In his first work of fiction former Sedalian Steve Dotson has woven a paranormal tale centered in France, surrounding “forbidden knowledge” about the afterlife.

Dotson, who is a former member of SpoFest, is known in the area for his performances with the local spoken word organization. SpoFest founder James Bryant said due to the COVID-19 outbreak Dotson’s scheduled SpoFest Book Release Party slated for March 28 has been canceled. Bryant will be offering a Facebook live event for the book on the same date.

“I am so excited for Mr. Dotson,” Bryant said in a statement. “I know being a published writer has been something he has been working towards for many years. I am hopeful that we can help other published authors by featuring them at future SpoFest events.”

On Thursday, Dotson spoke to the Democrat by phone from Little Rock, Arkansas, about his book “Along the Graveyard Lane, The Demonization of Ghosts.”

“Of course, when you first start writing you don’t know what the genre is necessarily going to be,” he said of the paranormal book. “You have a hint at it, but there are so many genres these days.”

He added the book is an “exorcist’s journey to discover the truth of the afterlife.”

“And I say truth, because there are many disagreements as to what it really is,” he said.

Dotson wanted to add a “twist to conventional superstition and religion” in his book.

“I wanted to take our superstitions and our religious beliefs about the afterlife and put it in fiction,” he explained. “And, play it out in a way, basically to see what happens. And I wanted to add some twists to common superstition.”

In the book, exorcist Martin Salzburg discovers demon possession isn’t as people believe.

“He begins breaking the exorcist’s code which strictly forbids conversation with demons,” Dotson noted. “What Martin discovered was they aren’t demons at all. What he finds is that the invasive entities are simply wandering ghosts caught in the host’s body.”

He added Salzburg finds the wandering ghosts are panicked and “unaware of their circumstances,” unaware they are inhabiting a living being.

“You’ll get certain symptoms that seem demonic, but it’s really simply a ghost trying to orient itself,” Dotson said. “Some of the dead who are wandering in the story, don’t even know they are dead, that’s the reason they are wandering.

“So, the main character discovers the frontier of the afterlife,” he continued. “Along the way he makes friends and also finds a lover.”

Salzberg is also in a “race against time” Dotson said.

“The main character has tuberculosis,” he noted. “Imagine you have tuberculosis and you discover the afterlife. Not that you don’t believe in the afterlife, but once you actually go and discover the afterlife, well that’s a whole different story.

“Things are not temporary, we do move on, we do have a soul,” Dotson added. “But, if your life is running short and you discover certain secrets about the afterlife you might want to make an attempt to better your situation.”

To learn more about the principles behind the story Dotson said he has a series of articles on his blog that “explore the paranormal concepts” in the book “on a deeper level.” Dotson’s blog can be found at smdotson.home.blog.

The book is the first in a series; Dotson is currently working on the second book which will take place in St. Louis and Sedalia. He added he hopes to have book two available by 2021.

 “Along the Graveyard Lane, The Demonization of Ghosts” can be found on Amazon and Kindle. Dotson will have a Facebook live reading through the SpoFest Quarantine Special at 6 p.m. Saturday, March 28. Those interested may access the SpoFest Facebook page. 

Arts & Entertainment Reporter

Faith Bemiss is a reporter for the Sedalia Democrat, covering general assignment, arts, food and entertainment stories. She can be reached at 660-530-0289.

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