Character Interview by author 
                                      David Niall Wilson ~

It is my distinct privilege today to interview one of my personal idols, a man formative to my writing.  I have been asked to present certain questions, and I have – to the best of my ability – done so.  Without further ado, I present poet, author, and adventurer Edgar Allan Poe. Mr. Poe could you tell me a little bit about what it is that you do?  What do you think your particular strengths, or weaknesses might be?

The short answer is that I am a storyteller.  I have been called an author, and a poet, a tragic romantic, and a wordy melodramatic hack, but in the end, it all comes down to the stories, doesn't it?  They come to me – often in dreams – and once they have lodged firmly in my mind, there is nothing I can do to rid myself of them but to put quill to paper and give them a proper voice. 

As for strengths and weaknesses, I have a tendency toward melancholy.  I love far too deeply and though I have traveled and searched, trying my hand at a number of solutions, I have never been able to shake off the cloud of depression that seems to find me its proper home. This translates to my writing in the form of very detailed descriptions in which I try to capture every sensation in every scene.  I'm told this can be tedious, but for me it is a therapeutic process.  The more I managed to get onto the page, the less remains with me.

Those that I love? They die.  If I have strength, it is in daring to go on, writing, and living.  I believe if it were not for my constant companion, Grimm, who readers will meet in your novel, I'd want to be gone from this plane of existence altogether.  Pardon me for such gravity, but I have not lived an easy life.

What’s your family like and how does your upbringing affect you now?

That is a question I can barely answer.  I have no family to speak of.  My father abandoned us when I was a very young boy, and my mother, who was an actress – a fine one I might add – died not long after that of tuberculosis.  I was raised by a family named Allan, from whom I got my middle name.  I lived and grew among them, but I never really felt a part of that family.  They were fond of reminding me that I was only there due to their own charity, and I found more companionship among the slaves – it was a Virginia Tobacco Plantation – than I did among the members of my adopted family.  They were a stodgy bunch, but the slaves…the workers…they knew stories, and feared ghosts.  They gave me such vivid dreams…

What is your earliest childhood memory?

I suppose that the first vivid memory was moving to Richmond as a child of two.  I have always loved that city,  and I spent a great deal of my life there.  I lost my family to her, and my naiveté – but I fell in love the first time, and the second, in her embrace.  Even as a youth, tragedy dogged my footsteps.  One of those girls – a girl I wrote some of my first poetry for – was named Helen.  Not long after I presented her with my admittedly amateurish and over-exuberant verse – very cleverly titled To Helen – she died.  Richmond holds some of the brightest and blackest of my dreams in her dark heart.

If you could choose one, tangible object as a symbol – something that defines your essence, what would it be?

At one time, I would have said a quill.  It's the tool that has given me the most solace and the weapon with which I have waged war against the world and all its shadows.  After the strange happenings at Lake Drummond, however, those captured in the book we are here to discuss, I believe I will have to say a Raven.  And not just any raven – for Grimm is a singularly remarkable bird.  He and I are, in some ways, interchangeable.

Your heroine in this tale is an artist of a very different sort. How did you and Lenore meet? What was your first impression of her?

I am increasingly uncomfortable with the notion that I am the hero of this story.  Yes, I prevented great evil – helped some and failed to help others.  In the end, the two things that mattered most to me, I failed to accomplish.  That said,  I met Lenore for the first time outside our rooms at The Lake Drummond Hotel.  I only glanced down the porch at her – and nodded – but there was something in that glance, some spark or glimmer of contact that felt deeper.  Our actual face-to-face meeting?  For that you must read the story, for I believe it is the nature of stories that their magic begins to fail when you pick at the words and scenes instead of beginning…at the beginning.  She is beautiful, though – Lenore.  Very, very beautiful.

What quality of Lenore's drew you to her?  What is it that you love?

She had a great talent, and yet, she did not take advantage of it.  Her life has been dedicated to helping others, often to her own detriment.  As close as we had become in a very short time, when it came to a question of using her gift, and helping someone, or possibly hurting me, though I know it tore at her heart, she made the right choice.  As is often the case that choice turned out for the best – and that is her magic.  She brings out the best in those that are near her.

To make a point – when I met Lenore, and when these events transpired, I was married.  My wife, Victoria, was on her deathbed.  One of my reasons to enter the swamp was to seek a possible cure.  Despite that, you are correct in saying – I loved and love Lenore.  How could I not?

