Sunday, October 23, 2016

New Release Nugget: STALKING THE DEAD by E.C. Bell

A New Release Nugget is a short piece about one new thing an author learned during the process of writing their new book, something they hope will encourage and inspire other writers as they navigate the swirling currents of creation and publication.

Today's Nugget comes from E.C. (Eileen) Bell, in celebration of the impending release of her third Marie Jenner mystery, STALKING THE DEAD. 

The first in the series, her debut paranormal mystery, SEEING THE LIGHT  (2014),  won the BPAA award for Best Speculative Fiction Book of the Year, and was shortlisted for the Bony Blythe Award for Light Mystery. The second, DROWNING IN AMBER, came out this time last year. Eileen's short fiction includes the Aurora-winning fantasy anthologies WOMEN OF THE APOCALYPSE  and THE PUZZLE BOX. She edits for On Spec, The Canadian Magazine of the Fantastic.

Here's Eileen's Nugget.

While writing this book, I learned just how giving writers are.

Stalking the Dead takes place in my main character’s home town of Fort McMurray, Alberta. I didn’t want to write about  the oil and the money--everything Fort McMurray is famous for. I wanted to write about the small town that lives, uncomfortably sometimes, with the oil and money. That was the life Marie would have lived, after all.

I took a day trip and found great settings, including a cemetery that backs onto an apartment building where much of the action takes place. Took many photographs, then went home and wrote the book.

Then, it was time for the cover. “Send us a photograph of the apartment building where the ghost is,” I was told. Went through my photographs, and only had one. It was really bad. Almost nothing could be seen through the trees.

I didn’t want to take another 5 hour trip, so I contacted Kevin Thornton, a writer from Fort McMurray. I’d only met him once, the year before. I hoped he’d remember me.

“I just need a couple of pictures,” I wrote. “Of the apartment buildings behind the old cemetery.”

“I’m not home yet,” he wrote back. “I’ll be there next week, and will get the pictures for you, then.”

You see, I had gone to Fort McMurray before the forest fire that nearly destroyed that place. I had assumed that everyone had been allowed back, but they hadn’t. Kevin went out and took photos for me, even though he’d just returned to his home after months away.

The outside of the apartment wasn’t creepy enough for the cover, so I ended up with the one posted here. I love it, but... I will never forget the kindness of a writer, up to his hips in his own misery, taking the time to help me out.

Marie Jenner is going home.
She doesn’t want to. She has to.
When Marie’s slightly-more-than-boss, James Lavall, decides it is vital that he speak to her mother, face to face, about Marie and all her secrets, she follows him to Fort McMurray to make certain that he doesn’t learn everything about her life before Edmonton.
What Marie doesn’t realize is that her stalkery ex-boyfriend, Arnie Stillwell, has gone home, too. And he’s managed to get himself killed, just about the time James rolled into town, making James “a person of interest” in the Stillwell murder investigation.
Marie’s going to have to figure out who really killed Arnie to get James off. She’s also going to have to figure out a safe way to move Arnie’s spirit on to the next plane of existence, because the last thing she needs is for him to go all stalkery on her now that he’s dead.
Murder can really put a kink in a Jenner family reunion.
 Intriguing indeed.

STALKING THE DEAD is available for pre-order online now for October 25th delivery. Amazon page

Eileen will be celebrating and signing in Calgary on October 27th, at Owls Nest Books (815A 49th Avenue SW) during the Tyche Books Halloween Triple Launch

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