Yesterday I told you all about Jessica, the Halloween surprise my publisher arranged for my readers. Today, I thought I'd give you a behind of scenes look at how this short story came to be. I usually prefer to write full length novels as opposed to shorts, but this one was sort of thrust upon me. I wrote this story almost two decades ago during my freshman year of college. The story was influenced by two very interesting people--Jessica Pirnik Gittle and James T . Kirk.
|Jessica & Laura-Wildwood Catholic High School-1993|
This is a photo of me with Jessica. She was one of my best friends in high school. We did everything together. We were in the chorus, the yearbook staff, the school newsletter (I was editor, of course), the ecology club, and just about every other club that wasn't a sport. I don't do sports. We met when we were freshman in high school because we were seated alphabetically. Her name was Pirnik and my maiden name was Rice. Yes, it was a small school so there wasn't anyone in between us in our homeroom. So, this is my best friend who I laughed and cried with, who always supported me in my writing and in all my crazy schemes. Yet, she never got a part in one of my books. She doesn't even remember this, but she used to bug me about it all the time. It wasn't until after we graduated from high school and I was in college that I finally put her name in a story. That story, of course, was Jessica.
|Fall Formal at Stockton-I was 17|
So this brings me to James T. Kirk. I bet you thought I meant the one from the spaceship. Well, no offense to the captain, but that's not the James. T. Kirk I'm talking about here. I'm referring to a professor at my old college, The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. I was in his creative writing class back in 1994, and one of our projects was to write a Halloween themed story that was set on the college campus.
|This is me at Lake Fred-1994|
|Nature Trail at Stockton|
Bringing the campus into the story was even less challenging. It's truly stunning, especially in the fall, and with its circling trails and lily covered ponds, it's the perfect setting for all kinds of spooky happenings. I changed the name of the college before publication, but the scenery remains pretty much the same. Stockton is surrounded by acres of woods and there really is a beautiful lake there named Lake Fred. There isn't really a White Lady haunting the lake, at least not that I know of. Still, I if I were a guy, I wouldn't want to be wondering around Lake Fred all alone on Halloween night...
So that's the story behind the story. If you want to grab a copy of this short paranormal thriller for yourself, its available exclusively on Amazon in e-book format for only $0.99.