by Erik Therme
Word count: 70,000
Mortom: population 986.
On the outskirts of town, 33-year-old Craig Moore is found drowned in the lake. A loner and town eccentric, few attend the funeral.
One week later Andy Crowl arrives in Mortom, still stunned by his cousin’s death and equally confused why everything was left to him. The two hadn’t spoken in years and shared little outside of fierce childhood competition.
But Craig hardly did him a favor. The estate amounts to little more than a drained bank account and a property overridden with junk. When Andy finds a dead rat under the refrigerator with a key in its mouth, he thinks it’s some sort of sick joke. Then he finds the letter left by Craig, written two days before his death … detailing the rules of “the game.”
Erik, how did you come up with the title for your book? Does it have any special meaning?
At the library, I came across a book with MORTEM written on the spine. Upon closer inspection, I realized the library sticker was covering the word POST, and the title was actually POST-MORTEM. I changed the E to an O, and the fictional town of Mortom was born.
Who was your favorite character and why?
I loved writing Aunt Mary. She had no qualms about speaking her mind — especially when it came to protagonist Andy Crowl. It was always a treat to write their dialogue and scenes.
Does your book have any underlying theme, message, or moral?
Mortom revolves around family secrets and bad blood. If there’s a moral to be had, it’s that some secrets are better off buried.
What would/could a reader or reviewer say about this book that shows they “get” you as an author?
I’m always overjoyed when readers tell me they loved the antagonism between (siblings) Andy and Kate. Some people disliked their relationship, but — to me — the micro conflict was essential to the story and the final conclusion.
Give us an excerpted quote from your favorite review of this book:
“Mortom is one of those books you pick up and immediately can’t put down. I found myself trying to sneak reading in during work.”
Where can people learn more about your writing?