Union-buster Ellen Powers has lost every speck of humanity she had as a young lawyer. Now, a series of bizarre and increasingly violent dreams lead her to question those choices—and fear for her family. But what do images of a murdered young twin mean? And why does someone from her dreams turn out to be a real person? To answer these questions, Ellen must discover her “Pull” and what the President of the United States has to do with it. Seeking these answers will prove the most terrifying and liberating experience of Ellen Powers’ life—if she can survive it.
Glenn A. Bruce recently spent some time with The Big Thrill discussing his latest thriller, THE PULL:
What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
A spine-chilling read that preys on our deepest fears about our purpose, our inner self, and our future. I hope that we all see ourselves in Ellen Powers and relate to her personal and larger identity struggles that are shown to her through her wild dreams, which seem to be telling her to change her ways and find a new path. But at what cost to herself, her family, and the country? Hopefully, my readers will feel a kinship with Ellen as she goes on a journey, both physical and metaphysical, to learn the true nature of her origin and the dangerous possible solutions to her quest.
What attracts you to this book’s genre?
The unfolding answers to the questions that arise from questioning oneself and our place in this life. By using disturbing dreams as a starting place, then expanding on those dreams as guideposts—always with the thriller aspect at the heart of it all—we as readers get to go along with the protagonist who has become an unreliable narrator of her own life story as she rethinks her place in society, family, and a possible higher calling—if she’s courageous enough to admit it.
How does this book make a contribution to the genre?
By blending the paranormal aspects of dreams when they intersect with daily life in disarming, scary ways to guide us to a greater understanding about the realities we have created for ourselves—especially when those ideas and ideals have gone astray and threaten our very existence.
Without spoilers, are there any genre conventions you wanted to upend or challenge with this book?
I wanted to blend familiar familial/marital issues with career problems—especially for women—by using the paranormal dream element as a device to set Ellen Powers on her journey, which seems to be about one thing but is actually about another, especially as those more mystical elements converge and collide with her reality.
No spoilers, but what can you tell us about your book that we won’t find in the jacket copy or the PR material?
As with several of my novels, it started as a screenplay. I find screenplays to be a useful tool for mapping the plot and providing a tight throughline that continually moves in the right direction—ahead. Also, by starting with a cinematic approach, I am able to transfer those images to a more visual storytelling style while expanding the story and details to fit the needs of longer prose. I don’t always do it that way, but this is one where it worked well.
What authors or books have influenced your career as a writer, and why?
Hammett because Red Harvest is perfect. The Magus because it is mindbogglingly complex with endless twists. Heller because he found humor in war horrors with Catch-22. Chuck Palahniuk because he tells extremely dark stories that are immensely readable. Vonnegut because he infused humor in everything, no matter how sensitive or outlandish the topic. Steinbeck because of his empathy and love for humanity in all its forms.
Is there a question that you feel is important to you and/or your novel? Write it in below, but be sure to answer it too!
Q: The Pull seems to be a very dark story. Is there anything there to lighten it up?
A: Yes! I always add plenty of humor to ease off the pressure from time to time. Ellen and her office manager/ best friend Elvina have many sharp and funny opinions and commentary, and many of the characters around Ellen—odd people that she meets along the way—add plenty of humor and light moments to what is, yes, a very dark story.
Glenn A. Bruce holds an MFA in Writing from Lindenwood University. He has had over a dozen novels published and “in another life” wrote the screenplays for Kickboxer, Cyborg Cop, and Victor One: Undercover Cop, as well as episodes of Walker: Texas Ranger, Baywatch, the original G.L.O.W. Show, and Cinemax’s Assaulted Nuts, as well as several uncredited “page-one script doctor” rewrites. His short stories and poetry have appeared internationally, including The Best of Brilliant Flash Fiction, Shotgun Honey, Switchblade, Blue Crow, RedFez, Defenestrationism, Alfie Dog, KY Stories, Loud Zoo, Flights (Sinclair College Journal), The Rain and Disaster Party Society, Black Dog Review, Capsule Stories, Backchannels, Green Silk Journal, Dave Higgins’ Outsiders Within, The Rabbit Hole, and many others. He was a twice-finalist in the Defenestrationism short story contest and won Also That’s “Down & Dirty” short story competition. His articles and essays have appeared in The Good Men Project, Heart and Humanity, Beat Poets of the Forever Generation, Carolina Mountain Life, and The Earthen Lamp Journal, among others. Glenn taught Screenwriting, Acting for the Camera, and Video Production at Appalachian State University for 12.5 years. Previously, he was Artist in Residence at Palm Beach School of Arts and video director for eight years at the Creative Actors Workshop in Burbank, California. He has judged film festivals, art shows, and writing contests, including Brilliant Flash Fiction’s annual contest and Defenstrationism’s Bi-Annual contests from 2016 to the present, and has spoken at many writers’ conferences. He has had several successful art shows and still has entirely too much art in his garage! He lives in Florida, where he just completed his 33rd novel.
To learn more about the author and his work, please visit his website.