I have the distinct pleasure of hosting a guest article from Mark Matthews on the occasion of the release of his new novel, The Hobgoblin of Little Minds, a psychological horror novel. Mark is always and often advocating for mental health awareness, whether in working in the field, talking about it in articles or social media, or intricately so, in his writing of books and stories or editing of anthologies. I admire Mark for his dedication and thoughts to the human condition and believe he’s a fabulous writer who has important things to say through his words. Pick up a copy of his work, or an anthology with one of his stories, and you’ll see what I mean. Or to get first glimpse, read the article below and pick up a copy of his newest book.
“I Was Told There Would Be Hobgoblins”
by Mark Matthews, author of The Hobgoblin of Little Minds
Yesterday, January 28, 2021, was the first full moon of the year! With that, I’m very excited for the release of my new psychological horror novel, The Hobgoblin of Little Minds, to coincide with this lunar activity.
The novel has received some great reviews from early readers, but I do fear some elements might disappoint. For example, I imagine eavesdropping on readers and hearing things like:
“I was told there would be Hobgoblins. Where are the Hobgoblins?”
Sorry, there are no Hobgoblins inside.
“No Hobgoblins!? But there are at least Werewolves, right?”
Well, sort of. But you’ll not find the word ‘Werewolf’ inside, not even once.
No Hobgoblins. Never mentions Werewolves, What the hell?
Let me explain:
The title of the book comes from the phrase “Foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” For those who’ve read the transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson, the phrase strikes a chord immediately.
The concept is a theme throughout the book. This idea that repeating things as they’ve always been done out of mindless repetition stops creativity and ingenuity. The quote is heralded, and ultimately twisted, by a psychiatrist, Doctor Zita. Zita is the villain in the story, to a degree, but certainly a sympathetic character.
Doctor Zita grew up witness to her mom struggling with mental illness. After one of her mom’s many suicide attempts, her dad abandons the family, saying “you fix her” as he leaves out the door. This becomes her driving principle and obsession— to ‘fix’ bipolar disorder, and not repeat the foolish mistakes of ineffective mental health treatment of the past.
“She was going to find a way to fix bipolar disorder. To siphon out the worst parts, and make the best parts boil to the top. She had to try something new, because ‘foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.’ The same efforts bring same results.”
According to the Doctor, the symptoms of bipolar do not need to be blunted and minimized the way psychiatry has tried for years, but rather, magnified and harnessed. The boundless energy of mania, the primal passions, acute senses, and savage strength are resilient traits that have helped humans persist.
This is not a belief that I subscribe to, but through the viewpoint of Doctor Zita, I do hope to show empathy for family members who rely on mental health treatment, and have so often been let down by a science that is far from perfect, and at times causes more harm than it does cure. This book shines the light on some dark challenges of mental illness, and portrays it with humanity.
The werewolves inside are definitely beasts, but they are not monsters. They love. They have hopes and dreams. They speak as much as howl. They visit their churches and their childhood homes, mimicking much of their human behavior. They do not grow hair, but they do grow stronger as a predator when the moon is full, and have explosive and vengeful rage, often with the best of intentions but worst of results. They are propelled by boundless energy and amazing powers of perception. All of this is what happens, in a sense, in bipolar mania.
As noted, the word werewolf is never mentioned in the novel, much in the way the word zombie is never mentioned in The Walking Dead. In a sense I did this because there is no such thing as werewolves, right? And I want this story to ring true. It even occurs in a true setting, the abandoned Northville Psychiatric Hospital.
So, no, there are no Hobgoblins inside, nor any little minds being eaten, but I do think you’ll find that there is so much more.
The Hobgoblin of Little Minds, About –
Kori Persephone Driscoe suffered through her dad’s mental illness. All she wanted was for him to get better, but instead he disappeared. Kori trespasses into the abandoned Northville Psychiatric Hospital, the last place her dad was treated, seeking solace and traces of his memory. What she finds instead is something no longer human living deep in the underground tunnels.
During the last days of the hospital, a rogue psychiatrist had been manipulating the mood swings of the mentally ill, transforming patients into savage, manic creatures who seek justice by the light of the full moon. When the creatures hunt for prey, only an escaped patient and her beloved child can help Kori survive. But they better act fast, because the creatures want blood, Kori wants to save her dad, and the whole hospital is about to be blown to pieces and bury Kori alive.
The Hobgoblin of Little Minds is available at:
Kindle for Amazon – Cover above is Kindle Cover!
Amazon paperback – full wrap cover above!
Mark Matthews, Biography –
Mark Matthews is a graduate of the University of Michigan and a licensed professional counselor who has worked in behavioral health for over 20 years. He is the author of On the Lips of Children, All Smoke Rises, and Milk-Blood, as well as the editor of the anthology Lullabies for Suffering and Garden of Fiends. His newest work, The Hobgoblin of Little Minds, is available as of January, 2021. Reach him at WickedRunPress@gmail.com.