Casey Bartsch resides with his wife and step children in the small Texas town of Belton. The scenery is well manicured and roads well-tended, though the frequency in which he gets out to see those things is minimal. Most of his time is spent huddled up in a small shed that he converted into an office, hoping that his fingers will do some typing, and dreaming of when the world will implode in on itself, leaving him stranded on a small rock drifting through space.
His wife, Lindsay, is intensely supportive of his hopes and dreams. She remains the first line of defense on the borders of his ever shifting emotional state. Should Casey choose to write today, it will be because he knows she exists out there to catch him when he falls.
Casey writes horrific tales in which he attempts to shine a light on the darker aspects of humanity, but which truly just show off some the more menacing sides of himself. Thus far he hasn’t written about ghouls and monsters in the shadows, but dastardly people performing unforgivable deeds. He’ll get to the monsters later.
Strawberries was his first novel and it took him a long time to write it. It wasn’t until Lindsay came into his life that he gave himself permission to make it happen. It’s the story of how several seemingly unrelated characters – including a washed up FBI agent and an incredibly high dollar prostitute – are affected by the comings and goings of a serial killer. There is plenty of horror and blood. In fact, there have been quite a few people that have reported that they couldn’t keep reading after the prologue because it was too intense. But, there is also love in the book; humor and humanity.
Behind the Red Curtain came next and it was written much more quickly once he finally sat down and committed. There is much less levity in that one. I believe Casey’s headspace must have been very dark indeed. It is the story of a woman named Lucy who is kidnapped by a psychopath and forced to watch him live his crazy life. At the risk of using cliché – not all is as it seems.
He is working on a novel now that will be by far the longest he has written. It is an epic tale of good and evil in the vein of Swan Song, The Great and Secret Show, and The Stand – tentatively called The In-Between, but at this point, he really hates that title and will probably change it.
Casey envies those that are capable of writing to capacity. Those that can churn the words out day after day. He wishes that he had the ability to write faster and more diligently. Unfortunately, his books take a lot of time, so he hopes that you don’t mind waiting.
Author's note: Strawberries
Once upon a time, I had written about 2/3rds of five different books. Each time I would learn to hate them and give up. I came to this hate because throughout the course of writing, I would come across certain decisions. I would want to go a certain way with the story but the naysayers in my head would decide that no one would want to read it. It was too weird or dark, so I would choose the safer path. After multiple decisions like this, the book would turn into something that I never wanted.
You would think that I would learn from these mistakes more quickly, but I didn’t. Five books went the same exact way until one day, something happened. All that I had written up to that point was on a hard drive as well as backups on CD’s (This was previous to the popularity and cheapness of thumb drives) stacked on top of my computer - and somehow the machine caught fire. I mean that literally. The hard drive was toast and the flames welded the CD’s together. If I was the type that believed in godly intervention, this would have been my proof. Everything was effectively gone, and after a single day of mourning, I realized that what I felt was relief.
I no longer had the burden of those books. From then on, I would only write what I wanted. It would be the better part of a decade before I actually gave it another shot.
Strawberries began as a nightmare. The prologue of the book are the exact events as they unfolded in my dream, odd dialog and all. When I woke, I immediately wrote down the story and it sat in a drawer for years until I finally decided that I wanted to try and write a book again. I had no idea where it would go from there, but I am happy with where it ended up.
The first chapters took months. The first draft; years. What is published represents the third iteration and I hope to hell that you never get your hands on the trash that came first.
Author's note: Behind The Red Curtain
I was writing a book called People Are Strange and it was kicking my ass. It was in first person, which I had no experience with. The themes were far deeper than anything else I had attempted. Basically, I sucked at writing it at the time. I will go back to that book in the future and I believe that it may very well end up being the best thing I ever write. But it wasn’t the time.
When I finally made the decision to scrap months of work and start something new, I didn’t have a clue what that would be. Then I went to the bathroom. Many people report that ideas come to them on the toilet and this is absolutely true. I spent several hours thinking about what to do next and it wasn’t until I sat upon the porcelain idea hole that the story came to me. It took me another month to sit down and actually write it, but once I did, it was pretty easy.
There is a twist in the book that came to me at the time that most of my best ideas come – just before falling asleep. Without that idea, I fear that the book may have turned out to be rather boring. As it stands, everyone I’ve talk to mention it to me. It’s a real WTF moment that people seem to enjoy. That moment basically redefines the entirety of what Red Curtain is about and I can’t imagine anyone would see it coming. I know I didn’t.