WIPs and New Releases
1) Tell us about your work-in-progress, or WIP, as it’s known as in the industry or New Release…
Ø What is the story about?
· Haunted House Ghost: Death at the Fall Festival is the 5th Braxton Campus Mystery. It’s Halloween, and excitement is brewing in Braxton to carve jack-o’-lanterns, go on haunted hayrides, and race through the spooky corn maze at the Fall Festival. Despite a former occupant’s fervent warnings, Kellan renovates and moves into a mysterious old house. When a ruthless ghost promises retribution, our fearless professor turns to the eccentric town historian and an eerie psychic known for her explosive predictions, to communicate with the apparition.
· Construction workers discover a fifty-year-old skeleton after breaking ground on the new Memorial Library wing. Could it be Prudence, Judge Hiram Grey’s first wife, who disappeared during a fiery Vietnam War protest that destroyed parts of the campus? While Kellan and April dance around the chemistry sparking between them, a suspicious accident at the Fall Festival leaves Hiram in a coma and another dead body to investigate. Kellan’s research digs up a tale of horror and pain about the true history and dastardly connections of the Grey family, forcing April to accelerate her plan to capture the elusive killer and placate the revenge-seeking ghost.
Ø Who is the main character?
· Kellan Ayrwick, a ~30ish college professor who solves crimes in his spare time. He’s a single father, falling for a woman in an influential position, and renovating a new house. Nothing is going well, and then he finds another body.
· Other key characters in this include: Sheriff April Montague, Mayor Seraphina Danby (Nana D), Judge Hiram Grey, Prudence Grey, Bartleby Grosvalet, the O’Malley, Lawson, and Nickels families, and Madam Zenya.
2) What inspired this tale?
Ø How did the story come to you?
· I wanted to write a Halloween tale that was both spooky and fun. I created a Fall Festival that overtakes the county, highlighting all the cool things we love about autumn: corn mazes, haunted homes, ghosts, apple cider and pie, pumpkins, trick-or-treating, jack-o’-lanterns, horse drawn carriage hayrides, and murder. By tying an event from 50 years ago to the present renovation on the campus library, a handful of secrets come out, shocking the town to its core.
Ø Did you have to research for this novel, and if so, why?
· A little bit. I needed to verify the timelines of the Vietnam War protests and what happens when you find a 50-year-old skeleton. I wanted the details to be authentic but clever too. It came together nicely, and the concept of what you see versus what you don’t see is very important – especially in a book that is not paranormal but deals with ghosts and psychics.
Ø If you did research, what do you think surprised you most to learn, and why?
· I was most surprised to learn the details of how you can identify a person through their skeleton and remaining DNA. I don’t get into too many details, as this is a light mystery, but it makes for a charming and scary conundrum.
3) Do you relate to your character?
Ø Is your protagonist anything like you personally?
· In this specific tale… not as much as normal. Kellan struggled when he found the skeleton. He’s cool with finding a dead body, when the victim was only murdered a few hours earlier. When he finds a 50-year-old skeleton, his stomach can’t take it! I’d be fine. Things like that don’t bother me… although, I’ve never found one, so I suppose I can’t say that with certainty. Nor do I really want to find out!
Ø What made you write this character; what made them important to you or made you want to tell their story?
· Kellan is the lead, so I’m going to focus on the victim, Prudence Grey. She was barely 20 years old, married, a new mother, and having a breakdown. She tore off to campus to confront her husband about something only to be killed in a fire that occurred during a Vietnam War protest. She was such an innocent young woman… and no one protected her. Kellan thinks she’s haunting the house she once lived in, his new home, because someone needs to help her find the truth. When the skeletal remains are finally found, the haunting doesn’t stop. Now that’s a scary story. I had to unleash it on my readers…
4) Is there anything you, specific, want readers to know about this piece of work?
I intend it to be both a fun foray into a slightly paranormal direction without truly saying there is a ghost. It’s mean to evoke Halloween, autumn, and the mysterious questions of life – is there life after death? Hopefully, readers know something like this would probably never happen… and I definitely pushed the envelope in terms of coincidences… but that’s what fun literature is about, especially when you strive to make me feel jumpy and to laugh about the situation.
5) When will the novel be available for purchase?
It is available now - http://bit.ly/HHGhost