Interview with Neil Rochford, Author of The Blue Ridge Project
Tell us about your new book:
Murder. Secret organizations. Experimental technology. Horrific crimes…
A detective, a journalist and a rich deviant struggle with their pasts as their actions set them on a collision course with each other and the sinister agency known as The Project.
Detective Andrea Nox has been asked to quietly investigate a bizarre and violent murder-suicide that could have consequences for Beacon City and the people in charge. Dead ends and odd clues are hindering her efforts, and when another similar murder occurs, she has to juggle the investigation and her own troubled past with the Beacon City Police Department.
Journalist Robert Duncan is visiting home after a personal crisis when the unthinkable happens, and he unearths secrets about his family and his place in it. His involvement in a dangerous and far-reaching conspiracy grows as he uncovers information that implicates powerful people in horrible crimes.
Frank Mortimer, disturbed son of a wealthy and influential family, is taking part in an experimental program that has promised to make him better. However, with the shadowy and powerful group known only as The Project behind the program, what he is getting better at could prove disastrous for everyone else, as a dangerous power is unlocked inside him…
Their paths will converge in a shocking story of murder, intrigue and clandestine experiments taking place that could change the world. Discover the secrets behind The Blue Ridge Project now…
What inspired you to write The Blue Ridge Project?
I was mostly inspired by the CIA’s MKULTRA Project. Their use of hallucinogenic and mind-altering drugs coupled with psychological manipulation and sometimes violence fascinated and horrified me. Sometimes the subjects were aware of what they were taking part in, and sometimes they were oblivious, but it was all in the name of progress according to the project’s supporters. I imagined what would happen if the procedures were even more invasive, if there was technology out there that allowed for real mind control, and what kind of people would be involved.
Give us an interesting fun fact about your book:
The character Frank Mortimer’s middle name is an homage to Stephen King’s creation Randall Flagg, one of my favourite antagonists ever.
What types of readers will enjoy this book?
The Blue Ridge Project is a Dark Paranormal Suspense novel. People who like stories about secret labs, shadowy organizations with huge power, government cover-ups, strong female leads, disturbing villains, metaphysical dilemmas and a little social commentary with mystery and suspense will enjoy it.
Where can we buy it?
The Blue Ridge Project was published in May 2016 and is available for sale on Amazon. This is the first book in The Project series.
Please share an excerpt from the book with us:
Laurence Kale looked out the thirteenth floor street-side window of his room in the Regent. He sat at the window with the curtain draped behind him and over the back of the hardwood chair he had pulled up to the window.
The bed behind him was queen-sized, with a red floral theme on the covers and pillowcases. Kale liked it, the colors and shapes reminding him of blood. The wallpaper was a maroon color, with tiny spearhead designs in vertical lines every eight inches. There was no TV, and the phone was off the hook. The room smelled of air freshener and copper.
Kale looked down at what he guessed was the older policeman for a few more seconds. He thought maybe that one would see that he hadn’t killed the man in front of the hotel. That he drove with the body and parked nearby afterward. That he dragged it through alleys and quiet streets on a tarp to place it across the street where he could keep an eye on his handiwork. He thought the fat cop wouldn’t figure it out for a while, though, and pushed back from the window and let the curtain flap down. The game he was playing with the note in the dead man’s hand would keep them busy.
He went into the bathroom and turned on the faucet in the bath. For an old hotel that looked so rundown from the outside, the bathrooms were in a pretty good condition. Nice attention to detail. He especially enjoyed the full-length mirror beside the bath. He removed his long, clean overcoat and revealed his blood-soaked clothes.
He stripped them off and dumped them on the floor. He stood close to the mirror and looked himself over, starting with his feet and coming all the way up to his face. He pulled on his eyelids and looked at each of his eyes, the pupils dilating and shrinking in quick succession. He pinched his nose, and pulled his ears out to the side. He pulled his bottom lip down and looked at his gums and bared his teeth. He smiled, frowned, and pulled faces, and then giggled, a high-pitched sound on the edge of glee. Water splashed out of the tub, and he turned off the tap.
It was the perfect temperature, just shy of scalding. He sank slowly into the water and began to massage his shoulders and arms. He thought he had maybe pulled a muscle in his shoulder when he’d been dealing with the body downstairs. The warm bath was doing wonders.
Doesn’t matter. It’s not like the damage is permanent.
He laughed again, cackling, and let himself go completely under the water for a few seconds.
He came up, blowing water out of his nose. He sighed, and decided that it was time. He leaned out of the bath and rummaged around in the pockets of his jeans until he found the razor blade in the back pocket.
He ran the blunt edge of the blade over his chest, then suddenly flipped the metal between his fingers and started to carve lines into it. The blood ran down into the bath water and red clouds started to appear. He then held out his left wrist and dug into it, severing the arteries, before doing the right. It was harder to use his left hand, especially now that he had cut deep, and sliced the tendons. He managed to burrow the point of the blade into the skin and hit a vital point just underneath.
Just then, he sat forward in the bath, splashing red-tinted water onto the floor of the bathroom. He looked around the bathroom with the look of confusion that appears on the faces of the freshly awoken and the dying. He cried out, his voice weak and low. His last sight was that of his open wrists, leaking his lifeblood into the water.
About Neil Rochford:
Neil Rochford is a freelance writer who loves fiction where bad things happen. He has spent the last six years abroad, working his way through Europe and South America while learning the business behind writing and self-publishing in between teaching and bartending. Originally from Ireland, he speaks three languages and has lived in Estonia, Brazil, France and Spain. He maintains his own website, dabbles in webpage creation, has written a number of short stories and is also a writer and regular contributor for popular Irish podcast Those Conspiracy Guys. To learn more, go to http://neiltr.com/. Readers can connect with Neil on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.