A local science fiction and horror author is inspired by Atlanta’s urbanization and sets his books in the city, with its monsters haunting the same places he’s lived and gone to school.
“The protagonist is a student at [Georgia State University]. He’ll walk the same halls I did and ride the same MARTA routes I did,” said Matthew Quinn, a Buckhead resident, about his forthcoming sequel to his debut novel, “The Thing in the Woods.”
Quinn, a former journalist who now teaches high school history in Fulton County after getting a history degree at GSU, recently published a new book drawing on his experiences living in Griffin, a small city south of Atlanta.
His new book is set in the fictional town of Edington, Georgia. The book not only plays off the urbanization of Atlanta, but off recent national events.
The main character’s father buys a house after receiving a promotion at an Atlanta law firm, but loses his job during the Great Recession.
The son and main character, James Daly, described by Quinn as “a teen Buckhead snob whose family has moved to a small town,” now has to work at the local Best Buy to help his family pay the mortgage.
The story takes place in May 2010, when many people were still suffering from the housing and economic collapse.
“It takes place in a bedroom community that suffered heavily from the Great Recession,” Quinn said.
The book also plays off the “atrocities of racism” that occurred during the Civil War, Quinn said.
Daly is threatened by a “monstrosity” with tentacles that has been worshipped by a cult since before the Civil War. The property it lives on was the site of a Civil War battle. Recent development of the city threatens to reveal the cult’s and the monstrosity’s secrets.
Quinn describes the novel’s genre as horror, but also focusing on characters overcoming their prejudices, with the main character condescending to local “rednecks” while members of the cult have racist attitudes.
“Part of James’ character arc is that he outgrows these attitudes,” Quinn said.
Quinn’s experience as a history teacher also inform his novels and help address racial issues, he said.
While Atlanta’s geography and culture inspire Quinn’s storylines, the metro area’s horror-writing community helps him write them. Quinn is a member of the Lawrenceville Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Group in Gwinnett County, which require him to commit to writing a chapter before each meeting. That keeps him on schedule.
“They kept me on deadline and helped me get the book done,” Quinn said of the writing group.
Quinn was first inspired to write this book in 2007, but put it down for a few years before picking it back up in 2014, he said. He has published several short stories, but this is first novel. He is now working on a sequel.
Quinn will host a book signing and discussion of the book Oct. 28 from 1 to 3 p.m. at Posman Books in Ponce City Market.
For more information, see the author’s website at accordingtoquinn.blogspot.com.