Oddities & Entities is an anthology, so its creation came in spurts rather than one smooth curve, as would be typical with a single story novel. The second story in the book, titled “Shift/Change”, contains a phrase that became the tag line on the back cover, and it goes like this: “There’s more to this world than flesh and bone.” I wrote “Shift/Change” a number of years ago, and it was even published as a stand alone story, but that one phrase lingered in my head, incubating. I have an active curiosity, as well as an active imagination, and a mechanical inclination. Those three translate to a general pursuit in my head, that I always wonder how things work and, perhaps more importantly, why they work. Life, with a big ‘L’, is the ultimate process to consider, with all its subtleties and gray areas, and I think that’s why the tag line stuck with me. Looking at things from a perspective outside the norm, “more than flesh and bone”, offered the opportunity to view the world we know through a very different lens, and through the perspective of characters thrust into the unknown. It offered a great deal of room to take common perceptions and turn them inside out, so that they could be re-examined. After all, the unknown is the most fertile forum for creativity.
Fast forward a year after the publication of my first book, Remnant, and I was toying with various ideas for my next publication. At the time I was in a groove of stories that seemed to be revolving around the paranormal and supernatural, fueled by that still lingering phrase from “Shift/Change”. Nevertheless, I still wasn’t thinking of an anthology, but I had two more of the stories that would become part of Oddities & Entities in their finished form – “Boneview” and “My Other Me.” I was in the middle of writing another strange story, “Gray”, when the light bulb in my head finally flickered to full brightness. I looked at the stories I had, and it was clear that I was indeed following the theme suggested by the tag line. With that in mind, I brought “Gray” to completion and decided on the initial order of the stories. I knew I needed two more novellas to round out the anthology, and, more importantly, bring the thematic arc to a satisfying climax. How I wanted to constitute that end came to me, and so followed the writing of “Appendage,” the concluding story. All I needed then was a nice bridge to expand some of the philosophical undertones of the book’s theme, and from that consideration came “Elmer Phelps”, the second to last story in the book.
At that point I assembled the stories, and they remained in the order in which they now appear – “Boneview”, “Shift/Change”, “My Other Me”, “Gray”, “Elmer Phelps”, and “Appendage”. I have to admit I was a little nervous the first time I read the anthology through, but my gut told me the stories would dovetail in proper fashion. Last, but not least, came a title. I already had something in mind; something that I thought had a little pop, a catchy rhyme, and left no doubt as to what the book might contain. Oddities & Entities went on the title page, and off it went to my publisher, All Things That Matter Press.
All Things That Matter is a small publisher, and I was very happy working with them on my first book. From that experience I knew they were receptive to the anthology format, so I was thrilled when Oddities & Entities got a green light. Leading up to the book’s release I had a few efforts in progress to expand my exposure, and, as luck would have it, Oddities & Entities evolved right into those plans. I was offered a feature interview on Lifetime’s ‘The Balancing Act’, so no sooner was the book out than I already had a good publicity lead. That was quickly followed by two interviews on World Talk Radio with Cynthia Brian’s ‘Starstyle’. Perhaps most satisfying, and enriching the book’s credentials, was award recognition in both the Reader’s Favorite Book of the Year Awards and the USA Book News Best Book Awards.
That’s the story behind the story, so to say. It’s been an interesting road so far, and I can only imagine where it will go in the future.
Roland Allnach has been writing since his early teens, first as a hobby, but as the years passed, more as a serious creative pursuit. He is an avid reader, with his main interests residing in history, mythology, and literary classics, along with some fantasy and science fiction in his earlier years. Although his college years were focused on a technical education, he always fostered his interest in literature, and has sought to fill every gap on his bookshelves.
By nature a do-it-yourself type of personality, his creative inclinations started with art and evolved to the written word. The process of creativity is a source of fascination for him, and the notion of bringing something to being that would not exist without personal effort and commitment serves not only as inspiration but as fulfillment as well. So whether it is writing, woodwork, or landscaping, his hands and mind are not often at rest.
Over the years he accumulated a dust laden catalog of his written works, with his reading audience limited to family and friends. After deciding to approach his writing as a profession, and not a hobby, the first glimmers of success came along. Since making the decision to move forward, he has secured publication for a number of short stories, has received a nomination for inclusion in the Pushcart Anthology, built his own website, and in November 2010 realized publication for an anthology of three novellas, titled Remnant, from All Things That Matter Press. Remnant has gone on to favorable critical review and placed as Finalist/Sci-fi, 2011 National Indie Excellence Awards; Bronze Medalist, Sci-Fi, 2012 Readers Favorite Book of the Year Awards; and Award Winner-Finalist, Sci-Fi, 2012 USA Book News Best Book Awards. Roland’s second publication, Oddities & Entities, also from All Things That Matter Press, followed in March 2012. It, too, has received favorable critical review, and is the recipient of four awards: Bronze Medalist, Horror, and Finalist, Paranormal, 2012 Readers Favorite Book of the Year Awards; Award Winner-Finalist, Fiction/Horror and Fiction/Anthologies, 2012 USA Book News Best Book Awards.
His writing can best be described as depicting strange people involved in perhaps stranger situations. He is not devoted to any one genre of writing. Instead, he prefers to let his stories follow their own path. Classification can follow after the fact, but if one is looking for labels, one would find his stories in several categories. Sometimes speculative, other times supernatural, at times horror, with journeys into mainstream fiction, and even some humor- or perhaps the bizarre. Despite the category, he aims to depict characters as real on the page as they are in his head, with prose of literary quality. His literary inspirations are as eclectic as his written works- from Poe to Kate Chopin, from Homer to Tolkien, from Flaubert to William Gibson, from Shakespeare to Tolstoy, as long as a piece is true to itself, he is willing to go along for the ride. He hopes to bring the same to his own fiction.