The Wraith of Carter’s Mill
Genre: Paranormal Fiction
Publisher: Book Authors and Artists
Number of pages:80
Word Count: 25,000
Cover Artist:Sherry Thoman
The Guardians is the second novella in the series titled; The Wraith of Carter's Mill. The series will include three novellas published in Kindle format. A paperback compilation will include a fourth story, which will only be available in the paperback edition, and will be available late 2014.
Shyanne learned in her teens that like the living, the dead would stop talking to you if you ignore them long enough. After the death of her parents, that is precisely what she did. What good was a gift that allowed the dead to speak with her if her own parents could not? For a year after the accident, she waited, waited for one of them to come to her like the others did, longing for just one more chance to tell them that she loved them. They never came.
By high school graduation she had given up all hope of seeing them again and in the place of that missing hope, resentment filled the void. Every time she saw a spirit or heard a voice, she shut it off, refusing it entry like any unwelcome visitor. By the time she finished her first year of college, spirit siting’s were rare, and if she did see one, it usually lurked at a distance, watching her warily until it evaporated. Shyanne was determined to keep it that way.
An incident during her second year at college reveals her secret to an onlooker. Years later, someone who has witnessed her ability to see and speak to the dead, seeks Shyanne out. She must decide whether to use her gifts to help a haunted family. Shyanne must rely upon spectral Guardians to lead her in the right direction, or risk opening the door to a dark entity that has plagued her family for a century.
Available at Amazon
Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/vSOU_sYlq-I
PART I - SUMMER, 1985
Shyanne Martin stared back at her reflection. The maroon and gold cap and gown she wore looked foreign to her. She closed her eyes and tried to imagine her mother fussing with her hair on the biggest day of her life. Shyanne had no trouble conjuring up the image of her mother’s face, but she could not make her appear nor could she hear the words her mother would have been sure to say.
Shyanne’s mother would have said she looked beautiful. Her father would have said that he was proud of her, but Shyanne had not heard from either of them since the accident.
Uncle Jack tried mightily to fill the void and had been making a big fuss over her high school graduation all week. Miss Ethel, by then wheelchair bound, had organized a huge commencement dinner for her entire graduating class, but Shyanne had found it difficult to celebrate without her parents. She had gone through all the motions, had been careful to show her gratitude and appreciation, and wore a bright, brave smile, but it had not changed the fact that she was sad and missed her family.
. . .
Shyanne struggled to tune out the sounds of revelry coming from the hallway outside her dorm room and concentrate on the article she was reading. ...
When Sara burst through the door, Shyanne sighed. Giving up, she closed her books. “Shyanne! You’re not even close to ready to go!” chided Sara.
Sara was indeed ready to go. Shyanne could not help but smile at the fairy costume her friend wore. It was the perfect choice for Sara’s willowy frame and flowing blonde hair.
Shyanne glanced guiltily at her own costume, lying on the bed where Sara had placed it neatly. A black cat had been Sara’s choice for her, certainly not her own. She had never really enjoyed Halloween, and college Halloween festivities had done little to improve her taste for it. Sara, however, loved the holiday and insisted on celebrating it each year.
“I know, sweetie. I just really don’t want to go!” Shyanne said regretfully.
Sara darted to the arm of the chair where Shyanne sat and squatted down to plead her case.
“Oh please, please come, Shy! It’ll be so much fun, you’ll see! We don’t have to stay very late, I promise. Jason is going to be there and you know I can’t even talk when I’m around him. I can’t face him alone; he’ll think I’m a total moron. Please, please get ready and come with me,” pleaded Sara.
“Do you even know where this place is? And what about this Drake Monroe guy, do you know anything about him?” reasoned Shyanne.
Sara stood up quickly, and then sat on the edge of the bed, preparing to make her case again. “His family has an old tobacco plantation on the outskirts of Greenville. Jenny says it’s only a few minutes’ drive and she already gave me the directions. Apparently, he throws a big party there every year. Jenny is the one that got us the invite. Come on, Shy…it’ll be so much fun!”
Shyanne sighed heavily. She knew that Sara would not go without her, no matter how badly she wanted to go. “Alright! We’ll go but you have to promise me that when it’s time to leave, you won’t give me a hard time.”
