Recently I asked fans on my Facebook page if they had any questions about “Small Things,” the sequel “Threads,” or writing in general. Here are the questions and my answers. If YOU have any questions, anything at all, please feel free to write! If I get enough questions, I’ll turn this into a regular feature on the blog.

Eugena Baker Austin: What inspired you to write Small Things? How did you come up with the idea???

Joe DeRouen, author of Small Things: One day, I was thinking about how everyone knew where they were when JFK was shot, man first walked on the moon, or the World Trade Center went down. And then I thought about how all those events were huge, but something less-famous that perhaps could affect only a town or even just a small group of people would nevertheless have just as powerful an impact on those experiencing it. Like a boy suffering the death of his best friend. Those events affected our nation and even the world at large in a huge way, but Shawn would always remember where he was and what he was doing when he heard that Tanner had drowned just as much as he (or we) would remember those events because, to him, it was just as huge.

Annie Sturdivant Coppock: What was the part or issue that you struggled with the most?

Joe DeRouen, author of Small Things: Probably the depravity of the fetch. I wanted it to come across as terrifying, but not just for the violence it could cause but for how it reveled in pain and torture. Some of those scenes were difficult to write, as was the flashback of Fred Ruskin’s wife and daughter being murdered.

Carolyn Jean Zaeske: Was there a time when you lost motivation to continue writing Small Things? Why and what gave the motivation back?

Joe DeRouen, author of Small Things: There were times that I got frustrated with a plot point or couldn’t figure out how to write myself out of a corner that I’d written myself into, but I never really stopped writing. I had a story to tell and needed to get the story out of my head and on to paper, so to speak. There was a point when I couldn’t decide how I was going to get to a very important part in the story (I’m intentionally being vague here as to not spoil anything) and that night I dreamed about the book and came up with the perfect solution. I guess even my subconsciousness wanted me to get the story out of my head! 🙂

Angela Warmack Herring: I did wonder why Jenny had such young things in her room and she is 15?

Joe DeRouen, author of Small Things: Because her parents (especially her father) were subconsciously trying to keep her young. Also, if you’ll recall, the toys (Barbie and such) were under her bed, symbolizing that, despite her father, she was putting away that part of her and growing up.

Burgundy Tiana Why does Threads start so far in the future? Will it recap back to the things we missed in between?

Joe DeRouen, author of Small Things: What starts in the future doesn’t necessarily stay there. 😉

Burgundy Tiana Oh, and I know it took place in your hometown, but was everything else real? Like the houses, park, street names? Were they all real landmarks? And was there made up stories about an abandoned house being haunted? Did you take a childs fable and create a book off it or was it completly your own doing?

Joe DeRouen, author of Small Things: The “Old Spencer House” wasn’t real, but everything else was. I was very meticulous with street names and such, because it helped me to better envision where everything was. The lake, park, swimming pool, etc., are all real. Even the “Abraham Lincoln stood here” rock in the town square.  And there were (and probably still are) plenty of old, spooky houses in Carthage, just none quite as huge and foreboding as the one I created. That said, if it existed, it would be a few blocks down the street from where my Grandparents lived!



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From Joe's writing

A dead man with a full head of gray hair, still dressed in his pajamas, stumbled out the open door of the funeral home. His chest had been cleaved nearly in half, and blood still sloshed from the wound as he shambled toward them. It was Mr. Busbee, Farris imagined, the owner of the funeral home, murdered in his sleep by the woman or one of her revenants.

— Memories of a Ghost, chapter 41