Book-In-Focus: Wilhelm by F. Vawters McCloud
While some plan on writing the grand novel they’ve always dreamed of penning, others are visited by dreams to turn into stories. Felicia Vawters McCloud is one of the latter, though in her case it was a chilling nightmare that she turned into a narrative brimming with suspense: Wilhelm.
Though the nightmare itself was brief, and thankfully so, Wilhelm takes that moment of terror and turns it into an exploration of the darkness within. Readers shall see the unsettling shadows shifting beneath seemingly ordinary conditions, and realize that the friendliest of faces can conceal the most twisted of minds and souls.
“Wilhelm reveals inner truths that we as humans hope and pray no one will see, not even ourselves. Wilhelm takes us on a journey into the depths of a dark soul, yet he enlightens us and leads us to the truth, or maybe just the unadulterated truth,” McCloud says.
She masterfully portrays the tensions permeating modern society, the artifice of interactions and norms in a world too busy for the authentic, and the unknowable nature of what lurks beneath the facades people and institutions put up. What are people truly like, beyond their families, jobs, and churches? What do they see beyond their reflections in the mirror?
McCloud beckons us to go past the idyllic white picket fences, the carefully manicured gardens, the immaculate doors. We go inside those picturesque homes, familiar establishments and trusted institutions. We turn away from the well-lit streets and enter dark alleys. Untended rooms, labyrinthine paths, away from the gaze of others and the scrutiny of society. All to ourselves. In these parts unknown, she spills the churning guts of unthinkable possibilities, inconceivable yet all too real, previously hidden from us even as they twist and pulse inside us. We don’t turn away, because it is in our nature to look. We’ve grown so used to seeing the banal that now we cannot pry ourselves from these glimpses of the horrific.
Pulled and drawn like how we find sleep irresistible, giving us no choice but to submit to what comes after it. Dreams are escapes from our routines, but McCloud’s most memorable dream was a nightmare. What if, then, the same holds true for the inner truths of some individuals? What if there are those who, behind their plain exteriors, are truly nightmarish? Maybe they’ve tried all their lives to hide it, only to let it out when their unspeakable acts can go unseen. Or they don’t even know their true natures until these personalities emerge unexpectedly and violently like the nightmares waiting in the dark corners of our minds.
We will see. We have always seen. What matters then is not in the seeing, but in what comes after. Whether the sights are accepted or repressed, like dreams forgotten and nightmares remembered. In the words of McCloud:
“True horror isn’t a monster lurking in the darkness, but being allowed to see deep within the human heart.”
“I'm ready for the sequel ! Wilhelm has kept me on my toes and with each character I see a little of myself. Very interesting ! Recommended for sure !"
— Allena Hudgins, Amazon Client Verified Purchase
"Absolutely love this book! Definitely a page turner and I could not put it down!!”
— Dee Conner, Amazon Client Verified Purchase
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F. Vawters McCloud earned a bachelor's degree from Michigan State University. F. Vawters McCloud has one daughter, Meena. They currently reside in Michigan. Wilhelm's first unedited manuscript was entered into CreateSpace's 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest. ABNA accepts 10,000 manuscripts. Wilhelm made it to the second round. October 2014 Wilhelm was posted on an amateur author's site called Wattpad. Wilhelm had over 37,000 book views and over 4000 votes within a month. Wattpad's administration asked Wilhelm to enter their contest Wattys2014. Wilhelm went as high as #13 on Wattpad's Horror Hot List and #1 on their Biblical Hot list. May 2017 Wilhelm was still #2 on the Biblical list. The character Wilhelm has established his own identity and continues to have his own fan base outside of F. Vawters McCloud. Wilhelm currently has his own account on Twitter which is nearing 9000 followers. Wilhelm is F. Vawters McCloud's debut novel.