Today on Carol Presents we’ve switched things up a bit. Susanne Mathews kindly answers the question (one that most authors get asked sometime in their career) … where did you get your idea for this story? But first let’s learn a little bit more about my guest, Susanne.
Susanne Matthews was born and raised in Cornwall, Ontario, Canada. She’s always been an avid reader of all types of books, but always with a penchant for happily ever after romances. In her imagination, she travelled to foreign lands, past and present, and soared into the future. As a retired educator, she gets to spend her time writing, so she can share new adventures with her readers. She loves the ins and outs of romance, and the complex journey it takes to get from the first word to the last period of a novel. As she writes, her characters take on a life of their own, and she shares their fears and agonies on the road to self-discovery and love.
Let’s see what prompted Ms Mathews to write her story.
Echoes of the Past: Where Do Story Ideas Come From?
People often ask me where I get the ideas for new stories. Well, they come from hundreds of different places. The idea for my newest book, Echoes of the Past came to me when I visited The Lake of the Mountain Resort in Prince Edward County, Ontario, last September. The lake is a geological conundrum, a source of fresh water, seemingly bottomless in the center, constantly emptying via a small waterfall that tumbles almost 200 feet into Lake Ontario, but the lake’s water level never changes, and no one can figure exactly where the water in it comes from.
While I found that interesting, the legends associated with the lake sparked my interest. There are two. The first talks about a monster of the Loch Ness variety—interesting but probably nothing more than a large sturgeon. The second touched my soul. It was a Mohawk legend, a tragic story of lovers, forced apart by hatred and doomed to be kept apart in death until the Mohawk spirits felt sorry for them. That’s the story I used as the underlying love story for Echoes of the Past.
Before I left, I got permission from the owners to set my novel there. I brought in a new component as well when I crafted my heroine after my daughter’s best friend. Amazingly enough, the cover created by the publisher, Secret Cravings Publishing actually looks like the real Michelle.
So there we have it, the story behind the beginning of this story, Echoes of the Past. For writers, inspiration can happen anywhere, anytime. The key is to pay attention. That’s what Susanne did.
Here’s her book blurb:
Born Mohawk, raised white, forensic pathologist, Michelle Thomas is trapped between two worlds—this one and the spirit world where the ghosts of those who’ve drowned speak to her. Haunted by crippling nightmares of her own drowning death and erotic dreams of a phantom lover, she strives to make sense of her life. When two suspicious deaths occur at the Lake of the Mountain Resort, she’s sent to investigate. She’ll face the greatest challenge of her career when her past and her present collide. One of these men is her future, but which one—the rich and powerful Mayor Ron Davies, or Tony Steele, the hydrology professor who may be responsible for his students’ deaths? Charged by the spirits of her Mohawk ancestors to atone for her previous sins by protecting Lake of the Gods, can Michelle solve the murders, save the sacred waters, and fulfil her destiny?
And the excerpt:
Tony wandered out onto the screened-in porch and looked out at the lake. The strong night winds whipped it into a frenzy as if the water boiled with anger. He checked his watch. Two in the morning again. He needed to break this habit. These unusually vivid dreams had started the first night he’d arrived at the resort. Most of them, exquisite, erotic fantasies, left him dissatisfied, but tonight’s dream had transitioned into a flight for his life. From personal research, he knew a dream’s meaning rarely had anything to do with its contents. This research project into the source of the water in the lake meant everything to him personally and professionally. He was afraid something would happen to ruin it. That explained being chased, but it didn’t explain the sexual fantasies. Those he understood easily enough.
He recognized the woman in his dreams as the shawl-wrapped stranger who walked along the beach every now and then. Beautiful and exotic, something about her called to his soul. He preferred women who didn’t look like carbon copies of others, and this one intrigued him. He thought about her now.
He’d noticed her the night he’d arrived. He never slept well in a new bed. Unable to settle, he’d stepped out onto the porch and noticed someone else apparently suffering from insomnia. A woman, a blanket wrapped around herself, her hair in a long braid down her back, strolled along the edge of the sandy beach. She’d moved southeast toward the edge of the lookout. He’d stepped outside to get a better look at her, but she’d vanished.
The next night, his imagination and libido had taken over, and in his dreams, she’d entered his leafy grotto, and they’d had mind-blowing sex. The things they’d done to one another. Thank God he’d awakened before his body had finished responding to his fantasy.
He’d gotten up, frustrated as old hell, and had gone downstairs. Standing in the screened-in porch, he’d looked out at the lake. Unlike tonight, the water had resembled a mirror reflecting the stars on its surface, and he’d been suspended between the water and the sky—everything brighter, crisper, and clearer than he’d expected. Animals scurried in the brush nearby. Bats swooped overhead. An owl hooted, and he’d shivered. Didn’t some of the Native American tribes believe death followed the cries of an owl?
He’d turned to go back inside when he’d glimpsed his mystery woman coming along the beach from the marshy area to the north. He’d called out to her. She’d turned at the sound of his voice and stopped. In the moonlight, he’d seen the sparkle of silver tears on her cheeks. Naked, he’d hurried into the kitchen, grabbed his damp swimsuit off the drying rack, and rushed out, but she’d disappeared.
He blinked, and the memory passed. He’d never seen a storm as vicious as tonight’s. The rain came down in sheets. Thank God the kids had made it back safely. He turned to go inside when a flash of lightning, the first he’d noticed tonight, illuminated the beach.
What the hell?
The woman, wrapped in her blanket, walked along the beach as if all hell wasn’t breaking loose around her. He ran to the door and raced across the short expanse of grass. He stopped at the edge of the water. Where had she gone? As she’d done every time he’d tried to catch her, she’d vanished. Wet through, he hurried back inside. He saw the light go out in Jackson’s room.
Tony entered the cabin, stripped off his wet clothes, and tossed them in the kitchen sink. Naked and shivering, he climbed the stairs and went into the bathroom. He took a hot shower and then dried his shoulder-length hair. He needed to get it cut. He grabbed a clean t-shirt and a pair of boxers out of the drawer. Exhausted, he fell into bed hoping for sleep.
Okay, you’ve got my attention. I’m hoping that Tony gets a chance to live out this dream with the mysterious woman. And since this is a romance, the chances are good. A sexy romance and a mystery. Yum! Thanks, Susanne for being my guest.
Thank you, Carol for having me on today. I appreciate this opportunity to reach a new audience and make new friends.
You can find out where to purchase Echoes of the Past by visiting http://www.mhsusannematthews.ca/