To one degree or another, all of my novels involve the supernatural. Not explicitly for the most part – they’re not populated by material ghoulies, but rather visited by them peripherally, questionably – but the possibility of the impossible runs through the work, with the intention of dizzying the characters’ relationship to reality as well as the readers’ (if all goes well). But that’s just to describe what’s happening on the page. What’s considerably more odd is when the weirdness of the books graduate to the weirdness of readers’ real lives.
It hasn’t happened a lot. But it has happened. A reader will write or approach me after I’ve given a reading or talk. Their eyes are often downcast with embarrassment or, once or twice, widened with real fear. They will then tell me how something from one of my books has been sighted in their own experience, as though a spirit from the novel has transferred to haunt them.
I don’t want to suggest that this has led to any kind of Amityville Horror-style disruptions or anything. Nothing actually bad has been triggered. Usually, it’s just someone thinking they’ve seen a character from The Killing Circle on a Toronto street, or having a vivid dream about The Boy from The Guardians. Chilling, perhaps, but only mildly freaky from a How-Do-You-Explain-That? point of view.
The publication of the new novel, The Demonologist, is still several months off, but there has now been three distinct episodes of higher-grade weirdness reported to me by early readers of the manuscript. For the first time ever, one of them is me.
I’m actually compiling a little file of these things, as I find it interesting, even if I don’t take it too seriously. Still, if any more of this kind of stuff goes on I might have to write something about it. For now, I’ve just been nudged a half-inch closer to wondering about the magical aspects of giving life to stories, where “magical” is intended in the “dark arts” sense and not the Walt Disney, “feel like a carefree kid again” sense.