Nine Candles of Deepest Black
Matthew S. Cox
Published by: Curiosity Quills Press
Publication date: September 15th 2016
Genres: Horror, Paranormal, Young Adult
She saw it coming. She knew it would happen―but no one believed her.
Almost a year after tragedy shattered her family, sixteen-year-old Paige Thomas can’t break free from her guilt. Her mother ignores her, doting on her annoying little sister, while her father is a barely-functioning shell. He hopes a move to the quiet little town of Shadesboro PA will help them heal, but Paige doesn’t believe in happiness anymore.
On her first day at school, a chance encounter with a bullied eighth grader reawakens a gift Paige had forgotten, and ingratiates her into a pack of local outcasts. For weeks, they’ve been trying to cast a ritual to fulfill their innermost desires, but all they’ve done is waste time. After witnessing Paige touch the Ouija board and trigger a paranormal event, the girls are convinced another try with their new fifth member will finally work.
Once the darkness is unleashed, it’s not long before they learn it will give them exactly what they asked for―whether they want it or not.
Born in a little town known as South Amboy NJ in 1973, Matthew has been creating science fiction and fantasy worlds for most of his reasoning life. Somewhere between fifteen to eighteen of them spent developing the world in which Division Zero, Virtual Immortality, and The Awakened Series take place. He has several other projects in the works as well as a collaborative science fiction endeavor with author Tony Healey.
Hobbies and Interests:
Matthew is an avid gamer, a recovered WoW addict, Gamemaster for two custom systems (Chronicles of Eldrinaath [Fantasy] and Divergent Fates [Sci Fi], and a fan of anime, British humour (
He is also fond of cats.
Sending massive hanks to Xpresso Book Tours for the Q&A opportunity with Matthew S. Cox
– Describe your book in 10 words.
Grieving teen with paranormal gifts unknowingly summons a nasty demon.
– What is the inspiration of you, writing Nine Candles of Deepest Black?
The title came to me out of thin air, which is quite rare. It’s still the only time I’ve ever had a title before an inkling of a story. I was in a Barnes and Noble, doing a signing for another of my books (The Summer the World Ended), and something in the surroundings triggered my brain to come up with this title. Having recently read Malus Domestica by SA Hunt (awesome book btw), I had a bit of a witchy vibe in my head. While I had never “written horror” on purpose before, I’ve had some people comment that scenes in the Division Zero series could’ve been from a horror story, so I decided to try “writing horror on purpose.”
– Who is your favourite author/s?
William Gibson, J.R.R. Tolkien, Ray Bradbury, and more recently, Andy Wier and Ernest Cline.
– What’s the book genre that you like the most?
Fantasy and/or Science Fiction. Ever since I played Wasteland as a kid (old, old, computer game) I’ve had a fondness for post-apocalyptic stories.
– Did you do any deep research while you are writing your book?
I did a bit of research on elemental spirits, Wiccan entities, and the relationship between the elements and the pentacle. Also, I looked into what I guess one might refer to as ‘spell syntax’ insofar as opening and closing rituals. I spent a few years living in PA, but I did research some locations to put the fictional town of Shadesboro.
– Can you give a few tips when it comes to doing research for the aspiring writers?
Be glad you live in the age of the Internet and Google. It makes finding things much easier than having to trudge around to various places in person. A lot of times the usefulness comes down to how you phrase the search criteria. Also, don’t worry about getting ‘distracted’ by an article or post that comes up while doing research, there might be something in there that you can use… if not for the current novel, a future one.
– How do you deal with bad reviews?
No one piece of art is going to universally appeal to everyone. No matter how good something is, someone will hate it. Depending on what the reviewer is saying, I might laugh (if they’re harping on a nonsensical point). One reviewer of Division Zero commented that he thought the economics of the city were unrealistic – but apparently the ghosts, hovercars, cyberware, and psionics were quite authentic. Sometimes I’ll merely shrug, like for a couple of reviews that Caller 107 got where the person seemed to have only one agenda: the book uses ‘bad words’ and they felt because they can’t stand bad words, no one should ever dare write with bad words, so they gave it a bad review. For those reviews there isn’t much to be done but say ‘whatever’ and move on. If a book gets a bad review due to some manner of error with the plot, pacing, editing, or whatnot, I’ll usually run back over the text to see if they’re right, and if so, make a note to fix it.
– Did you ever experience the so called “Writer’s Block”? How did you get past it?
I have thus far been fortunate enough to have too many ideas and not enough time to get them all down. Perhaps someday I’ll catch up and find myself staring at a blank page wondering what to do, but it hasn’t happened to me yet. I have run into some situations where a plot element I had planned wasn’t working the way I intended and it took a couple days of hard thinking to get around it. For those cases I usually bounced ideas off friends or fellow writers until it clicked.
– When you aren’t writing, what’s the particular activity that you enjoy?
Games – computer or tabletop RPGs, reading, movies, and sometimes (when I can overcome the wall of self-doubt) I dabble with drawing. Other times I continue my experiments in learning to breathe coffee (but so far these have proven unsuccessful… and painful.)
– Any favourite TV shows?
I haven’t watched TV with any regularity for at least twenty years. However, sometimes I stream video. I liked Firefly, Mythbusters, and find Ghost Adventures interesting. (This will date me, but I was also quite fond of Airwolf as a kid. (Watching it as an adult, some things strike me as silly, but the show’s got a nostalgic place in my memory.) The original two seasons, not that monstrosity that USA Nework made.)
– Do you plan to write more paranormal genre/ perfect-for-halloween themed books?
Perhaps! I’ve also had people say that Emma and the Banderwigh is a good Halloween story as well… even though it’s middle grade and not YA.
– Love the book cover! Who’s the designer?
Eugene Teplitsky (of Curiosity Quills) did the cover artwork for Nine Candles. He had originally done a (somewhat) similar concept for another author’s book, but she had said it was ‘too creepy’ for her story. The phrase ‘too creepy’ made him think of Nine Candles, so he asked me if I would be interested in the cover. I didn’t think the initial cover was all that creepy, so we went back and forth for a couple of revisions and he came up with the current cover.