The Widow’s Walk
Carole Ann Moleti
Today we are going to learn about the origins of Carole Ann Moleti’s book The Widow’s Walk the second book in her series Unfinished Business.
Thanks so much to C D Hersh for hosting me today. I started writing the Unfinished Business series almost ten years ago. Most of my story ideas come from real life situations, and this was no exception. As a memoirist and essayist, I am always seized by a particular experience or moment in time and become obsessed with writing about it. And it is not uncommon for me to be writing about the same themes at the same time in both my fiction and nonfiction.
In this case, I was opening up a summer cottage, pulling dustcovers off furniture and vacuuming up dead flies. I was seized by the idea of a woman opening a trunk of old clothing she’d found in the attic, and trying on the delicious Victorian dresses, shoes and hats. That was Saturday of a long July 4 weekend, and by the time we headed home on Monday, Unfinished Business totaled 15,000 words. My husband and kids were very angry, since I had missed almost all of the festivities. But writers know that when seized with the inspiration, you have to indulge. My critique partners loved it, but all said the same thing, “It’s not finished.” So I wrote forward and got up to about 25,000 words. It still wasn’t “done.” So I wrote backwards. Then the critique partners wanted to know more about what had happened to Mike and Liz in their past lives. A devout panster, I was really writing an outline for three separate books. So I went back to the beginning and wrote forward.
The first book in the series, Breakwater Beach, was published in Haunted: Ten Tales of Ghosts in 2012. Written as a novelette, it is now being novelized and is almost ready to see the light of day. It introduces the star-crossed lovers, Edward and Elisabeth Barrett, and reveals why their ghosts are haunting their 1875 Victorian mansion. The Widow’s Walk, is the second book, and follows Liz and Mike, proprietors of the Barrett Inn, how they deal with their ghosts from past lives, and how Edward Barrett’s specter fits into the mix. The third book is still developing, but involves a storm literally and metaphorically sweeping across the Cape, threatening the historic inn and its living inhabitants. The series is full of sexy, colorful characters that defy the stereotypes of middle age. And it’s set in the historic Cape Cod sea captain’s town of Brewster, which is in my opinion, the prettiest place on the Cape.
Where did all this come from? Like everything else I write a conglomeration of imagination and real life. I’ve vacationed on Cape Cod all my life. I grew up living on the waterfront, on motorboats and sailboats, and am the happiest sitting on a beach or combing the shores on nature walks. I am so obsessed with Victoriana, I believe I must have lived at least one past life at the turn of the nineteenth century. I write about that in a memoir piece Endless Possibilities, which was published in This Path). So, the characters remind me of composites of my beloved grandfather, father and uncle, who taught me how to swim, fish, and sail. And of great grandmothers I only knew from talking to my grandmothers and mother—all feisty and opinionated ladies who never really conformed to the conventions of their times.
I’d love to answer your questions or chat about past lives other paranormal experiences.
Mike and Liz Keeny are newlyweds, new parents, and the proprietors of the Barrett Inn, an 1875 Victorian on Cape Cod, which just happens to be haunted. By their own ghosts. The Inn had become an annex of Purgatory, putting Mike, Liz, and their infant son in danger. Selling the historic seaside bed and breakfast was the only answer, one that Liz and her own tortured specter refused to consider. Were they doomed to follow the same path that led to disaster in their previous lives? Was getting out, getting away, enough?
Silk rustled as she ran her hands over the dress. The lavender scent deepened as Elisabeth swirled around inside, Her mind went numb as the ghost took control. She slipped out of her clothes and stood naked in front of the mirror. She put up her hair, preening for her husband, before she stepped into the middle of the deep green skirts and pulled them up over her waist, slipped her arms into the sleeves, and twisted them behind her back to fasten the buttons. She used the buttonhook to do up the shoes, then peered out into the hallway.
Liz bundled the sweat suit into her arms, along with the soap and paper goods, and hurried to the attic door. It wasn’t until she placed her hand on the banister and started up the steep staircase to the roof that Elisabeth’s needling eased. Like an addict in the throes of withdrawal, just the promise of being up there, her spirit communing with the long lost sea captain, offered relief.
Carole Ann Moleti lives and works as a nurse-midwife in New York City, thus explaining her fascination with all things paranormal, urban fantasy, and space opera. Her nonfiction focuses on health care, politics, and women’s issues. But her first love is writing science fiction and fantasy because walking through walls is less painful than running into them.
Carole’s Cape Cod paranormal romance novel, The Widow’s Walk, was published by Soulmate. Her urban fantasy short stories have appeared in the Toil, Trouble and Temptation Anthology and Haunted, Bites, Beltane, and Seers, all part of the Ten Tales series. Her review and commentary, memoir excerpts and creative non-fiction have been published in a variety of literary venues.