Saturday, July 16, 2011

Bloom's Desk by Jeffrey Littorno

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Following several years of teaching abroad, Glen Davis and his wife Christine have settled into a comfortable life in Northern California. Glen enjoys his teaching position at a local high school. Christine is studying at community college. Then the voices start... A long-dead serial killer named Robert Bloom has chosen Glen as the one to continue his deadly hobby.
About  Jeffrey Littorno
In addition to having taught English in Northern California and abroad, Jeffrey Littorno has always been attracted to the horror genre in both books and movies. “Even from a young age, I can remember gathering around the television every Friday night for Creature Features with Bob Wilkins. I think I still have an autographed picture of him around here somewhere.” Littorno’s enthusiasm for horror has resulted in a recently published novel, Bloom’s Desk. The novel upon which he is currently working is tentatively entitled Soul Hostage and also includes elements of horror.


The thought of going back to the classroom was absent from his mind until a voice from nowhere placed it there with a whisper. “Go open your desk.” The idea made no sense to him, and Glen brushed it aside as just one of those ridiculous thoughts that pop into your head from time to time. Those thoughts like telling your boss what you really think of him or throwing a rock through the church’s huge stain-glassed window were impulses that might very well come to anyone. However, sane people paid no attention to them. Glen certainly counted himself among the sane and paid no attention to this thought. That is, until it was repeated.

The male voice had a slight European accent, “Go open your desk.”

Without giving it a conscious thought, Glen began walking slowly back across the parking lot toward the school. Just before he reached the curb of the sidewalk separating the rough pavement of the parking lot from the smooth sidewalk and lawn of the campus, Glen asked himself just what exactly he was doing. That was certainly a good question. Why was he heading back to his classroom in the middle of the night to look inside of a desk?

Before he could find an answer to that question, Glen found himself surrounded by bright light.

Interview with
Jeffrey Littorno

What will readers like about your book?

Bloom’s Desk is at its heart an old-fashioned ghost story. Who doesn’t love a ghost story? There is a good deal of humor in the book, and much of it comes at inappropriate times. I hope this keeps the reader engaged in the story and trying to figure out what is going to happen. The best compliment I got regarding the book came from my father who read the manuscript before it was published. Halfway through it, he told me, “I have no idea where the story is going, but I want to find out.”

Why did you self-publish?

I decided to self-publish out of impatience. I remember the months of waiting that I experienced when trying to get some short stories published many years ago. I didn’t want to go through that again. Plus, the more I read about self-publishing, the more it appeared to be a great way to publish without giving up all the control over the finished product.

What is your writing process?

My writing process consists of writing as much as I can when I can. Of course, the “when I can” part doesn’t always come when I want it. I have had days when I spent hours working on one page or maybe just staring at a blank page. Then late at night when I want to go to bed, the ideas start coming fast and furious not allowing me to go to bed. I wish I could say that my writing process involved coming up with carefully considered outlines or storyboards. But that would be a lie. Maybe more comfortable, but still a lie. With Bloom’s Desk, as strange as it sounds, I really feel like the writing took me in the direction it wanted to go. The story idea that I had when I started the book turned out to be very different from the finished product. I have to admit that I wasn’t sure exactly how the book was going to end until about three days before it was finished.

How long does it take you to write your first draft?

Well, from start to finish, the first draft probably took a little over a year. But there were many weeks during that time when the story sat inside my computer, and I wasn’t sure that I would or even wanted to finish it. In some ways, I have the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to thank for getting it finished. And no, I wasn’t locked up. I was working as a teacher at a prison in Southern California. Whenever there was any problem in the buildings, teachers were not allowed to visit inmates or conduct classes. This left lots of free time, which I filled by working on the book. So it could be said that Bloom’s Desk was written during lockdowns.

What inspired you to write this particular story?

I have always been a big fan of Stephen King and Peter Straub, so I never really considered writing in any other genre. As I mentioned earlier, I had a very different idea of the story in the beginning stages. However, as far as inspiration, I have to admit that a great deal of the story is taken from my own life. Like Glen, I spent time teaching abroad. The two of us also share the fact that we married Korean women. We both taught high school in Northern California. And we both hear the voice of a dead serial killer telling us to do terrible things. No, forget that last part, but the other details are from my life. The story’s wilder twists and turns simply came from somewhere inside my head. That fact certainly doesn’t make my wife feel comfortable. To tell the truth, she seems to be looking at me quite differently since reading this book.


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