Anatomy of a Ghost Story
It’s funny how things can inspire us in unexpected ways. Last spring my husband surprised me with a trip to a bed-and-breakfast on the outskirts of Gatlinburg, Tennessee. The place we stayed, called The Seven Gables Inn, was a beautiful Victorian-style hotel for adults-no children under the age of thirteen allowed. There were wrap-around porches with rockers and a hammock, gorgeous gardens dotted with benches, and a gazebo with a swing. All in all, a perfect retreat of nature and relaxation.
This memory of this hotel stayed in the back of my mind until several months ago, when I began a short story for an assignment that called for a piece heavily driven by dialogue. I wanted to do a relationship story, but since I primarily write sci-fi and speculative fiction, I had to put my own twist on this romance. In short, I wanted the characters to be haunted.
I began by placing my couple in a spot very similar to the hotel I had visited, but before I was finished the setting had changed drastically. No longer the immaculate representation of a past era where I stayed, the inn transformed under my imagination to someplace far less settling. I had a vision of an abandoned mansion, one that had for long years sat empty. What if my characters were the first humans to set foot there in decades? Would they bring their problems with them, and what else would they find there? And, also, why would a couple willingly stay in such a place?
I decided to offer this story as a sample to my readers, and will post it for free both in part on this website and its entirety on my Goodreads site over the next week. Please check out the sample and the link on my “Upcoming Works” page for “The Couple’s Retreat, and I welcome your feedback.