You have lived a very long time, and seen more than most men…what is it that you want out of life?

I have what I want in life, beyond those things already denied me. Every woman I have ever loved is gone.  What remains, are my words.  All I could ask of life is to tell stories with true magic in them, and to hope they touch the minds and hearts of those who read them.  I assume that you feel something of this, or why would you write?

Aside from your Lenore, tell me about your best friend.

I've mentioned Grimm.  Others have told me that he is my familiar, but I know him only as my companion.  You might guess that I have gotten my share of strange looks in his company, but for all that I could not have asked for a better friend. There is… a bond.  He aids me in my dreams, and somehow brings the stories.  Men could learn a lot from the crows, and the ravens, if they would only listen.

I see that Lenore has not joined us today?

As I've said, all of the women I have loved are gone.  She will never really be lost, though, as long as the story is told.  As long as there is hope.  I have heard through certain channels that the story may not yet be all told, but that is for another time.  Suffice it to say – if you want to know the heroine of this story, you must find her in the pages of the book, and the words of my poem.  Then you will understand why she cannot join me here…at least not this time…

I'm not going to ask you what's in your CD player.  Music, though, is there a song, a memory?

My friend, and colleague, Thomas Moore, wrote a poem that became a song.  I sang it once, long ago, near the shore of Lake Drummond.  It was titled, "The Lady of the Dismal Swamp."  I will leave you with some of his words…

And her firefly lamp I soon shall see,
And her paddle I soon shall hear;
Long and moving our life shall be
And I'll hide the maid in a cypress tree,
When the footstep of death is near."

About David Niall Wilson~

David Niall Wilson has been writing and publishing horror, dark fantasy, and science

fiction since the mid-eighties. An ordained minister, once President of the Horror Writer’s Association and multiple recipient of the Bram Stoker Award, his novels include Maelstrom, The Mote in Andrea’s Eye, Deep Blue, the Grails Covenant Trilogy, Star Trek Voyager: Chrysalis, Except You Go Through Shadow, This is My Blood, Ancient Eyes, On the Third Day, The Orffyreus Wheel, and Vintage Soul – Book One of the DeChance Chronicles. The Stargate Atlantis novel “Brimstone,” written with Patricia Lee Macomber is his most recent. He has over 150 short stories published in anthologies, magazines, and five collections, the most recent of which were “Defining Moments,” published in 2007 by WFC Award winning Sarob Press, and the currently available “Ennui & Other States of Madness,” from Dark Regions Press. His work has appeared in and is due out in various anthologies and magazines. David lives and loves with Patricia Lee Macomber in the historic William R. White House in Hertford, NC with their children, Billy, Zach, Zane, and Katie, and occasionally their genius college daughter Stephanie.

About Nevermore – A Novel of Love, Loss & Edgar Allan Poe

On the banks of Lake Drummond, on the edge of The Great Dismal Swamp, there is a tree in

the shape of a woman.

One dark, moonlit night, two artists met at The Lake Drummond Hotel, built directly on the borderline of North Carolina and Virginia. One was a young woman with the ability to see spirits trapped in trees and stone, anchored to the earth beyond their years. Her gift was to draw them, and then to set them free. The other was a dark man, haunted by dreams and visions that brought him stories of sadness and pain, and trapped in a life between the powers he sensed all around him, and a mundane existence attended by failure. They were Eleanore MacReady, Lenore, to her friends, and a young poet named Edgar Allan Poe, who traveled with a crow that was his secret, and almost constant companion, a bird named Grimm for the talented brothers of fairy-tale fame.

Their meeting drew them together in vision, and legend, and pitted their strange powers and quick minds against the depths of the Dismal Swamp itself, ancient legends, and time.

Once, upon a shoreline dreary, there was a tree. This is her story.


Chapter One

The room was low-ceilinged and deep. Smoke wafted from table to table, cigars, pipes, and the pungent aroma of scented candles. Laughter floated out from the bar, separated by a low half-wall from a small dining area, where the bartender regaled the crowd with a particularly bawdy story. In the corners, more private conversations took place, and at the rear, facing the Intercoastal Waterway beyond, the door stood open to the night, letting the slightly cooler air of evening in and the sound and smoke free.

The smoke prevented the illumination from a series of gaslights and lanterns from cutting the gloom properly. Smiles gleamed from shadows and the glint of silver and gunmetal winked like stars. It was a rough crowd, into their drinks and stories, plans and schemes.

