Novelist James E. Cressler Leads Readers Down an Alcohol Induced Rabbit Hole in His Debut Fantasy Novel, Demimonde

Author James E. Cressler and WordCrafts Press are celebrating the release of Cressler’s debut novel, Demimonde, which impacted retail on April 16, 2021. A heroic fantasy adventure set in a mythical half-world, Demimonde explores themes of addiction and recovery from the perspective of one who has lived through it.

“When I studied creative writing, my professor said that good fiction leaves the reader believing what they just read isn’t a novel—that it actually happened somewhere to someone. Why? Because it’s loaded with truth. Because every page shows what the author knows firsthand, their personal experiences shared through a fictional character’s life,” Cressler explains. “As you might guess, my experience, strength, and hope are intertwined in this adventure in sobriety.”

The story, told from the perspective of the self-professed “raging alcoholic” Vonn Thrasher, follows a circuitous path through a multitude of fantastic settings; from the squalor of Shantytown, to the luxury of Recovery Ship, across the treacherous Sea of Booze, and ultimately to the vast wilderness of Sobriety Island. Thrasher must navigate each dangerous step of the journey successfully if he ever hopes to return to his home in the real world.

I was guilty.

I was a raging alcoholic. My heavy burden hid under a cloak of fear and remorse. My life presented a dilemma. Bourbon, beer, wine and cocktails, and liquor of any kind were both my problem and my solution. Tormenting secrets taunted me with angry voices. Their accusations strengthened every year, reminding me that I was drinking myself to death.

Bourbon, my Pearl, quieted their charges. She took my sins and bestowed an all-too-brief taste of heaven. I loved her warm glow, sense of ease, and comfort. Had I lost my mind? Regardless, I had to protect my Pearl from all the naysayers who would steal her.

Nags and hecklers indicted me.
“You childish fool.”
“You dimwit.”
“You are disgusting. Get out and never come back.”

Everyone pretended to be a rehab counselor. Each told a cautionary tale about a drunken cousin, complete with a hospital-detox, ghoulish prison stories, and the standard ending: “Dead at thirty from a horrible car wreck.” They knew nothing. They didn’t understand. They wanted to steal my Pearl.

No way.
They had no right, no idea what they were doing.
I dismissed their irrelevant advice with one powerful conclusion.
This will never happen to me.
I’m different.

“If John Bunyan had shared an evening of storytelling with AA founders Bob Smith and Bill Wilson, his classic allegory, Pilgrim’s Progress, might look a lot like Demimonde,” declares WordCrafts Press publisher Mike Parker. “But Demimonde is not just a cautionary tale for alcoholics or drug abusers. It is first-rate fantasy adventure set in a world populated by mythical creatures and ordinary folks; where life is cheap and the stakes are high. It’s Alice in Wonderland meets The Matrix. It will definitely grab your attention.”

“What’s next?” Cressler muses. “A follow up novel, of course! Moneymaker. It’s the story of the larger-than-life Demimonde character who struggles to control himself and Shantytown, a slum laden with enemies. He’s tormented by his past and despite riches and power, his life is barely worth living. Then a vaguely familiar face from the past knocks on his door. It’s Vonn Thrasher, and he’s there for a reason.”

About the Author

James E. (Jim) Cressler is an award-winning author, speaker and poet, and is an active member of Word Weavers International.

“Recovery from drugs and alcohol is all about working with others and service to mankind,” Cressler says. “Demimonde allows the reader to identify with Vonn Thrasher and share his recovery through a great adventure that weaves its way through God’s principles, demonstrating why we must share our experience, strength, and hope to keep sobriety from stagnating and vanishing.

“The time is now. Every day, more and more people suffer at the edges of society, isolated from church and family, bewildered, and contemplating what day might be their last. It is my sincere hope that Demimonde could help start them on their path to recovery from drugs and alcohol.”

Cressler lives with his wife Julia in Central Florida.