The notion of writing about “things that go bump in the night” is not a new idea for novelists.
Many authors have used the presence of unexplained sounds to help create a sense of suspense for their readers.
But, in the case of Alicia White, an author who lives in Wesley Chapel, it was a sound that she actually heard — similar to a sonic boom — that sparked the the idea for her first novel, “The Roar.”
White has lived in the Tampa area since 1991, but she didn’t hear the sound until she moved into Wesley Chapel about a year ago and, since then, she’s heard it about five times.
“It rattles things, kind of like a sonic boom would,” she said.
She quickly learned that she was not alone.
“There have been reports within a 15-mile radius,” said White, who uses the pen name A.M. White.
“People make note on social media to get reassurance that they’re not going crazy,” she notes. So far, there’s no explanation for the phenomenon.
The author said she’s heard the sound, and so has her husband, Mark, and their 8-year-old son, Landon. Their 4-year-old Grayson hasn’t heard it, but White’s dad, Gary Orchard, who lives in Lutz, also heard it once while sitting in White’s living room in Westbrook Estates.
“It’s not just this neighborhood. People have reported hearing it in Lexington Oaks, up near Quail Hollow, over to Meadow Pointe,” White said.
The author, who expects to release her second novel, “Into the Roar,” on Nov. 17, said she’s wanted to be a writer since she was young, but never seriously pursued it until last year.
“Last spring, I kind of had a brush with my own mortality. I had a health scare,” she said.
That motivated her to stop thinking about trying her hand at writing and to start doing it.
The second-grade teacher said she finds windows of time for writing after her boys are in bed. She squeezes in about four hours a night for her writing.
She envisions a third book in the series, which she describes as a dystopian novel, in the vein of books like “The Hunger Games” and “Divergent.” She expects her third book to be released in the spring.
White thinks she has an unusual writing process, which she describes as a “reverse-movie” approach.
“I see it playing out in my head, and it just comes out,” she said.
Since she sees what’s happening to her characters — and it can be violent at times — it can be an emotional experience, said White, who teaches at Turner/Bartels K-8, in New Tampa.
In addition to writing her books, White also designed the covers and does all the marketing, through social media, such as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
By publishing her own work, she owns the rights, but White would like to find a publisher to pick up her books because she’d love a wider audience.
White said she’s encouraged by the feedback she’s been receiving.
“There’s a lot more to it than the money,” she said, noting “The Roar” has attracted readers as young as 12 and as old as 91, and has appealed to both genders.
And, while she’s never stepped foot out of this continent, her book has been read by people in six of the seven continents and by people in 10 different countries.
Reviews on Amazon.com for “The Roar” characterize the novel as “fantastic” and say it deserves five stars. It is described by one reviewer as a “great read.” Another said, “couldn’t put it down.” Another reader summed it up by saying, “Wow!”
Copies of “The Roar” are available through Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble. The paperback sells for $11.99 and the Kindle version is $2.99.
Published November 9, 2016