Along the back wall, facing a window that looked out over the waterway and the Great Dismal Swamp beyond, a lone figure sat with her back to the room. Her hair was long and light brown, braided back and falling over her shoulder to the center of her back. She was tall and slender with smooth, tanned skin. She was dressed for travel, in a long, floor length dress that covered her legs, while allowing ease of motion. The crowd swirled around her, but none paid her any attention.

She paid no attention to anything but the window. Her gaze was fixed on the point where an intricate pattern of branches and leaves crossed the face of the moon.

There was a sheaf of paper on the table, and she held a bit of chalk loosely between the thumb and index finger of her right hand. She formed the trees, the long strong lines of the trees, the fine mesh of branches and mist. Her fingers moved quickly, etching outlines and shading onto her sketch with practiced ease.

A serving girl wandered over to glance down at the work in progress. She stared at the paper intently, and then glanced up at the window, and the night beyond. She reached down and plucked the empty wine glass from the table.
“What are they?” she asked.

The woman glanced up. Her expression was startled, as if she’d been drawn back from some other place, or out of a trance. She followed the serving girl’s gaze to the paper.

Among the branches, formed of limbs and leaves, mist and reflected light, faces gazed out, some at the tavern, some at the swamp, others down along the waterway. They mixed so subtly with the trees themselves that if you were not looking carefully, they seemed to disappear.

“I don’t know,” the woman said. “Not yet. Spirits, I suppose. Trapped. Tangled.”

“You are a crazy woman,” the girl said. There was no conviction in her words. She continued to stare at the sketch. Then, very suddenly, she stepped back. She stumbled, and nearly dropped her tray.

The woman glanced up at her sharply.


“That…face.” The girl stepped back to the table very slowly, and pointed to the center of the snarl of branches. The tip of her finger brushed along the lines of a square-jawed face. The eyes were dark and the expression was a scowl close to rage.
“I’ve seen him before,” she said. “Last year. He…he was shot.”

“Can you tell me?”

The girl shook her head. “Not now. I have to work. If I stand here longer there will be trouble. Later? I must serve until the tavern closes, a few hours…”

The artist held out her hand.

“My Name is Eleanor, Eleanor MacReady, but friends call me Lenore. I’ll be here, finishing this drawing, until you close. I know that it will be late, but I am something of a night person. Can we talk then? Maybe in my room?”

The girl nodded. She glanced down at the drawing again and stepped back. Then she stumbled off into the crowded tavern and disappeared. Lenore stared after her for a long moment, brow furrowed, then turned back to the window. The moon had shifted, and the image she’d been drawing was lost. It didn’t matter. The faces were locked in her mind, and she turned her attention to her wine glass, and to the paper. The basic design was complete, but there was a lot of shading and detail work remaining. She had to get the faces just right – exactly as she remembered them. Then the real work would begin.

Even as she worked, her mind drifted out toward the swamp, and toward her true destination. She didn’t know the exact location of the tree, but she knew it was there, and she knew that she would find it. She didn’t always see things in her dreams, but when she did, the visions were always true.

A breeze blew in through the open window, and she shivered.

The face she was working on was that of an older man. He had a sharp, beak of a nose and deep-set shadowed eyes. The expression on his face might have been surprise, or dismay. His hair was formed of strands of gray cloud blended with small twigs and wisps of fog as she carefully entered the details.

There were others. She’d counted five in all, just in that one glimpse of the swamp. She thought she could probably sit right here, at this window, and work for years without capturing them all. How many lives lay buried in the peat moss and murky water? How many had died, or been killed beside the long stretch of the Intercoastal Waterway? She tilted her head and listened. The breeze seemed to carry voices from far away, the sound of firing guns, the screams of the lost and dying.

She worked a woman’s features into a knotted joint in one of the tree’s branches. The face was proud. Her lip curled down slightly at the edge, not so much in a frown, as in determination. Purpose. From the strong cheekbones and distinctive lines of the woman’s nose, Lenore sensed she’d been an Indian. How had she come here, soul trapped fluttering up through the sticky fingers of the ancient trees?

Around her, the sounds of revelry, arguments of drunken, belligerent men, clink of glasses, full and empty, and the sound of a lone guitar in a far corner surrounded her. She felt cut off – isolated in some odd way from everyone, and everything but the paper beneath her fingers. Now and then she paused, reached out for her glass, and sipped her wine.

