Readers Caught in Siren’s Spell: Feature Article with Horror Author John Everson on Relaunching a Book

Giving new breath into a novel that is a few years old can sometimes be difficult for authors.  But sometimes the novel just never really got its best lease on life. Kinda like when you are in the right place at the wrong time?  This is the case for Bram Stoker Award winning author John Everson’s novel, Siren.

If you haven’t heard of Siren before, here’s the synopsis and amazing cover:

siren-leisure-180Night after night, Evan walked along the desolate beach, grieving over the loss of his son, drowned in an accident more than a year before.

Then one night he was drawn to the luminous sound of a beautiful, naked woman singing near the shore in the moonlight. He watched mesmerized as the mysterious woman disappeared into the sea. Driven by desire and temptation, Evan returned to the spot every night until he found her again. Now he has begun a bizarre, otherworldly affair. A deadly affair. For Evan will soon realize that his seductive lover is a being far more evil…and more terrifying…than he ever imagined.

He will learn the danger of falling into the clutches of the… SIREN.

Sounds amazing, right?

Amazon has picked Everson’s fourth novel, Siren, to feature in their February 2013 “hot 100” list! They’ve put the e-book on sale for just $.99! At the time of this post, there are only two days left to purchase at the low sale price.

You can see Siren listed in the 100 Kindle Books Science Fiction/Fantasy section or visit their book page directly here:

SIREN: http://www.amazon.com/Siren-ebook/dp/B003YUCGAA/

So, what’s the story behind Siren?

Published to mass market in 2010 by Dorchester/Leisure Books, Siren is finally again on the rise on the Amazon sales charts.  But why now?  The first clue about Siren’s lull in readership is its publisher. Notice it’s Leisure Books, which closed its 40-year mass market line in September of 2010.  They were the only publisher in the U.S. to have a horror line up until the current decade.

“Two years ago…..Siren had its legs cut off, because two weeks after its release, Leisure declared an end to their mass market line,” said John Everson, author of Siren. “Siren died a quick death since books quickly disappeared from stores when they couldn’t reorder it.”

The sudden surge of e-books hurt business, but Dorchester (Leisure’s parent company) tried to recreate its trade paperback line, ultimately not succeeding very well. They had reissued Siren in trade paperback to shelves in Barnes & Noble and Borders, just in time for Borders to go bankrupt.  Since stores liquidated or returned stock, Siren lost momentum again.  In 2012, Everson said Dorchester “threw in the towel and sold the rights to its entire 40-year catalog to Amazon.” 

Everson’s first five novels, including Siren, have now been rebranded as 47North titles, one of Amazon’s labels.  They have given Everson a promotion for Siren during the month of February during its big Amazon Kindle 100 sale. As previously stated, readers can get it for .99 cents in e-book format until the end of February, but if you’ve missed the promotion, it still might be worth the regular price if you like award-winning horror authors.

Siren can cross genres enough that readers who enjoy fantasy, supernatural, and erotica, as well as horror, can enjoy it.  With the current publishing and reading trends, and it now being accessible in e-book format, the time seems ripe for Siren to make a comeback.

What do we know about sirens?  Remember those awesome evil female creatures in the Pirates of the Caribbean series?  They brought the sinister sirens to us visually as evil mermaids. Based on Greek mythology, the first sirens were supposedly the daughters of river-god Achelous. Wikipedia states that sirens “were dangerous and beautiful creatures, portrayed as femmes fatales who lured nearby sailors with their enchanting music and voices to shipwreck on the rocky coast of their island.” Many various other writings place them at various locals, but almost all generally are on ocean cliffs and rocks.

Leonardo da Vinci even wrote of the siren, “The siren sings so sweetly that she lulls the mariners to sleep; then she climbs upon the ships and kills the sleeping mariners.”

So what inspired Everson to write about sirens?

About four years ago, when he was trying to decide what to work on for his fourth novel, he had a couple of ideas that had been with him for awhile (one of which was NightWhere… which he ended up writing  last year and publishing with Samhain Publishing’s Horror line). Since he wanted to present his editor with a handful of ideas to choose from, and realizing he’d published three novels at that point that all dealt with occult supernatural themes (and gotten increasingly extreme in terms of their erotic horror elements), he decided to brainstorm about something new.

“I wanted to write something that dealt with a corporeal creature, but not just a hulking monster – something with a brain,” Everson said. “I didn’t want to work with a “monster” that was typical — no zombies or vampires or the like. I tried to think about more classical monsters from our past that may have been forgotten.”

