SEVEN THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT SEAN FARLEY, THE AUTHOR OF PANDEMONIUM
By Sean Farley
Since “Pandemonium” is my first novel, it stands to reason that just about everyone reading this blog will never have heard of me. So, for those that are interested, I have compiled a list of some “getting-to-know-you” factoids about myself. Enjoy…
1.) I started out as a screenwriter. While “Pandemonium” is my first novel, I spent years honing my storytelling craft as a screenwriter. While I had some minor success optioning or getting paid to write projects, screenplays (especially spec screenplays) very rarely get produced, even if you write a couple of good ones. Hollywood is a mindfuck the likes of which few can ever truly comprehend, with ninety five percent of projects falling apart somewhere along the line, never to be seen or heard from by anyone ever. But with prose, your work can be read by more than twelve or thirteen executives. That is truly exhilarating, to know your words can get out there exactly as you intended to countless possible readers.
2.) The film “Reservoir Dogs” made me want to write. I have a “Reservoir Dogs” tattoo on my left bicep not just because it is my second favorite film of all time (“Back to the Future” is still number one) but because it represents everything I love about the storytelling medium. “Reservoir Dogs” sparked an urge to have my own narrative voice heard.
3.) My favorite theme is redemption. I am a sucker for a strong character arc in a story and I love seeing an incredibly flawed individual reaching inside to find some element of good within themselves that perhaps they didn’t even know they had.
4.) I have a tattoo of “The Greatest American Hero” emblem on my right arm. I have this tattoo for two reasons. First, “The Greatest American Hero” is the first piece of fiction I remember ever getting engrossed in as a child. Second, the tattoo is a daily reminder to me of the overall theme of the show: do the right thing. Follow your gut. Even when it makes you look silly or stupid. Especially if it makes you look silly or stupid.
5.) Anne Tyler’s “The Accidental Tourist” is my favorite novel. Read it. Right now. If you don’t immediately fall in love with Muriel Pritchett then you simply have no soul.
6.) I write to the music of Tom Waits, Tori Amos, Leonard Cohen and Peter Gabriel. Specifically, the albums Small Change, Little Earthquakes, Cohen’s Greatest Hits, So and Us. Counting Crows’ debut album August and Everything After sneaks into my playlist too.
7.) I also write to movies. Besides music, I also usually have a film running in the background as I write. The films usually fall into three categories: a classic comedy like “Airplane!”, “Risky Business” or “Tootsie”; a cheesy 80s horror film like “A Nightmare on Elm Street 2” or “Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI” or a classic episode of “Mystery Science Theatre 3000”.
Published Date: September 9, 2018
Jackson Armstrong is blessed with an extraordinary memory and a young son who loves him. He is also cursed with a compulsion to gamble that has cost him nearly everything. While chasing another big win, Jackson is killed in a car theft gone wrong and finds himself trapped in Pandemonium, a hellish, urban netherworld where demons rule over man.
Before long, Jackson begins having visions of a mysterious portal. Convinced his visions are the key to escaping Pandemonium and returning home to his son, Jackson forms an unlikely alliance with Lilith, a mysterious demon who has an agenda all her own. As the two are relentlessly pursued by an evil older than time itself, they must navigate their way across a brutal, fantastical landscape and find the portal before it closes forever .
Pandemonium is a dark fantasy adventure that will take readers to the depths of a richly imagined hell unlike any they have experienced before.
The train’s whistle—a human mandible mounted on the cab’s roof—sounded, and the glass doors on the locomotive snapped open. Jackson looked back to the Guard, who wore the biggest shit-eating grin he’d ever seen.
“Look, I can just take one of the boxcars. Just open one of the boxcars—” Jackson stammered, stricken. He didn’t see the long, spiked tail that flailed out of the train, but he felt it when it wrapped around his ankle and pulled him off of his feet, smacking his head on the surface of the platform with a loud thump.
And as the stars and the spots faded from his vision, Jackson remembered the first time he’d ever been on a train. (November 28, 1987, age 7, Amtrak 202 to Chicago with Dad. Hiding from the people who kept coming to the house asking about money. Learned five card stud on the trip and won fifty cents from Dad. Full house, threes over sixes. Dad said “…And that’s how an Armstrong plays cards.”)
The tail dragged Jackson toward the locomotive. He saw his guard wave to him as it pulled him inside and the doors slammed shut. He lay on the bare floor of the cab. There was no light at all, the interior blacker than the deepest part of the Indian Ocean, and a smell like sour milk filled his lungs. The tail unwrapped itself from his leg and receded to the front of the locomotive, where Jackson could barely make out a lumpy silhouette.
Jackson made it to his feet and tried to steady himself, but his quivering knees were having none of that cockamamie bravery shit. He tried to force his eyes to adjust to the darkness faster, implored his pupils to dilate more fully, but they weren’t taking orders from him, and would open in their own sweet-ass time.
He imagined the stomach acid leaking out of the Swiss cheese holes in his gut, and he could almost hear his ulcer talking to him: “You thought losing money on a slot machine was bad? Brother, I’m gonna show you what bad is.”
“Hello?” Jackson called out to the silhouette.
It snorted, with a sound that would have made Jackson piss himself if there had been anything in his bladder.
“I don’t want any trouble,” he said. “I really don’t.”
The silhouette moved toward him, making a kind of skittering noise as it crossed the floor. He backed away from it, into the rear of the cab, but it moved closer still. And now Jackson’s pupils got with the program, making him wish sincerely that they hadn’t.
The silhouette belonged to some kind of eight-legged beast. It was seven feet tall and easily the size of a Clydesdale, like the ones they ran at Hazel Park.
The thing skulked nearer and he could make out that the creature, this Pecado thing, had the legs and torso of a gray bodied tarantula, and that each of its eight legs ended in a human-looking hand—but with five rust-colored spikes where the fingers and thumb should be. He didn’t even notice that he’d stopped breathing ninety seconds before.
The Pecado finally brought its face, which resembled that of an albino man, close to Jackson’s. The intensity of the sour milk stink it exuded made his eyes water fiercely.
He saw the thing’s tail wrap around a lever of bone near the front of the train.
The Pecado smiled at him, then hissed at him, its open mouth full of tiny brown teeth. Finally, it wrapped two of its legs around Jackson, pulled him tight, and kissed him hard. Jackson could feel the beast’s tongue auger into his mouth and down his throat like a screw. His legs
gave out again—he was surprised they’d lasted as long as they had—and he dropped to his knees.
The tail yanked on the lever, and the Express screamed away from the Holding Pen platform and into the night.
About the author
Sean Farley is an author living in Detroit, Michigan. “Pandemonium” is his debut novel. He attended Wayne State University where he received his master’s degree in English. He has also written for The Detroit News.