People are vanishing from their homes. Aggressive swarms of insects are on the attack. The skies are producing silver rain. And late at night, residents are haunted by ghosts desperate to reveal the secrets of their existence but unable to speak. The small town of Engles, Indiana is undergoing a shocking transformation. The Intruders have arrived.
Brian Pinkerton recently spent some time with The Big Thrill discussing his latest thriller, THE INTRUDERS.
Can you pinpoint a moment or incident that sparked the idea for this book?
I asked myself, what is the ultimate form of identity theft? What if someone or someTHING could take over your body and kick out your soul?
A novel is such a major undertaking; there’s the writing of it, of course, then you’re spending months and months revising, polishing, and then promoting it. How did you know this was the book you wanted to spend the next couple of years on?
I loved the cast of characters — consisting of someone I could relate to, someone that made me laugh, and someone who could be a cynical contrast to the other two and also provide some sexual tension.
Were there any particular books, movies, or songs that were knocking around in your head while you were writing this one?
The Intruders is a science fiction-horror hybrid about mysterious happenings in a small town that grow into a worldwide threat. It’s partly a tribute to 1950s sci-fi stories like The Day The Earth Stood Still, The Thing and Invasion of the Body Snatchers. It’s also got a contemporary subtext about things that worry me today, like climate change. Anytime I do science fiction, there’s a social commentary beneath the surface.
When you first created your protagonist for this book, did you see an empty space in crime lit that you wanted to fill? What can you share about the inspiration for that character?
I don’t write about superheroes, brilliant sleuths or extraordinary crime fighters.
My lead characters are regular people: teachers, office employees, working mothers, construction workers, book store clerks, hotel managers…I want people to really identify with my main characters. Then I take them on a wild journey. I want the reader to think, “What would I do in this situation?”
In addition to a great read, what do you hope readers will take away from this story?
My goal is momentum. I want the writing to be crisp, clear and easy to follow so your eyes glide down the page. I want the reader to be constantly engaged by a feeling of “What happens next?” I love ending chapters with cliff hangers. I love cross-cutting between two plot threads of suspense. I want to create situations where you wonder, “How will they escape?” “How will they survive?” “How can this bad guy be stopped?”
My books are entertainment, a relief from day-to-day drudgery. They shouldn’t be a chore to read.
What can you share about what you’re working on next?
I’m working on a novel about a weird teenage girl who uncovers shocking secrets about an unusual new classmate.
Brian Pinkerton tells stories to frighten, amuse and intrigue. He is the author of novels and short stories in the thriller, science fiction, horror and mystery genres. His books include Abducted (a USA Today bestseller), Vengeance, The Nirvana Effect, The Gemini Experiment, Anatomy of Evil, Killer’s Diary, Rough Cut, Bender, and Killing the Boss. Select titles have also been released as audio books and in foreign languages. His short stories have appeared in PULP!, Chicago Blues, and The Horror Zine.
Brian has been a guest author and panelist at the San Diego Comic Con, American Library Association annual conference, World Horror Convention and many other literary and genre events. He received his B.A. from the University of Iowa, where he took undergraduate classes of the Iowa Writers Workshop. He received his Master’s Degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. His first published short story appeared in Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine.
Brian lives in the Chicago area with his family.
To learn more about the author and his work, please visit his website.