Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the upcoming release of your novel, 666 Gable Way! For those who may be unfamiliar, how would you describe the book’s premise, and what inspired you to tell this story?
Dani Lamia: Ultimately, this is a story about accepting who we are and building on that base in life, as opposed to denying our gifts and wishing we were someone different. Our protagonist, Phoebe Pyncheon, has psychic powers that she refused to acknowledge. But only through accepting those powers can she overcome the evil within this House of Seven Gables. Here’s a summary of the concept:
Phoebe Pyncheon hasn’t had an easy life. Alone and out of work, she does her best to make ends meet while she finishes her debut novel. But when even the monthly rent becomes too much for the struggling young writer to afford, she is forced to move into her Great Aunt Hester’s boarding house. Known as the House of Seven Gables, this Victorian mansion is a maze of decrepit halls, musty old furniture, and faded glamour. At first, Phoebe feels at home in the strange, quirky old house. But soon she senses a presence lurking in the shadows, just out of sight. She hears it breathing in the darkness, feels its cold touch on her skin at night. Then the police knock on her door with news of a dead body found nearby. And Phoebe discovers the terrifying truth. . . . The House of Seven Gables is a temple to an ancient evil, a terrifying power unleashed by Hester and her coven. This dark entity haunts the stones of the old mansion, plotting its revenge upon the living. But a secret power hides within Phoebe as well. And releasing it may be her only chance to survive the terror that awaits her. . . .
I wanted to start with the basic premises of the classic Hawthorne book, The House of Seven Gables, but bring it forward to the present day and capture both a present-day horror vibe and that universal message of self-awareness and acceptance.
BD: What can you share with us about your creative process in bringing the story to life, and what have been some of your creative influences?
DL: I began by re-reading The House of Seven Gables and distilling that book down to the central human themes that resonated in the story. In other words, what is that classic book really about? Then, I built a new story up from that foundation. For those building block elements when creating the retelling, stylistic elements like Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot and movies such as Winchester House were inspirations.
BD: At Fanbase Press this year, our #StoriesMatter initiative endeavors to highlight the impact that stories can have on audiences of various mediums. How do you feel that Phoebe’s story will connect with and impact readers, and why do you feel that this story was important for you to bring to life?
DL: I think that many of us have gifts that we are denying, or at least, underutilizing. In Phoebe’s case, those gifts involved psychic powers. But in others the gifts might be some form of creativity, or compassionate giving, or helping to right some type of social injustice. And maybe we’re afraid to use those gifts, afraid of the consequences. Or we’re too busy to use those gifts. Or too focused on money and material things. But we can’t be the person we’re meant to be, we can’t overcome monsters, so to speak, until we tap into the inner power that those gifts provide to us. The fact that the protagonist is a woman is not insignificant. So many women are still taught to suppress their unique power in order to fit in a world that plays by different rules.
BD: What makes Level 4 Press the perfect home for 666 Gable Way?
DL: For me, Level 4 Press is the perfect publisher. They’re small enough to allow me to feel like I’m important to them and making a difference. But they’re large enough to be a full-service, traditional publisher with on staff editors, graphic artists, layout people, strong distribution, and so on. They publish in print, eBook, and audio book formats, which would be difficult to do on my own. And they’re actively involved in marketing my books, so I can focus on writing instead of focusing on selling books. I guess I’m saying that I get the services of a big five-star publisher but with the comradery and support of a start-up.
BD: Do you foresee expanding the novel into subsequent books or even into other entertainment mediums, if given the opportunity?
DL: Another thing I like about Level 4 Press is that their entire mission is centered around developing books, and films based on those books at the same time. So even before I finished 666 Gable Way, they were setting up meetings with companies in Hollywood to discuss film adaptations of the book. We’re hoping to be able to announce a film deal sometime next year.
BD: Are there any upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?
DL: Well, my first book, Scavenger Hunt, has been doing quite well, and in fact was a #1 Amazon Bestseller in its category for a few days. I’m excited about that. And this July (2021), we’ll be releasing Hotel California. Here’s the logline for that book:
When a struggling film director chooses a haunted Bed and Breakfast for the location of his next film, the darkness within him turns the otherwise peaceful resident spirits into a nightmarish reckoning for him and his crew.
That book was based on some real-world ghostly encounters that I encountered while actually running a bed and breakfast, so it was a lot of fun to write.
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about 666 Gable Way and your other work?
DL: My work is available on Amazon or the Level 4 Press website. Also, I’ve been active on Instagram, sharing my latest demented thoughts (@dani_lamia1).