Pepper's Ghost novel cover

William Auten

Author of the novel Pepper's Ghost

Black Rose Writing | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

William Auten is the author of the novel Pepper's Ghost. Recent work has appeared in District Lit, Origins, Oxford Magazine, Sequestrum, Sliver of Stone, and elsewhere. Having lived up and down the Midwest and in Virginia, he now calls California home with his wife.


2017 May 24

Pepper’s Ghost is a 2017 Eric Hoffer Book Award finalist. Less than 10% of the nominees become category finalists; up to six books per category are selected as finalists. The Eric Hoffer Award honors the memory of American philosopher Eric Hoffer by highlighting salient writing, as well as the independent spirit of small publishers. Since its inception, the Hoffer has become one of the largest international book awards for small, academic, and independent presses.

2017 May 20

"One Day's Worth" available at Solstice, Spring 2017

You can tell in this photo that neither man wants to be in that space any longer than they have to, not so much because of who they are in relation to each other, but more so in what has just happened. It certainly isn’t staged, and they certainly aren’t putting on airs with each other or with the camera.

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2017 April 29

"Something in Way" available at Superstition Review

When I was twelve, Jeffrey Dahmer had been wandering around town. Not him physically but what was left of him, the marks made by him. His trial reopened all the things he had done, the lawyers and the specialists and the media holding up his acts like unrolling long-forgotten film in front of a bright light, taking us back to where it all started and ended, showing us over and over, article after article after news coverage after talk show after expert opinion, about the intersection of sex and violence. People wanted to see this animal pay.

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2017 March 2

"A Tree in the Woods" available at The Hungry Chimeraas part of the inaugural issue, Winter 2017

Sucked in and suckered in—that’s what she realized, when she realized it had happened. A sucker, Marion called herself seconds later, correcting herself as the target and the trigger of emotional buckshot. All me, she thought, all me. PR trick, click-bait, curated image stuck on the end of hashtag carrot sticks. Down a rabbit hole. Into a black hole.

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Pepper's Ghost cover William Auten
Pepper's Ghost (Black Rose Writing, 2016, ISBN 978-1-61296-652-6)
2017 Eric Hoffer Book Award Finalist
Charlotte Alexandra Long is determined to create her own life, but severe reverberations await her at the crossroads of each decision and always the possibility that the very thing she put in place on her own terms could be wiped away by an uncertain future. As Pepper’s Ghost weaves in and out of her experiences as a teen and young adult, and locations in the South and Midwest, Alex emerges from the remains of young Charlotte, but her evolving identity will never escape being an outsider in society’s eyes. After a series of ill-fitting jobs, Alex joins a traveling amusement company as a sideshow performer, where illusion and reality interplay through the metaphor of an old theater trick. She faces challenges from her troubled but devoted father, her self-absorbed mother, a spectrum of circus employees, and emotional ties to memories and places that give solace in times of ambiguity and loneliness.

Praise for Pepper's Ghost
An immediately absorbing read, Pepper's Ghost is a deftly crafted and consistently compelling novel that reveals author William Auten as a genuinely gifted and impressively skilled storyteller.
Midwest Book Review, February 2017

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