What fun to guest-post in Krystal’s blog! My new release NOBODY KNOWS debuted October 14th, so I am excited to talk about it and the two books that preceded it in the Overhome Trilogy., each of which may be read as a stand-alone. And how appropriate for my ghost stories that HALLOWEEN is coming soon!
I write cozy mystery/Southern Gothics; I call them history, mystery, romance and ghosts. My setting is fictional Moore Mountain Lake, based on my home, Smith Mountain Lake, in Southern Virginia. The Overhome Trilogy begins with A RED, RED ROSE and Twenty-year-old Ashby Overton’s visit to Overhome, her family’s ancient historic estate in Southern Virginia. Ashby hopes to find her roots there and answers to questions about the mysterious death of her grandmother; instead she finds a family spirit who leads her deeper and deeper into intrigue and danger. Ashby also discovers herself as she matures, meets a romantic match, and unearths mysteries long hidden.
The second book, BENEATH THE STONES, takes place five years later as Ashby, now owner of Overhome Estate, struggles to pull the old plantation out of financial peril. An angry ghost is hell-bent to prevent her plan to sell off a parcel of land containing an ancient outbuilding. With the help of her fiancé, Ashby uses her sixth sense to ferret out the source and substance of Civil War spirits still engaged in battle mode.
NOBODY KNOWS, third and final novel five years hence, moves Ashby and her cohorts into an epic battle with slave spirits stirred to life by a mysterious stranger, claiming to be a slave ancestor begotten by a long-ago Overton plantation master. Ashby uses every weapon in her extra-sensory arsenal to quell the mounting spirit discord on Overhome Estate.
BLURB: Why do ancient spirits hover at the crossroads between two worlds: the living and the dead?
With a successful writing career and blissful marriage, Ashby Overton is fulfilled and content at historic Overhome Estate in Southern Virginia'until a stranger walks into her life. The arrival of Professor Ellis O. Grady coincides with a violent and bizarre turbulence emanating from the dark world of Overhome's ancient spirits.
As paranormal events build into chaos, Ashby must use her sixth sense to sort out the real from the imagined in both the visible and the invisible worlds as, stirred into fury, the souls of Civil War slaves engage in a dangerous battle destined to reveal long-held secrets of the past.
What is the connection between the enigmatic professor, a slave-built chapel and a restored overseer's cottage on Overhome Estate? Ashby struggles to find the answers before the spirits destroy her family's heritage, and the lives of those she loves.
Why do I write Southern Gothics? Because I love the focus on Southern history (I am a native Virginian), especially the Civil War and all it stood for. Southerners are ever aware of the significance of family, the importance of tradition and the rights and wrongs of our sense of social class and place. My over-arching theme for all three novels involves the social and cultural concerns of the South where long-held, hard-felt ideas often battle with modern ideas.
The cozy mystery genre is such fun with its quirky characters, rural settings and emphasis on intrigue rather than gore and sex, which are mostly off-stage.
Here’s an excerpt from NOBODY KNOWS: Excerpt from Nobody Knows
Walking over the weedy ground, I felt the desolate abandonment of those long-dead. A few tilting gravestones, so blurred with time that their epitaphs were illegible, listed toward the ground as if sheltering from a punishing wind. Scattered among the patchwork grasses were small, thin stone markers set in the dirt, little more than raw rocks, though several bore the faint outline of initials which had been chiseled into them so long ago. Ellis and I surveyed the bleak cemetery, each harboring our own thoughts. I don’t know how long we stood there breathing in the silence. Then, I heard the voice.—so clear, so distinct, that I startled and almost fell back. Did my companion hear it, too? I darted a look at him. He stood with eyes closed, evidently completely lost in his own reverie. I held my breath and listened with all my senses on alert. The voice wavered this time, as though trailing away, but its repeated message was identical to the one I had first heard at the Overseer’s Cottage when the candlestick went missing. I had thought, then, that I heard “red apple,” which made no sense. Now I understood. “Jared Chapel,” the voice warned. Yes, its tone was severe. Demanding. “Jared Chapel.”
I touched Ellis’s arm. “It’s here, Ellis. I know it is.” And when he blinked uncomprehendingly, I added, “You wondered if Jared Chapel offers anything in your search for your ancestry. It’s here—there’s something here. I feel it and I...I know it.”
He blinked several times, a serious expression on his face. “You know because...”
“Sometimes the past speaks to me. I can’t explain it, but I have to trust the voice that tells me things.”
He rubbed his chin. “You know...this is odd. Really odd.”
I raised my eyebrows in a silent question and he continued. “Because I thought I heard something. I definitely felt...a presence I can’t explain. Someone trying to get my attention. Someone very, very seriously trying to make me understand.” He shook his head. “Understand what? I confess, I’m baffled.”
“It’s a sign,” I said. “Something I’ve learned over my years at Overhome. We ignore the signs at our own peril.”
My thanks to Krystal for hosting. I hope our readers will give the Overhome Trilogy a try!More About Susan:
A career educator, Susan has taught students from 7th grade through college-level. She earned a BA degree in English from Carson-Newman College and a Masters from George Mason University. She is listed in several different volumes of Who’s Who in Education and Who’s Who in Teaching. Susan belongs to Author’s Guild, Virginia Writers, and Lake Writers. She loves to talk with budding writers at schools, writers’ conferences and workshops. Her young adult anti-bully novel EAGLEBAIT is in its third edition for print and e-book, updated with cyber-bullying. EAGLEBAIT won the NY Public Library's "Books for the Teen Age," and the International Reading Association's "Young Adult Choice."
A RED, RED ROSE, first in a cozy mystery/Southern Gothic series, was nominated for a literary award with the Library of Virginia. BENEATH THE STONES, the sequel, was released in April of 2015. NOBODY KNOWS, third novel in the Overhome Trilogy released October, 2016. All three novels were published by The Wild Rose Press in NY.
When not writing, Susan enjoys boating, kayaking, golf and yoga. She and her husband, Ned, love to travel, especially when any of their seven grandchildren are involved.
Please visit Susan Coryell’s website: www.susancoryellauthor.com and my blog: www.susancoryellauthor.blogspot.com or contact her on Facebook and Twitter.
Amazon link: https://amzn.com/B0145P8K16