Spotlight On: Alex Laybourne

This year, on every final friday of the month, I will be turning the spotlight on other writers to showcase their talents here on my blog. To kick the series off, I bring you Alex Laybourne, master of horror, who will be sharing with us an extract from his book Highway to Hell. Without further ado, spotlights on, and I’ll let Alex introduce himself in his own words:

Born and raised in the coastal English town Lowestoft, it should come as no surprise (to those that have the misfortune of knowing this place) that I became a horror writer.
From an early age I was sent to schools which were at least 30 minutes’ drive away and so spent most of my free time alone, as the friends I did have lived too far away for me to be able to hang out with them in the weekends or holidays.

I have been a writer as long as I can remember and have always had a vivid imagination. To this very day I find it all too easy to just drift away into my own mind and explore the world I create; where the conditions always seem to be just perfect for the cultivation of ideas, plots, scenes, characters and lines of dialogue

I am married and have four wonderful children; James, Logan, Ashleigh and Damon. My biggest dream for them is that they grow up, and spend their lives doing what makes them happy, whatever that is.

For people who buy my work, I hope that they enjoy what they read and that I can create something that takes them away from reality for a short time. For me, the greatest compliment I can receive is not based on rankings but by knowing that people enjoy what I produce, that they buy my work with pleasure and never once feel as though their money would have been better spent elsewhere.

highway to hell

“Think of this as Purgatory – I will try to keep to your simple way of categorizing things. There are many places just like this, realms or realities that exist alongside your own, within your own, and a near infinite number which exist in the different pathways of time. This you will see for yourselves, I am sure.

“These worlds exist to house those who had died. To allow them time for contemplation, and to give us time to judge them. Some worlds are filled with those who led a righteous life, one worthy of a happy eternity. Others are fire realms, nothing more than holding pens for the cattle that will be marched below to where our fallen brother leads his hedonistic life.

“Then there are many filled with lost souls; empty, lonely places void of all feeling; ghost worlds filled with those that were forgotten, left behind when it was their time to rise… or fall. These worlds all exist separate from each other. Those who dwell or wait in one know nothing about the others. Although memory of your own world remains, given time it fades. Those in the fire realms seem to remember the longest. They are the ones who grasp onto their human memories as if it could somehow help them find redemption. While those who are righteous are given a mere taste of what awaits them and realize that there was no point to their lives.

“They are merely a short test which will determine your place in eternity. Pass and you will be rewarded, fail and punishment is a certainty, do neither and you will be destined to carry on living your mediocre existence in a world fitting to the task; a place such as this, for instance.

“This community, if you would like to call it that, is long abandoned. The souls simply fell from existence. In these outer worlds the boundaries that keep them sustained are weakened, bending all the time. It is not unheard of for these dimensions to disappear along with everybody in them. This was where we needed to bring you, for it is here that the boundaries are weakest.

“There is a war coming, a fight that has been brewing beneath the surface of all worlds since before time, and it is here that the first tears will appear. Once they start they cannot be stopped, and given time the barriers will break and all worlds will collide. Your earth, your mortal life, the kingdom of God will come crashing down from the heavens while the fiery underbelly of Hell will rise up and Lucifer, our fallen brother, will try once more to take control. This will not happen; it must not. Do you understand me?” Raguel’s eyes seemed to focus on all of them individually, yet simultaneously. It held them captive and allowed them all to see that this angel was far from the stereotype.

The group stood in silence. The words they had just heard were heavy to digest, and their brains had been sluggish before Raguel started, and so it took a while for everything to sink in. When it finally did they all had to fight back the urge to laugh, especially Graham who, despite his age, or possibly as a result of his age, was the most skeptical and cynical of them all. Once the laughter was contained without even so much as a nose snort, they all returned their attentions to Raguel, but instead of continuing with his explanation, he simple stared at them. There was a flash of light and a loud rustle of feathers. The wind created as the angel took flight brought tears to their eyes. Raguel was gone before any of them could register anything, the wind and sound apparently coming after the fact. All five of them had been looking straight at him, or so they would swear in later conversations, but yet none of them saw him leave. Like the greatest magician in the world, he was there one second and vanished like the victim of a David Copperfield illusion the next.

“Forgive Raguel. He does not deal with mortals well. He is a warrior through and through. Maintaining the balance is his purpose, keeping a watchful eye on us is his responsibility. The troubles of our father’s favorite creation are of little and no concern to him,” the angel who had been introduced as Nemamiah said. His words were noticeably more cordial than Raguel’s had been.

*****

Highway to Hell is available now as an e-book from Amazon, UK and US, and on Smashwords. Keep up with the latest news on the Facebook page.

You can find more of Alex on his website, his Facebook profile, his Facebook page, and on Twitter.

Got a question for Alex? Want to know more about Highway to Hell? Leave a comment below!

Comments
8 Responses to “Spotlight On: Alex Laybourne”
  1. Reblogged this on Official Site of Alex Laybourne – Author and commented:
    Today I am making a rare journey into the outside world, and sharing a few pages of my novel Highway to Hell with you all.

  2. Thank you so much for hosting me Nick, and yes, any questions, fire them across and I will give you an honest…most of the time… sometimes…. um… I’ll give you an answer.

  3. Zoë says:

    I really like it! Well done Alex!

  4. Jack Palmer father of the redoubtable Nick!!! says:

    Afetr trevlling on the A47 this week to get to Oulton Broad, a regular commute for me it is indeed a Highway to hell!!!. Best of luck with the writings Alex.

  5. acflory says:

    Well done. 🙂

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