I did not intend for this story to become a full novel. My plan, and the Muse laughed, was to write another novella as a loose sequel to Snow in Her Eyes, and then another one after that, before finally writing bridges for the three to create a single novel. Yeah. Plans are great, but what happens when things don’t go according to plan? Evidently in my world, I wind up with a novel I had not planned for, and am not sure what to do with. Well, ok. Sanderley Studios is about to put out their first novel, I guess!
It’s funny. I finished this in one big burst of writing, on a work night, just before leaving for LTUE. I’d known I was close to complete, but had figured I might work on it while flying to the conference, rather than getting much done before hand. But the brain kept feeding me bits, and I would write them out, and then try to sleep, but nooo, there was more. Until finally there wasn’t any more.
So this is another Amaya Lombard story. The detective with magical talents, who can see a world transposed on our own, gets called in on special cases. When a horrific scene surfaces in Possum Creek, Kentucky, her boss ‘loans’ her out to help with it, and she boards a plane from Oregon to the Appalachians. She has no idea what she is about to walk into…
Writing this was interesting. The whole story started with my daughter misreading a sign. Just up the road from where we live is a park named Possum Creek, and as we drove by it one day, the Ginja Ninja asked in startled tones ‘did that sign read Possum Creek Massacre?’ and just like that, the kernel was planted. I decided to set it primarily in Kentucky, since I’ve been getting to know that state while visiting my in-laws, and then when my mother moved into an old farm. The setting of the story seemed natural in a region known for the deep folklore, Granny witches, and a certain reputation for violence and family feuds. And from my experience of it, everyone knows everyone, and takes care of their neighbors, and it’s a way of life I can admire in some facets.
The other part of the story, the inanimate characters, if you will, are the abandoned houses and barns that dot the rural countryside of both Kentucky and Ohio. I’m not used to the concept of this casual abandonment of, in some cases, beautiful homes. Left to rot, they hark back to different times, families that have vanished into the surrounding hills and hollers, so incorporating them into the case, and story, was a way to add another level of ghostly presence of the past to Possum Creek. Which is, I hasten to assure you, entirely fictitious. There is (according to the internet maps) no such town in Kentucky. If you want to experience a place like it, though, you might start near Berea, KY, and take a left to head east into the area near the Red River Gorge. There, you may see such tiny, dying towns trying to keep their place in the world that seems to have forgotten them and passed them by, leaving only the detritus of the War on Drugs in it’s wake. If you were to stop in one, and set a while, you’ll hear the accent I tried to capture in Marilyn… and oh, that’s another thing. I pulled the name from my own experience listening to a Kentucky lady saying her neighbor’s name. I was startled when I first heard it, but having an unusual name myself, went along with it. It was months before I realized that the neighbor was Marilyn, not Merlin. I was somewhat disappointed!
And as an additional surprise, this novel went in subtle directions I was not anticipating. Like the chapter headings. They are either phrases from hymns, or Bible verses.
- Cleaving the Sky
- Wrestling with the Devil
- Through a Glass Darkly
- Suffer not a Witch
- Morning comes but Also Night
- Dwell Among Ravenous Beasts
- The Sorrows of Hell Compassed me About
- Testify, Sister, to the Glory of the Lord
- By the Blood of the Lamb
- Vengeance is Mine
- Sup With a Long Spoon
- Hell’s Foundations Quiver
- When the Walls Come Tumblin’ Down
- Writing on the Wall
- Streams of Mercy
- Bind my Wandering Heart
- Though the Night Deepens
Oh – and if you would be interested in Beta Reading this, let me know. I will warn you that there is some language, and definitely graphic crime scene description. If you read and didn’t like Snow in Her Eyes, you probably will not like this one.