Author Til Turner’s new novel was born from the question “What if?” »
What if there was a civilization hidden beneath the fictional small town of Nelson Gap, Virginia?
What if an entity trying to control this civilization causes supernatural activity in the city and among its inhabitants?
“That’s mostly how writing works,” Turner said. “I wonder what would happen.”
When he thinks of a story, he says he usually doesn’t know where the inspiration will come from.
“You just said ‘What if? “”, He said. He also tries to keep this question in mind when writing, so as not to deviate too much from his trajectory.
“What if this kid from Nelson Gap had a father who disappeared and everyone kind of abandoned him?” Turner asked.
Turner’s book, “The Hidden World,” is a young adult paranormal adventure novel that follows teenager Kevin Main and his two best friends as they search for Kevin’s missing father, the police chief, who disappeared six months earlier. With reports from townspeople of strange things happening at the local abandoned Elizabeth Mine, the high school team begins there, learning that much more is going on under the surface of their hometown than they realize. would never have thought.
Writing from the renovated attic of his Strasbourg home, he said he enjoyed the 270-degree view of his small town, which inspired elements of the story.
He also drew inspiration from Nelson County off Interstate 64, where he recalls finding the story’s supernatural vibe.
“The Hidden World” is a quick read that Turner said most people can knock off in a day or a weekend.
“It’s kind of underground escape literature,” he said.
But while it might be a quick read, Turner brings a broad history of writing and other related skills to the book after studio-driving it at Vermont College of Fine Arts in 2017 while going for her master’s degree in fine arts with a concentration in writing for children. and young adults.
He remembers a professor saying that although he usually doesn’t like prologues, he thought this one worked.
“It’s like the editing that some movies use,” Turner said. “It keeps him from being too wordy in the first chapter.”
The book begins with a series of short newspaper articles about strange sights and sounds near the Elizabeth mine off Va. 37 in the early and mid 1900s.
Then in 2010, a body was found near the mine accompanied by a mysterious note. In 2014, the Paranormal Times website entered the conversation, listing various Twitter posts from townspeople describing the disturbances with hashtags like #lightsfreakmeout, #theyrehere, and #nothingnewinourtown.
Turner, a full-time English teacher, teaches writing and children’s literature at Northern Virginia Community College.
Previously an ESL teacher, he also holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Stage Design and a Masters in English with a concentration in Linguistics.
Turner was a set designer at the Wayside Theater in Middletown from 2005 to 2010 and has also ghostwritten and published prose poetry.
A writer for 20 years, he said he included much of his own life in his story, like the model train in his attic that inspired the model train exhibit in his protagonist Kevin’s basement.
Turner also uses his experience with stage directions to map out scenes and strike a balance between too much action and not enough.
His influences are Stephen King, Christopher Pike (the “Spooksville” series) and Roderick Gordon (the “Tunnels” series). The novel includes elements “of the paranormal, the theater and the Civil War”, he said.
“The Hidden World”, by Til Turner, is published by Page Publishing and available at amazon.comBooks-a-Million, Apple Books, Google Play, Barnes & Noble and locally at the Royal Oak Bookstore at 207 S. Royal Ave., Front Royal, and the Winchester Book Gallery at 7 N. Loudoun St., Winchester.
The Shenandoah County Library System also carries the book.
Turner has a book event scheduled at the Winchester Book Gallery from noon to 2 p.m. on October 22.