Inspiration comes from many sources and takes many forms. The first muse that comes to mind is the importance dreams have had on my work. The initial book resulting from this source of inspiration was historical romance novel Red Bird’s Song. Another dream evolved into my recent holiday release, vintage American Christmas ghost story romance Somewhere the Bells Ring. That one took place in the beautiful Virginia homeplace where my father grew up and I often visited over the years, a gracious Georgian style brick home, circa 1816, and the old home the house in Somewhere the Bells Ring is based on.
I vividly saw a young woman, a guest there during the Christmas holidays, and the mysterious gentleman she encountered. His profound sadness made a deep impression on me, as did the gentleman himself, and the young lady who reached out to him. That dream nagged at me every Christmas for the past ten years until I finally wrote their story.
Life experiences, of course, supply a wealth of fodder for my stories. As has research into family genealogy, particularly early American, and even farther back. I come from well-documented English/Scots-Irish folk with a smidgen of French in the meld, a Norman knight who sailed with William the Conqueror. One family line goes directly back to Geoffrey Chaucer. And there’s a puritan line with involvement in the Salem Witch Trials—my apologies to Susannah Martin’s descendants—but that’s another story.
Sometimes watching a television program or imaginative film will inspire me in the most unexpected ways. I came up with the concept for my ‘Somewhere’ series years ago while watching one of my favorite British mysteries, Midsomer Murders. I enjoy the historic setting of these modern day mysteries, but especially when the story flashes back to an even earlier time in an old manor house or church to get to the root of the mystery. So I thought, why not incorporate that with my love of romance and history.
The idea behind this series is that the story opens in an old home, so far Virginia, and then transports the reader back in time either in the same old house or another place entirely, such as the Scottish Highlands. As is the case in Somewhere My Lass and the sequel I’m at work on, via a portal in time. All of which is inspired by my fascination with the past. The unifying characteristic of the stories is the paranormal/time travel element, but the books themselves aren’t necessarily tied together.
I also collect people whom I meet in real life or the dreamworld and sooner or later they take shape as characters. As one author said, ‘Be careful or you’ll wind up in my stories.’
~ Beth Trissel
Blurb: Caught with pot in her dorm room, Bailey Randolph is exiled to a relative’s ancestral home in Virginia to straighten herself out. Banishment to Maple Hill is dismal, until a ghost appears requesting her help. Bailey is frightened but intrigued. Then her girlhood crush, Eric Burke, arrives and suddenly Maple Hill isn’t so bad.
To Eric, wounded in Vietnam, his military career shattered, this homecoming feels no less like exile. But when he finds Bailey at Maple Hill, her fairy-like beauty gives him reason to hope–until she tells him about the ghost haunting the house. Then he wonders if her one experiment with pot has made her crazy.
As Bailey and Eric draw closer, he agrees to help her find a long-forgotten Christmas gift the ghost wants. But will the magic of Christmas be enough to make Eric believe–in Bailey and the ghost–before the Christmas bells ring?~