By Beth Trissel
I’ve read that Virginia has more ghost stories than any other state in the Union, not necessarily because we have a more fertile imagination, but sadly because the Old Dominion has seen more bloody battles over the centuries than any other. Think back, Jamestown (1607) was the site of the oldest successful English settlement and its history is a violent one. And on we go to the many heart-rending wars fought with the usurped Indians, a number of them waged on Virginia soil. March on to the Revolution; anyone heard of Yorktown, to name just one famous battle? And let’s not forget that horrific most uncivil of wars, much of it fought in, you guessed it, Virginia.
And yet, this multitude of hauntings doesn’t only feature soldiers caught in an endless fray who haven’t gotten word the war’s over, although there are legions of tales that do and entire companies of ghosts said to battle on. Many tales feature the myriad of people, great and small, who dwelt in our richly historic state. The old Virginia homes and plantations have accumulated a wealth of such stories.
Thus, it was while touring some of these English styled manor homes that I conceived the idea for my paranormal romance, Somewhere My Love. Not from the movie, Somewhere in Time, which I only vaguely remember and then only after prompting. Nay, lay that notion to rest. Added to this meld of vintage Virginia is my own heritage, a vast source of inspiration from my childhood. On my father’s side, I descend from old Southern gentry, now impoverished after the Civil War, Great Depression, and various other misfortunes, including the untimely death of my brilliant grandfather. But the gracious Georgian home his ancestor built, called Chapel Hill (circa 1816) still stands outside the historic town of Staunton.
I was ever determined the family home place was haunted and wove stories through my fevered mind, along with my continual search for Narnia which entailed frequent treks into the old wardrobe. But I digress. The magnificent ancestral portraits in my family and on display in Virginia homes held me transfixed, wondering. And it was just such a portrait of a striking dark-haired gentleman who embedded himself in my thoughts. Who was he? Why did he die so young? That other painting of the fair young lady...did she love him?
Often, the guides at these old homes are brimming with tales. But other times we are left to wonder...and ask ourselves are these folk who’ve gone before us truly gone, or do some still have unfinished business in this realm? And what of the young lovers whose time was tragically cut short, do they somehow find a way? Love conquers all, so I answer ‘yes.’
Somewhere My Love is coming soon to the Wild Rose Press! For more on this and my other works, please visit me at http://www.bethtrissel.com/
By Beth Trissel