Horror novelist Ray Garton, raised a Seventh-day Adventist, plans to write a comedy about his two years at Rio Lindo Academy. Here is an interview segment on his memories:
What do have on your plate now? What can your fans expect from you in the near future?
At the moment, I’m working on a book that’s a complete departure for me. It’s called DISMISSED FROM THE FRONT AND CENTER: A FICTIONALIZED MEMOIR, and it’s a comedy about my two years at a Seventh-day Adventist boarding academy (not unlike the academy in my Hellboy story). It’s not even a dark comedy, which is why it’s so unusual for me. I’ve been wanting to write this book since the day of my high school graduation, which turned into a riot with students, teachers, and parents throwing everything from fists to chairs. My dad bopped my science teacher over the head with his cane. It was a pretty shocking experience. I needed some distance on those two years, and now I’ve had twenty-four years of distance, and I’m halfway through the book. Also in the works is a horror novel called GALLERIA, about a haunted shopping mall.
Wow! I have to ask…what causes a high school graduation to turn into a riot?
It was a long tradition at Rio Lindo, the Seventh-day Adventist boarding academy I attended, for the juniors to line the center aisle as the graduating seniors walked out after the ceremony, sort of like an honor guard. Our principal, a bitter man named James Nash, decided to end that tradition in my senior year. He didn’t like the fact that some of the seniors, on the way out, would stop and hug some of their junior friends, whom they might never see again. He said it “offended some of the older constituents.” Well, we weren’t going to take it. I was senior class president, and I conspired with the junior class president. It was agreed that as I led the graduates off the stage, I would stop on the steps with my marching partner and at that moment, the juniors would line the center aisle for us. We did exactly that, but it turned out far differently than I had anticipated. The faculty, apparently instructed to do *anything* they could to stop it, bodily pulled some of the juniors back to their seats. Well, they tried, anyway. Fights broke out between the juniors and the faculty members. The parents got involved. Fists were thrown, and so were chairs. My dad bopped the science teacher over the head with his cane. It was chaos, and I had the best seat in the house. It was, quite simply, a riot. It was at that moment that I knew I would someday write a book about my two years at Rio Lindo. I even came up with the title then, DISMISSED FROM THE FRONT AND CENTER, which was how our vice principal dismissed everyone from religious services. I needed some distance from it, though — I had to get over my bitterness toward the church. I didn’t want there to be any bitterness or anger in the book, I wanted it to be a comedy. 24 years have passed, and I’m ready to write the book now. In fact, it’s over half-finished.