Chasing Prophecy by James Moser
Publication date: January 2nd 2014
Genres: Paranormal, Thriller, Young Adult
Publication date: January 2nd 2014
Genres: Paranormal, Thriller, Young Adult
“Chasing Prophecy” is the story of Mo, a teen boy just trying to survive high school in the mountain town of Boulder Creek, Washington. Boulder Creek is an isolated and mysterious place, proud of its reputation as the “Bigfoot Sighting Capital of the World”. Mo falls in love with a girl named Prophecy who lives with a group that some call a commune and others call a cult. When she disappears, Mo must find the courage to face the monster that her family has become. “Chasing Prophecy” is a heartwarming contemporary coming of age story. This book chronicles the adolescence of one boy who must transform himself to save the girl of his dreams.
INTERVIEW Q & A
Q: How long have you been writing?
A: All my life, really. I’ve always kept a journal, written short stories, that kind of thing. Growing up, my mom drove us around in a lime green Pontiac station wagon with a broken radio. On long car trips, mom or my siblings would ask me to make up stories, to replace the radio. I’d look at the scenery and just start talking: “The dead body was found in the K-Mart parking lot.” And “The vampire looked for fresh blood in the Denny’s bathroom.” I wrote my first story in about 2nd grade. It was called “The Vampire that Lives in that Room with the Furnace In It.” I’d revise it, week to week, depending on which sibling was annoying me most. One week it might be called “Boy is Kathy Going to be Sorry She Told on Me Once the Vampire that Lives in that Room with the Furnace In It Gets Ahold of Her.”
Q: How did you come up with this story?
A: I always wanted to build a story around someone or something like Boo Radley, my all-time fave character. I love how he dominates that book while remaining largely off-stage. I looked around the Seattle area and the closest thing I could think of was our local legend of Bigfoot. Once I had my own version of Nathan Arthur Radley in place, I started thinking a lot about monsters, especially monsters we make bigger in our imagination. I also thought about Boo living in society without being a part of it, which made me think of different separatist groups turned into cults. My young characters are based on bits and pieces of many former students of mine. The Bigfoot stuff is based on an encounter a couple of them swear they had in Oso (which by the way is the site of the horrific mud-slide that has been in the news). That part of the Mount Baker National Forest has the most Bigfoot sightings in the world.
Q: Where is Boulder Creek, Washington?
A: Like everything else in the book, it’s based on bits and pieces of lots of things. There is no town called that. Boulder Creek is where my wife and I hiked for our first date, in the foothills of the north Cascade Mountains. The mountains in my book look like the ones around Darrington & Oso, in Snohomish County. The main street is like Arlington. The log bridge is something I remember from a family trip to Yellowstone National Park, 1,000 miles away. Twilight readers keep telling me that Boulder Creek feels like Forks, and they’re right, because that’s what every small town in Washington feels like. The Bethlehem compound is the Boy Scout camp I attended in northern Idaho, complete with the same wood carvings on the fireplace.
Q: If you had to explain your book in one sentence, what would that sentence be?
A: Real monsters don’t always hide in the woods. Sometimes they turn out to be people we’ve known all our lives. OK that was two sentences, but not bad, right???
A: Reading and writing, of course. Hanging with my eight year old son, Zachary, and my lovely wife, Laura. Learning to ski. Thinking hard about getting on the treadmill, followed by not getting on the treadmill, followed by seeing what’s new on Netflix.
Q: What have you been reading, lately?
A: The last couple years have been all about Sherman Alexie’s True Diary and the complete works of John Green. Jay Asher’s 13 Reasons + Future of Us. I’m a male writer with a male voice writing teen dude narrators, so those have been my go-to guys for this particular project. I think True Diary is the most important thing to happen in YA for a looooong time.
Q: So I have to ask: Do you believe in Bigfoot?
A: Dunno. I’m not a wishy-washy guy but I just do not know. I guess for me the point is that I kind of like not knowing. I like the debates & I love how passionate people are about it one way or the other. It’s a different form of Faith, really, which is whatever you want it to be. Put it this way: I’ll be crushed if he’s ever proven or disproven. I like the uncertainty & what’s the point of living when there are no more monsters to chase?
Q: New projects?
A: Yeah, I’m outlining and researching a teen series set in Seattle with the local legend of Sasquatch as the key paranormal thread. People seem really interested in him + I live in this setting, where we happen to have the most sightings in the world + no one else is doing it, so it seems like a natural fit. I’m handing off drafts to editors and cover designers in December, 2014 and the first release will be in March, 2015.
Q: What’s been most exciting about the book, so far?
A: Just having an audience is so fun. I’ve been getting random fan e-mails from the UK, Australia, one from China, the other day. Chatting about what I’m up to, and learning what readers like & dislike has just been so thrilling!
Author Spotlight: James Moser, on Chasing Prophecy
I have always wanted to build a story around someone or something like Boo Radley, my all-time favorite literary character. I love how he dominates that book while remaining largely off-stage. I looked around the Seattle area and the closest thing I could think of was our local legend of Bigfoot. Once I had my own version of Nathan Arthur Radley in place, I started thinking a lot about monsters, especially monsters we make bigger in our imagination. I also thought about Boo living in society without being a part of it, which made me think of different separatist groups turned into cults. My young characters are based on bits and pieces of hundreds of former students.
