Title: Letter from Hell
Author: M. Lee Mendelson
Publication Date: September 17, 2015
A simple, routine call to 911 unexpectedly erupts into a grisly suicide. Mike, a well-seasoned deputy is uncharacteristically disturbed by the gruesome scene. Who was this tortured soul, and why did this happen? Innocently, most of us accept our destiny. We assume our life experiences are the result of mere chance. Few of us discover that our fate is actually an orchestrated tapestry woven from beyond our world. When that influencing weaver is from the netherworld, you may likely find yourself on a dark, terrifying, and tragic journey. What if you discovered a letter penned by a desperate soul from beyond the grave, a literal letter from hell? What if that letter could alter your perception of reality by revealing that you are not in control? Would you dare read it?
A cold chill flowed through his veins. He had an uneasy feeling. He assumed that someone must be playing a joke on him. Not feeling jovial, Mike once again called the front desk.
“Front desk. This is Nandi. How may I help you?” answered the same Hindi-accented man.
“Look, Nandi, what the hell kind of game are you playing? I explained to youthat I needed to get some rest, and this shit keeps happening. I’m not amused, God damn it!”
The voice on the other end deepened and an unhallowed voice growled, “Sir… I… told… you… there… is… no… record… of… any… call!”
Overcome by a menacing sense, Mike hung up. “What the fuck was that?”
It was now 4:00 a.m., and Mike was exhausted. He thought about an oldblack and white TV series he watched as a kid, and pictured himself in one of the episodes.
The phone rang again.
“This can’t be happening!”
His anger conquered his trepidation, and Mike stormed out of the motel roomwith the phone still ringing. He marched to the front office and pounded on the door of the darkened room. A light came on from a back room, and Mike could see the silhouetted figure of the man who had checked him in earlier. As he drew closer, Mike could see that he was wearing a black bathrobe and brown slippers. He had dark olive skin and a large, bushy black mustache. His jet black hair was disheveled. He had clearly just gotten out of bed.
The man shuffled to the door, opened it, and with a similar Hindi accent and a simultaneous yawn the man asked, “Yes, mister? May I help you?”
Mike barked “NANDI!?”
The man looked perplexed and asked him, “Why would you call me that, sir?”
“Nandi. That’s your name, right…”
Mike was leaving the motel, he glanced back at the first room where he had experienced the unusual occurrences and thought he saw a dark-silhouetted figure standing in the window. It appeared to have the head of a bull and the body of a man. After a quick double take, he exclaimed, “What the…?” Suddenly, the figure was gone and the curtains hung motionless. “I must be losing my mind.”
Mike dismissed all of the events as Akbar playing games with him, and continued on to his appointment.
Interview with the Author
1) Can you tell us a bit about your background?
I am a recently retired Firefighter of over 26 years. During the past 12 years, I was also a part time deputy. I have retired from both and I am now a private investigator as well as an author of fine literature.
2) Where and when did your writing journey begin?
My journey began about one year ago. Before that, I never had any aspiration of being a writer. It was never on my bucket list to write anything, let alone a novel.
3) Who are your favorite authors and how have they influenced your writing?
Not being an avid reader, I would have to say the most prevalent influence would be Suzanne Collins, author of “The Hunger Games”. After reading her book, I was amazed at her ability to paint a picture with words. As a reader, I was immersed into the scene and I could visualize everything as it was happening. That is what I try to do in my writing.
4) What does a typical day in your life look like? And how does your writing routine fit into your day?
Being retired now, a typical day involves checking my files to see what I have to do for the day as an investigator, which typically includes hunting witnesses down for interviews.
My writing comes in waves of inspiration, so I don’t ever set aside specific times for writing. I only write as I’m inspired. When it does come, I simply play out the scene in my head and write what I see, much like a reporter. I never want anything I write to be forced. I think it would show if it was.
5) How did you come up with the idea for your book?
