James D. McCallister

author of the Edgewater County series


I was tagged on Facebook and did this exercise for my current book, Fellow Traveler, which being in print makes it technically a Current Big Thing rather than the Next Big Thing.

So, you may find yourself asking, what IS the next big thing from the dmac literary universe? Answers below.

What is the working title of your book?


What is the genre of your book?


Where did the idea come from?

My first couple of attempts at novels, MANSION OF HIGH GHOSTS and Fellow Traveler, were ambitious in literary intent and scope, so I wanted to dial it back a bit by writing a coming of age story, King’s Highway, as well as a more commercial, character-driven genre effort. Since I’d admired Stephen King as a young reader, I thought about a horror novel: a female POV, character-driven thriller. A haunted house story? No. Monsters? Demons? It’s all been done. I scanned the shelf of King titles, stopped on this one. Cujo. As an animal lover, I thought, what horrifies me? Animals in peril. Animal rescue. Another important book title on my shelf, and everyone’s: South Carolina literary giant James Dickey’s Deliverance.

An animal lover’s Deliverance.


What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

After the death of her ten year-old son, bereaved Randi Margrave decides to risk her own life to rescue a group of abused pit bulls from the Macon brothers, a pair of violent, backwoods dog breeders.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

The first draft came in about six months during mid-2008. Alongside other projects, I’d go on to revise it through perhaps 15 drafts, ending in late 2012 with the current submission version.

Who or what inspired you to write it?

My wife’s involvement with animal rescue and animal rights issues provided the seed and the spark, as well as a photo I saw of an abused pit bull, a runt that had been used as what’s known as a ‘bait dog’ to train the stronger of its brethren. How monstrous, I thought. Who would do such a thing? The villain of my animal lover’s horror story, that’s who.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

The manuscript is under representation by Michelle L. Johnson of Inklings Literary, and is currently on request at Penguin, Hachette (Grand Central), Kensington, and Prometheus (Seventh Street).

What other books would you compare this book to within your genre?

Deliverance, Cujo, and The Accidental Tourist, for its plot concerning a marriage crumbling from the death of a child.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Why, thank you for asking—it just so happens I’ve recently completed a screenplay version of the novel, too. Protagonist Randi Margrave, mid 30s, would be a part well-suited for someone like 2012 Oscar nominee Jessica Chastain.

About dmac

James D. McCallister is a South Carolina author of novels, short stories, and creative nonfiction. His latest book, a story collection called The Year They Canceled Christmas, releases in November 2017.

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