Around five years ago, I had an idea for a story about a small southern town where a cruel young woman uses blackmail to control everyone around her. The limits of her control would be tested when her former boyfriend returns home from the war with a new bride. I took a couple of runs at it, but the story refused to gel.
Then one morning I woke up, the fading images of a dream still haunting me. A simple scene, a moonlit field of corn. A woman running through the razor sharp leaves calling the name Ruby over and over. I awoke not remembering a thing about the dream, other than that this Ruby wasn't normal. Ruby was a vampire.
I started noodling the dream over, and realized that the Ruby of my dream was the same character I had been trying to write about in the short story. Still I couldn't quite figure out how the two strands came together. I jotted my thoughts down in the "Story Ideas" file I keep on my computer, then got distracted by a couple of other projects, one of which grew into the Witching Savannah series.
Last spring I started chatting with my friend and fellow 47North author Roberta Trahan about bringing out a collection of short stories together, and I decided to brush off some of the ideas I keep in my file. Ruby's story began to speak to me, so I started writing a new version of the story I'd put aside back in 2010. Then the story kept speaking to me, and soon it outgrew the short story format. I decided to bring it out as a self-published novella, even purchased a cover (see above) that captured the feel of the story. Then the story kept speaking to me. Odd characters with dark obsessions seemed to be lining up to join the cast of the story. Soon the story grew well beyond the scope of a novella; it was a full blown novel.
I'm happy to relate that 47North has decided to publish SHIVAREE, and it is scheduled to come out in November of this year. Following is a summary:
At the close of the Korean War, sturdy army nurse Corinne Ford turns her back on a troubled past to travel to rural Mississippi and marry her battlefield sweetheart. Corinne soon learns she was not the first woman in her fiancé's life. The once exquisite Ruby, failed actress and dabbler in dark magic, had been brought back from Hollywood to her father's house, sick, broken, changed. Her death cleared the way for many who had wished that she had never returned. Soon, Corinne is confronted with evidence that her fiancé's first love is neither forgotten nor truly gone. Backlit by the Klan's burning crosses and scored by the cacophony of shivaree, the traditional wedding night abduction of the groom, SHIVAREE looks into a world where the monsters of folklore confront the monsters of history.