If you’re on this site, chances are you already know I’m C. Dennis Moore, and if you know that much, you probably already know I write the Angel Hill novels. If not, here’s some info.
Angel Hill, Missouri is a fictional town I created when I first started writing in 1991 as my own version of Stephen King’s Castle Rock, only set in Missouri and more metropolitan than King’s small country town. In fact, Angel Hill started as a slightly more sinister version of my own town of St. Joseph. The difference is, Angel Hill has about half the population (St. Joe has around 76,000 people), and there are ghosts in Angel Hill. I mean a LOT of ghosts. And not just ghosts, but all kinds of weird things.
It’s set just outside St. Joseph, on the spot where the Platte River crosses US169, forming an X and splitting the town into four sections.
The first Angel Hill story I wrote was “The Man in the Window”, which I eventually rewrote several times over the years until this final version was published in 2011 by Crossroads Press. The problem with “The Man in the Window”, in terms of Angel Hill, though, is that the climax takes place in the next town over, Fairfield (another fictional town), but I like the think whatever energies power Angel Hill served as a catalyst for anything to happen at all.
Next was THE THIRD FLOOR, which I wrote, again, several times, and self-published in December 2012. This novel has always held a special place for me because many of the haunting events that take place there happened to me in that actual house. Yes, for years, I lived in the house depicted in the novel. This was also the novel where the town began to feel more fleshed out and readers really started to connect with it. It’s a dark place, but it’s also an interesting one, I think. Luckily, several tens of thousands of readers have felt the same.
Then came THE GHOSTS OF MERTLAND. This novel established an important landmark in Angel Hill, one that would come into play in another novel later, and allowed me to further explore some of the darkness in the town. This was a very short novel, just over 50,000 words, and many of the scenes read like fever dreams, but it’s an important establishing story for Angel Hill.
THE FLIP centers not on ghosts in Angel Hill, but a curse. And four friends trying to start their own business are caught in the middle of it. This novel is more like THE THIRD FLOOR in tone and length, and anyone who liked the first one will almost definitely dig this one.
The most recent Angel Hill novel was a collaboration with my buddy David Bain, RETURN TO ANGEL HILL. We decided to take his character, Will Castleton, and bring him to Angel Hill for a few days. This is the first of the novels not set in one main location, but utilizing the entire town and its wonders. I loved the chance, with this book, to stretch out and see what else was going on in town instead of focusing on whatever main stage the other novels were set.
And the best thing about the Angel Hill novels? They don’t have to be read in any particular order. There’s no over-arching story here. Each novel is a standalone, with the only real tie being the town they’re set in.
For 2016, I have two new novels I want to write. I’m not fast at the novels, though, so I’m HOPING to get them both written, but at my speed, and with my work schedule, it’s not a guarantee. I’m going to try my best. Especially since one of them is something of a sequel to THE THIRD FLOOR.
And it doesn’t stop there. I’ve also written some Angel Hill short stories. These are a ball to write, too, because they’re something of a challenge, and I LOVE a writing challenge. In the case of the Angel Hill shorts (which so far consist of “Carlotta Valdez”, “Flagpole Sitta” and “Woolly Muffler”), I’m basing the titles on songs by the band Harvey Danger, starting with their debut album, WHERE HAVE ALL THE MERRYMAKERS GONE? and working my way through the tracks from start to finish. Already, I’m trying to figure out what the next story, “Private Helicopter”, could possibly be about that wouldn’t be trite and predictable.
Of all the stories I’ve written over 20+ years, and that’s a LOT, the Angel Hill stories and novels have been the ones to most widely connect with readers, and that’s just how I wanted it when I conceived of the town back in 1991. What I hadn’t considered back then was just how complex the place would become. Every story I discover some new aspect of it, and it’s always a surprise, sometimes a terrible one.
If you’ve come this far, chances are pretty good you’ve already been to Angel Hill a time or two. If not, then hopefully this served as a decent introduction and has made you curious. If so, just click one of the covers above to go to that book’s Amazon page. Thanks for stopping by. Hope to see you in Angel Hill real soon.