Sara squeaked happily and clapped her hands. “I promise, now come on, let’s get you ready.”
. . .
Once they were loaded up inside Shyanne’s Volkswagen Beetle, a gift from Uncle Jack after freshman year, Sara fished a tiny slip of paper from her purse and began reading the directions aloud. “Just give me one step at a time, Sara, there’s no way I’ll remember all of that,” Shyanne interrupted.
The few minutes’ drive that Sara described in their dorm room turned out to be more like a forty-minute drive by the time they arrived. . . .
Sara was bubbling over with excitement. The three-story mansion that loomed ahead was more than just a farmhouse. . . .
“Look at that!” Sara said in wonder. “I bet that house is over two hundred years old!”
Shyanne was impressed as well. The towering white columns and sprawling verandas were an architectural wonder, very old south she guessed. . . .
An older gentleman was greeting guests at the door and directing them passed the glorious staircase into a ballroom where a disc jockey was playing Michael Jackson’s Thriller. The strobe lights mechanized the movements of the people who were dancing in the center of the room, delighting Sara and dizzying Shyanne.
. . .
Although Shyanne was sure that the room contained people they both knew, the costumes made it difficult to recognize anyone. Sara was thinking the same thing.
. . .
The girls walked around for a while and made their way toward the bar. Shyanne had no intention of drinking but thought their chances of running into a familiar face more likely near the ballroom. A tall, dark haired she-devil wearing a long, sequined blood red dress leaned casually against the bar as she whispered into the ear of a southern gentleman. Shyanne guessed him to be Rhett Butler, but she was not sure. Sara seemed to recognize the red beauty right off and
exclaimed, “Jenny? Is that you?”
Jenny turned, pulled up her red satin mask, and squealed with delight. “Sara! I am so glad you made it.” The two girls hugged. Shyanne shuffled nervously. They just saw each other a few hours ago.
Remembering her manners, Sara said, “Jenny, you’ve met Shyanne right?”
. . .
“Jenny, are you going to introduce me to my lovely guests?” Rhett finally asked lazily.
The red of her costume prevented the flush that crept up Jenny’s cheeks from being to noticeable, but Shyanne caught it. Sara was oblivious to it, still scanning the crowd for a glimpse of Jason Goodson.
“Sorry, Drake, I forgot myself for a moment. This is Miss Sara Page and her cousin and best friend, Shyanne Martin. Ladies, this is our esteemed host, Drake Monroe, heir to Monroe Plantation,” purred Jenny Caswell.
Hmmm, I thought I was playing the cat. “It’s very nice to meet you, and we thank you for having us. You have a lovely home,” Shyanne stated matter of factly.
Drake stood up straight, politely. Shyanne sensed that the arrogance she had detected only moments ago was simply him playing his character. “Thank you, Shyanne; it’s not really my home. I mean, I don’t live here; nobody does actually―well, except for the caretakers. It serves as a vacation getaway for the family these days. We all use it from time to time but it’s a bit ostentatious if you ask me. It is, however, the perfect setting for a masquerade ball, which is a tradition for the old place.”
Shyanne sensed sincerity in his manner, and felt herself warming to him. It did not hurt that the sultry Jenny was virtually fuming jealousy.
The spell was broken when Jason Goodson approached them. Sara was beaming. Shyanne had always liked Jason. He was shy like Sara but was obviously as taken with her as she was with him. Shyanne found it endearing that neither of them seemed to realize how much the other liked them.
Jason invited Sara onto the dance floor and when the couple departed, Drake extended his arm to Shyanne. “Would you like a tour of the house?” he asked.
The red of her dress did little to camouflage the flush of anger that dappled Jenny’s cheeks that time.
Shyanne smiled brightly and taking Drake’s arm said, “I would love to.”
Shyanne was enchanted. She had never seen a house with so many rooms, or anything nearly so ornately decorated. Drake seemed to know the history behind every antique and every piece of art in the place. He recounted stories about his ancestors as they walked long hallways and even showed her a hidden tunnel behind a bookcase in the study. He explained that the rear portion of the house was called the new addition, even though it was over a hundred years old. Apparently, part of it had burned during the “Potter’s Raid” in 1863.
. . .
