Miller native publishes ‘rural fantasy’
Miller native Doyce Testerman is coming home for a book signing Saturday, Oct. 13 at the Hand County Library at 1:30 p.m. Titled “Hidden Things,” it’s Testerman’s first published book. The trade paperback first came out in August, and is now in its second printing, so Testerman says, “it’s doing pretty well.”
He’s the son of Joann and Doug Testerman, and is a 1989 MHS graduate. He says he was honing his writing skills even back in high school days, and he went on to earn an English degree from the University of South Dakota.
He moved to Denver in 1995. His “day job” is working with colleges, and designing new courses for an on-line campus.
He’s now married and the father of a two-year-old son and a daughter in the second grade. His “brilliant wife,” as he describes her, is a literary agent, but not his agent. She works with authors who write young adult and children’s fiction.
His “off-time” is spent doing a lot of writing. His work as appeared in a number of online magazines, related gaming, computers, MMOs and fiction.
“’Hidden Things’ is the second book I wrote. The first was a learning experience, but may never see the light of day,” Testerman noted. “I’m now on my fourth book since I did the first draft of ‘Hidden Things’,”
Testerman calls his novel “urban fantasy” set in the Midwest. (Note: Urban fantasy is a sub-genre of fantasy defined by place…an urban setting, often set in contemporary times, and containing supernatural elements).
Testerman relates, “About five years after I moved to Denver I was talking with a writer friend, and I complained there were never magical stories set in the Midwest. She told me it was my own fault, that I needed to write one.” The clincher was, she dared him to do it.
“So I set out to write a rural fantasy,” said Testerman. “I chose a place in the Midwest—not Miller—and that’s where the plot unfolds.”
He explained the story starts out in Los Angeles. The main character, Calliope, travels back to where she grew up in the Midwest. Her best friend, in the Midwest investigating a case, warns her to “watch out for hidden things.” She gets a call from the police that Josh has been found dead, but she receives voice mail from him after his body was found.”
…And thus begins the middle-American fantasy.
A couple of reviews tickle the imagination: Writes Maureen Johnson, author of the “Shades of London” series, “Hidden Things reveals the America I want to believe in—dragons on highways, trolls in the hills, motels that lead to new dimensions. I’ll never look at a rest stop the same way again.”
Writer Charles de Lint added, “I loved this book from start to finish. It’s strange, weird and down to earth, all at the same time.”
Testerman says he’s now involved in writing a “technically accurate science fiction story,” because he likes to switch things around. He’s also going to pursue the same setting and some of the same people for another Midwest fantasy, but he’s quick to point out it’s not a sequel.
While in Miller, Testerman will meet with senior English classes Friday, to discuss writing. Saturday, stop by the library to meet and greet. He’ll read a little, he’ll do book signing, and he’ll have a few copies available, too.
“I’m especially looking forward to the book signing at the library,” said Testerman. “I owe a lot to that library. I spent a lot of time there when I was growing up, and I think I read every fantasy and science fiction book they had.”
“I was talking with a writer friend, and I complained there were never magical stories set in the Midwest. She told me it was my own fault, that I needed to write one.”