Freeing Linhurst: Into the Tunnels received a 4+ star review, making it an IndieReader Approved title.
Following find an interview with author Al Cassidy.
What is the name of the book and when was it published?
Freeing Linhurst: Into the Tunnels. October 1, 2018
What’s the book’s first line?
“As Jack stood helpless, the scream was coming from the darkness.”
What’s the book about? Give us the “pitch”.
Two years have passed since Jack and Celia slipped inside Linhurst State School and Hospital to uncover the truth beyond its abandoned walls. Just when it seems that life might be returning to normal, a menacing force takes his best friend Celia into the tunnels. They race to free her and cage the powerful entity that threatens the future of a promising Linhurst campus.
What inspired you to write the book? A particular person? An event?
Growing up in the same town as Pennhurst State School and Hospital, the once nationally recognized “model institution” for the feeble minded, I had always wanted to tell a story that removes the ridiculous ghost stories of a place like that and paints a better picture of its stigma. That was where the first book in the series, and my first novel, Freeing Linhurst. It felt natural to continue the story of Linhurst and the characters, taking readers on a more adventurous ride and freeing them from fact-driven drama.
What’s the main reason someone should really read this book?
It’s not a typical horror or ghost story. Freeing Linhurst is based on a real place, Pennhurst State School and Hospital, once hailed as a model institution whose sole purpose was to remove people with disabilities from society and cage them on a supposed beautiful campus where unspeakable things happened. Now closed and abandoned, the stigma of a place like Pennhurst remains a stark reminder of a time when it was okay to mistreat people and turn the other way while “normal” people went about their daily lives. Readers of the book have found the fictional tale to be engaging and suspenseful while walking away with a new look on a time in America’s history that has been forgotten and covered up.
What’s the most distinctive thing about the main character? Who-real or fictional-would you say the character reminds you of?
Jack is unrelenting in his search for the truth, and his teen angst carries him through some challenging and frightening situations that most his age wouldn’t be brave enough to handle. (And it helps that he is out and moving, and doesn’t take time to play a single video game throughout the entire book).
When did you first decide to become an author?
I have written and illustrated for others in the past, but have always — since I was in elementary school — wanted to tell my own big story. I very intentionally chose to tell the tale of Pennhurst first because its fascinating history and relevance today was something that kept coming back to me since I first discovered it as a child.
Would you go traditional if a publisher came calling? If so, why?
Self-publishing can be very rewarding from a creative and liberating view, but it is quite challenging to market and promote oneself in a sea of self-published authors telling great stories. Having a publisher, I believe, could be very beneficial both from having that extra hand in getting my stories in front of interested readers, but I think it also legitimizes that my work is of a certain standard that can be difficult to convey on my own.