Drake explained that his summers in the old house had sparked his interest in history, particularly the Civil War and inspired him to seek a degree in history. Coming from a family of businessmen, his declaration at eighteen that he wished to be a historian, possibly a professor of American history, had caused quite a shock for his ailing grandfather. As they approached the staircase once again, Shyanne was surprised to find that they were going down instead of up. She found herself extremely curious about the third floor. “What’s upstairs?” she asked.
“Oh, there’s not much of interest up there,” answered Drake. “The rooms are empty and never used. . . . They think it’s haunted.”
Drake watched Shyanne’s face when he made the last statement. Shyanne had no doubt that the claim was probably true. There certainly seemed to be a significant number of spirits dwelling on the second floor, but Shyanne understood as well that the presence of spirits and a haunting were two entirely different things. Still, she hoped that her face did not reveal her interest.
. . .
Upon returning to the ballroom, she looked around for Sara but did not see her. Jenny greeted her and Drake almost immediately. Who is this woman?
“Jenny, have you seen Sara?” She asked.
Jenny, who had apparently enjoyed several more glasses of wine after she and Drake left on the tour, waved her arms with a flourish toward the windows on the opposite wall. “Oh, I think she and Jason have gone out to the bon fire with the rest of the moon worshippers. It’s full tonight you know?”
“Why aren’t you out there, Jenny?” Drake asked coolly.
Jenny assumed a look of pure indignation, “Are you kidding me? In these shoes? There is no way I am traipsing across that field.
Besides, I rather like the atmosphere in here.” Jenny leaned in and placed her hand on Drake’s chest intimately.
Drake drew back slightly but continued to smile politely. He turned to Shyanne, whose arm was still linked through his own. “What about you, Shyanne? Do you think your shoes can make the trip?”
Shyanne did not miss the mischief in his eyes, nor the sincere smile that lingered there. “Sure, I’ll walk out there with you,” she answered.
The two turned their backs on a seething red devil woman.
The air outside was cool but not overly so. Shyanne was sure it would be more comfortable by the fire. As they approached, she saw that the large group had broken into several smaller ones. Blankets had materialized from somewhere and clusters of people gathered upon them like tiny islands.
Someone called to her from one such island. Shyanne located Sara and Jason, occupying a blanket alone. As she and Drake approached, Shyanne felt a pang of guilt for interrupting the two of them. They were obviously getting along well. Sara was blushing prettily and Jason was wearing what looked to be a permanent smile. Sara had had a crush on Jason since freshman year. Here it was junior year and the two of them were finally getting somewhere. Shyanne noticed that Sara was wearing a man’s coat, obviously, Jason had given her his.
“Can we sit with you guys?” asked Shyanne.
“Of course you can silly,” answered Sara as she scooted over to make room. “Where did you two slip off to anyway?”
“I gave Shyanne a tour of the house and I’m afraid I probably bored her to death,” answered Drake.
“No, no you didn’t. I found the house fascinating, really,” protested Shyanne.
“What time is it getting to be, Shy?” Sara asked fearfully, afraid that Shyanne might be ready to call it a night.
Shyanne squinted to read her watch by the light of the bon-fire. “It’s getting close to midnight Sara; we should probably be heading back soon. It’s a long drive.”
Sara tried to hide her regret, determined to keep her promise from earlier.
Jason was the next to speak. “Hey Drake, are we still on for that
Drake looked at the girls nervously, “I don’t know man, Clay didn’t make it…car trouble, and Jenny…well, Jenny is being Jenny.”
“I know, we kind of came out here to escape her,” Jason responded.
Shyanne was curious about what thing they were talking about. Sara seemed to be too but neither wanted to ask. Shyanne decided it might be best to get going so these two could get on with whatever their plan was. “Come on, Sara, let’s head that way. Drake, it was great to meet you, I had a wonderful time. Jason, it was good to see you again.”
Sara stood reluctantly and gave Jason an apologetic smile. Jason, not ready to see Sara leave, blurted out to Drake. “Hey man, why can’t the girls help us with that? We only need four people.”
. . .
“Shyanne, how would you like to be a part of a séance tonight?” Drake asked.
Everything inside Shyanne screamed NO! She had never participated in anything like that before. Old Isaiah had warned her against such things. “Why are you holding a séance?”
