Guest Blog: Neil Rochford, Author of THE BLUE RIDGE PROJECT

Published May 12, 2016 by The Author

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The Blue Ridge Project
The Project
Book One
Neil Rochford

Genre: Dark Suspense/Paranormal
Date of Publication: May 6 2016
Number of pages: 260
Word Count: 65,500

Cover Artist:

Book Description:

Conspiracy. Murder. Secret experiments. Mind control. 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 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 secrets are unearthed 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, conspiracy and clandestine experiments taking place that could change the world.

About the Author:

Neil Rochford is a freelance writer who loves fiction where bad things happen. After more than five years traveling from continent to continent and a few short stories, he finally got to work on his first book, and hopes to continue writing as many as he can. Originally from Ireland, he speaks three languages and has lived in Estonia, Brazil, France and Spain. He is a staff writer for the popular Irish podcast and website Those Conspiracy Guys.


Everybody please welcome the author of THE BLUE RIDGE PROJECT, Neil Rochford!


Hello out there bloodthirsty readers! I’m Neil Rochford, author of The Blue Ridge Project and writer & contributor for Those Conspiracy Guys. I’d like to bend your ear about some of the things that inspire my stories, so pull up a seat and watch out for the creative juices…

My parents taught me to read at a young age, and I’ll always be thankful to them for that. It cuts both ways, though, because it led to some long bouts of boredom in my early years when classmates were still struggling on the first couple of pages and I was ready to move on to the next story. Because I was unoccupied, my teachers would sometimes let me move on to something else, a ploy to keep me from “entertaining” the other kids to get the attention I wanted.

With two older brothers and a collection of horror and pulp stories at home, it wasn’t long before I was introduced to the wonderful Stephen King. I recall a fun incident where my parents were alerted to the fact that I was reading The Stand during English class at 12 years of age, a possibly unsuitable book for a young child on the cusp of adolescence. They responded by saying “Well, isn’t he reading at least?”

King would become a large part of my literary self-education as I would read everything of his that I could get my hands on, over and over. I think now that I was subconsciously looking for the magic of the words, the secret combination that he would put together to make me feel and think the way I did when I read his work. I would try and emulate him in my short stories, tales that would sometimes shock my teachers into giving me an ‘A’ while simultaneously writing a note about inappropriate subject matter in the margins. Of course, I also read a few classics, and some seventh-hand treasures I would find propping up tables in tiny thrift bookstores, but nobody ever held me like King did. As I began in earnest to learn about writing, I started to understand why: he made a connection between you and the characters he created. I think connection is too weak a word, though. He would jam an umbilical cord into your mind that hooked you up to the people on the page, flushing emotion and understanding into your body instead of blood and nutrients, leaving you cold and possibly a little teary when he yanked it out at the end. When I knew I wanted to be a writer, that’s the kind of writing I wanted to learn how to do. (Whether I’ve achieved that in this first book remains to be seen, but I’m sure we all have to start somewhere!)

For this particular book, and quite a few of my short stories as well, I also take inspiration from music. Namely, a lot of the songs that ex-Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante recorded. Aside from being an immensely talented musician, songwriter, composer and singer, he has a tendency to sing about metaphysical topics and questions. He refers a lot to multiple dimensions and versions of the self, the idea of unity and the ability to look into and out of infinite planes of existence. That aspect of life and approach to philosophy – that we are all one consciousness, experiencing ourselves and each other subjectively – has always fascinated me, and fuels my imagination. Also, it’s amazing to listen to. I would recommend Shadows Collide With People and Curtains to begin with.

Apart from those, I like to fuel my imagination with television, a medium that I feel glad to have witnessed mature as I grew up in tandem. Before, the trope was that television was a dirty outlet for hack writers who sold out their integrity and their art for rails of cocaine and passing fame. Now, it’s more possible – and profitable, allowing the show to stay on the air – to tell incredible, deep and intricate stories over a season or series. People talk about the novelization of television, or the audio-visual novel. More of an emphasis on continuous narratives and long story and character arcs that can be as rewarding as a well-written book. A few come to mind as I write this, like The Wire, The Shield, Battlestar Galactica, Breaking Bad, The Sopranos, Fargo, True Detective, and so on and so forth. I can be inspired by the density of these stories and be confident that today readers and writers can be proud to say that they watch and analyze stories told through television, and are not afraid of big themes or grand tales.

Real life comes into the equation too, because that’s how a writer creates believable characters. Genuine flaws and features that you might only know or perceive superficially, in passing, or deep insights into people that you’ve known for decades, if used correctly they all make for great writing. Conversations I’ve had or overheard, local sayings and choice phrases can end up in dialogue that hits the right spot with readers.

In short, I try and keep my mind open to everything in the hopes of having a good idea or two. I like to think of my imagination as a sponge, soaking up whatever the universe is pouring out, and then try to get as much as I can on the page before it spills all over the ground and disappears. It’s my hope that my stories can one day end up in somebody else’s sponge, and continue a cycle that’s been going since the first person ever sat in front of a fire and told a tale to the people gathered around the flames, beating back the dark with their imagination.

Thank you for dropping by, Neil! It’s been a pleasure reading your book, and I always enjoy a peek into other authors’ processes!

My Review:

Part of why I do reviews (even though I’m an author myself) is that I get to read tons of books–for free–that I might never be exposed to otherwise. It helps me experience other purveyors of my trade, and learn from them. It especially allows me to stretch my genre horizons. Writing reviews for them means I never skim right through — I read cover to cover to make sure I really get immersed in the story (hopefully) and base my opinion on the experience of that story, rather than ignorance or stereotype of an unfamiliar genre.

Well, in this instance, I’m SO glad I do! THE BLUE RIDGE PROJECT is a tasty tome full of terrifying technology and monsters, with great noire and suspense flavor. A modern cross between Frankenstein story and cautionary tale, with dashes of mystery thrown in. I was riveted all the way through.

It’s difficult to describe the things I loved the most without spoiling the good stuff that makes it hard to put THE BLUE RIDGE PROJECT down.The three-dimensional characters, their individual arcs, and the way they weave together is like the best kind of puzzle. In addition,  the rich prose is reminiscent of Stephen King — as is the sometimes gruesome story. This book is definitely not for the faint of heart! (But if you love a good horror tome, you’ll love that aspect.”

All-in-all, I’m really pleased I got the chance to read THE BLUE RIDGE PROJECT, and I can’t wait to read the rest of the books in the series. This wild, scary genre hybrid gets a hearty

4.5-full-moons 4.5 Batty Moons!

GIVEAWAY — 10 copies of THE BLUE RIDGE PROJECT for Kindle! Just follow the bats! (1)

4 comments on “Guest Blog: Neil Rochford, Author of THE BLUE RIDGE PROJECT

  • Thanks for letting me write for your website Heather, it was fun! And thank you for the kind words about the book, I’m glad you enjoyed it. Hope your readers do too!

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