"Mesmerizing" - SHE SEES GHOSTS by David Fitz-Gerald - Excerpt + Interview
"I found the book to be so engrossing that it was hard to put down. I kept finding myself wondering what would happen next. I was wrong every time. Do order She Sees Ghosts. It is a special book and a very meaningful and enjoyable read!! "
She Sees Ghosts
A blazing fire killed her family and devoured her home. A vengeful demon haunted her. Ghosts of the Revolutionary War needed help that only she could provide. A young woman languished, desperate to survive, and teetered on the edge of sanity.
Mehitable grew up in a freshly tamed town, carved from the primeval forest. Family, friends, and working at the mercantile filled her days and warmed her heart. For Mehitable, life was simple and safe, until tragedy struck. When her family perished in their burning home, she retreated into a world of her own making.
As a young girl, she had seen glimmers, glimpses, and flickers of the spirit world. She closed her eyes. She turned her back. She ignored the apparitions that she never spoke of, desperately hoping they would leave her in peace. She was mistaken.
Grief-stricken, Mehitable withdrew from the human world. Ghosts were everywhere. They became bolder. She could no longer turn her back on the spirit world. Her friends feared for her survival. Nobody understood her. She would have to find her own way.
Fans of TV’s Ghost Whisperer and Long Island Medium will especially love She Sees Ghosts. This historical novel features memorable characters and delivers bone-tingling, spine chilling goosebumps. It stands on its own and it is the next installment in the Adirondack Spirit Series by the award-winning author of Wanders Far-An Unlikely Hero’s Journey. David Fitz-Gerald delivers a historical novel with a bittersweet ending that you won’t see coming.
Would she save the spirits’ souls, or would they save her? Only time would tell.
Available at AMAZON
In the author's words
Q&A with David Fitz-Gerald
Books & Benches: We're thrilled to welcome David Fitz-Gerald, and to learn more about the story behind She Sees Ghosts, which sounds like a fascinating book. For those of us who enjoy a good ghost story set in beautiful locales, it will be one not to miss. Since the author knows the work best, we'll move right into his own words . . .
What is your favorite scene in She Sees Ghosts?
Chapter 19. I shouldn’t say too much about this chapter since it occurs three-quarters of the way into the book and I don’t want to spoil it, but maybe I could say a little something about it.
The location of the scene is a small, unspoiled lake named Copperas Pond and it is a location that I love to write about. That’s its real name and it is located a short distance from Lake Placid, New York in the Adirondack Mountains. I use it as my background in Zoom meetings.
I think readers will be surprised to find a romantic storyline at this point in this book, and be surprised by our protagonist in this situation. I always had this scene in mind for this point in the story, yet for some reason, it was the hardest one for me to write. I’m grateful for the suggestions that my collaborator made and I love the way it turned out. Aside from advancing the plotline, I think it adds a welcome respite from the ghostly elements in the rest of the book.
Who are your main characters, how do you name them, and what makes them tick?
She Sees Ghosts stars Mehitable Munch, a fictional character that grew within my head while I wrote Wanders Far―An Unlikely Hero’s Journey.
At the beginning of her story, Mehitable is a gregarious, happy young lady, immersed in planning a town-wide celebration at the turn of the century in 1799. The celebration party coincides with her sixteenth birthday, a birthday that takes a fateful turn. On a night that should be enchanted, simple, perfect, Mehitable is shaken when she is visited by ghosts―ghosts who demand her attention. The celebration begins as a night to remember and becomes a tragedy that Mehitable will never forget.
Mehitable’s closest friends are Polly Lewis and Polly’s husband, Reuben Sanford. The Lewis and Sanfords families in She Sees Ghosts are actual founders of the real town of Poultney, Vermont, where I live. Reuben and Polly moved in the early 1800s to what is now Wilmington, New York, near Whiteface Mountain and Lake Placid, home of the 1980 and 1932 winter Olympics. I was excited when I found this connection since my mother’s family resided in Wilmington for many generations.
I enjoy giving fictional characters unique first names and simple last names. I found some great monikers in the census from the early 1800s and within family trees. Sometimes as a reader, I have trouble keeping track of characters with ordinary names, and that’s why I was drawn to give my supporting characters names like Coriander Bump and Thankful Bull. I had to be careful with Coriander, because there was a risk that she would take over the story! I think Anson Smudge is an excellent name for a ghostly villain.
Are there particular themes or motifs in your stories?
Absolutely. She Sees Ghosts is a historical novel about the soul, reincarnation, and timelessness. The one word that I hope describes this book is ethereal.
I didn’t set out to write a horror novel, like Stephen King, or a book that would cause recurring nightmares for decades, like the 1980 movie starring George C. Scott, called The Changeling.
Mehitable helps many troubled souls cross into the spirit world. The brief stories of real soldiers and fictional townspeople connect the theme to the historical fiction genre. Other motifs in She Sees Ghosts include sheep, prayer, cemeteries, dead babies, a spiral medallion, and Anson’s tricorne hat.
I think symbolism is subjective. Perhaps I’ve used some often enough that they became motifs. Here are a couple of symbols used in the book: a black cat; peppermint; sage; salt; a butterfly; squirrels; pigs; the virginal (a musical instrument), sheep sheers, pinecones, a spyglass, and paths into the woods. What do squirrels symbolize? They’re energetic, playful, and also hardworking, and they portray vitality. Be on the lookout for an amorous pair of squirrels in Chapter 19.
Does this story have a soundtrack? A playlist that inspired you while writing it?
Yes. As I was writing She Sees Ghosts, new wave music was resurgent on my playlists. I think I’ve listened to Erasure, Pet Shop Boys, New Order, Yaz, and the Thompson Twins more in the last two years than I did in the 1980s―also, Tammy Wynette. I’m sure that Spotify is counting, and I can’t imagine that anyone has played The Essential Tammy Wynette album more than I have.
When I listen to very familiar music repetitively, I find it helps me to get in the zone. Writing from the perspective of a young woman was a new challenge for me, and I think that Tammy’s body of work helped me in that regard. Her 1969 album titled Inspiration is my “go-to.” When I hit play on that, my brain knows that it is time to write. If I were to fantasize about a soundtrack for She Sees Ghosts, the first track would be Tammy’s version of “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” The last song would be the one my nephew wrote and performed especially for She Sees Ghosts. You can hear some of Kyle’s song in the book trailer. Thank you, Kyle Hughes!
Does each book in the series stand on its own? What do you plan to write after She Sees Ghosts?
I want each book within the Adirondack Spirit Series to stand on its own and be a complete story. Of course, I hope that readers will want to read them all. What connects the installments are four things: DNA, supernatural elements, natural history, and locations in the Adirondack Mountains of New York state.
This series is a multi-generational family saga. I’m working on a prequel to the series set in AD 550, and on the back of the book, I ask, “Are supernatural tendencies hereditary? If you guessed yes, maybe you are descended from old souls too.” In addition to the prequel, I’m almost done with the follow-up to She Sees Ghosts, which is set in the 1830s and focuses on Mehitable’s son. Mehitable’s son has a big problem. He often finds himself transported in his sleep, and he finds himself in awkward, uncomfortable, and sometimes dangerous situations. Perhaps it’s a thin line between supernatural and paranormal. The Adirondack Spirit Series tiptoes across that line from time to time.
Sometimes readers ask me how many installments the series will include. I don’t have a grand plan, but I have future family members in my head and they’re insistent that I write their stories too.
Enjoy an Excerpt from
She Sees Ghosts
Mehitable stood in the cemetery beside her family’s marker. It was the first time she had returned to the cemetery since the funeral, four years earlier. She had dreaded going to the cemetery and had to force herself to look upon the words carved into the stone. Though she felt a sense of loss every day, New Year’s Day was always particularly hard for her. The painful memories cascaded around her like snow dropping from heavily laden branches on a sunny winter morning. She brushed the tears from her cheeks with a wet mitten and inhaled. She was glad that she visited the cemetery after all. Soon she would move away with Polly and Reuben, and she might never return to Poultney again. Other than the fact that her toes were cold, she realized that the visit to the cemetery was quite peaceful.
As she began to leave the cemetery, something caught the corner of her eye. It was a man. Not just a man, but a soldier. She walked slowly toward the road and cast her vision to the ground in front of her, where she planned to place her feet. Even with her eyes diverted, she was able to watch the man whose path she was certain to cross. She couldn’t remember ever having seen a soldier before.
As she got closer, her pulse quickened. He was an imposing figure of a man. The closer she got, the more intriguing he looked.
Every couple of steps he stopped to look off into the woods or turned to look back down the road behind him. He put his fingers in his mouth and sent a shrill whistle trumpeting down the intervale below. Then he put his hands to his cheeks and called out, “Pendennis!”
Mehitable walked slowly toward him. Normally she would have walked briskly but she tarried along because she was fascinated. She felt drawn to him. He had a certain magnetism, though he seemed somewhat distracted. She wondered if he was looking for a child, or perhaps a dog.
The man looked to be in his mid to late twenties. He was tall, significantly taller than most men, even taller than Reuben. His shoulders were broad and his waist was narrow. Instead of a red coat or a blue coat, like the soldiers she had heard of, the man wore a dark green jacket with bright gold buttons that matched the tassels that dangled from epaulets at his shoulders. He wore a tricorne, beaver skin hat with a cockade that resembled a chamomile flower. His waistcoat was tight, like his jacket and matched the color of his snug breeches. His neatly tied white cravat and ruffled jabot adorned his neck and chest. His tall black riding boots looked immaculate. Mehitable had never seen such a well-dressed man. She was working up the courage to politely say, “How do you do?” when the man began to fade. She gulped and hurried her pace. The air smelled strangely of woodsmoke, horse manure, and pomander, that intoxicating scent of an orange spiked with rare and exotic cloves. It had not crossed her mind that the man was a spirit. She wondered at the strength of his presence.
She chastised herself for getting all out of sorts over a dead man. Yet she couldn’t resist stopping and turning to look when she heard his voice again, calling. “Pendennis!” When she turned, he stood at attention and stared straight into her eyes. Then he removed his hat, bowed deeply, sweeping his long arm dramatically behind him before returning his hat to his head. Mehitable turned and hurried away as quickly as she could.
Finally, when she could only hear his call far off in the distance, she turned to look one final time. He appeared as a tiny green dot surrounded by white snow on the top of the hill. Despite his flamboyance and the fact that he was dead, she couldn’t help having romantic thoughts about him. Thoughts she hadn’t entertained about living men or boys, except Reuben, briefly and occasionally before sending those thoughts from her mind. As she hurried up Lewis Road that afternoon, she compared the man to Reuben. He was a bit taller, more muscular, and his facial features looked strong and boyish at the same time.
She tried to put the man out of her mind, but she couldn’t shake a feeling of sadness over his loss, and she felt a desperate need to know what or for whom he was searching.
Excerpt Copyright © David Fitz-Gerald.
David Fitz-Gerald writes fiction that is grounded in history and soars with the spirits. If you’re looking for the atheist activist author by the same name, keep looking—this book is definitely not for you! After a chaotic day as a business person, Dave enjoys getting lost in the settings he imagines and spending time with the characters he creates. Writing historical fiction is like making paintings of the past. He loves to weave fact and fiction together, stirring in action, adventure, romance, and a heavy dose of the supernatural with the hope of transporting the reader to another time and place. He is an Adirondack 46-er, which means that he has hiked all of the highest peaks in New York State, so it should not be surprising when Dave attempts to glorify hikers as swashbuckling superheroes in his writing.
She Sees Ghosts-A Story of a Woman Who Rescues Lost Souls is the next installment in the Adirondack Spirit Series.
Genre: Historical Fiction
Series: Adirondack Spirit Series
Release Date: October 29, 2020
Content Note: PG-13
One lucky reader will win the Grand Prize Giveaway which includes a candle, Coffee Mug, chocolates and a signed copy of She Sees Ghosts!
Other Giveaways: 1 Coffee Mug, 3 Paperbacks, 5 eBooks
The giveaway is open to US residents only and ends on December 26, 2020. You must be 18 or older to enter. Void where prohibited by law. This giveaway is sponsored by the author and hosted by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours.
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