of Prescott, MA.
Lucien visits Philip Gravetree, a collaborator of his father, on two different occasions in the book. Gravetree’s address, 67 Auseil Way, is an homage to H. P. Lovecraft’s THE MUSIC OF ERICH ZANN. The events of that story mainly take place at a residence on a street named Rue d’Auseil.
Amduscias, Lucien’s demonic muse, also makes reference to Erich Zann while mocking Lucien’s father during a dream sequence/flashback.
When I was younger I was enamored with black metal, a music genre known more for the violence and drama surrounding it than for the music itself. I played in black metal bands, dressed the part, and read everything I could about the larger than life figures involved in the music. I even exchanged a few letters with some infamous figures from that scene. It was, to me, the ultimate expression of rebellion against a world that I never felt I belonged in.
The classical music subculture that Lucien and his friends create in my book was meant as a stand-in for black metal, though it seems many readers from different walks of life have found that it resonates with their own rebellious experiences just as well. There are a few references to my love for this music within BLACK HEART BOYS CHOIR. The most obvious is when Lucien refers to posters of musicians in corpse paint on Asher’s wall as “angry mimes”. Less obvious is a pivotal murder scene toward the end of the book that was heavily inspired by a real-life killing committed by a teenage black metal band from Germany.
A lot of thought and care went into the themes, symbolism, and structure of BLACK HEART BOYS’ CHOIR. It was my intention for the book to mirror the structure of a piece of classical music, which can most notably be seen in how the story is broken into movements. The movements in the book are named after the corresponding movements of the cursed song within the story. Within the story, the time signatures for each movement are mentioned, and the different sections of the book are paced according to those time signatures.
The second movement, for instance, is called DANCE OF DEPOSED KINGS and it is described as a waltz within the story. The pacing of that section follows a repeating one-two-three pattern. One chapter begins with a hallucinatory flashback. The next establishes where and when Lucien is in the real world and reflects how the past chapter impacts his real life and his sanity. The third sees him in his weekly meeting with his school counselor and reinforces his sense of isolation along with his resentments. This repeats—one, two three, one, two, three—throughout the second movement of the book.
In another nod to musical structure, there are several phrases repeated throughout the book and scenes which closely mirror one another. This was an attempt to imitate the concept of the leitmotif, or repeated uses of a melody at key moments for dramatic effect. 
Not exactly an easter egg, but the demon Amduscias is taken from genuine occult sources. According to Goetic tradition, Amduscias is the conductor of Hell and its 67th Duke. The number 67 appears in several places throughout the book.

There is a scene in the book where Lucien and his choir are discussing their fathers. Lucien’s father is dead, a victim of suicide. Maxwell’s old man ran out on him and his mother. Asher’s father is in prison, and J.C.’s dad is a workaholic who lets his boss and wife walk all over him. These are the role models for Lucien and his choir.
The fate of each boy’s father is representative of a different danger particularly common among men. Suicide and incarceration rates among men are much higher than those for women, and it is much more common for males to work themselves into an early grave. Just as tragic, far too many men in our society fall into a sort of Peter Pan syndrome and choose to abandon their families and responsibilities. 
I think it’s fairly obvious that A CLOCKWORK ORANGE influenced my novel. The idea to use a classical musical subculture for the characters was spawned by something I read years ago from Anthony Burgess. He said that his decision for Alex and his droogs to use the now-iconic slang from that book was so that the story might be timeless and not bogged down by teenage lingo that would be out of date in ten years. It was with that same concern of timelessness that I decided to forego any short-lived real-life subculture for the boys in my story.
The scene where Lucien performs Ode To Joy to show off his vocal talent is something of a nod to Alex  DeLarge. Lucien also finds an LP of the soundtrack for A CLOCKWORK ORANGE at the record store where he works.
In another scene the choir is driving around, looking for a specific victim, and they cruise down Bateman Road. This is an homage to the murderous Patrick Bateman from AMERICAN PSYCHO, another influence on BLACK HEART BOYS’ CHOIR.

Black Heart Boys' Choir 
by Curtis M. Lawson 
Genre: Horror

Great art demands sacrifice.

Lucien Beaumont is a teenage misfit and musical prodigy ostracized by his peers and haunted by familial tragedy. When he discovers an unfinished song composed by his dead father—a song that holds terrible power—Lucien becomes obsessed. As he chases after the secret nature of his father's music, the line between gruesome fantasy and real life violence begins to blur.

To complete his father's work Lucien believes that he and his group of outcast friends must appease a demonic force trapped within the music with increasingly sadistic offerings. As things spiral out of control he finds that the cost of his art will be the lives of everyone around him, and perhaps his very soul. 

Curtis M. Lawson is a writer of unapologetically weird, dark fiction and poetry. His work includes Black Heart Boys' Choir, It's a Bad, Bad, Bad, Bad World, and The Devoured. 

Curtis is a member of the Horror Writer's Association, and the organizer of the Wyrd live horror reading series. He lives in Salem, MA with his wife and their son. When he is not writing, Curtis enjoys tabletop RPGs, underground music, playing guitar, and the ocean 

$25 Amazon 
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1 comment

Get carried away with love!