FEATURED FEARMAKER: Jeff Deck
Think about how many of your favorite films have origins within literature. Whether they be classics like Dracula or newer tales like IT, it is no doubt that some of the best stories come not from screenplays, but from novels. The novel has for a long time taken readers to far and distant lands, battled tyrants and monsters the size of buildings, and have taught people how to live, love, and let go. This week’s Featured FearMaker, Jeff Deck, is a writer whose stories have spawned from real life events (which have almost landed him in a federal prison), and his latest book takes its readers into a secret alien war happening in Washington D.C.
Jeff Deck is an author based in Maine with his wife, Jane, and their silly dog, Burleigh. Growing up on Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and John Saul, Jeff had always held a fascination for the horror genre. “I was that weird kid bringing a battered copy of It into seventh-grade study hall,” said Deck. He later grew an appreciation for H.P. Lovecraft, whose cosmic horror notion that King had echoed: secret gates to weird and terrible places, god-like monsters lurking beyond the veil of space and time (or under the sea). He loved to read fantasy and science fiction as well, but when it came time to write his own work, he almost always aimed towards horror.
In 2008, Jeff Deck took a road trip with a friend to correct spelling mistakes on signs across the country. This trip almost landed Jeff in a federal prison, but also inspired him to write his first book, The Great Typo Hunt: Two Friends Changing The World, One Correction At A Time. Written alongside friend Benjamin D. Herson, The Great Typo Hunt chronicled their adventures across the country. The book was published by Random House, and reached thousands of fans, including being mentioned on The Today Show.
Since his infamous road trip, Jeff Deck has been hard at work. Knowing he was full of great stories, Jeff took it upon himself to make sure the stories were seen. He began self-publishing his own works, starting with Player Choice. The book centers around Glen Cullather, who is creating the most ambitious virtual-reality game ever imagined, he gets trapped in a maze of alternate realities. The e-book received several great reviews, some calling it “…a dreamlike path into alternative realities and worlds that will [awaken] a reexamination of their own choices and agency.” By Absurdly Nerdly book blog.
In his latest book, Jeff takes his readers on an intense and thrilling tale called The Pseudo-Chronicles of Mark Huntley. Written in a blog format, the story centers around Mark Huntley, who unexpectedly find himself defending the Earth from the apocalypse. While this book was also self-published online, it also received an actual print distribution, available for purchase here.
Just like in the film world, being an indie writer means dealing with an extreme lack of exposure. As it gets easier and easier to put products straight onto the internet, it becomes harder to find something really good. It is currently incredibly difficult to get a self-published book onto a shelf at most bookstores, and reviewers tend to be hesitant to review them, although that mindset is quickly changing. The key is to never stop writing, and never stop telling stories. The only way you can ever fail is to stop trying.