It's Christmas Eve in rural America, and a storm is brewing...
When bankrupt farmer Ray Marak saves the life of his friend and banker, Josh Werther, neither they nor their neighbours can imagine what the night will bring.
Still traumatised by his time in Vietnam, Ray’s world has shrunk – to the boundaries of his small hometown of Immaculate, and the warmth of his adored family: his young sons Jacob and Ethan, and his wife Renee; Renee, the woman who waited for him during his wartime hell.
But as the snow accumulates, so do the townspeople’s stories, and the suspicions Ray has harboured for years start to resurface, along with his demons. As midnight approaches, and young Jacob vanishes into the deadly storm, Ray realises that Josh’s generosity has been motivated by something more than neighbourly kindness. Snow, it seems, can bury everything but the past; hour by hour, as Christmas Day approaches, Ray Marak begins to lose control.
A Town Called Immaculate is a haunting novel about family and fidelity, and the fragility of the things we take for granted.
About the author:
Peter Anthony has worked as a software engineer and as a business consultant. His background involves a wide array of experiences, including military training, homeless advocacy, farming, sportswriting, and more. He divides his time between the US and Switzerland.
Hi, Peter. Tell us a little about your novel, A Town Called Immaculate.
A Town Called Immaculate is set in a tiny Catholic community full of the ghosts of religion. It is Christmas Eve morning, 1981, and the entire story takes place over the next 24 hours. A religious farmer floats on the verge of foreclosure. A small town banker struggles with his past during yet another lonely Christmas. A blizzard approaches the town, and over the course of the day, the family faces issues of religion, birth control, divorce, and the long-term effects of war. As the storm bears down, the snowplow drivers get ready for a long night in blinding snow, and the family will not get any sleep until daybreak.
How did you and Macmillan New Writing "meet"?
Last year I was living in Zurich with my wife, and a friend told me about the world's largest book fair in Frankfurt. I wanted to see what it was all about so I hopped on a train and booked a bed in a ten-person per room hostel. The Frankfurt book fair is enormous - I was overwhelmed by the size of it, and every publisher in the world had a booth, or two booths. I visited the Macmillan staff and asked what was new - and then someone offered me the contact information for MNW.
What is your typical writing day?
Usually it's an 8-10 hour workday followed by dinner, then locating a quiet place, preferably with no internet connection to tempt me, where I can write for several hours. I don't make any special preparations, I just boot up, get into the mode, and start. Sadly, sometimes the mode never shows up and I don't get much done. When I sit down to write, my goal is a minimum of 1,000 words a day. It doesn't always happen, but that's the goal. I don't write every day unless I'm working on a story. If I'm not writing at night, I'm reading, or trying to learn something new, and I'm always thinking about the next story or character.
Four random facts about you:
1) The worst thing about writing
2) Best thing about writing
A finished story. It seems that I know when a story is done because there seems to be nothing more to add. It's a complete feeling. Of course, six months later, I usually think of something that I'd like to change.
3) Writers you most admire
Dostoyevsky, Voltaire, Bukowski, Orwell, Ovid, Melville...and John Keats. I had to have one romantic in there.
4) Most ludicrous moment in your life
Age 15: Streaking the Embassy Suites hotel.
Thanks, Peter, and best of luck on the launch. (And need I point out for you Christmas shoopers that the book takes place on Christmas Eve, and has a lovely snowy cover?)
You can find out more about A Town Called Immaculate by following the links below, or by visiting Peter's website.