by Edgar Swamp

On July 15, 1991, an isolated village in Northern Wisconsin is ground zero for an unprecedented, fiery tragedy. Of the community\’s 600 residents, there are only five survivors. Detailed accounts by the victims contradict each other; the only link is a man named Anthony Guntram, but because he is presumed to be dead, this claim can\’t be verified. Further investigations reveal a culture enshrouded in mystery. What are the survivors hiding?

Only the villagers know the secret of Amber Hollow, a place where sanity is checked at the town line and the parameters of reality become blurred. An unconventional horror story by design, Edgar Swamp delivers an action-driven page-turner that will keep readers guessing until the calamitous ending.

The call came when they were five blocks from St. Mary’s, blaring from the radio in a raucous hiss of static that made both of them jump. Sadie looked at Jeremy, and the confusion in her eyes would be almost comical if the situation wasn’t so dire. He grabbed the handset on the radio, pressed the button.

“This is Detective Jeremy LeFevre. Please repeat the transmission.”

“There is a ten fifty-six A in progress on the Tower Drive Bridge, I repeat a ten fifty-six A.”

“We’re two miles from that location,” he said calmly, although his nerves suddenly felt as if they were live wires spitting enough electricity to power the entire city. “We’re en route.”

“Ten four,” the dispatcher said, and Sadie flipped a switch on the dash that fired up the siren. She then grabbed the bubble next to her, rolled down her window, and tossed it onto the top of the car where the magnet on the bottom held it firmly in place. For some reason, she always felt like she was in an episode of Starskey and Hutch when she did that.

“You thinking what I’m thinking?” Jeremy asked his partner.

“What are you thinking?”

“I don’t know, maybe I’m jumping to more conclusions, but somehow I think this is one call we need to take.”

Turned out, he was right.

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-What inspired you to become a writer?

I’ve always been a very spirited story teller, detailing largely fictitious accounts of where I spent my days (at construction sites, bowling alleys, seeing movies I wasn’t supposed to, or other general mischievous deeds) to my parents, grandparents, school teachers, etc. and them readily believing me. This penchant for what could be considered ‘lying’ I turned into stories that I’d tell my friends (I convinced a neighbor kid I could fly but I needed a special food to do it but I was out) and then later was encouraged by teachers to write these elaborate fantasies down. I hit paydirt in the eighth grade with interest from a cute girl regarding one of my stories (it may have been about vampires) and the rest is history! I was instantly hooked like a teenager on a Pornhub binge, and writing became a necessary part of my regular life.

-If you could visit your book’s world for a day, what one thing would you do?

My book is set in 1991, approximately three months before Grunge would commercially take the world by storm and kill off the hair metal bands. If I could travel to the Green Bay of 1991 in my novel “Amber Hollow”, I would check the paper to see if Nirvana, Pearl jam, Alice in Chains, Smashing Pumpkins, or Soundgarden was playing in either Madison or Milwaukee (chances are pretty good that one of them—or another cool band on a low budget van tour—would be) and I’d go and see their show. While there, I’d buy a t-shirt and then get it autographed by Kurt Cobain, Eddie Vedder, Layne Staley, Billy Corgan, or Chris Cornell, and then seal it in mylar and sell it today for the highest asking price at an auction in Manhattan. I want to be frank: it isn’t because of some desperate, last-ditch, celebrity cash-in…oh, um, yeah, uh, right…it is…

-It’s two in the morning. What does your protagonist reveal in confidence? (Don’t worry, we won’t tell.)

I’ve somehow managed to get a date with Detective Sadie Conrad, and after dinner and a movie I take her home, and she politely invites me in for a drink, hoping I will decline. No dice, I accept. Since she is attracted to another man, she tries to get rid of me, but I ignore her not-so-subtle hints and stay way too late, drinking all of her beer and telling her obnoxious stories about my days performing with various rock/metal bands and living in squalor amongst crab-infested groupies who would drip LSD into their eyeballs. Subsequently she becomes disgusted with me and decides to have a couple beers too, and confesses that the case regarding Amber Hollow is getting to her, and that maybe she should have reconsidered going into this line of work because of all the danger she is putting herself in. As the writer, I know her fate, and I want to assure her that she’ll be OK, but I might be lying. I have to confess: I’m really good at that!