No one troubled her and that in and of itself, was odd. A woman – an attractive woman – alone in a place like the Halfway House was an oddity. She should have been a target. She was not. A few men glanced her way, but something about her – the way she bent over her work, the intensity of her focus – kept them away. She worked steadily, and one by one, the others drifted out the doors, some to rooms, others to wander about with bottles and thoughts of their own. Eventually, there were only a few small groups, talking quietly, the bartender, and the girl.

There was nothing more she could do. She had drawn an eerily accurate recreation of the trees over the waterway, and of the five faces she’d found trapped in their branches. She sensed things about them but knew little. She did not need to know. She knew that she had to set them free, to allow them to move on to the next level. Something had bound them – some power, or some part of themselves they were unwilling to release. They did not belong, and though she knew that most of the world either ignored, or did not sense these things at all – she did. All those trapped, helpless beings weighed on her spirit like stones. She was fine until she saw them, but once that happened, she was bound to set them free. It was her gift – her curse? Sometimes the two were too closely aligned to be differentiated.

She rose, drained the last of the wine in her cup, and gathered her pencils. She tucked the drawing into the pocket of a leather portfolio, careful not to smudge it. Soon, it would not matter, but until she’d had a chance to finish her work, it was crucial that nothing be disturbed.

The girl, who had been busy wiping the spilled remnants of ale, wine, and the night from the various tables and the surface of the bar, wandered slowly over.

“I’m in the corner room,” Lenore said, smiling. “The one farthest in on the Carolina side.”

The girl nodded. She glanced over at the bartender, then turned back.

“I will come as soon as I can.” She glanced down at the portfolio. “You have finished?”

Lenore nodded, but only slightly. “I have finished the basic drawing, yes.”

“He was a bad man,” the girl said. “A very bad man. I have never seen him there – in the trees – before tonight. I don’t like that he watches.”

“After tonight, he will not,” Lenore said, reaching to lay her hand on the girl’s shoulder. “But I’d love to know who he is – who he was. I seldom know the faces I’ve drawn. You saw him – in my drawing, and in the trees. Most see nothing but branches.”

“I will come soon,” the girl said, turning and hurrying back toward the bar.

Lenore watched her go, frowned slightly, and then turned. She had to exit through the front door and follow a long porch along the side of the building where it turned from the saloon in the center to a line of rooms on the Carolina side. There were similar rooms on the Virginia side, but her business was in the swamp, and the corner room gave her a better view of what lay beyond.

As she made her way to her room, she heard the steady drum of hooves. She stopped, and turned. A carriage had come into view, winding in from the main road that stretched between the states. It was dark, pulled by a pair of even darker horses. She stood still and watched as it came to a halt. Something moved far above, and she glanced up in time to see a dark shape flash across the pale face of the moon. A bird? At night?

She glanced back to the carriage to see it pulling away into the night. A single figure stood, his bag in one hand. He glanced her way, nodded, and then turned toward the main door of the saloon. He was thin, with dark hair and eyes. It was hard to make his features out in the darkness, but somehow she saw into those eyes. They were filled with an odd, melancholy sadness. As he passed inside, it seemed as if his shadow remained, just for a moment, outlined in silvery light. Then it was gone.

Lenore shook her head, turned, and hurried to the door to her room. She fumbled the key from her jacket pocket, jammed it into the lock, and hurried inside. She had no idea why the sight of the man had unnerved her, but it had. And the bird. If she’d woken from a dream, she’d have believed she was meant to set him free…but she was very, very awake, and though her fingers itched to draw – to put his image on paper and tuck it away somewhere safe, she knew she could not. Not now – not yet. There was not much time before dawn, and she still had work to finish – and a story to hear. The stranger, if she ever returned to him, would have to wait.

She lit the oil lamp on the single table in her small room, opened the portfolio, and laid the drawing on the flat surface. There was a small stand nearby, and another bottle of wine rested there. She had two glasses, but had not known at the time why she’d asked for them. Another vision? She poured one for herself, and replaced the cork.

Moments later, there was a soft rap on the door. When she opened it, the girl stood outside, shifting nervously from one foot to the other and looking up and down the long porch as if fearing to be seen.

“Come in,” Lenore said.

The girl did so, and Lenore closed the door behind them.

“What shall I call you?” she asked, trying to set the girl at ease. Something had her spooked and it would simply not do to have the girl bolt without spilling her story.

