a novella by Tim Hanson
Anyone who knows me or has taken one of my classes knows I am a horror junkie. Going all the way back to when I was a kid, I loved both reading horror stories and watching scary movies. As I've grown older, I have appreciated these works for more than just providing me a thrill and a shudder: they've also helped me understand some of my greatest fears, they've helped me cope with my anxieties, and they've provided some of the greatest social commentaries I've ever seen (Get Out, Rosemary's Baby, and Beloved are just a few that come to mind). In this vain, I began work on a short story called "Viral" (available here) during the early days of the pandemic, when I was also finishing the final edits on my first novel (which you can read about here). It was the most fun I've had writing, and I wondered why I didn't lean into this genre more as a writer, since it is the one responsible for my love of reading and my career as an English teacher.
As the pandemic continued and I began teaching in continually- evolving and different ways, I started thinking of other horror stories to write. A short story called "Gods of Flesh and Blood" was the next one I wrote, which I plan to edit and submit soon, and the other was a story inspired by my days when I was fully virtual. Our school had adopted a hybrid teaching model at the start of the year, so we were teaching both in-person students and virtual students; however, there were weeks when we had to pivot to 100% virtual instruction, and the longest one came at the beginning of November 2020, just days after that highly-volatile
presidential election. Most of the teachers taught from home during this time, but because my two-year-old daughter was across the street at daycare (and I absolutely could not teach from home and be a dad and expect both to be even close to successful), I was at school, one of the few people still there. I remember pacing my room and reading Stephen King novels before school and during my lunch time; I remember walking the empty halls and gymnasium during my prep period, an eerie journey to be sure, and thinking, I should write a haunted school story, and thus began my journey toward writing (un)Reality, a horror novella meant to capture my experience teaching and being a father and husband during that awful time. As with most haunted house (in this case, haunted school) stories, there is a lot of this writer's inner-workings (my fears and anxieties) placed behind the monsters inhabiting this tale, so as I've been writing this novella, I've not only aimed to scare but also--if you'll pardon the metaphor--exorcise some of the demons that have been haunting my mind since March 2020.
Where and When Can I Read It?
At the moment, I am about halfway through the first draft of this novella (planned to be about 120 to 130 pages in Microsoft Word, although from my experience writing The Fall of Man and planning 350 pages and ending up with 495, my estimates are off sometimes). Once finished--and I plan to finish it within the next few weeks--I'll put it aside for a bit and learn more about self-publishing on Amazon. From there, I will start revising, I will commission a cover, and then I will get the eBook ready for release, hopefully by late this year. As of now, I'm planning for it be $3.99 (that may fluctuate a bit as I learn more about the process), but I will be continually updating this site with more details, so please, stay tuned!