My guest today is Scott Wieczorek, a professional archaeologist working in the American Middle-Atlantic region. He has written numerous short stories and several full-length novels ranging from science fiction to paranormal mystery to horror. In addition, he writes reviews of books by Independent authors. Samples of his work are available on his blog at wieczorekfictblog.blogspot.com.
I’ve always had an interest in archaeology, so I was fascinated with Scott’s answers to my questions. And when I read the excerpt from his book, Witness Through Time, I knew I had to read this book! You can read the blurb and excerpt at the end of this post.
1. You are an archaeologist. Tell us a little about your work. Old, Native American sites, or historical sites?
As I mention in my bio, I am a professional archaeologist working in the American Middle Atlantic Region. Through my career, I have excavated various historic and prehistoric sites from basic shovel-testing surveys to full-on data recoveries with units and block excavations. The ages of artifacts I have recover range from 50 yrs old to 10,000 years. One of the few times that Indiana Jones was right is when he told his students that most of the work in archaeology take place in the library rather than the field. The excavation, though the most fun, is generally one of the smallest parts of an archaeological project. Research, analysis, and report writing make up the bulk of the work. It really takes a special kind of person dedicated to research and writing to be an archaeologist. For me, the writing is my favorite part.
2. How has your profession influenced your writing, or has it? Have you incorporated any sites or anything from it into your writing?
Working as an archaeologist has, in fact, influenced my writing in several ways. First, it proved to me that I could write a long manuscript. After all, if you can write a multi-hundred page report at single-space, 11 pt. font on 8.5×11 sheets, then a 70-80,000 word manuscript is not so daunting. Secondly, it opened me up to working with professional editors. Editing is a key component to writing. A rough draft is almost never good enough. There is always polish needed. And that is what editors do. They take something good and make it great! As far as incorporating an archaeological site into my writing, I actually do have a manuscript in process that involves a site I investigated for my Master’s Thesis.
3. You had a church sponsored book signing with some proceeds going to the church, yet you write about zombies and demons. How do you deal with those two different elements in your writing as well as in your life?
It’s a funny thing you mention this. The book involving angels and demons, titled Awakening, actually has lots of religious underpinnings and puts both creatures as two factions of the same race of creatures known as Daimones. One faction seeks to enslave humanity, the other to protect it. Our parish rector loved the story so much, she actually offered up the book signing as an event for the church’s 150th anniversary. It was a great honor. With regard to zombies, they are a biological manifestation. For those who have read Byron: A Zombie tale, the zombies have little to do with religion, and a lot to do with bacteria and microorganisms. As far as religion and science in my own personal life, I don’t see that they are diametrically opposed. After all, everything may have started in the big bang. But what created everything in the first place? What put it all into motion?
Witness Through Time Blurb:
When Glory Parker moves to the bucolic locale of Cragg’s Head Cove, Maine, she uncovers a mystery that has remained unsolved for more than fifteen years—the disappearances of four college students with the perpetrator still on the loose. As the mystery unfolds around her, she becomes aware of her strange new ability to pierce the veil of time. Can Glory solve the mystery before more people disappear?
Witness Through Time Excerpt:
The glow of her headlights caught a gleam of metal ahead in the distance. A car was pulled over to the roadside. Could it be Jim? Did he decide not to head in to the station, but to wait for her? As she approached, the car came more clearly into view—definitely not Jim’s.
Parked askew, it appeared the driver had pulled over in haste. The car’s headlights remained on, but its taillights sat dark. She couldn’t understand why someone would drive and abandon a car in such a dangerous way at night.
Against all her instincts and better judgment, she pulled off the road, grabbed her cell phone, and shut off her car. As it sputtered to a stop, it became apparent the other driver hadn’t turned his engine off. Had something terrible happened? Its occupants couldn’t be too far away. She reached into her center console and removed a flashlight before stepping out into the chilly night air.
She dialed Jim’s number, hoping he still had his cell phone handy, but groaned at the dead air against her ear. A glance at the screen told her all she needed to know—no bars. How could that even be? She’d just received a text from Jim mere moments ago. She sighed, debating whether to drive a little further up the road to find better reception, or a phone booth. But something tugged at her; people probably needed help, and she couldn’t just leave them here. With a shiver flitting up her spine, she stuffed the phone in her pocket and closed her car door.
As she stepped toward the embankment, the hackles stood on her neck. Something about the whole scene seemed wrong. Except for the low idle of the car, an eerie solitude settled about the place; not even the tree frogs croaked their mating songs in the night.
A scream pierced the stillness. She knew the sound—it didn’t belong to any kind of animal; it belonged to a woman. She pulled her phone from her pocket. She dialed Jim’s number again—still no reception.
Whipping her flashlight around, she pointed it to where the sound came from. Of course, it needed to be down the embankment. She slipped her phone into her pocket again; she would check for reception again later.
With a deep breath, she made her way down the steep roadside to the leaf-littered forest floor below. A quick examination of the slope as she went revealed another fresh path cut through the leaves, and snapped branches. Someone had crashed through here at high speed. Another scream caught her attention—a female voice, and definitely in trouble. Glory broke into a sprint, following the voice. She ran through the woods, branches whipping her face and brush grabbing her ankles.
“Somebody! Help me!”
The girl’s scream sounded loud and clear. Something crashed in the leaves ahead, followed by a groan and sounds of struggle.
“Let me go, you bastard.” The girl’s voice echoed through the woods.
“Shut up!” The angry voice belonged to a male.
As her feet crashed through the leaves, she heard something like a meaty thud.
Glory stopped dead in her tracks, reached for her phone, and dialed 9-1-1. She pressed send—nothing again. Crap! She must still be in a dead spot. The irony struck her. If she didn’t do something soon, then this would certainly be a dead spot for the girl. She needed to help—one way or another. Glory crept up, extinguishing her flashlight. She followed the sounds of struggle pierced by the girl’s sobs and squeals.
“Yeah,” said the male voice, “you go ahead and cry. Ain’t nobody gonna help you.” Glory could hear from the sound of his voice that he was enjoying himself.
The girl wailed, her voice carrying through the barren trees. The sharp clap of an open-handed slap echoed through the dark. Another wail flew into the night.
Glory could see the pair on the ground. The mousy young brunette girl lay on her back with a young man of average build atop her. He wore a backward baseball cap and Glory couldn’t see his face. They wrestled around as he tried to pin her hands at her sides. She wriggled her hand free and tried to punch him, but he grabbed her wrist, trapping it again.
She scanned the ground for anything she could use as a weapon. Ten feet to her right, lay a long, thick branch, about four-feet in length. Her heartbeat thrummed in her ears. Sidling like a crab, she slid her phone in her pocket and picked it up, creeping toward them.
Before she could reach them, though, the male straightened up, bellowing in pain. He clutched a hand to his face. Blood covered one of the girl’s hands.
Here’s where you can buy a copy of Witness Through Time: