During the summer, I reread a book I had published in 2014, ‘The Inn of Souls’, about a professor who rented an old Inn by the sea for a summer of solitude and writing. He discovered that he was not alone, but shared the Inn with a number of spirits, including the 250 year-old ghost of a five year old girl, and that the Inn itself was more than it seemed to be, being part spirit itself.
I decided I could write it better—so I did, under the (still working) title, ‘The Souls of Grace Cove’. It’s essentially the same story as before, but I’ve improved the descriptions, fleshed out characters’ stories, and added characters and scenes, making it a fuller, richer tale. One comment I frequently received about the earlier version was that it was too short—a novella, not a novel. One reader in particular urged me to write longer books, and he got his wish when I wrote ‘The Sydfield Spy’. ‘The Souls of Grace Cove’ is of course more substantial than it’s ancestor!
‘The Inn of Souls’ was fun to write, and I’ve used it as an example when I’ve discussed writing and the creative process. The book started out as a series of first-person journal entries. That was pretty cumbersome for both reader and author, so I rewrote it as a first-person narrative. This allowed me to say, ‘Tuesday we did this, and the following Saturday, that happened.’ Just as I was about to complete the book, I had a new idea for an ending, which could not be told in the first-person, so I rewrote the entire book in the third-person. This allowed me even more freedom as a writer.
‘The Souls of Grace Cove’ has also been fun to write, in part because most of the harder parts were taken care of in 2014. It gave me a chance to evaluate my writing and discover where I have improved, and where I need more work. I believe I’m a much better writer now than I was four years ago.
The book also provided me with a vehicle to contemplate life from the outlook of the Dead. We know almost nothing about the afterlife—some people reject the idea there even is an afterlife. Scriptures of various religions tell us what we should expect, but there isn’t much agreement between them. I also thought about the events that make up a person’s life, understanding them from the viewpoint of someone who has lived through something terrible, but now sees it as the gateway to something wonderful.
I’m looking for a new outlet for self-publishing as an eBook and paperback, and I would like to have the book out by January 2019. I hope you’ll read it and enjoy it!
(‘The Inn of Souls’, ‘The Sydfield Spy’, ‘Behind These Red Doors’, and ‘The Lives of the Ain’ts: Comedic Biographies of Directors Errant’ are all available as holiday gifts—click the link below!)
Paul TN Chapman
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