Thinking succubi still had a demonic theme, he began poking around at mythology and ran across a classical painting of three Siren sisters from old legends, lying naked in the midst of a pile of half devoured carcasses. “That (painting) clicked it for me,” Everson related.  ” They were living, fleshy creatures, full of seduction, yet, cannibalistic and dangerous. Perfect!”

 He didn’t do any exhaustive research to prove it one way or the other, but he said he hadn’t noticed any horror novels in recent years that focused on a siren. “I instantly began envisioning Ligeia, and the reasons that Evan, my protagonist, would fall for her when he absolutely shouldn’t,” Everson continued. He very quickly wrote up a 10-12 page outline.

“It ended up being almost a coin toss to decide whether to go with that or an idea called The Pumpkin Man… in the end, I went with Siren, and I’m glad I did – I am really proud of the way the novel turned out… and actually I wrote The Pumpkin Man immediately after,” Everson exclaimed.

While Siren is still a horror novel, Everson said it has themes of romance and erotica, as well as a “heavy” backstory about a father who has lost his son through his own weakness (aquaphobia).

“I think it touches the fears of parents who want to do whatever they can for their children, as well as those who have strayed, but want to do whatever they can to go back to their partners,” he explained. “People seem to either love or hate the ending, but I really felt that this book was accessible to far more readers than just “horror” fans.”

The first week of the promotion Siren was #1 on Kindle Horror list, then later it hit #1 on the SF/F list. 

“This promotion is exposing the title to a lot of new people,” Everson said.  “I’m hoping as many people as possible will pick it up on this Kindle 100 sale and give it new life moving forward. This could really be the “rebirth” of Siren, which actually has been looked at as a possible movie for Chiller Network….still have my fingers crossed on that!!!!”

It seems like Siren might have a good chance at breathing above and below water. Now, it’s up to the readers to decide and propel it forward.

Everson continued, “this book was a very important novel for me and I’m really excited that it might be getting a new lease on life this month! I am  hopeful that finally Siren might reach some of those readers it missed in its last two paperback releases. I know that given this placement, there will probably be more than a thousand new readers of the book.  I hope they enjoy it, and encourage others to read Ligeia’s story!”

siren-leisure-180Siren Information and Amazon Purchasing Link~

  • File Size: 421 KB
  • Print Length: 338 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0843963549
  • Publisher: 47North (July 27, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

http://www.amazon.com/Siren-ebook/dp/B003YUCGAA/#_

John Everson, Biography~

john-everson

John Everson is the Bram Stoker Award-winning author of seven novels of erotic horror and the macabre, including his most recent, NIGHTWHERE, as well as COVENANT, its sequel SACRIFICE and the standalone novels THE 13TH, SIREN, and THE PUMPKIN MAN. His novel VIOLET EYES, which is well-fortified with spiders, will be released just in time for Halloween, 2013.

John shares a deep purple den in Naperville, Illinois with a cockatoo and cockatiel, a disparate collection of fake skulls, twisted skeletal fairies, Alan Clark illustrations, and a large stuffed Eeyore. There’s also a mounted Chinese fowling spider named Stoker, an ever-growing shelf of custom mix CDs, and an acoustic guitar that he can’t really play but that his son likes to hear him beat on anyway.

Sometimes his wife is surprised to find him shuffling through more public areas of the house, but it’s usually only to brew another cup of coffee. In order to avoid the onerous task of writing, he occasionally records pop-rock songs in a hidden home studio, experiments with the insatiable culinary joys of the jalapeno, designs book covers for a variety of small presses, loses hours in expanding an array of gardens and chases frequent excursions into the bizarre visual headspace of ’70s euro-horror DVDs with a shot of Makers Mark and a tall glass of Newcastle.

Learn more about John on his site, http://www.johneverson.com, where you can sign up for a direct-from-the-author monthly e-newsletter with information on new books, contests and occasionally, free fiction.

Want to connect? Follow John on Twitter @johneverson, or find him on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/johneverson.

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4 Comments

Filed under Feature Articles

4 responses to “Readers Caught in Siren’s Spell: Feature Article with Horror Author John Everson on Relaunching a Book

  1. I have my signed copy sitting on my shelf. John’s a great writer. His latest book was just nominated for a Bram Stoker award.

    Like

  2. I have been “lost” in Santiago, Chile on a business trip for the last week while SIREN has had its big promotion and the announcement of NIGHTWHERE’s Stoker nomination hit… I feel like a spectator at my own party LOL!!!

    Like

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