Date of Publication: July 29, 2015
Number of pages: 184
Word Count: 62,200
Cover Artist: Travis Eck
Rebecca Moss never questioned the purchase of the strange seductive armchair. She wanted to please Frank. But the armchair has a dark purpose. Nazi officer Major Eric Schröder believed fervently in Hitler's vision of purity. Now the chair has passed to Frank, an abusive thug who has his own twisted understanding of patriotism. There are those who want to destroy the armchair, to end its curse. But can the armchair be stopped before it completes its work?
Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/f6PWf_qW1Xg
The Eastern Front, Lithuania. July 1941.
The armchair moaned delightfully as Major Erich Schröder sat. Outside, the sun burst into the mountain ridge, filling the sky with brilliant orange and red flames. Schröder watched out the open window from his seat in front of a dormant fireplace. He poured a glass of Berentzen Doornkaat schnapps from the decanter he had brought with him from home. Helen had packed it for him, wrapped with last month’s funny pages. One of the strips discarded in the waste bin revealed a valiant rosy cheeked Dutchman named Conrad, demonstrating the power of solidarity in the factory workforce. The energetic and turbulent rhythm of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony floated into the room from some far off record player in the barracks. Love this performance. Schröder closed his eyes and sunk farther into the armchair. The cool leather and haunting harmony of Beethoven set his mind at ease, comforting his weary bones. The comfort abated his thoughts, for the moment at least, of what lay ahead and the unordinary expectations levied upon his young shoulders by high command.
Expectations? he thought. God help us. Schröder lifted his glass and took a long gulp, biting down against the burning sensation crawling in his throat. Expectations… Horrible, horrible expectations… But it must be done. Himmler has given the order, and so it must be. Ein Völk, ein Reich, ein Führer. For we are one people, one nation, of one leader…
About the Author:
Thomas was discharged honorably in February 2008 and moved to Houston, Texas where he found employment and attended night school. In 2014, Thomas graduated with a Bachelor in Arts in History from University of Houston-Clear Lake. Thomas blogs at www.machinemean.org, commenting and reviewing movies, books, shows, and historical content. Thomas is living a rather simple and quite life with his beautiful bride and amazing daughter, just south of Houston, Texas.
Where are you from?
Hmm…where should I start! My parents were in the military, so as a kid, we moved around a little. We lived in RAF Chicksands, England, and then to Maryland, and finally settled back in Roanoke, Virginia where most of my family still lives today. I joined the Army at 19 and have lived in Pusan, South Korea, and Fort Hood, Texas. I now reside in Houston, Texas.
Tell us your latest news?
The latest news regards the upcoming release of my new book series, Subdue. Two books have been written thus far for the series. I’m currently working on the third book now. The story for the first two focuses on a group of childhood friends torn apart by war, who’ll be drawn back together to salvage what remains of that old friendship. It’ll delve into issues such as PTSD, suicide, and living with traumatic memory.
When and why did you begin writing?
I've been writing more or less since I was a kid. In fact, I had submitted a poem of sorts to some magazine, of which I have long forgotten the name of, anyways, my creative writing teacher was so excited about the news she gave me a little award, of which I have also lost. The memory is still there, though. I also painted and did drawings, however, writing was always my preferred method of expression. I wrote poems throughout my enlistment in the Army, writing a number of them during my first deployment in Iraq in 2003. During my third deployment, my wife and I wrote dozens of letters to each other, of which I'd like to publish someday, if she’ll let me. After my enlistment was over, I began my college career. This reawakened that old desire of storytelling, I think. I took several creative writing courses. However, I focused almost exclusively on my history course work. When I finished, I graduated with a BA in History and discovered that I had a huge pocket of energy and time that I had no idea what to do with. This is when I started writing for myself again, instead of just for school work. I had previously been involved with a homeless ministry, collecting clothing and first aid kits and journeying into downtown Houston to hand out. I took this experience and combined it with my sudden renewed itch to write creatively. My first short story, Hobo, was born from this event. Shortly following this, I wrote "Are you hungry, dear?" and then "Reinheit." So, long story short (too late?), there wasn't just one thing that drove me toward being a writer. It was a series of experiences that propelled me toward it; shaped my voice, defined it.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I think I’m just now coming to terms with it, especially the Words of War aspect. When I was on my own, I certainly did not consider myself a serious writer. After being picked up by Booktrope and Limitless Publishing, I like I’m becoming comfortable with the idea. I still have a day job and taking care of my family takes priority, that goes without saying, but I’m getting used to being a serious writer. I do not see myself ever stopping.