Drake took a deep breath. “Jason and I have been trying to gather evidence in the house, solid evidence of a haunting. If you don’t want to, I’ll understand.” All pretense of Rhett Butler had left him, and Drake was just a regular guy, looking sheepish and slightly embarrassed that his friend had put him on the spot.
Shyanne too felt as if she had been put on the spot. She was not sure how to respond. If she declined at that point, she would have to explain why, or at least she would feel she had to. If she participated, there was no telling what might happen. At least she had the answer to the last question she had asked Drake, apparently, he did believe in ghosts, or at least he wanted to believe.
. . .
Shyanne said the only thing that came to mind to say. “Well, I’ll be honest. I was brought up in a very religious family and we just didn’t believe in séances and things like that. I’m not sure how I feel about it.”
Drake nodded. “Me either, Shyanne, my grandmother would turn in her grave if she knew. We’re just trying to get solid evidence. We’re not trying to disturb the dead or conjure anything up. It is not
witchcraft or devil worship, I consider it fact finding…that’s all. If you become uncomfortable in any way, we’ll stop, I promise.”
Committed and not certain how she became that way, Shyanne started the walk back to the house with Drake. “So, how many séances have you held here?” she asked
Drake let out a long breath, “Well, we’ve only actually done it one other time, but we didn’t have any recording equipment. Some things happened, but we have no way of proving it or even proving that the sounds we heard were paranormal. Honestly, there could have been any number of explanations for them, but what made it odd or interesting was that there was so much of it going on at once! That’s why Jason brought a recorder this time. The plan is to review the tapes and attempt to debunk each noise or event. I hope that we can isolate the unexplainable from the coincidental. ”
Shyanne’s curiosity piqued, “So, you’re not trying to get information from these spirits? You’re just trying to prove that they exist. Is that what you’re saying?”
Drake nodded. “Yes, that’s all we’re really trying to do. I mean, it would be interesting to know who they are and why they’re here and if we can find that out, that’s just a bonus, but the main objective is to simply prove that they are here.”
“But why would you have a séance while a party is going on down here? What about your guests?” Shyanne asked.
Drake smiled. “The last time we did this, the house was empty. We killed all the lights downstairs and locked all the doors. The house was silent. We got a few responses…enough to convince us that it could be haunted but not anywhere near as much activity as the Mills have told me about. When I was a kid and spent the summers here, it would sound like somebody was moving furniture around up there…sounded like people walking around. My grandfather said it was raccoons coming and going, my grandmother didn’t want to talk about it. She would tell me to hush if I asked her about it. My Dad and Uncles confessed that they had heard things up there but when I pressed with questions, they would tell me to leave it be. Naturally, that just peaked my curiosity even more. They kept the doors to the third floor padlocked. They said they didn’t want us kids up there messing around, afraid we might get hurt or something. It wasn’t until last year that I even had access to that floor. When the Mills started telling me about the strange goings on, I felt compelled to
investigate it. Jason and I have been friends since we were kids, so he always knew what I knew.”
“He has a fascination for the paranormal, he’s a true believer. I, however, am a skeptic…I believe in the possibility but I just haven’t seen enough to convince me.” Drake chuckled but Shyanne sensed that he was not very amused. There was more to his story, she was sure of that. She certainly had the ability to solve his mystery. There were indeed spirits present in the old house, but to what degree they were attached to it, she did not know. None had attempted to communicate with her, not that she would have acknowledged them anyway.
. . .
By the time they returned to the house, Jason and Sara were waiting for them on the front porch. Jason sat the backpack down on the floor and nodded to Drake. Shyanne noticed that Sara looked excited out of her skin. Shyanne wondered if her excitement was due to the séance or Jason’s attention.
“The party is still going strong inside, so we should probably take the rear staircase up. I don’t want anybody to try to follow us or become too interested in what we’re doing. The DJ will stop playing at 1 a.m. and the bar will shut down, so I figure everybody will probably be out of here by 1:30 or so. Mr. Mills will herd them toward the door.” Drake told them.
“I was thinking the same thing.” Jason unzipped a side pocket on the backpack, pulled out two flashlights and handed one to Drake.
Drake donned his Rhett character once more and said playfully, “I’ll lead the way; y’all follow me and stick together. If you see Jenny comin’…run for your lives.”
