Monday, August 29, 2011

THE GHOST SHIP, an Outer Banks romantic thriller

My beloved Hatteras Island has been cutoff from the rest of the Outer Banks because the sea breached Highway 12 when Hurricane Irene hit the cape. The same thing happened some years ago. I was reporting from the region for the Atlanta Journal Constitution, and the road had just been rebuilt then.

In the wake of Irene, it appears the long skinny islands will recover and rebuild as the residents have done for centuries. Seafaring people are tough as I came to witness.

I wanted to share with you the genesis of my novel THE GHOST SHIP. A couple of years ago, it wasn't a hurricane, but a severe storm that uncovered the hulk of an early 20th century coastal schooner near Cape Hatteras Light House. Honestly, it gave me the creeps. It's no wonder this part of the Atlantic Ocean is called The Graveyard of the Atlantic.

At that time, the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum at Cape Hatteras was under construction. The director told me that these wrecks were often uncovered from the sands in storms, and that in time another storm would bury my ominous ship skeleton.

While going through the artifacts and photographs at the museum, I came across the The Ghost Ship of Diamond Shoals. The Carroll A. Deering was a five-masted schooner. Returning from her maiden voyage to Rio and Barbados, and still in full sail, she somehow ran aground and her hull and keel buried on Diamond Shoal. This was in January, 1921. When the Coast Guard boarded her, they found no officers, crew, anchors or lifeboats. Only a six-toed cat. Six government agencies investigated the wreck, worldwide, but came to no conclusion. Was it pirates? mutiny? storms? Bermuda Triangle woo-woo?

So, my little gray cells (thank you, Hercule) conceived the idea of my own fictional solution to the mystery. I published THE GHOST SHIP at the end of June. It's not exactly a romance (which has strictures) nor a classic murder mystery. In other words, publishers loved the idea and the writing, but couldn't put it in a category. So, I had Kimberly Hitchens edit and format it for me and it's on Kindle and Nook.

I spent a lot of time on the Outer Banks reporting on the building of the museum and the controversial move of the Cape Hatteras Light House by the Park Service. I have a special affection for the mystery of the Outer Banks. It has lore galore, ghosts, legends, myths and houses made from the timbers of shipwrecks. Go into one of those, and you can sure get the spooks.

The Outer Banks survived another onslaught, as it always will. It seems the wind and sea gods also have a reverence for the The Graveyard of the Atlantic.


Review from GoodReads:"A ghost story mixed with a mystery and a love story told by an author who weaves a wonderful tale. A look into a piece of nautical history as well makes this a great read! I don't believe in ghosts but this book....has me changing my mind."


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love Gerrie books and I can't wait to read the Ghost Ship...