by Brandon Mayer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
An author with local roots has released a new horror novel that’s sure to keep readers turning the pages. Andrew McManaman, who is the son of North Grenville Deputy Mayor, Jim McManaman, released the book, called “Dollhouse”, on Amazon on November 26.
The Times spoke with Andrew about this milestone moment in his career as an author. He revealed that the “Dollhouse” project was a long process that comprised a lot of hard work. Andrew has been interested in creative writing for most of his life, and has authored many short stories and screenplays, and had attempted writing novels in the past. Talking about his history as a novelist, Andrew joked, “I wrote one novel previously, but it’s so bad that it’s not going to be ever seen or read by anybody!”
The inspiration for trying again came during a period when Andrew was laid off from his seasonal job in Whistler, British Colombia. “In that two month period, I just kind of wrote 500 to 1000 words a day, wrote this real rough draft of a novel, and I finished it from one of the screenplays that I had,” Andrew told the Times. The overall process was a journey that lasted about four years, and Andrew was eager to give credit to friends who helped him with many aspects of the process.
“Dollhouse” focuses on a main character named Darla, a single mother who wakes up in a true house of horrors, surrounded by strangers and mystery, with no escape. The group of unexpected acquaintances are soon faced with the realization that the house in which they are locked in is perhaps the safest place in their new world, as a deadly creature lurks outside, and sacrifice is inevitable. The novel features elements of both mystery and terror.
One of the unique aspects of the novel is its cover, which is designed to look like a 1980s-era movie poster, complete with the book’s contributors at the bottom stylized to look like movie credits. Finding a graphic designer to complete the artwork as Andrew envisioned was no small task. After a long struggle to find someone, he finally reached out to a graphic design page on Reddit, and had over 50 responses in just a few hours. He sifted through each individual response before finding a woman whose work fit his vision perfectly.
While the book was only released on Amazon last week, tentative plans already exist for a book signing closer to Christmas at the Kemptville library. The website of Andrew’s own independent publishing company, Popcorn Paperbacks, features a more in-depth description of “Dollhouse,” as well as Andrew’s biography. The website can be accessed at www.popcornpaperbacks.com. Those interested in purchasing a copy of the book can do so directly on Amazon, with both paperback and Kindle e-book editions available, by visiting www.amazon.ca/Dollhouse-Andrew-McManaman-ebook/dp/B09KNS9P2G.