“Empty” was originally a very different story.
All of my work is inspired by personal experiences, with this one stemming from a disturbing encounter I had at a religious summer camp as a kid. The first version was going to be a straightforward modern day tale with a supernatural twist as a camper contracts lycanthropy and has to keep his affliction hidden. Every time I’d go to write a new page though, I couldn’t stop thinking about the moon (being a werewolf tale and all) along with all that vast emptiness out in space.
The original version was junked and I started over with an engineer on a spacefaring vessel, ostracized for breaking the rules and stuck all alone serving punishment duty in the bowels of the ship. Many of the themes and ideas from the original source material made their way in, just in new forms, as the engineer explores an ancient ship, encounters a madman on a religious mission, and discovers something beyond his comprehension that offers disturbing implications about man’s place in the order of things.
During the process of switching to a space setting, I was fueled by a constant stream of discordant and avant-garde metal bands, with special thanks to Augury, Ne Obliviscaris, and Stagnant Waters in particular for offering up the soundtrack to this sci-fi/horror mashup. That jump also gave me the opportunity to have some fun laying out easter eggs to find for the fans of both classic cosmic horror and real world science.
As my first standalone release outside of anthologies, the journey to getting “Empty” published was almost as harrowing as that of the engineer himself. As anyone trying to break into the industry can confirm, this can be a vicious profession, and there’s always a whole lot of rejection on the way to success. “Empty” in particular was a frustrating experience on that front, as there was a total lack of consistency in the feedback I’d receive from publishers.
I’ll never forget one specific back-to-back duo of emails from two different publishers – one that felt the story was too long and needed to jump into the action more quickly, while the next assured me the story moved far too fast and needed to be drastically slowed down. I have a newfound respect for those who have thrived and continued to release work in these genres, and I’d definitely recommended anyone just getting started not give up, as you never know what the next publisher is going to say.
With that learning experience under the belt, I can’t wait to let the world in on some of the other things lurking in the dark corners of my mind with future stories, as “Empty” was just the beginning. I look forward to taking a few more voyages into the blackest depths of space and beyond with all of you.
Empty can be found at Amazon.com at http://mybook.to/MMPEmpty
Ty Arthur, Biography-