Sunday, March 18, 2012

Going Home to a Place that Never Was

I've started work on my fourth novel, a total change of pace for me. It doesn't take place in a distant time, another planet, or even the near future. The time is now. The place is...well, imaginary. But inspired by real life. It's set in a fictionalized version of my home town.

For me, it's Homecoming. Every time I open the manuscript it's a bit like returning to my old stomping grounds. (Although a much more creepified version of the place I remember.)

Actually, "home town" is not an apt description. It's more like my home area. It spans a couple of counties in the thick pine forests of northern Michigan and  features two big inland lakes, a river, and a village--population about 1,100 (let's hear one of those famous Hee Haw sighhhh-lutes).

It's a very popular resort area for vacationers who come to boat, swim, ski, sail, canoe, fish, hike, ride horseback and enjoy the great outdoors.

For a taste of the setting, click the video below to experience a few seconds floating down the quiet Old Sable river. (Fictional name of the real river.)

But the area also has several spooky rural myths(?)--a Big Foot type beastie called Slewfoot, a seriously haunted graveyard from the late 1800s, and claims one of the lakes is bottomless (or at least too deep for divers to explore) with occasional sightings of a 20-foot monster fish swimming in the depths.

Ross County, land of dark forests and deep waters, was the kind of place that had always inspired strange legends.

In my story, something else lurks in shadows of the forest, the reason the MC, Lindy Knight, fled years before. When a friend dies mysteriously, she must find the courage to return and confront her fears.

Something dangled at the edge of understanding, a dim and elusive memory Lindy couldn't quite grasp. Something she had left behind and forgotten when she'd moved away from Ross Crossing eleven years earlier. A dark secret that tugged at her, tapped on her shoulder, and whispered in a throaty growl that she should run back to the safety of the city.

Here's my current pitch.

Something terrible lurks in the forests near Lindy Knight's childhood home, something she fears was unleashed by the death of her closest friend. When she returns to Ross Crossing to confront her past, she finds more than just a childhood nightmare has returned to the small resort town.

So that's the world I've been living in of late. The working title is Chimera, and although it may not sound like it, yes, this story is Science Fiction Romance.

Fooled ya, didn't I?

~~ * ~~


  1. It sounds good. And good for you to take a different path. I'm struggling with the plot for a new novel as we speak.

  2. I remember you telling me about this one. I think taking a change of pace/style/genre or whatever is a good way to refresh the muse and test out your skills. Good luck with it.

  3. @Greta Good luck with your brainstorming. My inspiration seems to come in layers. The final story always becomes much more complex than the original idea.

    @Pippa Yes, though this one is taking attention away from my third novel, which needs to be extensively revised and wrapped. I've always been a One-Project-at-a-Time kind of writer, where suddenly I'm juggling four projects at once and inspired by all of them.

  4. Thanks, Heather. This one crosses into the horror realm, so it often gives me an unsettling combination of nostalgia and goosebumps.


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