This software developer's realm is magical realism and a little Goth

Chapel Hill author Brian Biswas says he can’t help telling stories.

“I literally can’t not write,” he explains. “Stories swirl around inside my head and if I don’t put them down on paper they continue to swirl around and then I can’t sleep. So I write — or edit — pretty much every day.”

For all of that storytelling, though, he had never thought to put together a book until prompted. “I’ve published around 60 short stories over the last 30 years. One day the editor at Perihelion Science Fiction — which has published several of my stories — asked if I had a collection they could advertise.”

When Biswas said no, he was told he needed one. Fifteen months later “A Betrayal and Other Stories” (Rogue Star Press) was published.

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The cover, designed by Australian artist Kim Dingwall, is an image from the title story. “Most of the stories are written in a genre known as magical realism, which attempts to convey a slightly exaggerated, but internally consistent, sense of reality,” he says. “There are also a few Gothic tales and some straightforward science fiction.”

Biswas finds being a writer a lonely process. “It means secluding myself in a room and trying to think of something interesting to put on paper.”

He says publishing a book pushed him in a different direction. “You have to interface with lots of people: copy editors, beta readers, illustrators. And when it is out there, you have to promote it. It’s not a natural thing to do for an introvert, but it is interesting.” Biswas is a software developer at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.

New titles

“Last Girl Gone” (Crooked Lane Books) is J.G. Hetherton’s debut novel, the first in a planned trilogy. The Hillsborough setting will appeal to local readers who might recognize favorite haunts scattered throughout.

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The mystery follows investigative journalist Laura Chambers as she reluctantly returns to her hometown, having been fired from her job in Boston. She struggles with dull assignments until a missing child is found dead, reminding the townspeople of a reign of terror they would rather forget.

Hetherton lives in Durham.

Nancy Tilly’s memoir, “Rebel Belle: The Making of a Narcissist” (CreateSpace), opens with a hard-drinking Southern family, a mother on the attack, a bad high school boyfriend and an even worse one in college.

Tilly is on a quest to change her life and warns the conclusion is unexpected. Tilly and her husband lived in Chapel Hill for 41 years before moving to Colorado to be near family. She was a founding member of the N.C. Writers’ Network and taught English and creative writing at N.C. State University for 10 years.


Author Kyshaa Sand will discuss “She Held it Down” (CreateSpace) and launch Part 2 of the series from 1 to 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 14, at Page 158 Books in Wake Forest. The novel is an urban story set in Raleigh.

Triangle-area authors: We want to hear about your new book. Send information to . As space permits, we will mention self-published books by local authors that are for sale on commercial sites.