Cloaked in mystery and inspired by a muse, The Cavanaugh House is finally available for Kindle and will soon be in print. As I reflect back on the evolution of this book, I am amazed and delighted. Following its progress I can think of a fitting metaphor—pregnancy.
Driving along a crazy-busy highway does not seem like a fitting bed in which to conceive, although I’ve heard of the Mile High Club and that speed is much faster. But as I navigated the 403 toward the QEW in Hamilton, Ontario, a sentence floated into my brain: “This house held secrets…” Rich was asleep, and I couldn’t pull off the road to write it down. How would I remember it? But it had been planted. Without benefit of the usual, ah… physical sensations, I was impregnated with the seed of an idea for my book.
More sentences immediately followed, and I was frantic trying to figure out how to capture them. I repeated them in my mind so I could remember. Then a memory of a childhood occurrence came to mind. One night a boy who lived near my best friend had looked out his third floor attic bedroom window into the attic windows of the house across the street. He saw a body hanging; someone had committed suicide. Every time I went to my friend’s house, my feet would slow as I passed that house and I would gaze at those windows.
All the homes on the street had single attic windows, but that house had two small windows side by side. I knew my house would have those windows. In fact, a very clear picture of the house in my story formed in my mind. It would be smaller than this actual one, and very run down…in fact, deserted. Finally Rich awoke and I recited the sentences to him and described the house figuring two brains were better than one, and maybe we could each remember some of this.
|Visiting Belhurst Castle|
On we drove to our wine tasting tour. Rich told the woman who served us at the Belhurst Castle about my books and that I was going to set my next one in the Finger Lakes, she laughed and suggested I set it at Belhurst Castle since it was haunted. “Haunted???” I said. She proceeded to tell us the legend, and I bought the book about its history, The Belhurst Story by David Sakmyster. This was getting better and better.
I knew the house would be like a character in the book, moving the plot, defining the characters, setting the scene. I began to write. As a pantser, I tend to just write and see what happens, but as little way into this book, since it was a mystery, I knew I had to at least outline background and motives for each character who would become a suspect. I was wary about my ability to insert red herrings and subtle clues, but as I wrote it seemed to happen organically.
There were some concepts in my original notes that did not occur in the book, and when I looked back at them, I was surprised they didn’t fit. One was a child character who initiated a relationship in the book, but the relationship developed on its own and the child never showed up. Another was complications in the romantic angle in the book, and while some of that did appear, it was not to the extent that I thought it would be.
|Revision in Progress|
The next day while sitting in the chair at the hair salon, my stylist said, “We’re going to paint our front door red.” With blinding clarity, the solution to that scene hit me right between the eyes. I know that’s a cliché, but it works. That’s why it’s a cliché. I knew what had to happen in that scene…once again I was in a location where I couldn’t write it down. Well, I scribbled it on my checkbook register using major words to jog my memory later.
Revision and editing. “nuff said.
Helping to deliver my new creation were excellent beta readers (Kate (daughter), Tina, Linda, Janet, Deborah, Luana, Sarah), a husband who puts up with more than any man should have to (my Sweet Baboo, Rich), and a final line editor (H.J.) who is worth a million bucks, but unfortunately she hitched her wagon to a barely visible star and so will get lunch and my eternal thanks. I am thrilled with the final project, and these characters are still whispering to me, so I suspect there will be a sequel.
Elizabeth Meyette and Boris the Muse are proud to announce the birth of their newest creation The Cavanaugh House. Birthday: May 12, 2014.
Sex Genre: Mystery.
Weight: Heavy – it’s a murder mystery for goodness sake! Length: 325 pages.
The Cavanaugh House is available at Amazon.