Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Author Spotlight: Derek Odom

  Please tell us about yourself and your writing.

Well, I’m 38 years old and live in SoCal. I finally got sick and tired of having an actual job and quit it all to write full time in 2008. I like dark fiction, mostly, but I’ll write just about anything if I’m in the mood.

What inspired your current book?
It was an assignment I was doing in 2009 for a creative writing course. I wanted to really disgust the people in my group, so I wrote some real sicko stuff. Turns out, it isn’t half bad! 

A young chess hustler goes on the supernatural adventure of a lifetime when he meets Mortimer Blackwell, a strange elderly man, who grants him an irresistible gift.

Visit Derek on the Internet:

Buy Link:


He noticed an older gentleman near the back wall who smoked a cigar. The thin man wore a black sweater with a pair of black slacks, darkly tinted sunglasses, and a dark gray derby that sat atop well-groomed, white hair. He was a sharp contrast to Sam's greasy, unkempt long black locks and casual attire. Sam easily spotted him as a mark and approached in hopes he'd make a few dollars.
“Hi, want to play chess with a real master?” Sam asked. “Dollar a game, and I’ll play without one of my knights.”
“I’ve been waiting for you,” the old man said. A spiral of white smoke plumed from his cigar.
“Oh, yeah? What for?”
“Have a seat, Sam,” he said. “The name’s Mortimer. Mortimer Blackwell.”
The old man’s smile was disarming.
“Nice to meet you, Mortimer. Now just how the hell do you know my name?” Sam asked, still standing.
 “Please, sit,” Mortimer said. He placed his hand out, palm up, and gestured at the empty seat across from him.
Sam squinted. A look of suspicion crept onto his face.
“You have two minutes. I don’t deal well with creeps,” Sam said. He plunked down and looked rebelliously at Mortimer. 
“I would like to see you at full power,” the old man said.
“Full power? What does that mean?” Sam asked.
“I have seen how you shred your opponents out there. Some of them are masters themselves, but you beat them as if they were beginners.”
Sam forgot the old man had known his name. There was something about Mortimer that put him at ease.
“Oh, that. Yeah, most of the people I play are amateurs. The masters are so rough around the edges because of the booze and drugs, they can’t see me coming,” Sam replied.
“Precisely. So if you can wipe the board against other masters in the park, just how good are you at full steam? Do you know?”
“I guess pretty good.”
“One of the best?”
“I don’t know. Maybe.”
“Listen,” Mortimer said, “you have the right idea, but hustling chess for dollar bills is beneath someone of your skill level. You could be so much better.”
“Oh? And just what did you have in mind?” Sam asked.
“I’m talking World Chess Champion. I’m talking more money and power than you’d know what to do with. I’m talking about total freedom, Sam.”


  1. Hi Derek, thanks for being my guest this morning. So tell me, what inspired you to combine chess and the supernatural in your story?

  2. Ah! A great question with an easy answer.

    I’m addicted to both, basically. I also think that supernatural things and chess (especially the grandmaster title) go hand in hand, because both are sought after by a large number of people but only found by a few.

    To those who love it, chess is a magical game already. But I wanted to see what would happen to a seemingly magical game when real magic was added into the mix. The result was Gamble. :)

    1. I know from my h.s. days that chess isn't exactly a spectator sport. ;-)

      What are your other supernatural stories about, Derek?

  3. Haha, you might be surprised! Watching two really good chess players bang out an over-the-board blitz game can be exciting for sure! Those suckers are FAST.

    I’ve another supernatural tale called Death’s Ride that I’m fond of. Harold is diagnosed with terminal cancer and makes a deal with Death for a hot rod and a second chance. Since it’s a short, that’s all I’ll tell ya! :D

    Death’s Ride: http://www.amazon.com/Deaths-Ride-ebook/dp/B008T2THJQ

    1. I've seen my fair share of sudden death. :D

      Sounds neat. I'll have to check it out. Are you familiar with "On a Pale Horse" by Piers Anthony? Great story. :)

  4. I actually have heard of the story, but have never read it. Thanks for the recommendation! Is it freaky?

    1. Engrossing. The protagonist is a young man about to commit suicide and he winds up killing Death instead, so he gets stuck with Death's job.

  5. OHHHHH! Yup, I'm going to read that. Sounds really interesting!

    1. Anthony has an entire series around the concept of incarnations of immortality. Death and Time are two of the more interesting. Evil's story is cool but rather convoluted.