I was 22 years old and had just become a father when the idea to write a “Village of the Damned” type story popped into my head. From the start I knew that it had to be more than just a group of freaky, possessed kids running around Ogunquit, Maine, so I figured why not bring their parents into the mix as well?
I’m getting ahead of myself, so I’ll backtrack a bit. The six months that I spent writing The Dominance Flush are among the darkest in my personal history. We were very poor, living in a one bedroom apartment in Eliot, Maine. I worked nights as a telemarketer (selling male enhancement supplements no less), making minimum wage plus a $.50 shift differential. When I arrived home in the morning, ready for bed, my wife Dina would just be getting up. We would only see each other on my days off, and even then I would be up well past midnight, long after she had gone to bed. It was during these early morning hours that I wrote the bulk of the book, staying up most nights until 7AM.
After a month we ran out of propane and couldn’t afford to refill it. After two months our cable and internet were shut off. Our electrical payments were sporadic since we often had to choose between food and utilities with what money was left over after the baby’s needs were met. There were many times when our service was shut off and we had to figure out how to scrape money together for a fast payment. I can say that, beyond any doubt, my grandparents were the ones who kept us alive. They would give us frozen venison from one of my grandfather’s kills and make us tomato pies from their garden. I still love those pies.
As with all of my books, Dina would wake up every morning and read what I had written the previous day. She was with me every step of the way, giving me ideas and suggestions, which was particularly important for The Dominance Flush because I wrote it from the first-person perspective of a woman named Sheila Haventon. This character was named after my grandmother for obvious reasons. While Dina did not have much criticism for me along the way, what she did offer went a long way in shaping how the book turned out.
So what is The Dominance Flush about? As with the Bloodlines post, I’m not about to give away too much, but I’ll go over the basics. The book follows Sheila Haventon, head of the New England chapter of the Catholic Society of Modern Day Disciples (or CSMDD), a group that searches for evidence of God’s direct influence over events on Earth. Sheila’s work takes her to Ogunquit, Maine where a series of odd events are occurring, directly involving a select group of local residents and a mysterious patch of land in the Cape Neddick woods. This creates a battle of sorts between the Catholics and Baptists in the area over the meaning of the events, and Sheila finds herself caught in the middle.
The Dominance Flush is the greatest challenge I have faced with my work to date. It required an immense amount of research that I still think wasn’t enough now that I look back on it. Add to this the fact that I stepped into a woman’s shoes while writing it. Because of all this it remains my favorite book written thus far. Still, if I was to somehow lose the book, I would not be as devastated as I would be to lose The Bloodlines of Rollinsford, just for sentimental reasons. But I can say without any doubt that if I was ever to go back to a book that I have written with the intention to rework it for possible publication attempts, The Dominance Flush would be the one I’d start with. It has the potential to appeal to a much broader audience than my vampire books and really shows how much my writing matured since high school. Not that it really matters, but it was also the cleanest of all my books, with no swear words and very little violence. In fact, the only violent part in the book is when a character gets shot point-blank with a seven-barrel blunderbuss, but that doesn’t really count as violence, right?
…the character shot may or may not have been a child.
Sheila Haventon, tonight I drink to you!