The setting of Boulder Creek, Washington, like everything else in the book, is based on bits and pieces of lots of things. There is no town called that. Boulder Creek is where my wife and I hiked for our first date, in the foothills of the north Cascade Mountains. The mountains in my book look like the ones around Darrington, in Snohomish County. The main street is like Arlington (where I had my first teaching job). The log bridge is something I remember from a family trip to Yellowstone National Park, 1,000 miles away. People who have read Twilight will think Boulder Creek feels like Forks, which it does, because that’s what every small town in Washington feels like. The Bethlehem compound is the Boy Scout camp I attended in northern Idaho, complete with the same wood carvings on the fireplace.
Kazzy looked at me with a blank face. She wasn’t afraid. She looked like she did when we were in Math class, eyebrows up, mouth open a bit, question marks dancing in her eyes.
"How’d it get into the ravioli?" she whispered.
"What do you mean?" I whispered back.
“The ravioli. How’d it get in there?”
I thought: The lids had those pop-tops where you just pop up that little ring and peel back the top.
“Opened them, I guess,” I said.
“Opened them with what?” she whispered back.
I looked up ahead and thought of the sharp crack we’d just heard. A huge weight leaning onto huge paws with thick claws.
I thought, A bear would have just ripped the can open with its teeth and claws. Big paws and claws wouldn’t have the—the whatever--the coordination, I guess you’d say--to pull it off.
Later, we admitted we were doing the same thing standing there on the path—trying to picture a bear holding a can with one giant paw and delicately getting a claw from the other paw underneath to pry up that pop-top ring. That stuff only happens in cartoons with cartoon bears that have fingers.
No real bear could do that.
Nothing that walks on four legs and lives in the woods could do that.
We both jumped at another cracking tree branch. I squinted uphill and saw a dark form, moving slowly, jerkily, as if dragging something heavy. It stopped and turned in the fuzzy shadows. It was still, and I couldn’t make out its face but I felt it looking right at us.
The bear rose up and stepped toward us, a great crunching of pine needles reaching our ears. The sunset cast the last of its rays through the trees and reflected off two softly glowing eyes which stared and blinked and stared again. The bear elevated slightly and then a little more and then it was standing, legs apart. We realized that the crickets, the birds, even the raindrops were frozen on branches. The shadow was standing upright on two legs with its front paws relaxing--then lengthening--then dangling down almost to its knees. Then no longer paws at all but easing and extending more like fingers attached to hands attached to really long--
Our canned food.
Yeah a bear would have—
--would have just.
A bear would have just crushed those cans with its jaws and then slurped out the food. The cans were licked out completely, but they had been opened by.
"Shit!" she whispered fiercely.
It moved toward us but we were frozen in the decision between:
1) Running. We had a head start, but if we ran, it might think we were something worth catching.
2) Waiting, holding still, and hoping it kept going up the road.
It’s moving away from us, it’s definitely moving away from us, no, actually, it’s moving toward us, oh man it’s definitely moving toward us
And in the next heartbeat we knew, not guessed, not felt, knew that we were being stalked by a legend--deep in a dimming forest on a road that the rain and sun had filled with traps.
We heard the settling of a great weight leaning forward into dead twigs and pine needles.
The mountain breathed the scent of sour milk and garbage. The footsteps came not in quick sets of four like it would from a bear, but in sets of two that went crunchCRUNCH. . . crunchCRUNCH.
The first gunshot came from Kaz's mouth, now screaming the word
Two glowing dots blinked at us, floating there in the mist. Then they moved a bit upward and our brains were pounded by an explosion of sound.
It wasn’t anything like the rumbly roar of the bears a the zoo during feeding time. It was more like the shriek of tires squealing on wet pavement—mixed with the howl of a wounded cougar.
Kazzy pulled the flare gun from her jeans, napped off the safety, pointed it at the eyes, took a breath, then aimed higher, and pulled the trigger, lighting up the near darkness.
For just a second, the woods were lit in the brightest of daylight, if daylight were colored pink. The trees with moss dangling from their limbs, mushrooms sticking to their bark, a faded blue mile-marker just ahead of us. All these details popped into sharp focus for just an instant.
And we saw a head, shoulders, deep-set eyes that glowed in the flare’s reflection. Dull teeth.
Not hunched over on four legs.
Walking forward on two legs, like a human.
We ran straight
down the mountain
into the fading
did the crickets stop
is that wind or breath
on my neck
Jesus don't let me fall
before I get
To the edge of
on my neck
My chute opened
And then Pop
Her chute opened
We floated straight into the last rays of the setting sun. I twisted my neck around and saw our shadows pasted onto the stone feathers of Chief’s Head cliff.
Just above our dancing shadows, we stared up into the glowing eyes of Sasquatch.
*About the Author*
When he's not dazzling Goodreads members with his wit and charm, the author is typically reading, writing, or watching way too much TV while snacking on chocolate treats from Trader Joe's (and who can blame him--those things are GOOD, yo!).
The author wanted to write about teenagers transforming themselves to survive. The result is "Chasing Prophecy," a story about love, loss, redemption, and monsters. Boo Radley is the author's all-time favorite book character, which is how the Seattle-area legend of Bigfoot entered this story.
Moser holds a B.A. in bookish matters and a Master's in the same. He lives in Seattle with his wife and eight year old son.
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