“Anita,” the girl said shyly, glancing at Lenore. “I am Anita.”

“I’m glad to meet you,” Lenore said, “and very curious to hear what you have to say about the man you saw in the trees. I see them all the time, you know. In trees, bushes, sometimes in the water or a stone. It’s not very often that I meet another who is aware of them – even less often that I have a chance to hear their stories.”

“It is not a good story,” Anita said. “He was a very bad man.”

Lenore smiled again. “He’s not a man any longer, dear, so there is nothing to fear in the telling. Would you like a glass of wine?”

The girl
nodded. Lenore poured a second glass from her bottle and handed it over.

“Sit down,” she said. “I still have work to do, and I can work as you talk. It will relax me.”

“I will tell you,” Anita said, perching lightly on the corner of the bed, “but it will not relax you.”

“Then it will keep me awake,” Lenore said, seating herself at her desk. “You see, I don’t just see those who are trapped, I have to undo whatever it is that has them trapped. I won’t be finished until I’ve freed them all.”

The girl glanced sharply over, nearly spilling her drink.

“Maybe…maybe it is best if this one stays.”

Lenore pulled out her pencils, and a gum eraser.

“We’ll leave him for now,” she said. “There are four others, and I can only work on one at a time. Tell me your story.”
Anita took a sip of her wine, and nodded. “His name is Abraham Thigpen. He died about a year ago but I remember it like today…”

Lenore listened, and worked, rearranging branches, shifting the wood slightly, picking the strong woman’s face to release from the pattern first. Anita’s voice droned in the background – and she faded into the story, letting it draw her back across the years as she carefully disassembled her drawing, working the faces free.



  1. Welcome, David Niall Wilson and Edgar Allan Poe! So glad to have you on my site this morning!

  2. Thank you for having us... It's a pleasure to be here.

  3. I really love the premise of your story, and you pretty much had me at Edgar Allan Poe:) Best of luck.

    1. Isn't it fun to see something so original! Plus you're right, it appeals to all of us book nerds! Thanks for stopping in, TF!

    2. I have seen a lot about Edgar...I wanted a story that told Lenore's story too, and that (maybe) explained some of his sadness.

  4. Fascinating. I used to read Poe so often, and still quote parts of The Raven way too often. Best of luck with Nevermore. And MJ--enjoyed this totally different post! Leslie P Garcia, because WP doesn't want to recognize me again!

    1. I know. That's the fun thing about hosting authors. I've had historical romance, paranormal romance, fantasy, romantic suspense--I haven't had a children's author before. I'd like that. Thanks for coming by, Leslie!

    2. I hope I intrigued a few of you enough to tempt you to read...I love readers (lol)

  5. What a fun interview! Poe is so fascinating. I'm actually reading a book right now (Porch Lights) that quotes passages from his short-story The Gold-Bug.

    Great post!

    1. The mark of a good author, I guess. He insinuates himself into other writing, TV, and movies. Thanks for coming by and commenting, Erin!

    2. Poe has reached a lot of different people over the years. He's been featured in some TV shows recently, and in movies...

  6. Wow, very interesting character interview. Sad, but interesting. And I absolutely love the cover. Good luck with your book David!

    1. The cover is well-suited to the material, plus David has a great voice! Really captured Poe! Thanks for taking the time to read and comment, Eliza!

    2. Thanks Eliza...I hope you'll all get it and enjoy it.

  7. Thank you all. I hope you'll get a copy and read it ... and I hope I did Edgar justice. There are so many tragedies in his life - it's no wonder he was melancholy, but I like to think I gave him back a little hope and magic.


    1. Now I have to read it if you gave Poe hope! He did lead such a sad life! I've enjoyed having you both as my guest!

    2. Actually, even though the ending is ... well ... I'm not saying ... it's likely that Nevermore is not the last time my writing will visit Mr. Poe.

  8. I love the cover, perfer to Edgar Allen Poe. Thanks for sharing the excerpt

    1. I agree! It puts you in the mood right away. Thanks for popping in, Shannon!

  9. The cover was created by artist Lisa Snelling - she actually sculpted the tree - it's called the Tree of Lasting Sorrow - then painted a background and photographed against it. It was a lot of fun to watch the process...I talk about it in one of my upcoming guest posts (with pictures).

    1. Sounds fascinating! I'll have to keep my eyes open for that!


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