South Plainfield, NJ – Recently I had the opportunity to sit down with novelist Mark R. Vogel, a resident of Denville, NJ, to discuss his new book Crestwood Lake, published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Company and available through Amazon, both in print and Kindle versions. A man of many talents and interests, Vogel, a psychologist at the Lyons VA Hospital, uses his personal arsenal of interests in creating a horror story most appropriate for the season of Halloween.
In 2003 Vogel graduated from the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City and taught cooking classes and edited cookbooks for the next ten years. His writing career coincided with his passion for cooking. Since 2002 he has published 400 articles on food and wine in his column Food for Thought (http://www.foodforthoughtonline.net/. His articles appear in two print publications as well, including the Forked River Gazette and The Montgomery News. Vogel also lectures on epicurean topics, and his schedule of upcoming appearances can be found on his website, markvogel.info.
Moroney: How long have you been writing?
Vogel: I actually started writing in the 90s when I was working for a small paper in Parsippany. They sent me out to do articles on things like the police blotter. That led me to begin my food and wine column in 2002. I started branching out to various websites and publications, writing about wine and cuisine.
A little later, I wanted a change of pace. I started reading Edgar Allen Poe, and he inspired me. My first creative piece was a poem, and then I branched out and wrote a short story called “The Lake House.” After I finished the story, I realized that there was more there than I had thought, and that was the beginning of Crestwood Lake. I expanded the story into the novel.
Moroney: Crestwood Lake, like so many first novels today, is self-published. Would you tell me about the process of getting a book published if one is a novice.
Vogel: I have tried very hard to get an agent, but breaking into the horror market is very difficult. I was fortunate to find a company that was helpful with the self-publishing, and my book is sold currently at Ray and Judy's Book Shop in Rockaway and United Card and Smoke in Denville. Right now I am in the process of trying to find an agent to help me publish my second book.
Moroney: And, what is the second book? Obviously at the end of Crestwood Lake you leave the door open for the sequel. Are you working on that now?
Vogel: Actually, my second book, The Ripper's Time, is historical fiction. I am a Jack the Ripper researcher, and I have done extensive research at eh London Metropolitan Archisves on the subjet. and the new book is about a history professor at a fictional college called Garden State University, set in Morristown, NJ. The professor, also a scholar of the Jack the Ripper case, actually becomes obsessed with the Ripper's fourth victim, Catherine Eddowes. He wants to go back in time to save Catherine, so this is a love story as well as a historical/horror book.
Moroney: For those history fans who are fascinated by the witchcraft mania of 1692 in Salem, Massachusetts, you have tied the roots of the village of Crestwood Lake to Salem, Ma. including the ergot theory set forth in the 1970s. The ergot theory was that the grain in Salem became infected with ergot, which acted as a hallucinogen and caused the adolescents of Salem to accuse their neighbors of witchcraft. What made you choose to bring in the ergot theory to Crestwood Lake?
Vogel: I was aware of the ergot theory from my interest in cuisine. In fact, I wrote an article for one of my food columns called “A Witch in the Rye.” You can access this article through my website.
Moroney: What was the hardest part about writing your novel?
Vogel: The hardest part is the plot, and bringing everything together. Before I can write a book, I need to know the ending so I need to create the whole outline before I can write a book.
Moroney: The ending of the novel is action packed and very thrilling. You did a nice job with that. What was the easiest part about writing the book.
Vogel: Because I am a psychologist and I listen to people for a living, I like writing dialogue, and I think that is one of the strengths of the novel.
Moroney: Yes, your dialogue really advances the plot, which is the purpose of good dialogue writing. I am looking forward to reading the Ripper novel as well as the sequel to Crestwood Lake. I want to see what is next for Butch Morgan and his lady friend, Vicki.
To read more about Mark R. Vogel, to purchase Crestwood Lake, and to see Vogel's exciting speaking dates, visit markvogel.info.