Drake followed the wrap around porch to the rear of the house, explaining as he went that they would be re-entering the house through the kitchen. They could access the rear staircase through the pantry undetected.
. . .
It was surprisingly quiet when Jason, the last in the caravan, closed the pantry door behind them. The sounds of the party were muffled and faint, like they were very far away and not inside the house. The higher they climbed, the farther away the party became. By the time they reached the top, Shyanne could not hear it all.
. . .
Drake stopped outside the third door to the right. Shyanne realized that the room was on the north side of the house. The headlights of departing partygoers would not interfere with them inside.
Even though she could not see it, Shyanne could smell a century of dust and abandonment. It seemed impossible that the space could be a part of such a gloriously preserved manor. It indeed felt as if they had gone to a different location altogether.
. . .
There were only a few pieces of furniture in the room. One piece looked to be an old washbasin stand, and there was a wooden chair covered in cobwebs. The modern folding card table and chairs sitting in the middle of the room seemed out of place. “Wow!” exclaimed Sara, “This room is as big as some houses I’ve been in.”
“This was my great grandfathers’ study. The door in the corner opens into what was his bedroom,” Drake said softly as he dragged the stand into the center of the room and placed the lantern on top of it
Jason dropped his pack onto the card table and fished out several pillar candles. . . .
Shyanne felt Drake’s eyes on her as she studied the room, but when she made eye contact, he looked away. He’s looking for a reaction of some kind.
“Jason, set up the Ouija board and I’ll kill the lantern. Shyanne, you, and Sara have a seat opposite each other at the table please.” Drake directed.
“Wait a minute! You said séance; you never mentioned a witch board!” Shyanne exclaimed almost angrily.
“Oh come on, Shy! What’s the difference really?” Sara pleaded, afraid that Shyanne was about to pull the plug on her magical night with Jason.
Jason stopped and said apologetically, “She’s right. I should have told you guys. A séance requires the presence of a medium, which we do not have. Some people believe that spirits can communicate through the Ouija board, we didn’t have one last time, but a friend of mine loaned us this one for the night. I’ve only used one once, and it was incredible. I thought it might increase the activity, and give us a chance to maybe catch something.”
Shyanne was not satisfied. Isaiah had warned her about witch
boards saying that they often channeled negative energies that could be dangerous. He had said that most often the spirits conjured up by a board were tricksters and were rarely truthful. “I’ve never heard anything good about them,” Shyanne said shaking her head.
. . .
In an attempt to take the focus off herself, Shyanne made a halfhearted joke. “Alright, Sara Jean, but not a word of this to Miss Ethel! If she finds out about this, she’ll find a way to Greenville and pack us both off back home!”
Sara clapped in delight, and Jason smiled. Shyanne noticed that for all his cool composure, Drake looked relieved. She wondered if he indeed had confidence in the Ouija board, or experience with it for that matter.
Shyanne sat opposite from Sara as Drake blew out the lantern.
Drake’s back was to the window. “What now?” Sara asked excitedly.
“Now, we all rest the tips of our fingers on the planchette. It’s important to keep your hands relaxed, because if they tense, it might cause the planchette to move falsely,” Jason instructed.
Once everyone’s hands were in place, Jason said, “It’s best if only one of us asks the questions, at least in the beginning. . . .
Drake nodded and prompted Jason, “Is there anything else we should know before we start?”
Drake cleared his throat and stared down at the board as if he were in deep thought. When he asked the first question, Shyanne felt herself jump slightly in surprise at the sound of his voice. “Are there any spirits here tonight?”
Everyone watched the planchette, waiting to feel movement. After about a minute of stillness, Jason urged Drake to ask another question. “Sometimes it helps to reword the same question.”
Drake moved his head from side to side quickly before addressing the spirit board again. “Is there a spirit here who wants to talk to us?”
He’s nervous. Shyanne’s suspicions confirmed.
So focused was she on Drake that Shyanne was taken by complete surprise when the heart shaped piece of wood moved up to the answer, “yes.”
Jason’s eyes were trained on the planchette. His expression more lust than interest. Without looking up, he said, “Good, good. Now, keep to “yes” or “no” for now. Ask about gender.”
Drake cleared his throat. “Are you a female spirit?” Drake asked.
