David’s Haunted Library: Greylock

David's Haunted Library

27108969Alexei Georg was born to be a famous musician, his father was a pianist and Alexei’s only desire was to follow in his footsteps. Alexei has created a name for himself by writing and performing a sonata called October. At least that’s what people believe, Alexei has a dark secret. He found the sonata in an old 19th century Russian sea chest. When he performs it a dark creature appears and stalks him and now his career is going downhill.

To make matters worse Alexei is having an affair and his wife has been murdered with the evidence pointing to him. In order to revive his career Alexei plans to write a symphony based on the songs of the beluga whales while in isolation on Mt. Greylock. Though even alone on the mountain he can’t escape the creature that he has brought into the world or the accusations of murder. Alexei must face the darkness he has unleashed or it could use him as a conduit forever.

Greylock by Paula Cappa is a supernatural murder mystery where mythology and music create a dark mood. The music itself is like a character and what and how something is being played has an effect on everyone else in the book. It’s through the music that evil gets unleashed, but it’s also how Alexei expresses his emotions. Music is his life and it’s what makes him happy, even if some think he is not really that good at it. Alexei is a complicated character, at first I found I didn’t like him because he is having an affair, talks about murdering his wife and he is lying about the music he creates. Though as you get to know him you see him as someone who wants to live up to the family legacy and is willing to do anything to do so. This is a need that’s easy to relate to. By the end of the book you see a very different Alexei then you see a the beginning and its the character’s transformation that makes the book memorable.

Another thing I liked about Greylock was how the mystery unfolds. there are two different mysteries going on at the same time and in the case of the murder mystery there were times in the story where I was pretty sure that three different people were the murderer but I was wrong each time. This was enough to hold my interest throughout and the other mystery of who the dark entity is was just as compelling.

Greylock is not your average horror novel, it’s more personal. There is no over the top violence but you see Alexei deal with such personal horrors as abandonment, betrayal, wanting something he can’t have, his own insecurities as a musician and his need for fame. On a smaller level we also see the other characters in the book deal with the same issues and see what different paths their choices lead them in. Greylock is the kind of book you may have to read twice to catch all the subtle details, it’s about creating a mood and not in your face like some horror is. If you enjoy a good supernatural mystery then you should check it out.

Paula Cappa on Horror Writing

Paula Cappa on Horror Writing

Creating The Story

Where do stories come from? I don’t know where my stories come from most of the time, but I’ve learned to trust the creative process for the story to unravel. I’m not so much writing the story as it’s writing me. My novel The Dazzling Darkness (synopsis: Antonia Brooke searches for her lost child, Henry, in a haunted cemetery in Concord, Massachusetts where an ancient secret is buried.) began with a thought by Ralph Waldo Emerson of Concord. He wrote in his essay Nature … “Even the corpse has its own beauty.”

DazzlingDarknessCappa_7Final4Shocking statement, right? Why would someone say that? We don’t normally think of corpses as beautiful. And while we can read that as metaphorical, I had to find out Emerson’s meaning. The more I read about Emerson’s personal experiences with death, the more my story began to take shape. Emerson lost his young wife Ellen only a short time after they were married. He buried her in the family vault and a year later, still driven by intense grief, he opened her coffin. What a heart-breaking experience. And then twenty-five years later, after his young son dies at five-years-old, Emerson viewed his child’s corpse. These images all connected for me: images of a cemetery, images of coffins opening, viewing the dead, a cemetery keeper.

My character Elias Hatch emerged as the cemetery keeper in Old Willow Cemetery and became the threshold guardian in the story. He knows the secrets buried there and is a transcendentalist like Emerson. So it seemed natural for Elias to reveal the story to me. I let him lead on the page and found plot and theme moving forward with every scene. Ray Bradbury once said, “First, find out what your hero wants, then just follow him.”

My goal in writing this story was to explore death and consciousness. Where do we go when we die? Where does our consciousness reside? This is the story of five-year-old Henry and what he experiences inside Old Willow Cemetery with the dead that reside there. Elias Hatch provided me with plenty of narrative tension to play with because he had the most to lose if the secrets of Old Willow were exposed. Hatch created not only conflict and mystery but also motivation for the other characters to dig harder to resolve the issues and locate Henry.

Some writing gurus advise to develop your story plotted out on index cards. For me, that’s like going to jail because the characters can’t express thoughts, can’t express desires, can’t express fears on the flow of the pages. Horror is a serious fictional form and often about the dark inner consciousness. Maybe letting a character guide the writer deeper into that dark world is the path. What is your path to creating a story?

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PaulaCappaphoto1New ImagePaula Cappa’s novels include Night Sea Journey, A Tale of the Supernatural, and The Dazzling Darkness (Gothic Readers Book Club Award Winner for Outstanding Fiction and Readers’ Favorite Bronze Medal Award), published by Crispin Books. Her short fiction has appeared in Dark Gothic Resurrected Magazine, Whistling Shade Literary Journal, SmokeLong Quarterly, Every Day Fiction, Fiction365, Twilight Times Ezine, and in anthologies Journals of Horror: Found Fiction, Mystery Time, Human Writes Literary Journal. Cappa’s writing career began as a freelance journalist for newspapers in New York and Connecticut. She writes a weekly blog, Reading Fiction, Tales of Terror http://paulacappa.wordpress.com/  

Visit her web site at http://paulacappa.wordpress.com/author/.