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Author, musician self-publishes first fiction; ‘The Horror Within’ deals with overcoming and determination

By Staff | May 22, 2008

Cape Coral author and musician Rachel Cox has just published her first work of fiction. The novel, “The Horror Within,” is a departure for Cox, who normally writes teaching supplements.

“The Horror Within” is the story of a 38-year-old actress who stumbles across the terrible secrets of a house she recently purchased. As the actress unravels the house’s complicated past, she rediscovers something inside herself.

“I wanted it to be something more than a horror story,” Cox said. “I wanted the story to have a deeper philosophical meaning, so that it would influence somebody’s life in a positive way.”

Cox said the journey the actress takes is meant to inspire readers. The novel’s essential theme is that people can overcome any challenge as long as they are determined, and they accept themselves for who they are.

Of the novel’s theme Cox said, “Don’t try to be something you’re not. Once you accept yourself for who you are, all your failings and all your strengths, things in life will start to fall into place for you.”

Her multiple talents as a musician and an author have made the road to publishing her first piece of fiction an interesting one for Cox. When she is not playing violin and viola for the Southwest Florida Symphony and the Naples Philharmonic, she is writing teaching materials for various levels of education. A number of her texts are currently in the libraries of Harvard and Columbia universities.

For “The Horror Within,” Cox utilized multiple genres to craft her book, including horror, mystery and romance. She sent the manuscript to 25 publishing houses, big and small, before deciding that self-publishing was the route she needed to take.

From start to finish, the novel took five years to complete. Cox said the self-publishing house she chose to put her book out has been good to work with, but marketing is all up to her. Now she is ready for people to read her book.

“Right now I’m gathering book reviews. In the fall I’ll start my big push,” Cox said, adding that she has sent copies to the New York Times Magazine and The Village Voice for consideration.

Though born in Dayton, Ohio, Cox has longstanding ties to Cape Coral. Her grandfather, James Bryant Cox, was one of the first pioneers to settle the region in the 1890s. Her family owned the land along Burnt Store Road across from the new fire station for more than 100 years, until finally selling the last piece in 2003.

Cox thinks the arts scene in Southwest Florida has somewhat of an identity crisis, but has endless possibilities if advertised properly.

“I think there’s tremendous potential if people want to invest in it,” she said.

Investing is something Cox definitely wants readers to do in her novel. She crafted the story and the characters so they are identifiable and accessible.

“I wanted to shape the characters into people that just about any reader could relate to in some way,” she said.

For more information on Cox’s novel, visit: www.authorhouse.com, click the bookstore link, and enter the name of the novel or the author.