-Which of your characters would you go out for drinks with?

Again, “Amber Hollow” is set in 1991, in the state of Wisconsin, in the city of Green Bay (amongst other townships both real and made up). My father has a cameo in the novel because he worked for the police station I used in the book, the Brown County Sheriff’s Department, and he was in his late 40’s at the time. I’d like to be my age now (50) and hang out with my Dad while he still drank alcohol. He had to quit for health reasons in September of 1991, only a few months after I’d turned twenty-one, so I never in my life got to have a ‘proper’ beer with my Dad (we were both in the house and imbibing at the same time, but we weren’t hanging out). So I’d head over to the police station and everyone would marvel at how much I look like him (a woman at Home Depot commented just the other day that she thought we were brothers), and because of this absurd peculiarity (my father is a man of science; this situation would perplex/amuse him) he’d accept my offer to sit outside in the parking lot and shotgun a six pack of Pabst! I love you Dad!

-You’re in a tavern, and a dwarf challenges you to a duel. What do you do?

Oh, Oh, Oh! I know this one! Thirty years ago, while I was living in filth with a performing rock/psychedelic/punk/metal band called Electric Marble, we had a neighbor who was a great guy but a notorious drunk. He’d stumble into our jam room while we were rehearsing, dancing around in circles, spilling beer from his open bottle everywhere, and eventually he’d wipe out and crash into a stack of speakers or the drum set, creating utter chaos and pissing us off. One time, when we weren’t playing, we were just sitting around listlessly watching A Clockwork Orange, he stormed in and insisted we learn how to Indian leg wrestle much to our protestations (he is an American Indian, and a Vietnam War veteran like my father. Cecil, I hope you’re still out there, man!) but he wasn’t taking ‘no’ for an answer. I didn’t want to do it because of the physicality it required, but he got in my face and literally made me, and I’ll tell you what…it was a hoot! If a dwarf challenged me to a duel, I would comply, but it would have to be an Indian leg wrestling contest, no exceptions. Once the (I’m assuming) angry dwarf is made aware of how to play, the duel will commence. The rules for the match? Each player lies on their back across from one another with one leg extended into the air and the players ‘lock legs’ (they hook each other’s leg around the other’s) with the idea of turning the other person over on their side with force of their efforts. I think you now realize why I at first didn’t want to play: it looked barbaric! It was brutal, but not life-threatening. A duel where the bested man (or woman…or dwarf) only suffers the indignity of losing their pride, which shouldn’t really be a factor if you’re playing Indian leg wresting in the first place!

-Is there a genre you could never write? Which and why?

I enjoy so many different types of literature that I honestly feel I could write in any genre, but I must confess that my creative soul seeks out the ‘dark side’ , so forays into lighter works (romance, chick-lit, puff-pieces) would possibly sound insincere, maybe even a bit contrived. With my novel “Amber Hollow” I have written the first book of my career for a wide audience (basically, PG-13), and I am proud that I could conform to those censorial discrepancies and come up with something I can be proud of, without all the gratuitous gore and pornographic sex. I honestly believe readers of “Amber Hollow” will be so intrigued that they’ll check out my pornographically ultra-violent prior works, if only for the aforementioned depravity!


Edgar Swamp is the author of the “Gyre Mission,” “Glitch in the Machine,” and “Blackout.” His short stories have appeared in Alienskin, Macabre Cadaver, and Urban Reinventors. When he isn’t holed up in his office playing online poker, he likes to dig up the recently deceased and make furniture out of their skin. He lives and works in San Diego, California.

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Edgar Swamp will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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5 thoughts on “AMBER HOLLOW by Edgar Swamp

  1. Congrats on this tour and thank for the opportunity to read about another great book out there to read. It helps out so I can find books I know my family will enjoy reading. Thanks as well for the giveaway.

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