Sunday, May 15, 2011

If You Go Into The Woods by David Gaughran

If You Go Into The WoodsKindle Price: 
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Two creepy tales in a world that’s not quite right. 

If You Go Into The Woods  

Eight-year old Jiri Beranek is drawn to a nearby forest, captivated by birds hidden high in the trees. Each time he enters, his desire to see the mysterious creatures is checked by his fear of the dark. When he finally forces himself to go farther, he finds a new reason to be afraid. 

Plus bonus story:            The Reset Button 

Linus Eriksson, a divorced bachelor living alone in his small one-bedroom apartment, is a man with a memory problem: instead of not being able to remember anyone, nobody can remember him. These two short stories have a combined length of 4,000 words, or around 16 book pages.

David Gaughran is a 33-year old Irish writer, living in Sweden, who spends most of his time travelling the world, collecting stories, and writing about them. He blogs about writing, the book business, and how to get your own work into (digital) print on his website

If You Go Into The Woods was first published by The Delinquent (UK) then selected by Short Story America for inclusion in their anthology of their best stories of 2010. The Reset Button is a new story, exclusively available in this e-book.

What will readers like about your book?
If readers enjoy quirky offbeat tales like The Twilight Zone or some of the books of Haruki Murakami, they might enjoy these two creepy, strange stories.

Why did you self publish?
I have been thinking of self-publishing for a while. I wanted to test the digital waters with some short stories, and if I enjoyed it, and people enjoyed my stories, I would publish my novel that way. 

I also did it to get an education, I think all writers should try and learn this stuff, if they have the time. But the main reason was to find more readers. I had some stories published in magazines but I wanted to expand my readership.

What is your writing process?
I usually start with a fragment of an idea, set-up, concept, or character. The title usually comes next, and the whole story usually unfolds in front of me. It changes a lot as I write it, and I can often surprise myself with the ending of a sentence. It’s fun.

How long does it take you to write your first draft?
For short stories this long, a first draft can be done in a few hours. But it’s possible to get stuck. Sometimes forever.

What inspired you to write this particular story?
The Reset Button was triggered by moving to Stockholm, Sweden and trying to survive the brutal winter in a country where I didn’t speak the language and was struggling to make friends. 

If You Go Into The Woods was something I actually wanted to do in real-life, but it was too expensive so I had to make it up instead. I can’t say anymore without giving away the plot, but you will understand what I mean if you read the story. I still might do it. One day.


Jiři Beranek was the kind of boy who was always in trouble; in fact, the people of Časlav expected him to be in trouble. That’s what happens to a boy without a father, the old men would say, watching Jiři annoy a dog with a stick, or kick a broken bottle down the street, or climb a neighbor’s tree to steal some cherries. 

Most eight-year-old boys were forgiven such behavior, but because Jiři’s mother was raising him on her own every action of their small family was weighed, magnified, and judged.

Jiři wasn’t a bad child. 

He was precocious and mischievous, with a worrying sadistic streak towards animals and broken bottles, but he also had a tender side that only his mother saw. He didn’t have any real friends, not since Miroslav’s father moved his family to Kolín. 

It was only twenty kilometers away, but, to an eight-year-old, Miroslav might as well have moved to the Moon. So Jiři spent most of his time outside of school on his own, chasing crickets, throwing stones at owls, burning ants with a magnifying glass, and wondering why his mother cried herself to sleep every night.

In the summers, it got worse. Jiři only asked his mother about it once, but this proved to be a mistake. She closed her eyes for a long time and Jiři was sure she was going to cry. Opening her eyes again, she put her teacup down. Then, she beckoned him and hugged him so tight he couldn’t breathe. 
It scared him. That night the crying was louder than ever. He never asked her about it again.

During the long summer days, when there was no school to worry about, Jiři spent as much time out of the house as possible, busying himself with exploring construction sites, spying on the man with a limp who talked to himself, and looking for buried treasure in the forest two blocks from his house.

The forest stretched all the way around one side of the lake that divided Časlav, and was a wonderland for a growing boy. It had insects and weird plants, a reservoir and a running track, a football stadium on the edge, and the tallest trees Jiři had ever seen. The only bad thing about the forest was that the trees were too big to climb—they had wide trunks and no reachable branches, and it was hard to get any grip on the smooth, oily bark.

There were only a couple of different trails through the forest and Jiři didn’t like to wander too far from them. The foliage from the tall trees knitted together into a canopy, preventing all but the most persistent beams of light from passing through. Even on a bright summer’s day it was dark, and Jiři didn’t like the funny feeling it gave him in his stomach. It made him scared.

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