Thursday Themes – C.J. Sutton

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I’m absolutely delighted to welcome C.J. Sutton to my blog today to discuss his debut novel, Dortmund Hibernates. I’m currently reading this and it’s blowing my mind…

Book cover

A Step into the Darkness by C. J. Sutton

I’m often asked where my story ideas come from. After people read my debut novel Dortmund Hibernate these questions are asked with even more vigour. When you’ve crafted nine disturbing and despicable criminally insane individuals from nothing but your mind, suddenly there’s this perception that you’re one disturbed individual yourself. I imagine Stephen King has carried this perception since he released Carrie all those years ago. But the truth is, I’m quite normal in a living sense. I live in a small suburb in Melbourne with my wife and two rabbits. I work full-time as a writer for a health care company. I watch my weekly football team, I enjoy a few beers and my car sometimes doesn’t start. But when I write fiction, I feel the shackles drop away. There are no limitations. Dortmund Hibernate opens with an animal-obsessed murderer recounting the time he stuck spiders up the nose of teenagers who tried to steal his car, and then fed the ring leader to his starving anaconda. The protagonist moves from cell to cell hearing about these gruesome, horrific and disturbing tales in the hope of curing their sickness. What does this say about me? Not much, I would imagine. Spiders and snakes scare the living shit out of me, so I can’t imagine I would utilise their abilities; I would be running the other way. Where do my ideas come from? Thin air.

I find freedom in writing fiction. No boss is going to scathe me for missing the point. I know the point intimately, and I can arrive at the point as creatively as possible. The interplay between psychologist and inmate in Dortmund Hibernate demonstrates the difference a cage makes. On one side you’re a respected individual, and on the other you’re condemned. But is life really that clear cut? Do the criminally insane have moments of reasoning and clarity? Do the professionals have thoughts of death and destruction? This exploration excited me, and the results are rather dark and dangerous.

As I step into the darkness, I want you to join me. I want you to meet the nine and to follow our protagonist as he manoeuvres through this small town with the burden of responsibility. He decides whether these individuals can integrate into a maximum-security prison for the rest of their days, or if they receive an immediate death sentence under a new government act. The asylum is closing in six weeks and the world is moving on. But they won’t leave quietly. For when they sense opportunity, these dark minds grab the head and squeeze out the goo. Jasper James, most notorious inmate of all, will happily sit in wait. He’s been doing so for nearly a decade, and he has some surprises in store for you.

Where do my ideas come from? I can’t give you an answer. All I know is that they’re like voices that only stop talking when I type them out on the screen.

Even then, some linger evermore.

About me

C.J. Sutton is a writer based in Melbourne, Australia. He holds a Master degree in Communication and supports the value of study through correspondence. His fictional writing delves into the unpredictability of the human mind and the fears that drive us.

As a professional writer C.J. Sutton has worked within the hustle and bustle of newsrooms, the competitive offices of advertising and the trenches of marketing. But his interest in creating new characters and worlds has seen a move into fiction, which has always pleaded for complete attention. Dortmund Hibernate is his debut novel, released by Crooked Cat Books on July 18. It is available now –

Author photo

Dortmund Hibernate

Psychologist Dr Magnus Paul is tasked with the patients of Dortmund Asylum – nine criminally insane souls hidden from the world due to the extremity of their acts.

Magnus has six weeks to prove them sane for transfer to a maximum-security prison, or label them as incurable and recommend a death sentence under a new government act.

As Magnus delves into the darkness of the incarcerated minds, his own sanity is challenged. Secrets squeeze through the cracks of the asylum, blurring the line between reality and nightmare, urging Magnus towards a new life of crime…

The rural western town of Dortmund and its inhabitants are the backdrop to the mayhem on the hill.

It’s Silence of the Lambs meets Shutter Island in this tale of loss, fear and diminishing hope.

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