Welcome to my blog, Leanna. Tell us why you wrote “Half-Moon Lake.”
My husband and I were winding through the Nantahala Valley on our way to deliver a customer’s furniture. The mountain rose straight up on one side of the road and dropped straight down on the other. Kudzu draped everything…trees, power lines, barns. To my right was a long rounded hump, but the lush vine made it impossible to tell what it was hiding. Wait! Was that a patch of yellow? Yes…barely visible amid the fluttering leaves, but yes. It was a school bus, almost completely encased in a green cocoon. This was the story seed for Half-Moon Lake, the newest novel in my GRITS (Girls-Raised-In-The-South) romantic suspense series.
I used this story seed and combined it with my fascination of identical twins and the unusual “connection” they have with each other. I asked myself, “What if one twin was killed in a horrible accident? What results might that cause in the remaining twin?” Half-Moon Lake is my answer. Kathryn Dorne (aka Katelyn Eubank) is the remaining twin. The problem is, she doesn’t even know it. Her mind completely blocked all memories before the age of nine, when her sister drowned in Half-Moon Lake. It’s only when she’s summoned for the reading of her father’s will that she discovers her whole life is a lie. It’s up to her to find out the truth, but the more she digs, the more memories start surfacing and the more frightening her search becomes.
I love that I was able to tie this story back to my “Gate” trilogy via Half-Moon, the Cherokee Indian medicine woman who gives this novel its name. My hope is that it will pique readers’ interest, making them frantic to get their hands on those other books. I was able to do a similar tie-back with my first GRITS book, Red Curtains. Maybe I’ll make it my trademark… a treat for those who have read the other books, and a lure for those who haven’t.
Blurb: When Kathryn Dorne is summoned to Half-Moon Lake for the reading of her father’s will, she discovers a shocking truth: everything in her life—including her name—is a lie.
Learning that her name is Katelyn Eubanks is only the first surprise. Second, she had an identical twin sister who drowned at the age of nine. Since Katelyn can’t remember anything prior to that age, it seems more than mere coincidence. The biggest surprise is that her father, a man she never knew existed, left his entire estate to her, enraging other would-be heirs.
With her unremembered, but closest childhood friend, Levi, as well as help from the estate’s deaf-mute gardener, and the outspoken cook, Katelyn searches for answers to questions that have plagued her all her life, but doing so, opens the proverbial Pandora’s box. As her memories return, so does the terrible danger she escaped fifteen years earlier.
I awakened to the sound of my own scream. Breathless, heart pounding, pajamas drenched in sweat, I was desperate, clawing at the tangle of sheets wrapped around me.
“Nooo,” I whimpered. “No, please…no!”
I stared, with wide eyes, at the ceiling, concentrating on the shimmery patterns cast by the outside lights around the pool, and gulped deep breaths in an effort to calm down, all while my heart and mind raced.
The nightmare was back. It had plagued me almost every night since I was nine, but about two years ago it stopped, and I thought I’d finally outgrown it. Looked like I was wrong, and begging wouldn’t change anything. Disappointment left a bitter taste in my mouth Why now? What made it return? What could’ve triggered it?
The letter. That had to be it. Everything had been going fine…well, as fine as I could expect things to go in my dysfunctional life, and then I’d gotten yesterday’s mail. There had to be a connection. Maybe—
No! If I allowed my mind to start thinking about it, picking apart every sentence, mulling over what every little thing could mean, I’d never get back to sleep. Tomorrow would be—I glanced at the clock—correction…today was going to be a big day. I needed all the rest I could get if I expected to be able to face it. “Go back to sleep, Kate.”
I flipped my pillow over to the “good dream” side, and twisting my long hair up away from her neck, I sank back into the pillow’s cool softness. It might be silly to still practice such a childish ritual, but it reminded me of my mom and right now, I needed that. The familiarity brought a measure of comfort, which in turn, calmed me. If clinging to the fairytale helped me go back to sleep, then so be it.
I’d face the rest later.
North Carolina native, Leanna Sain, earned her BA from the University of South Carolina, then moved back to her beloved mountains of western NC with her husband. Her “Gate” books have stacked up numerous awards, from Foreword Magazine’s Book-of-the-Year to the Clark Cox Historical Fiction Award from the North Carolina Society of Historians. Sain’s fourth novel, WISH, is a stand-alone, YA crossover.
Her Southern romantic suspense or “GRIT-lit,” showcases her plot-driven method of writing that successfully rolls the styles of best-selling authors Mary Kay Andrews, Nicholas Sparks, and Jan Karon into a delightfully hybrid style that is all her own. Regional fiction lovers and readers who enjoy suspense with a magical twist will want her books.
She loves leading discussion groups and book clubs. For more information or to contact her, visit: www.LeannaSain.com
Twitter: Leanna Sain@Leannasbooks
Website and blog: http://leannasain.com