What inspired you to write your first book?
The news, for one. Plus, I have always loved history. History was my focus in college, and it has transferred into my writing. In Reinheit, my first book, I wanted to focus those energies toward writing something about the banality of the evils during the Holocaust, and how that ordinary evil is not a singular event in history, contained within said era, but exists in the here and now. I watched the news and became distressed with how people were talking about these kids coming up from South America seeking aid, the heartlessness I heard was distressing. The banality of evil, as Hannah Arendt coined after covering the Adolf Eichmann trial, is a very human story about the dangers of pseudospeciation and ethnocentrism which are and will probably always be an issue within society. I was inspired to write Reinheit with the desire to talk about those problems today by examining the past.
Do you have a specific writing style?
Every writer is molded by their favorite authors. One of mine is Stephen King, and I’d like to think our styles are compatible. I like to stuff my audience inside the minds of the characters, so I tend to include internal monologue and desires, even something at random. I try to be as descriptive as possible without condemning myself with an abundance of adjectives. As anything, my style and voice is still evolving.
How did you come up with the title?
The title was originally The Armchair. Which may have been better then Reinheit; however, I wanted something more inclusive. While the armchair is a significant vehicle for the story, it’s not really what the story is about. Reinheit is Germanic for purity. Purity, or the notion of purity and how people grasp for it, is really what the story talks about.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
There are lots of messages, hidden in entertainment. My biggest hope, though, is that while my audience is reading Reinheit, they question the news more, they question what they see on social media. And above all, they form their own opinions.
How much of the book is realistic?
Everything. One of my favorite directors is Wes Craven because he writes and creates these stories that are strange and horrifying but also very real. I like to keep within the bounds of realism. Personally, I feel that true horror rests within the walls of reality. The harshest reality in Reinheit are the chapters about the Einsatzgruppen, these ordinary men who followed the German army into the Eastern Front, herding countless Jews from the ghettos and murdering them either on the streets or in the forests. Though the names and characters are fiction, the Einsatzgruppen are terrifyingly real.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Nothing from my own life, except as I said before, pulled from my college years.
What books have most influenced your life most?
All Quiet on the Western Front is the most important book ever written. Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but still, it’s a damn fine book everyone must read at least once. My copy is now quite worn with marking and notes.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Stephen King, hands down.
What book are you reading now?
Misery, by Stephen King.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Duncan Ralston is a fantastic up and coming writer. I read his new book, Salvage, and found meaningful, bringing to mind topics of depression and suicide and fundamentalism within a very haunting story.
What are your current projects?
I’m gearing up for the release of my new book series while also tackling some new material. Book 3 in the series is in the works as well as some new short stories and possibly a new Lovecraftian style book.
What would you like my readers to know?
If you’re a fan of realism in horror, please check out my book, Reinheit. Also, don’t be afraid to leave honest reviews. We writers need to hear your opinions as means to honing our craft. Also, take some risks. The writing world is quite exiting now, as it seems to be flooded with new material and new stories. Take a risk on a new author who are not limited by a publisher to write something truly grotesque and meaningful. Check out anthologies for certain, as this is typically where new authors begin their journey into writing a full length book. Thanks for reading and as always you can catch me on Facebook (Thomas S. Flowers) or Twitter (@machinemeannow).
2 Signed paperbacks (US and Canada)