Readers might be surprised to learn that the birth of the Brother story came from my childhood and religious beliefs. I know that’s probably a creepy thing to say for those who read the book, but let me explain and I’ll preface it by saying that I had a normal childhood and I love my religion.
To start off, I have always been a voracious reader. My parents will attest that throughout my childhood I could be found with a book in my hands. During free time, car rides, when I was supposed to be sleeping, under my desk at school, while in detention, even while grounded.
As you probably noticed I had a strong obsession with reading. Now for the most part this wasn’t a problem, other than poor grades and lack of sleep that is. As far as anyone was concerned I was improving my literacy, expanding my perspective of the world, and obtaining knowledge.
Until I ran into the problem every voracious reader encounters and struggles with, lack of books. This may sound strange in the day and age of millions of ebooks online, many of them being free. But I didn’t have that technology; my only access to books was the local library, what my family bought for me, and what the school had. I could only go to the public library so often, gift-giving holidays only came around so often, and the school could only hold so many books and rarely changed them out.
But after running out of all the science fiction and fantasy books I stumbled upon a new genre, horror.
It was Welcome to Dead House by R.L. Stine, the first in his Goosebumps series. I absolutely loved it and was thrilled to learn there were dozens of books in the series. I became obsessed and vowed to read every one of them.
My mother became naturally concerned with my new found obsession. Instead of reading about warrior mice, dragons, wizards, and spaceships I was now elbow deep in ghosts, monsters, and talking dummies. She was worried that the books would have an influence on me and my obsession would make it worse.
As a writer who frequently dabbles in dark and horror fiction I can totally see where she was coming from.
It wasn’t until recently when the Goosebumps movie came out in theaters that I wondered what would have happened if it wasn’t Goosebumps I had discovered, but something else?
What if the book I read, wasn’t one that was meant to entertain and be fictional, but presented itself as fact?
What if that book was meant to corrupt and influence me?
This idea of what if rooted itself in my mind and I began to wonder what such a book would look like. What would it talk about? How would it appear? Who would be interested in such a book? And what would be the consequences of becoming obsessed with it.
In thinking about books that had strong influences on people the first ones that came into my mind were religious.
The Bible, Quran, Book of Mormon, and many others have had profound impacts on people’s lives. They have uplifted, motivated, and strengthened people to live more happy, fulfilling lives, I myself can attest to my own life being revolutionized by reading the Book of Mormon.
But sometimes people misinterpret these texts, where one man will see a message of peace and forgiveness; others see a call to violence and prejudice.
Serial killers, terrorists, troubled youth, corrupt preachers, overzealous parents and many others have misinterpreted these sacred words to fuel their own views on the world and commit horrible acts against others.
Books, pieces of paper bound together with words on them have caused men and women to either end war or commit war, save lives or take them. It’s very apparent that the written word can have great power over people.
But the examples above are books meant to bring about peace and kindness, books meant to promote good. What would happen if the book was written for the express purpose of evil?
The Nameless Tome is such a book.
In Brother I use this fictional book to answer the ‘what if’ questions I had about my childhood. Using the young characters Todd and Isaac as proxies for myself I explore what would have happened if the book I picked up hadn’t been Goosebumps, but something sinister and wicked.
I hope you enjoy Brother and ask yourself what would have happened if you had read such a book.
I know I’m glad I hadn’t.
Brother can be purchased at a number of retail sites, including: