Newton Town – A Series of Dark Tales by Richard Letourneau
Six tales of terror reside within these pages, each will take you on a journey into the darkest recesses of the human mind.
These are not for the faint of heart.
Welcome to Newton, a town in the south of England with a dark history. A history many of the inhabitants would rather forget and ignore exists. With a deep web serial killer, cannibals, multiple murders, a cult, incest, bodily dismemberment, torture, rape and paedophiles. It’s no wonder the town wants to keep their history a secret.
Do you think you have what it takes to get through these tales of terror?
A Word from the Author
The idea for Newton began several years ago when I was a teenager, at the time I was writing a few short stories and I decided to have them set in the same town. I have no idea where or how I came up with the name Newton but it sounded good to me so it stuck. I have since lost the few stories I wrote but have a few memories of what I wrote.
As for my recent project Newton Town A Series of Dark Tales, I had written a torture scene a few paragraphs long and the idea for The Engagement grew from that. I wrote the paragraphs a few years ago, before my son was born and never returned to write the idea as I was busy. Then in 2016 I was on my Facebook looking through some old notes I had written and there it was.
I then saw a competition a few days later and started working on improving and extending the idea, trying to turn it into more than a torture scene and create a story. It took a few days but after some planning on some A4 I had a few characters and a basic plot.
There were multiple errors in the work after I typed it but I still sent it, just because I wanted to even though I had a sneaking suspicion I wouldn’t win. The story grew again and again and I ended up changing the lead bad guy but it worked. I joined multiple groups on Facebook and that’s when I found my first beta reader.
The beta who has been with me since The Engagement was in its early days. It is because of her support and for being my first fan that I named a character after her (Heather) and made her the focus of one story Heather’s Scar.
It took a while but I gained new betas and named a few more characters after them, first name not both. I finally finished The Engagement and my beta readers loved it and I had a feeling of accomplishment and was a little smug for a few hours.
My smugness grew tenfold when about two months later I was approached by a publisher who wanted to publish all 6 stories. But we can get to that later. As I was writing The Engagement, especially at the end I had a few new ideas, they had to be separate stories but relevant in their own way to another one, be it set before or after this one. So I named the stories first, strange to name them first I know but most of the time I find it helps me write. I had four names plus The Engagement and I was happy with that but a few days later during another story planning I came up with the idea for another.
That’s where Deep Web comes from, it was supposed to be its own story and have nothing to do with the series, the basic idea was the same but as I had similar names in my other stories I decided to make it part of the series.
The Engagement was the easiest to write, it underwent four maybe five changes to its length and ending especially. Room 242 I wanted to be a full on mad story not only about a psycho but it needed a love interest too to break away from the strong moments of mad violence and gruesome torture.
I had lots of fun writing it and didn’t hold back any ideas as you will see or have seen. When it came time to write Deep Web I already knew what I wanted to do as having the previous story about a killer on the deep web it made everything easier.
I had to give my main character a good back story and a reason to fall off the rails plus I needed to show things from his perspective. I also felt I had to do a scene about the killer from the previous story Room 242 as I’m sure lots of you were wondering why he was the way he was.
He was meant to have his own short story with more details of the event thrown in but I decided against it and just gave him a short part to explain things. Heather’s Scar was interesting to write, I wanted to make the last three stories set in the 17-1800’s so I could show Newton during this period but also the Norrington’s. I wanted to make a strong female lead character, she had to go through an ordeal that not only broke her mentally but also made her stronger.
It needed to be a revenge story as the previous wasn’t and it needed to show Newton in the past during the industrial revolution. At first the plot was Jeremiah was the father and Heather tracks him down for her revenge. I also changed it from his sons raping Heather to it being his friends as I didn’t think the idea would work as well. As for their torture and dismemberment I felt that maybe a few male readers would feel uncomfortable reading what happens so naturally I wrote it and kept it in.
Ghosts of Newton had to be set before Heather’s Scar so I could bring the Norrington’s into the story. The time period had to be when they had been living in Newton for a few years and as police didn’t exist at that time I naturally did my research and have brought the constables and night watchmen to Newton.
Thomas is on his first night of duty as watchman, a duty he is nervous to carry out as the previous two watchmen had been murdered. Newton in winter was also the new theme as I hadn’t really thrown much weather at any characters or the town. As I love winter, love the snow but also good old British weather all the rain so I have given Newton plenty of English weather for the Ghost’s as Thomas is spending most of his time outside.
The Norrington’s was a pleasure to write, as was all the others but this one had to be very dark and show you who they really were. Everything needed to be explained in this the closing chapter of the series so I planned it all out long before I even got close to writing it. The characters had already been created and the basic back story had been planned so when it was time to write it I knew what I was creating and it all fell into place. I had to make a few changes along the way but overall it is the same story I wanted to tell. Eldon and Lenora had to not only be evil but smart and savage, I also gave them a Gomez and Morticia Adams charm.
The 18th century is interesting to write about as the fashion and ways they lived are so different to our own now. We have so much digital technology now it’s unreal, most of how we communicate now is done on some sort of digital device. They also didn’t have a police force to help, the Watchmen were all they had and it was also this that attracted me to that time period.
It’s also a great place to start a history for families who have come to live in the town, it gave me loads of inspiration for where people came from and how some things would affect others further down the line. I have taken my knowledge and experience of this and thrown it into my new project, From The Shadows.
Part of my inspiration for the skin masks used in The Engagement was taken from Ed Gein. With the torture scenes I tried to use my imagination as much as possible and didn’t do any research into how any murderer killed their victims. Even though it was rather tempting.
I wanted it to be my personal thoughts and not something I took from a real life psycho, I wanted to create my own psychos. Coming up with the ideas for the torture scenes took a while, they had to be different and graphic to show off the madness of the character. Room 242 is a great example of how far I was willing to go, it was apparently so graphic that a group of book reviewers refused to look at it all.
Job done I say, I wanted to create something shocking, something only the true hardcore horror lovers would enjoy and come crawling back for more. My betas are as bloodthirsty as they come. Thank you all for sticking by me and for reading all my mad work. For those of you who are reading my work for the first time I have to say you’re in for a real treat.
(Richard Letourneau 2016)
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