Book Review & Author Interview: Madman Across The Water by Caroline Angel

My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars – Terrifying Slender Man Tale

Since before Campbelltown was even established, something tall, dark and gruesome has stalked the surrounding woods. None of the townsfolk are safe, but the Wallis family has been hunted for generations. Their last hope is to revisit the legends of their ancestors and listen to the advice of a madman. By the time they feel the sting of unseasonal cold air, see the tide of fog approaching, and hear a haunting melody through the trees, it may already be too late.

Madman Across the Water is a fantastic and unique tale, reimagining the Slender Man myth. The author does a fantastic job not only with her handling of this immensely popular creepypasta subject, but also with building a broken family that the reader wants to see standing together. Caroline Angel takes the time to make the characters and setting feel hyper-real with superb insights and descriptions. And, yes, the interactions with the faceless supernatural creature are terrifying. Whether you already love all things Slender Man, or are new to this subject, this is a great read.

My only issue with the book was the length of chapters at the beginning. Within the first twelve pages, the reader is shifted through decades several times, introducing a lot of characters in a short span, making it difficult to keep track of everyone and find a good reading rhythm. As the novel progresses, the links between the characters are clarified, but it would have been a smoother reading experience without losing any of the drama if the relationships had been clearly set from the start.

Before I was even halfway through this book, I knew I had to know more about this author, and luckily Caroline Angel was happy to agree to an interview.

WS: What drew you to write about the Slender Man myth?

CA: I was driving my nephew home and we were telling each other scary and paranormal stories. He told me about the Slenderman. Gave me something to think about.

WS: Did you spend a lot of time researching the folklore before starting your novel? Or were you already familiar?

CA: I didn’t research much. I wanted a fresh take and wanted to carve out my own version of the myth.

WS: You did a fantastic job of creating a compelling origin story of where the creature came from and why the Wallis family was a target. Was that the biggest challenge in creating a fresh take on Slender Man?

CA: This was written five years ago, there hadn’t been many stories around at that time. I was lucky to have a blank slate to work with.

WS: What inspired the title Madman Across the Water?

CA: It’s the title of a song, I used to listen to it when I was very young. I always knew there was a story hidden in there, and I couldn’t decide which way to spin my tale until I my nephew gave me inspiration.

WS: Are there any other myths or creepypastas you want to tackle in the future? Perhaps something from Australia?

CA: No, I wasn’t even aware of creepypasta when I first heard this tale. My nephew was very young and thought the Slenderman myth was actual folklore.

WS: Your descriptions throughout Madman Across the Water are so vivid! Any advice for new writers on creating solid visuals?

CA: Everyone tells you show, don’t tell. That is easier said than done. I like to set a scene and then show you how my characters work around and through that scene.

WS: What are you working on now?

CA: A sequel to a sci-fi/horror book, which had previously been sold to the publishers of Madman, however a new publisher, J Ellington Ashton, has just picked it up. The working title is ‘Origin of Evil’ and it is at least a trilogy, and the publisher has agreed to take all books in the series. I’ve only written about a third of the sequel, so I need to get some serious work done!

The story is based around this strange character, a female that is a hybrid of many different creatures, and her accidental arrival on earth. As in Madman, I have multiple characters rather that one protagonist, and we follow these as they combat the sudden arrival of werewolves, alien monsters, vampires and various fantastical creatures that were an unwelcome side effect of the female’s arrival. 

The sequel will take us off world to explore her home planet and a whole universe hidden through a black hole. 

WS: Sounds fantastic! Do you have any other published works?

CA: Not at this stage but my above-mentioned book series will be my next release.

WS: I happened to get a copy of your work through a purchase from Boxes of Blood. How did you become involved with the distribution service?

CA: Facebook, networking, meeting people through social media. I have met some wonderful and very supporting people that have been a great help.

WS: Who are your writing influences?

CA: I would love to write in that matter of fact, conversational way that Stephen King does, but I don’t have that talent.

WS: What’s the best book you’ve read so far this year?

CA: Still trying to find that, pickings have been a little slim this year.

I’d sincerely like to thank Caroline Angel for taking the time to speak with me. I hope you enjoyed this interview, and if you would like to know more about the author, and her works, feel free to connect with her on the following social medial platforms:



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