Authors Showcase: Until the Sun Rises by Channing Whitaker
May 1, 2015
The Book: Until the Sun Rises
The Author: Channing Whitaker
The Story: Eighty years ago, a wealthy Midwest family attended a traveling magic show, after which neither they, nor the dark and mysterious magician, Malvern Kamrar, were ever heard from or seen again. When two police investigators and three bystanders lost their lives inside the family’s mansion, the investigation was dropped and the property sealed off, until today.
After nearly a century of rumors, theories, and haunted stories, for a live television event, the Drake family mansion will be opened, allowing five contestants to test their bravery by spending one night in the mysterious house to win their share of a million dollar prize.
The hand-picked contestants – a commune-with-the-dead psychic, a high-tech ghost hunter, a Hollywood scream queen, a local woman, and a professional skeptic and debunker named Harlan Holt – fuel excitement as each tries to sort out the mystery for themselves.
Soon after entering the mansion, the aged journal of the family patriarch, Vinton Drake, is discovered, shedding light onto the mystery and just how deeply it’s rooted – all the way back to Vinton’s service as a medic in WWI, when he first met the magician.
A sharp departure from the familiar haunted house tale, through Harlan, this story explores the very nature of belief in the supernatural, with consequences more frightening than any ghost story.
Harlan’s investigation in the present is followed in tandem with Vinton’s own investigation of the magician Malvern in the past. Intensity sours when the contestants discover their lives, along with thousands more, are in genuine mortal peril. Is the mansion haunted? What fate befell Malvern and the Drake family? And will Harlan and the others uncover the truth in time to save themselves?
About Channing Whitaker:
Channing Whitaker is a novelist, screenwriter, and filmmaker originally hailing from Centerville, Iowa. An alum of Indian Hills Community College, Channing went on to study cinema, screenwriting, literature, and mathematics at the University of Iowa.
Post graduation, Channing began his career in the production of television news, independent films, and commercial videos, as well as to write for websites, corporate media, and advertising. His 10-year career in writing has taken Channing from Iowa, to Texas, Alaska, and currently to Oklahoma.
Channing has written five feature-length screenplays, co-written another feature screenplay, and penned a novel. In that time, Channing has also written and directed over 50 short films.
The April 2015 publication of Channing’s debut novel, “Until the Sun Rises – One Night in Drake Mansion,” comes in tandem with the first production of one of Channing’s feature screenplays, “KILD TV” – both in the mystery, thriller, and horror genres. “KILD TV” has already filmed, and is slated for a 2015 release.
Channing is a fan of many media forms and genres. He considers himself a storyteller foremost, and works in multiple media and genres himself. He regards Trevanian (known best for his divergent spy novels) as his favorite author and an inspiration for his writing career. He also credits his father, a retired psychology professor, with heavily influencing his approach to the deep, conflicted, and multifaceted characters that drive his stories. Other artistic influences for Channing include auteur directors Jim Jarmusch and Robert Altman.
Channing is among a small subset of writers who are also dyslexic. He considers learning to overcome the challenges of this diagnosis, amid a career in writing, to have aided him in persevering amid the rejection-filled, uncertain, and competitive fields of writing and screenwriting.
Review by Ashley Tomlinson:
When I first started Until the Sun Rises it reminded me of an old Stephen King movie, Red Rose. But the more I read the more it separated itself from that creepy movie. I was surprised by how quickly it got my attention and that it managed to hold my attention throughout it’s entirety.
Five contestants enter an eighty year old house. The house is a scene of a grizzly murder of an entire family but the bodies were never found and the house has been empty ever since. If they can stay in the house from sundown to sunrise they will win one million dollars. The psychic of the group claims the sprits are angry about their arrival. Will they be able to stick it out until sunrise? Or will the sprits get to them first?
I was with Harlan the whole time! Ax was only in it for the money, La Claire was only in it for the following and Audrey was only in it for the publicity. Genevieve and Harlan were the only ones just in it for the experience. Anyone could have figured out La Claire was a faker! She claimed to have felt spirits from the moment she walked through the door. I’m not saying that couldn’t really happen but it seemed too soon.
I am a firm believer that ghosts exists and La Claire did put on a good show but I thought it was fake. That doesn’t mean I think Ax’s exploring part was anymore real but I guess I’m more likely to believe something I see verses what a crazy lady is telling me.
I enjoyed the parts in the house more than the parts they were reading Vinton’s journal. I just wasn’t as into those parts as the present time parts. To be fair I have yet to find a book that I liked that they read journal entries as chapters. I can never get into those parts because I’m more concerned with what’s happening at that moment.
I like how levelheaded Harlan stayed throughout the whole book. When odd things were placed in front of him he always managed to find a logical solution for them. Until he managed to solve the mystery of Drake Mansion with the help of Genevieve of course. I would want someone to be that levelheaded if I was staying in a haunted house because I know I wouldn’t be.