Over its 126 pages, David Ejchorszt’s debut novel takes readers on a journey as the title character comes to understand the meaning of what it means to be alive.
“I used to work in a pharmacy and I was actually the person who made the drugs behind the back. I wanted to try to explore the characters that were all over the place, so all of those things kind of came together in this book,” said Ejchorszt, a 28-year-old Pacific resident who wrote the book under his pseudonym, D. Ike. Horst. . The book is out Feb. 25, published by Austin, Texas-based independent publisher Atmosphere Press.
“I was happy (to learn that I was published), but I also understood by going there that publishing is work. Selling books is a tough business, so I knew when I got the email from Atmosphere (Press) that it wasn’t like all my dreams were coming true. It’s a big deal, but there are more books to write,” said Ejchorszt, who has worked as a forest firefighter, logger and Americorp program alumnus. He is currently attending Liberty University, where he is studying creative writing in English. He works seasonally for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and writes in its off-season.
Ejchorszt began writing the book in September 2020. He said he had been an aspiring writer for years, penning several novels he never intended to publish.
“It’s akin to any pursuit, practice is key to mastering the craft,” Ejchorszt said. “I consider that I needed to get those words out of my way so I could write the book I’m supposed to write.”
In this book, readers meet the titular character, Death, who exists as a pharmacist, who adheres to strict prescriptions about when a person’s life should end. One day, Death meets Robinette, who changes that.
“Robinette is compassionate, patient, witty, warm, and just the right humankind ambassador for someone like death,” Ejchorszt said.
The pair’s introduction comes as the world’s population is slaughtered – one in 100 people must die – according to the Doctor, an all-knowing character who has a tumultuous relationship with death.
Ejchorszt said he wrote the book without the intention of readers drawing parallels between the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that has killed more than 900,000 people in the United States and the book’s sometimes dark twists.
“People certainly noticed that similarity, but that wasn’t my intention,” Ejchorszt said. Following the success of her first short story, Ejchorszt hopes her story can inspire others to write their own novels or short stories.
“When I tell people I’m a writer, I often hear them say, ‘Oh, I could never do that.’ The reality is, great ideas are really easy to come up with,” Ejchorszt said. “I would encourage them to think of something they consider mundane and then come up with a big twist. then give them interesting features.The ideas will eventually come.