Back in September, I wrote this tweet:
The response was overwhelmingly positive, and the next day, I tweeted this:
That idea ended up being a 20,000 word mystery novella set in my hometown of Canton, NY. It’s titled Candles in the Dark, and here is the blurb:
Pauline Gray, journalist and secret novelist, discovers anonymous letters are being sent to a young widow, insinuating that her husband did not die by accident. Pauline’s compassion and journalistic instincts combine to help her to seek an answer to who is sending these letters, and why. Was Bob Ferris really murdered, and if so, by whom? Before long, Pauline is stirring up secrets some people would remain buried along with the dead. Despite the danger, Pauline won’t stop until she has shone a light into the hidden places of the past and seen justice done for the grieving widow and her son. Even if it costs her everything …
It was a step outside my comfort zone, writing-wise, to do a story that was not fantasy or sci-fi, and to try to capture the flavor of a real place in a real time. Thankfully, along with local historians (the Facebook page Historian Town & Village Canton was hugely useful, the photos alone were amazing), I could call or email my dad any time I got stuck on something, and he could pass along memories from his parents, or stories he’s heard from other folks of the previous generation. He was my first beta-reader for this story, and was able to correct a few of the physical details I’d gotten wrong, and confirm places where I’d hit the nail on the head. This was my first time writing a story where the setting turned out to be as much of a character as the people themselves.
In the end, I really loved it.
Of course, the problem with writing a mystery novella is that they aren’t easy to get published. Short stories or novels themselves can find homes well enough, but a novella is a strange beast, neither one nor the other.
So, I’m publishing it myself.
I don’t have an exact date yet, but it will be coming soon–possibly even next month!–and I will update here as I get more details down.
I hope you enjoy Pauline and her adventures in my hometown as much as I do! If I get a positive enough response to the story, I might even be able to turn it into a series after all.