Some authors hold such a developed back catalog that to bring up a genre also conjures that writer’s name. Such luminaries like Ted Dekker or Frank Peretti need no introduction given their success and long-standing ability to craft tightly woven stories that heighten the senses. Now, it seems as if another author might be heading that same direction. Those already familiar with Robin Parrish will recognize the above comparisons and nod in agreement. The critically-praised “Dominion Trilogy” showcased his ability to spin fantasy tales seemingly destined for the silver screen. Last summer, Offworld followed suit as a sci-fi thriller that only cemented Parrish’s reputation. Now, Nightmare brings Parrish to the world of the paranormal—a subject usually left alone by Christian authors. “I’ve always been interested in the boundaries of this mortal realm we inhabit and what lies beyond it in the spiritual realm,” says Parrish. “The paranormal, above all else, is the study of that very thing. The notion of ghosts, a.k.a. disembodied souls, is such a commonplace concept that it’s part of our every day vernacular: ‘You look like you’ve seen a ghost.’ “Ghosts permeate pop culture, and that’s not a recent development,” he continues. “Going all the way back to Charles Dickens, one of the most beloved Christmas stories of all time features the ghost of Bob Marley delivering a very important message to Ebenezer Scrooge. The culture we live in can be quite obsessed with ghosts, but that obsession ultimately comes down to a single question: What happens when we die?” It’s that common curiosity that Parrish believes brings people of all backgrounds together, and he’s hoping it’s the thing to generate broad levels of interest in Nightmare. “Pondering all of the questions that go along with that is what made me realize that this was a topic incredibly ripe for storytelling. But a story is more than a topic. I still needed a good story.” That story finds Nightmare’s protagonist Maia Peters visiting a new theme park centered on the paranormal. When she enters the central ride, the Haunted House, Maia sees the ghost of a girl who recently disappeared, leading her down a trail she never expected. It’s paired with a twist that Parrish says struck him as brilliant even at its first moment. Of course, it’s nothing he can give away. “The story came to me when I thought of a twist that would allow me to write about this very controversial subject in a way that would make sense to everyone,” says Parrish. “Whether you believe in the paranormal or not, this twist, this idea, was so juicy from a storytelling point of view, that I just couldn’t resist it. I’ve mentioned several times over the last year that this is one of the best ideas I’ve ever had, and I still believe that. The twist is a major reveal in the book, so I’m not going to spill it here, but I can say that it comes at almost the exact middle of the story.” — Matt Conner For more information on Nightmare, check out Matt Conner is a music writer for the Indianapolis Star, HM, Relevant and Metromix and the founding editor of 58 CCM