Roland Allnach, Author of Oddities and Entities, Chats About the Closeness of the Supernatural

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Meet Roland Allnach

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 and Entities, also from All Things That Matter Press, followed in March 2012. It, too, has received favorable critical reviews, 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.

Synopsis of Oddities and Entities:

Oddities and Entities is a surreal, provocative anthology of six tales within the supernatural/paranormal/horror genres, exploring a definition of life beyond the fragile vessel of the human body. The stories are: ‘Boneview’, in which a young woman struggles to balance her ability to see through people with the presence of a supernatural creature in her life; ‘Shift/Change’, in which a hospital worker struggles to regain his memory as he is confronted by a series of desperate people; ‘My Other Me’, in which a lonely college student finds himself displaced from his body by his alter ego; ‘Gray’, in which a frustrated man is stunned to discover a little creature has been living in his head; ‘Elmer Phelps’, in which a brother and sister find themselves linked in a strange reality by a bat bite in their youth; and lastly, ‘Appendage’, in which a cynical mercenary is hired by his son to protect a research lab on the verge of a stunning discovery.

Praise for Oddities and Entities:

Oddities and Entities by Roland Allnach, categorized as horror fiction, is unlike any other horror fiction I have ever encountered. The book is comprised of six stories, each of which is written a cut above the norm. There are no recognizable monsters in these stories, no sophomoric zombies, no evil ancient vampires, and none of the standard fare I have become accustomed to in the horror genre. I do like the usual run of the horror genre, but this book is written with thoughtful intelligence, for an intelligent adult reader. I do not mean to imply sexual situations or coarse language. What I mean is, any intelligent reader, capable of deep thought, will find this book irresistible. The six individual stories are as unlike as any six stories can be, yet each one is so sufficiently well-written that, if sold as individual short stories, I wouldn't hesitate to award 5 stars to each of them.

To say I like this book is a crass understatement. Each story drew me in and evoked my empathy for various characters. These stories forced me to actually think beyond what I was reading. Each premise was unique, at least in my experience; I have never encountered any other stories that even approach the situations these present with authority and authenticity. If I could boil down my perception of this book into a single word, that word would be WOW! Roland Allnach’s first anthology, Remnant, which I have also read, was placed as a finalist in the Science Fiction category in the 2011 National Indie Excellence Awards. I absolutely expect Oddities and Entities to follow suit. If you read only one book this year, make it this one. Be prepared to have your comfort zone challenged.

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I would like to welcome Roland Allnach, author of Oddities and Entities to Emeraldfire's Bookmark. Mr. Allnach was kind enough to write a guest post for me and here it is below in his own words:

'The Supernatural Might Be Closer Than We Think'
by author Roland Allnach

There’s a natural trend of the human psyche to think beyond the immediate, evidenced in our capacity for abstract thought. To that end we have accumulated a rich cultural tradition regarding aspects of life we lack the ability to quantify. Religion has served to fill much of that gap, but as we’ve moved into modern times the abstract landscape has become more tolerant, and more open, to opinions of different natures, so to speak.

So, is there something out there beyond our flesh and bone existence? That is, of course, the elusive question. Sooner or later we come across things in life that challenge our delineation of the everyday world from phenomena that transcend the known natural order. We can call these things strange, weird, spine tingling, but for the most part they get lumped into the supernatural. Do we need strange creatures, premonitions, apparitions, or other-worldly entities to bear witness to the supernatural? I don’t think we have to go that far.

I’d like to illustrate this point with a personal experience. Last summer I lost a nephew in a tragic accident, just shy of his twenty-second birthday. A good man with a kind heart, he was working toward his pilot’s license. Unfortunately, this was not to pass. The day he was put to rest there was a large gathering of family and friends. In remembrance, family members released twenty two balloons at the conclusion of the prayers. Everyone looked up to watch the balloons. There were two clouds in the sky over our heads. As we watched the balloons rise through the silent altitude above us, a small propeller plane emerged from behind one of the clouds, crossed the sky over the balloons, and disappeared behind the other cloud. Needless to say, it was both an unnerving and soothing moment, for we felt we were given a sign that our nephew was at peace.

Now, I’m sure a cynic would say that it was nothing more than an exercise of probability. I’d like to turn that supposition on its head by another simple exercise of probability. If you factor the chance of those events coinciding - the release of the balloons, the position of the two clouds, the passage of the plane - there’s no other conclusion but a vast statistical improbability for things happening the way they did.

I won’t call it a miracle, but I’ll place my confidence that something happened that morning that logic can’t adequately explain. Perhaps it’s an emotional response to a very emotional moment, but I don’t think so. Odds weigh toward the opinion that something else was at work.

So, is it supernatural? Yes and no. Yes, something happened that morning that I can’t explain in ‘normal’ terms. On the other hand, no, it’s not something supernatural, because in reality it’s part of a world more complicated, and more subtle, than we often care to recognize. It is in fact quite natural, but made super because its factors combine to create something beyond their individual parts. Something that defied explanation was right there, and it wasn't hard to find.

All we had to do was look.

- Roland Allnach, author of Remnant; Oddities and Entities
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May you read well and often