A hundred-year-old unsolved mystery resurfaces when journalist Charlie Baxter becomes consumed with finding out the truth. After discovering his bloodline includes a potential murderer, Charlie sets out to clear his family’s name—only to find that everyone has an opinion, but does anyone have answers?
In 1906, Chester Gillette took Grace Brown on a secret trip in the Adirondacks, but only he returned. Grace and her unborn child drowned in the lake, and Chester was convicted of murder. Now, his distant relative Charlie Baxter is retracing the steps of that fateful trip in hopes of laying it to rest once and for all.
However, a mysterious guest at the bed and breakfast on Ward’s Pond is drawn into the cold case—not by Charlie, but by the ghost of Grace Brown. When Charlie learns that the guest’s name is Katherine Grace Brown, he can’t deny the connection. Despite running from her own past, Katherine agrees to help Charlie in his quest for the truth.
The true tale of the Gillette-Brown murder has been the subject of many a story, and it continues to intrigue. What really happened at that lake? Was Chester Gillette truly guilty of murder, or was he sent to the electric chair innocent? Perhaps with the help of their ghosts, Charlie and Katherine can find out.
Today I have the absolute privilege of bringing you an interview with Heidi Sprouse, author of this suspense novel, and finding out a little more about the person behind the words.
Hello Heidi, can you tell me a little more about yourself?
I grew up as an adopted, only child in Ballston Lake, upstate New York. I was left to my own devices and always on the go. I loved to use my imagination and was very creative. When I wasn’t running around outside, traipsing through the woods, or out on the lake, I was reading…or writing. I also knew from a young age that I loved to be with kids. I was the Pied Piper for the neighbourhood children and everyone’s favorite babysitter because I would join in their adventures. I knew since I was 12 I wanted to be a teacher.
I’ve taught for over 20 years. I continued my love affair with books and writing too. In December of 2013, I published my first novel with Bell Bridge Books. I’m on number 22 now with Walking with Ghost’s on Ward’s Pond.
What inspired you to start writing?
It started with creative writing assignments in school. They were my favorite. My best friend and I would make up stories about television shows and movies. We’d jot ideas in a notebook and pass them back and forth. When I was in high school and college, another friend and I wrote fan-fiction back and forth. We’d mail the notebook to each other and keep the stories flowing. I majored in elementary education, but my concentration was English. I loved my creative writing class. I kept picking away at stories, but never finished a novel. My father died 16 years ago. Something told me I’d best get serious about this writing thing. I finished my first novels, posted them for free on Smashwords.com (Deep in the Heart of Dixie and Lakeside Magic), and kept going. About six years ago, a suspense thriller idea took over my life based on the disappearance of a local woman on the fringe of the Adirondack National Park. Adirondack Sundown was born. The book consumed me. I pounded out 100,000 words in three months, pulled over the car, flipped over my grocery list in the market, and wrote on my napkin in restaurants. That really started a tap of writing flowing that hasn’t turned off since.
How do you decide what your subject matter is going to be for your books?
Something catches my attention and I’m off and running. I saw the miniseries, Sons of Liberty, about the Revolution and it made me pay attention to the Revolutionary history in my town. The Whispers of Liberty miniseries was born. When I went to do a book signing at the bed and breakfast on Ward’s Pond, I learned about the Gillette-Brown murder. It sparked the premise for Walking with Ghosts on Ward’s Pond. One Last Adirondack Summer was inspired by my best friend I grew up with in Ballston Lake who passed away at only 44 years of age. Rosie and her Ragamuffin Sam was inspired by my in-looking for ways to spin off to another novel. Some novels are stand-alones, though my readers typically ask for more. When a reader asked when the next book would come after Whispers of Liberty, she made me start thinking. I wasn’t planning a continuation. Since then, I wrote two more and I’m working on a companion novel right now.
What sort of research do you put into your books before, or perhaps during, their creation?
If it’s purely fictional, I don’t usually have to do research. With my suspense thriller, I needed to research locations in the area and responsibilities for a conservation officer. For historical fiction, I dig in and learn as much as I can about the facts at the time. I look for images on Google. I talk to my town historian. I watch films that might help me get more ideas (like “A Place in the Sun,” the movie inspired by the Gillette-Brown murder).
I’ve read that you tend to write at night – do you have a favourite spot to write in?
Usually, I write in my living room while everyone else is busy doing their own thing. My husband tends to putter in the garage…leaving me to write and write and write. My last laptop…I wore off the letters on the keys. I painted them on with nail polish, used a Sharpie, and stickers. Nothing worked. I had to de-commission it when it started to split at the seams.
What do you find is the most difficult aspect of writing a novel?
Finding the time to write as often as I would like. I’m still a full-time teacher so I have to squeeze writing time in whenever I can. I always try to write at least 1000 words a day in my novels. I do content writing, 2000 words every day.
How do you hope your readers will feel when they’ve finished Walking With Ghosts on Pond’s Ward?
A bittersweet sense of closure. I hope they’ll want to do their own research to learn more, perhaps visit the sites in the novel. That happened with Adirondack Sundown. A local high school taught it and we hiked to key locations in the book. I have also plotted out all the main locations in Whispers of Liberty if people want to take a tour of the Colonial sites.
If Walking with Ghosts on Ward’s Pond was made into a feature film, who would you love to see in the leading roles?
Hmmm…..There are so many wonderful people out there who could bring it to life. Perhaps Jensen Ackles and his wife from Supernatural. Or Clayne Crawford and Mandy Moore. Jared Padalecki and Genevieve Padalecki would be a delight…
What’s next for you?
I’m working on Liberty’s Price as a companion to the Whispers of Liberty series. I have to think about the next in the Lost in the Adirondacks series. I do one every summer. I have my Cordial Creek romance, and one of the characters is begging for a story of his own.
And finally, any words of advice for my readers?
I want everyone to know it is never too late to go after a dream. I was over 40 when I began my journey as a published author. Always be willing to take that leap of faith!
Thank you Heidi! Walking With Ghosts on Pond’s Ward was published on 2nd July 2019.
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This interview is part of a blog tour running from 1st – 5th July 2019.
Blog Tour Schedule
Reads & Reels (Spotlight) http://readsandreels.com
B is for Book Review (Spotlight) https://bforbookreview.wordpress.com
Kim Knight (Interview) http://kimknightauthor.wordpress.com
The Legal Alien (Review) https://thelegalalien.com/
Devouring Books (Review) https://devouringbooks2017.wordpress.com/
Just 4 My Books (Spotlight) http://www.just4mybooks.wordpress.com
The Magic of Wor(l)ds (Spotlight) http://themagicofworlds.wordpress.com
LoopyLouLaura (Review) https://www.loopyloulaura.com/
Breakeven Books (Spotlight) https://breakevenbooks.com
Reviews and Promos by Nyx (Spotlight) https://nyxblogs.wordpress.com/
Triquetra Reviews (Spotlight) http://www.triquetrareviews.blogspot.com
Cup of Toast (Interview) https://cupoftoast.co.uk
Reading Nook (Spotlight) http://readingnook84.wordpress.com
Jessica Belmont (Review) https://jessicabelmont.wordpress.com/
Port Jerricho (Review) http://www.aislynndmerricksson.com
The Faerie Review (Review) http://www.thefaeriereview.com