Guest Post by Armand Rosamilia - Looking To The Past: The Origins of Chelsea Avenue

Publisher: Ragnarok Publications

Publication Date: September 8, 2014

Synopsis: On July 8th 1987, in Long Branch, New Jersey, The Haunted House Pier and Murphy's Law club fires destroyed not only local landmarks, but everything Manny Santiago found dear.

And it isn't over.

The entity responsible for killing Manny's family and wreaking devastation in the small seaside community has reappeared. Again. As it has every year since. And is growing in power. 

Every July 8th it returns, as survivors of the fires, including Manny, are mysteriously led back to the now-vacant seaside lot on Chelsea Avenue, where the entity intends to finish what it started in 1987 once and for all.

Guest Post: Looking To The Past: The Origins of Chelsea Avenue

The original story idea for Chelsea Avenue was in my head for many years. I can remember being in my early twenties and going to the actual Murphy's Law club to see local metal bands and thinking how cool it would be to write a story set in the place. The gloom and smoke leant a certain horrific feel, and my mind always wondered what kind of tale I could tell set in the club.

But I never wrote it. I had no clue how I should begin it. Would it end up being some cheesy rock n roll story or an evil band member killing groupies? (I've since written that story, actually, and it should be out soon). But the idea of using Long Branch New Jersey and its history in a future epic book was always on my mind.

Two things happened at about the same time in 2001. At this point, I hadn't written anything in a number of years. I'd just moved to Florida with my very young children and had started a new job as a retail manager in a big department store.

I was doing online research one night for whatever reason when I came across an article about the anniversary of the Haunted House Pier fire in Long Branch that happened July 8th 1987. It was an older article but it really took me back, not to the Haunted House, but to Murphy's Law and the streets of Long Branch. As usual, I thought about it for weeks but had no idea how to put it down on paper.

Then 9/11 happened. Even though I was now in Florida, I'd spent my life in New Jersey and had quite a few connections to those who died on that tragic day, including a great guy who I'd gone to school with and had become a police officer. They never recovered his body. The sense of loss was overwhelming and it hadn't touched my immediate family directly, but it had affected me as a person.

My mind began to mix around 9/11 and the losses… Haunted House Pier fire… Murphy's Law club… and a crude story was born.

Joe McKinney talked about the reason he wrote his first zombie book was because he had his first child and it scared the hell out of him. It was his response to becoming a dad in this crazy world.

Chelsea Avenue, for me, became my own connection to a life-changing event. What if our main character loses his immediate family and everything he knows in a horrific fire? How would he cope, especially still in high school and about to become a police officer, with his real life ahead of him?

Exploring the Long Branch of my past was the real fun for me. I contacted many real friends (like Tammy Kelly, who I've known since elementary school) and talked about growing up in the small town of Belford, only a few miles away from Long Branch. We all had stories of hanging out in the clubs like Murphy's Law and Brighton Bar or going to the Inkwell to hang with the Goth crowd. Hot dogs at The Windmill. Going west to the mall and White Castle (I once ate 37 cheeseburgers in an hour there) and everything else.

But I wanted the story to be set firmly in the past, so I didn't ask questions about Long Branch today. In my mind the lot where Murphy's Law had stood was still a weed-choked vacant lot. It still held an evil presence and it was still calling the survivors back to finish what it started…

Armand Rosamilia

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