The planchette vibrated a little before moving backward and shooting across the board to the answer “no.”
Sara squealed with forbidden delight.
The dim light of the candles did little to conceal the sweat that was forming on Drake’s forehead. If Jason and Sara exhibited signs of wonder, Drake was exuding signs of distress. Either he is a believer or he is a reformed skeptic.
Movement in one of the darkest corners of the room caught Shyanne’s attention. The shadow crept along the interior wall where the light from the candles could not reach. Shyanne wondered if the witch board had drawn it out or if their presence had lured it into the room. Whatever the reason, Shyanne sensed fear in the entity. She tried to focus on the board, not wanting to let the specter know she had seen it.
Drake took a deep breath, and presented the next question. “Did you die here?”
The planchette vibrated more violently that time, pulled back a few inches and then shot back over the word “no.”
Drake looked to Jason, “What now?”
Jason smiled, “I’ve never seen such quick responses. Let’s ask it more detailed questions. Remember, the spelling is usually terrible. Don’t speak the answer until the planchette stops moving. Ask its name.”
“What is your name?” Drake asked.
Another black mass appeared on the wall behind Sara. Shyanne, unable to help herself, watched it intently, ignoring the board. The wooden heart began to vibrate, but stayed in one spot. The mass crept closer to the table, carefully staying behind Sara. The heart vibrated more violently. Shyanne’s heart pounded in her ears.
As the mass crouched behind Sara . . .
Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
I think that I always wanted to write. I was writing short stories soon after I learned to read. I used to tell my parents that I was going to write books one day. For a short while, when I was in high school, I actually considered pursuing a career in journalism.
When did you first consider yourself a “writer”?
I always thought of myself as a writer; however I have only considered myself an author since 2012. That is when I actually committed to make this writing dream of mine come true.
How long did it take to get your first book published?
It took a while. I was actually doing some freelance work and ghost writing when I managed to catch the attention of a small press publishing company. Since I was new to the industry and needed to get my feet wet, it seemed like the perfect place to start.
Do you do another job except for writing and can you tell us more about it?
My husband and I run a small, service related business from our home. My job is basically book keeping and scheduling. My hours are flexible which gives me time to dedicate to my passion, which is writing.
What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarize it in less than 20 words what would you say?
My latest release is The Guardians. It is the second novella in my paranormal fiction series titled, The Wraith of Carter’s Mill.
The Guardians is a thriller, but more on the psychological side of things. Makes you wanna look under the bed!
More than 20….sorry.
Who is your publisher? Or do you self-publish?
My publisher is BooksAuthorsandArtists or BAA. It is part of internetmarketing ky.
How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
Oh that drastically depends on what I am trying to write! Sensitives, the first novella in the series only took me a week. I was so into the story and had such a clear perception of my characters and the setting that the story just flowed. The Guardians took about a month. I still had an awesome relationship with the characters and the flow was there, but I was taking the story higher, moving the bar so to speak so it was a bigger challenge, but equally rewarding.
What can we expect from you in the future? ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
I expect to write a good bit more paranormal fiction. I love it and new ideas are already springing onto pages.
What genre would you place your books into?
Definitely paranormal fiction.
What made you decide to write that genre of book?
I had a paranormal experience as a young child and I have been seeking answers ever since. In my quest to learn more about what I saw and heard, I have encountered so many true accounts. The inspiration is endless. Also, I enjoy reading paranormal fiction.
Do you have a favorite character from your books? And why are they your favorite?
My absolute favorite character is Old Isaiah. I love him because he is wise, gentle and gifted.
How long have you been writing?, and who or what inspired you to write?
I have been writing since I learned to read. I always admired writers and wanted to be one.
Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? ie You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?
I do have a specific routine. I always burn a candle, the scent helps me to relax and focus. I have an old office chair that I would actually be embarrassed for a guest to see but it’s so comfortable, and it’s big enough for me to pull my legs up into it. My office, which is a converted bedroom is on the backside of my house and the window overlooks my garden and gives me a view of the forest behind my home. I have a coffee pot set up in there and there is a bathroom adjoining the room….I never have to leave “my sanctuary” when I am intently working on something. My husband and son slide notes under the door if they need to get my attention.
Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?
