I've excerpted the following essay from my website page devoted to 'Oddities & Entities'. Check it out at www.rolandallnach.com
For the full book tour, visit my earlier post, or my page at TLC Book Tours.
Before getting into the story discussion, though, I am compelled to share an excerpt from one of the reviews of 'Oddities & Entities' on this tour. This one comes courtesy of 'Bound by Words':
"Honestly, the sheer amount of TALENT that exists within the world of indie publishing is ASTOUNDING. I can't, for the life of me, understand why so many great titles, and authors, aren't being picked up by larger publishing houses. Right now, at this moment, I feel the need to stand atop my roof, in this 5 degree weather, and shout to the world about the words that I just consumed, about the absolute certainty, and exactness of Roland Allnach's narrative. What a damn great book to read in the month of October, I do not regret being given the pleasure. WELL DONE SIR. WELL..DONE."
(Excerpt from 'Bound by Words', posted 10/24/2013. Full post here.)
Now, regarding "Gray":
"Gray" follows a strange circumstance: a rather type-A class of person is straining to hold on to his sanity is jarred from his perception of reality when a little gray man pops out of his nose. Well, isn't that a strange thing to happen on a Friday night?
With "Gray" I wanted to take the lead established by "Boneview" and "My Other Me" and extend it in a different direction. It wasn't just about taking a somewhat humorous turn with some darkly comical moments, but rather to use a bit of a satirical/cynical tone toward the order of the reality we share. In the previous stories of 'Oddities & Entities' leading up to "Gray" the characters are given little choice but to accept the other-worldly aspects of their tales, whereas in "Gray" the protagonist, Dave, seems just an ordinary guy until something very strange happens in his life. It is then up to him to come to accept that his perception of life around him is in fact quite flawed, and the madness of his life is in large part due to that flawed perception. He must learn to adjust his perception not only of his past but of both his present and future to find his way among this new understanding of things around him. As this understanding grows, he sees more and more that it was waiting for him in every facet of his life and, through this, he is able to come to peace with the transition of his existence: his new terms of life are not bizarre, but rather the long awaited norm he sought. In hindsight, he learns that it was his old life that was in fact bizarre and motivated by the blind rage of pointless futility.
I made an effort to invest "Gray" with a number of contrasting set changes. There is the ocean, vast and mysterious, right down the street from Dave's house, but he pays it little heed until after his life changes. On the other hand, there are the mountains and open space of Montana, and its tracts of woodland, vast and mysterious in their own right. The townhouse in which he lives undergoes its own transformation, from its implied luxury to the gutted Spartan austerity of Dave's later transformation. Then there's Kim, the hostile underworld parasite who wants to work both sides of a precarious equation to his own benefit, with the casual contempt of an anarchist. Underlying all of this, of course, is the strained relationship between Dave, his cousin Peter, and the seeming aloof presence of Pixie, Peter's companion. But Pixie as well has multiple roles, one as the object of Dave's desire, but beneath her surface the true source of her allure, the hidden awareness she carries as to the world and its unseen order.
And then there's the little man that popped out of Dave's head, Gray. Over the years I had numerous ideas for stories involving little gray men wandering around, either as figments of a character's imagination, elusive but benign creatures living in machines, or perhaps in their strangest form subconscious thoughts transformed to tangible form to speak with the person who was their source. None of these story ideas ever gained enough momentum to compel me to craft a story around them, and I think the main reason for that might have been the fact that none of those ideas left much space for what the 'grays' would be, in terms of their own character development. With "Gray" that problem was solved, and so I had a story to tell.
Stay tuned for more...