Andrew McManaman, a graduate from the broadcasting-television program, says his time at Algonquin College helped him improve his storytelling skills. Photo credit: Andrew McManaman

Andrew McManaman, an Algonquin College graduate from the broadcasting-television program, recently published his first horror novel.

McManaman graduated from Algonquin College in 2017 and drew from his experience in the broadcasting-television program to bring a cinematic feel to his debut novel of terror and paranoia, Dollhouse.

“It’s been a really neat experience. About four years have led up to it, and it’s finally out,” said McManaman.

Published on Nov. 26, 2021, Dollhouse took on a few other forms before settling its way into a novel.

The terrifying tale started off as a short story, one of many McManaman wrote soon after graduating from Algonquin College. McManaman then pulled Dollhouse from this collection of horror stories and stretched it into a full-length screenplay.

After a move out to Whistler, B.C., to work as a photographer, and a sudden onslaught of free time courtesy of the mountain’s dead season, McManaman decided to turn the screenplay into a novel. With that, Dollhouse reached its final form.

“I had the template, so I thought that I would just expand from there,” said McManaman.

McManaman believes his time in the broadcasting-television program served him well throughout the novel-writing process and helped him further develop the ability to effectively tell a story.

“Andrew’s time at Algonquin definitely gave him that basis in storytelling,” said Jeremy Atherton, Algonquin College’s film production program co-ordinator and one of McManaman’s former professors.

“All of the things you’re taught you need to have in a film to make people want to watch your film, he would have applied that when writing his novel.”

Algonquin’s College’s broadcasting-television program also fosters creativity, a skill that can lend itself to all sorts of media production.

“Television is a creative business, and Andrew was able to be creative here,” said Matthew McCooeye, another former professor of McManaman’s and Algonquin College’s broadcasting-television program co-ordinator.

“He was a hardworking and creative student. It doesn’t surprise me that he’s found yet another creative outlet in writing a novel.”

In another display of these traits, McManaman opted to independently publish Dollhouse under his own imprint, Popcorn Paperbacks.

“I wanted the full creative experience,” said McManaman.

Having drawn inspiration from many classic horror films from the eighties, such as John Carpenter’s The Thing and West Craven’s Nightmare on Elm Street, McManaman endeavoured to convey Dollhouse’s cinematic ties.

The book cover looks like a movie poster from the horror genre’s golden decade, the tagline is similar to the slick taglines of eighties horror films and the novel ends with credits as any good movie should.

“To give it that look and feel was really important to me,” said McManaman.

“The story isn’t set in the ’80s, but I thought I could imagine them making a movie like my book back in the day,” McManaman said.

“I think every professor or teacher gets in this business to see students succeed,” said McCooeye. “We want to see them succeed in our classroom, and we want them to succeed after they leave our classroom.”

“I’m thrilled for Andrew. I hope he is proud of himself, because we are proud of him.”