Traces: Then and Now
My first novel, Traces, began its life as a graduate thesis. The focus of the thesis was on what techniques and tropes the masters of supernatural storytelling employed. The first half of the paper provided my analysis and the second half the first three chapters of the story, also called Traces.
It’s important to note, however, that the story itself morphed over the ensuing years as I learned more about the craft of writing and storytelling. The only continuity between the thesis and the book centers on three elements: the main character, Meredith; the house as a character; and a nod to classic supernatural authors Edgar Allan Poe and Henry James.
Meredith Reed is a smart, loving woman who knows what she wants and how to get it. That’s true whether she was married and had children (in the thesis version) or was a widow trying to bury her grief over losing her husband and child (in the book).
Originally, the house was situated in the outskirts of Huntsville, Alabama, and needed lots of repairs. When I rewrote the story, I chose to locate the story in a fictional county and town in south central Tennessee, and made it an historic plantation home. Both had ghosts involved, though different ones. (I do love ghost stories!)
Elements of Poe’s and James’ tales were woven into the original: a person buried alive in a basement; tarnished silver doorknobs; a wolf-like dog. In Traces, I’ve retained a person buried alive, though that event happens in the past. And I’ve kept the tarnished doorknobs.
I love being able to take factual information and weave it into fiction. Even in Traces, I’ve tried to weave historical facts into the storyline, to deepen the narrative resonance. That’s probably why I also write historical romance, to spotlight life in distant times.
Thanks for letting me share some of the background of my debut, Traces! What do you love about paranormal romances and ghost stories?
Author: Betty Bolté
Publisher: Liquid Silver Books
Series: Ghosts of Roseville
Book #: 1
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Ghosts, Spirits, Hauntings, Suspense
Heat Level: 1
Content Notes: Sweet
Publication Date: 4/28/2014
Betty Bolté writes both historical and contemporary stories that feature strong, loving women and brave, compassionate men. No matter whether the stories are set in the past or the present, she loves to include a touch of the paranormal. Traces is a contemporary romantic women’s fiction novel set in a haunted plantation home in Tennessee, scheduled for release on April 28, 2014. Hometown Heroines: True Stories of Bravery, Daring, and Adventure (2012) is a collection of short historical fiction based on the real-life achievements of 19 American girls in the 19th century, each with a landmark in the United States of America. The first edition won Honorable Mention in the 2003 Writer’s Digest International Self-Published Book Awards and 2000 Writer’s Digest Writing Competition, while the 2012 edition won the 2014 Literary Classics Seal of Approval.. She’s the author of several nonfiction books and currently marketing a romantic historical fiction trilogy.
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Architect Meredith Reed aims to demolish her family plantation to bury her grief. But her conniving sister, a hunky lawyer, and a spectral Lady all have other ideas. Can she carry out her plan before they teach her the lessons of family and love she so desperately needs?
Meredith Reed, a forty-year-old architect turned demolition expert, desperately searches for the means to bury her grief. When she inherits her family’s historic plantation home in Tennessee, she decides to start anew by razing the antebellum house and replacing it with a memorial garden. A plan met with outrage from her family and her grandmother's estate lawyer.
James Maximillian “Max” Chandler needs two things to complete his life plan: become a senior partner and find his soul mate. He's been promised a promotion once his proposed legislation to protect all of the county’s historic properties is approved. The wife part he finds more challenging, having never met the right woman in all of his forty-six years. If only the talented and attractive Meredith weren’t so aloof toward him and didn’t want to destroy the very property he’s grown to cherish.
Meanwhile, Meredith's estranged sister moves in and refuses to leave. The memories of their childhood spent there causes turmoil between them. And while Meredith struggles to reconcile her past and her future, she learns a lesson from the spectral Lady in Blue that may save both her family and the family home from destruction.