One day in 2005, I imagined what it might be like to find a lost diary that contained valuable information about the end of the world creeping up on us. At the same time, I was muggled by a candy store variety of prescription drugs I was taking to hold back a mysterious illness that turned out to be a nerve problem in my jaw. It was difficult to write under those conditions, so, as any good novelist does, I made notes. I extended the extremes of my condition into a character from rural Virginia, a writer who, unlike me, had grand success with a novel twenty years before. He was not only flat broke and terrified of the outside world, but desperately trapped in a horrid domestic situation.
Enter Luray Flitch. I enjoyed messing up his life even further by giving him a scattered brain, though I also provided a loyal and smart dog named Jason to take care of him. I also gave him a Victorian mystery to solve and a sequel to upset him even further. Permelia is also the story of a 19th-century psychic who was imprisoned in an asylum and forced to give readings to the movers and shakers of American industry. The dog pictured here; that’s not Luray. That’s Jason.