One night as I lay in bed, I was in that twilight stage between sleep and awake, when the idea suddenly came to me. I actually remember thinking, “Wow, this would be a really good book or even a movie.” With that, I came home and told my wife, Yvonne. She agreed, thought it was an interesting concept, and also thought it would be a good book or movie, if it was done right.
I recall asking Yvonne, an avid reader herself, if she knew of any authors that might want to take the idea and develop it. I just wanted to see the idea come to life. To my horror, she actually suggested that I write the story. I actually balked at the idea and said, “Are you crazy? I’m no writer.”
The truth is, I’m not much of a pleasure reader. That is to say, I’ve read maybe five books for pleasure in my life. So the idea of me writing something was bizarre to me, to say the least. I had no idea where or how to start. But, at the behest of my beautiful wife, I started writing. To my surprise, after reading the first chapter she told me, “This is really good.”
Of course my response was, “Well, you have to say that. You’re my wife.”
But after much reassurance and encouragement, she convinced me that she really did like it and that she wanted me to continue writing. So, with Yvonne looking over my shoulder and allowing me to bounce every twisted idea off of her, before I knew it, within about two months I had written a 103,000 word novel.
6) What do you think sets your novel apart from others currently on the shelves?
I believe my book is different because it’s written in the horror genre, yet I am told by many people who are not fans of the genre that it is much more than they expected. They are pleased that the story is not just blood, guts, and gore; it is a complex story full of emotions and excellent character development. But horror fans will be pleasantly surprised to find a delightful amount of gore to fill their need as well.
7) Which character in your book is your favorite and how much of yourself is reflected in that character?
I believe my favorite character is Frank “The Moose” Peterson. I believe that beneath his gruff exterior hides a soft side that his menacing size often masks. I don’t think I can relate to the bully part of his personality– I was always a bit of a softie. I, myself, was often at the receiving end of the bullies while growing up. However, like many of us, I learned to fend for myself. I can definitely relate to Frank’s bizarre sense of humor, which comes out throughout the story.
8) Which scenes in your book did you have the most fun writing?
Hands down, the bachelor party scene was the most fun to write. Frank’s full personality from silly to tender come to full fruition in this sequence of events.
9) What do you hope for your readers to take away after reading your book?
I hope that my readers will come away saying, “Wow!” and craving more. I hope that my non-institutional style of writing is refreshing to them and they will be clamoring for more. I hope that they will walk away and the story will be fresh in their minds long after they finish reading it. I hope that they will talk about it with their friends with such excitement that their friends won’t be able to wait to read it for themselves.
11) What are your hopes for this novel?
My hopes are that this story will be well received by many, not just fans of horror. I have had many people tell me they believe that it would make a great movie. That, of course, would be something, but I certainly am not holding my breath for that to come to pass. But, you never know. I guess anything is possible. If Charlie didn’t spend that last bit of money he found, he never would have toured the Chocolate Factory and lived happily ever after. So, any movie producers out there wanting a great story, look me up.
12) What do you have in store next for your readers?
The next book I’m writing steps away from the horror genre. It will be a post-apocalyptic thriller that will be unlike anything before it. I have started it already, and I believe in many ways, my readers will be thrilled at the intensity of the scenes.
About The Author
A first time author, M. Lee Mendelson and his wife Yvonne have six children between them, three boys and three girls. Yes–the Brady Bunch. He was inspired and encouraged by Yvonne to write his first book after he proposed the concept to her. M. Lee never dreamt of writing anything before his first book, but has now discovered he has a passion for writing, with one idea after another pouring out of him. A rare native Floridian, M. Lee recently retired from a career as a full-time firefighter and part-time law enforcement officer. His twenty-six years of experience on the streets have given him a vast array of experiences; some good, some bad. His recent retirement allows him much more freedom to dedicate to his newfound obsession with the written word. His first book, “Letter From Hell,” is a complex horror novel with a little something for everyone M. Lee’s real-life experiences, coupled with an active and vivid imagination, allow his stories to come alive. Striving to paint pictures with words, he immerses the reader into his scenes. His ambition is that people will enjoy reading his work and deem it worthy to recommend to others.