I read ALL the reviews! Reviews are so important and valuable to a writer. Of course, I LOVE the good ones, the pats on the back, but the not so good ones are equally important. Reviews are the way we learn as writers what our readers want, what they are looking for. Reviews also give us insight about our writing style, shows us what works and what does not. Of course, there are always those folks who did not like the piece and write scathing, hurtful comments. I take these with a grain of salt and try to remember that not everyone likes broccoli!
Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?
I always chose the title before I write the book. I usually get an idea for a story, and then I start putting a brief plot summary together and it is at that point that the title ideas start coming.
How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?
I often start developing my character before the name comes to me. I will assign them some benign description in the meantime so that I can keep everyone organized but as the character develops, I usually think to myself, he sounds like a Josh or a Frank sort of thing.
Names of places that I have been, usually small out of the way villages or communities often stand out in my mind. When I am choosing a name of a town, or a river or creek, these names usually come to mind. For instance, there is no such place as Carter’s Mill that I am aware of but there is indeed a Roanoke Rapids in North Carolina. I like to use names of existing places near my location to add reality to the setting.
Are character names and place names decided after their creation? Or do you pick a character/place name and then invent them?
I usually just think of the type of area my setting will take place, for instance; small town, large town, rural community, coastal community etc. Once I know “where” the story will take place, then I start brainstorming a name for the place.
Same thing with characters, I wait until I know them better to name them.
Do you decide on character traits (ie shy, quiet, tomboy girl) before writing the whole book or as you go along?
Right after I have a tentative plot summary, I immediately start working on characters. After all, stories are about people and places. Each character has a personality before I even begin to write. That said, sometimes that character will change, and I will decide that he/she should be more this way or that. Sometimes by the end, I find that I changed that person dramatically. Sometimes I find that I like a minor character more than my protagonist.
Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books? (Morals as in like Aesops Fables type of "The moral of this story is..")
I would not say that I bury profound messages per se but I do like to end my books on a good note. Good always wins in the end.
Which format of book do you prefer, eBook, hardback, or paperback?
Gosh, my preference really depends on what I am reading. If I am reading a book that I know that I will want to keep on my shelf forever, I definitely prefer a hard cover. If it’s something that I would like to pass to family or friend, a paperback is nice. If I am reading a book in order to give a review, I prefer an ebook copy and I like to have all of my research materials in that format as well.
What is your favorite book and Why? Have you read it more than once?
My favorite book of all times, and I have read it several times, is The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. The reasons I love and appreciate it so much are numerous, but the most profound reason is his characters. I have never read another author with an equal gift for character development.
Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is you favorite/worst book to movie transfer?
I think how well or not a book transfers to a movie depends tremendously on the screenwriter. I think it also is very important that the author be involved with the screen writing process, it just makes good sense. I am usually most disappointed with the movie after I read the book.
I think that my favorite book to movie transfer was The Hunger Games. I was impressed with how closely it followed the book. There were changes mind you, but I think those are almost always necessary. My least favorite was Interview with a Vampire. It had a healthy cast, but the writing suffered greatly in the transfer and I was very disappointed.
Your favorite food is?
My favorite food is fish. I grew up eating fresh seafood almost every day. I enjoy shellfish tremendously, oysters, clams, shrimp and crabs but my all-time favorite is fish, specifically, mullet.
Your favorite singer/group is?
I love The Decemberists.
Your favorite color is?
My favorite color is green. I love all shades of it.
Your favorite Author is?
John Steinbeck and Anne Rice run a tight race for me. I know, I know, they are from totally different genres and I love them both for different reasons. I also very much enjoy Sharon Penman, she is an OUTSTANDING historical fiction author.
C. Evenfall grew up in a small fishing village in Eastern North Carolina. The area was rich with history, ghost stories and unexplained phenomenon; all fodder for the vivid imaginings of a young girl. She began “collecting” stories at a young age.
At aged six, C. Evenfall experienced the paranormal firsthand and has been seeking answers ever since.
Her fascination with the unexplainable and her love for old family ghost stories inspired her to write a collection of novellas. Each inspired by the experiences passed down through her family for generations.
C. Evenfall resides on the Carolina Coast with her husband, a self-proclaimed skeptic. She loves him anyway and the two complement each other perfectly.
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