Debut novelist Greta Cribbs kicks off this new week. We’re chatting about her paranormal mystery, Amelia’s Children.
Greta Cribbs has worn many hats over the years, from mom to schoolteacher to choir director. She constantly seeks out opportunities to indulge her many interests, but writing is the passion that has been with her the longest. She wrote her first poem at the age of nine and has been crafting stories ever since. Amelia's Children is her first published work. You can follow her on Twitter for the latest information about her writing and other projects she is working on.
Welcome, Greta. Please tell us about your current release.
Amelia's Children is a paranormal mystery told from the point of view of Sarah, a young woman who has returned to her hometown in the wake of a failed acting career. David Jenson is a mysterious stranger who is in town on what he calls "personal business", though he won't tell anyone what that business is. Determined to find out what David is up to, Sarah eventually comes to suspect that he has some connection to Amelia Davis, a local woman who was murdered in 1985. She also discovers that Amelia's death may have been more than a simple murder.
What inspired you to write this book?
I based Sarah's character primarily on myself. Her struggles with her career and her feelings of not fitting in were taken directly from my feelings about my own life at the time that I was writing the book.
The small town in which my book takes place is based on my own hometown, but the idea of setting the story there was inspired by the show Twin Peaks.
A lot of David's backstory was inspired by the first two seasons of Supernatural. I was feeling frustrated with the direction some of the storylines, particularly Sam Winchester's story, had taken after season three, and had all these ideas about how I would have written it, so I decided to put some of that in my own story.
Excerpt from Amelia’s Children:
My mind was so full of thoughts as I lay in bed that night that I have no idea how I managed to fall asleep, but somehow I did. I slept and I dreamed—of rivers and old gnarled trees, of blood and death and abandoned babies. I dreamed of David. I saw him standing on the riverbank looking out over the water. He looked over at me and held out his hand. I took it and we smiled at each other. We seemed to float up and up and up until the whole world disappeared and it was just me and him. Then he let me go and I was falling, but of course in dreams you never hit the ground so the next thing I knew I was back in the clearing by the old tree. I saw a foot sticking out from under a bush. Amelia Davis’s foot. But when I pulled back the leaves to see what was there, it was not Amelia’s body that I found. It was David’s. His lifeless eyes looked at me and through me and I tried to scream but there was no air. Then he grabbed my wrist and sat up. He put his face close to mine and shouted one word. “Help!”
My eyes shot open and I was in my room again, safe and sound. My heart was racing and I was wide awake. I tried to calm myself down, to tell myself that it was just a dream, but then I heard it again. It was like a whisper but at the same time it was so loud it made my ears ring. “Help!”
It was David’s voice.
What exciting story are you working on next?
My newest project is also a paranormal book, but it has more elements of urban fantasy than mystery. The main character is Damian, a man who for the past five years has tried to move on from his traumatic past, but a dark secret has come back to haunt him and now he must be the one to break the curse that has been passed down in his family for centuries.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I've been writing since I was nine years old, but fear of rejection kept me from pursuing writing as a serious career. When Amelia's Children birthed itself fully formed from my mind almost overnight, I knew I had to actually follow through this time. I was still hesitant to use the word "writer" to describe myself, not really being sure if I measured up to the title. Then I entered a short story contest a few months ago and actually won. That was the event that gave me the validation I needed to truly call myself A Writer.
Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I do not write full time. At the moment I am a stay at home mom who teaches piano lessons in the afternoon and exercise classes on the weekends. I would like to say that I have wonderful time management skills that help me find time to write, but the truth is I often spend time writing instead of doing housework. I mean really, who wants to clean the house when they could be writing the next Great American Novel?
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Hmm…I guess that would be the fact that I have to be absolutely in love with my primary male character while I'm writing, otherwise I won't want to do it. Before I started the project I'm currently working on I had begun another book, but I wasn't feeling the characters so I had to put it away. In this new book, however, I adore Damian's character, and that makes writing about him a pleasure. When I was writing Amelia's Children, my heart was divided between David and Sarah's brother Will.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I started seriously thinking about that question when I was eleven. I was torn between wanting to be an astronomer and wanting to be a writer. I had just gotten interested in science fiction books, so studying planets and stars was fascinating to me. At the same time, however, I was also busily writing my first novel, a ghost story, and had dreams of growing up to be the female version of Stephen King. Then high school came along and I switched my focus to music. I'm just now getting back around to thinking of writing as a career.
Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
In addition to writing, I love singing, dancing, and studying Spanish. I've actually found a way to incorporate my love for the Spanish language into the new book I'm writing. It will show up here and there as I reveal pieces of Damian's family history.
Thanks, Greta! Happy writing.