DUNMORE, Pa. — When Corinne Alice Nulton was asked to write a short story for a new anthology called "The Night Bazaar: Eleven Haunting Tales of Forbidden Wishes and Dangerous Desires" being crafted by colleague Lenore Hart, she sat down one morning and just started brainstorming on Post-its.
What happened next was something that rarely occurs for any writer: “The story spilled like water across the page,” she said, and she had a completed draft in just a few short hours — five hours to be exact.
“I hate even saying that, because I know that hardly ever happens,” Nulton said. “But I loved the idea of a night bazaar and got caught up in the character of Madam Vera, the narrating voice that connects the 11 stories that make up 'The Night Bazaar.'”
The book's editor based the concept of a night bazaar on the traditional Eastern marketplace, examples of which are mentioned throughout history. But the bazaar in the anthology is a secret, forbidden venue full of otherworldly vendors, exotic merchandise, and strange services. It opens in a city at midnight, closes before sunrise, and appears for just one week, but in a different venue each night. In order to find the night bazaar, you must be invited by one of its denizens.
The particular bazaar in this anthology takes place in a Manhattan parking garage, where every object or service being proffered comes with a gift, a curse or a haunting. The stories are dark fantasy tales all revolving around this theme.
While it is an anthology, in many ways it reads like a novel, with narrative binding each story to the one before it.
In Nulton’s story, titled "Ember and Ash," two fire-eaters astound the circus crowds with their vanishing act, until Asher loses sight of himself, literally and figuratively, after losing his twin and partner, Aiden, in a traumatic accident.
Unable to perform or even function without his brother, Asher tries to bring his brother back to life, but instead conjures a shape-shifting demon.
Nulton's inspiration for the story grew from a fascination with sibling relationships, as well as a love of masquerade masks.
The experience was a very positive one for Nulton, who said she would enjoy an opportunity to work with the writers again, perhaps on a follow-up project.
“I really love to play with language and create voices that turn into stories,” she said. “I had so much fun working with the editor and the other authors. It’s a great experience when you get to work with a group like this, all of whom have similar artistic vibes. It’s like playing make-believe as a child, except all the kids in the neighborhood share your imagination and have the skills to sharpen and articulate each scene.”
"The Night Bazaar" was released Feb. 1 by Northampton House Press. It is available in trade paperback from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Indiebound, and on Kindle, Nook, and Kobo. It also can be ordered from the publisher or any of these sales points at http://www.northampton-house.com/supernatural-and-fantasy.html.
Publisher’s Weekly describes "The Night Bazaar" this way: "The setting is reminiscent of The Twilight Zone in scope, and throughout the anthology there is the ever-present sense that something nasty is lurking around the corner. … There are no pieces that seem out of place; all the stories contribute to a sense of otherworldly dread. Appealing to those who like their fantasy served with a side of psychological horror, this anthology is sure to entertain."
This is the first time Nulton’s work has been published in a book, although she has had other stories published in literary magazines and wrote a play titled "14 Symptoms" in 2014 that was performed in the Brick Theater’s Game Play Festival in New York City.
An academic adviser and adjunct English instructor at Penn State Worthington Scranton, Nulton has also served as a writing tutor in the campus’ Learning Center. She received her bachelor of arts in English from the University of Scranton and her master of fine arts from Wilkes University.
Nulton resides in Peckville, Pennsylvania, and spends her spare time working as the drama editor for Door Is A Jar Magazine, seeing plays in the community, chugging coffee, and, of course, writing.