Have you ever had the itch to redecorate? How about an entire plantation in South Carolina? Rehab Addict paradise! Now do you like a little touch of the paranormal? This book has it along with a hurricane, a few carpet baggers, and a dog that brings bad luck. I’ll talk more about the book below, but first Amy Reade took some time to talk to us about her book and her writing!
Tell us a little about yourself.
First of all, thank you for having me on your blog!
I am a lawyer, though I haven’t practiced in a while. I wrote all the time when I was practicing, but it was always logical and methodical (read: dry and boring) and rarely sparked my interest. But several years ago I saw an advertisement for a three-night writing workshop at a local library and signed up on a whim, really more for an excuse to get out of the house than because I was serious about writing. But I was hooked from the first night when the instructor, author Annie Kelleher, gave us a homework assignment to come up with an idea for a story.
That idea turned into my first novel, Secrets of Hallstead House, a story about a nurse, Macy Stoddard, who moves from Manhattan to the Thousand Islands region of northern New York to take on a private client. Once there, Macy learns that the people on the island harbor secrets that reach deep into her past. In her attempts to unearth the secrets and those hiding them, Macy must first help her patient solve the mystery behind a recent death on the island.
My motivation for writing is my love of doing what I do every single day. I wish I had known how much I would enjoy it, because I wouldn’t have waited so long to start!
What inspired the idea behind your book?
My current book, The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor, grew from my strong interest in the culture of the South and in particular, the city of Charleston, South Carolina. The climate, the ecology, the social history of that area—everything combines to make it a unique place with a heavy dose of Southern charm. But the region’s past hasn’t all been rosy. There have been sad, painful, and tragic periods in its history, and I wanted to make sure I gave a nod to those pieces of Charleston, too.
I love all of the decorating and restoration in the book. Is anything in your book based on real life experiences?
I never really thought about that! We put an addition on our house a few years ago and that was a daunting job, but nothing like the restoration of an old mansion. And our house was built in the 1980s, so there’s nothing to restore—yet. I suppose the decorating and restoration angles of the story probably come from years of subscriptions to “Better Homes and Gardens” and “Southern Living.” Reading through those magazines is one of my favorite things to do. I like to have a magazine handy while I eat lunch, even if it’s one I’ve already read. I keep an ever-expanding file of the articles I want to save.
Who is your favorite character to create scenes for in the book?
I loved creating the scenes between Graydon and Vivian Peppernell. Vivian drives Graydon up the wall with her airs and her pomposity, but he loves her. He wants her to be happy. He’s a gentleman, so he indulges her and is reluctant to get involved when asked to choose sides against her. She knows just how to handle him—usually—to get her way. But Graydon can only be pushed so far, as Vivian learns. Here’s one of their exchanges in The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor:
“That was the stupidest thing you’ve ever done!” he bellowed. “And now you’ve probably wrecked your car, too! Was that the crunching sound we heard?”
“Graydon, I simply refuse to discuss it with you until you’ve calmed down. Yes, my car was the crunching sound you heard. And Phyllis is out there right now retrieving the box with the paintings.”
“You’ve got to be kidding!” Graydon yelled. “How can you send someone outside in a hurricane?!”
“She volunteered,” Vivian said quietly.
I stood at the front door, waiting for Phyllis as she struggled to the door with the large box that Vivian had dropped. I wanted to help her, but Lucy was clinging to me and whimpering, terrified that I would leave her to go out into the storm. I could see Graydon and Vivian out of the corner of my eye. Graydon was looking into Vivian’s eyes.
“Thank God you’re all right,” he told her. She smiled at him. “But you shouldn’t have sent Phyllis out into the storm. She deserves better than that from you.”
“I’ll apologize, Graydon,” said Vivian with a pout.
“That’s my girl,” he said.
I noticed you have a music and wine list for each book. Do you use this music to write with as well?
I don’t usually play music when I write, but when I do, it’s classical, no vocals. I can’t concentrate with someone else’s words belting out of the cd player. I also can’t concentrate when I’m trying to sing along. I pick the songs on my website to set a mood that matches the books and that I think the characters would enjoy.
And as for the wine, I like to list the new ones I try while I’m writing a particular book. And it’s what I enjoy when I’m done writing!
How can readers find your books and are there more coming in this series?
I invite your readers to have a look at The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor, which is a standalone book (and I’m working on my third standalone right now, which is set in Hawaii).
As you may have guessed from the title, the novel is set at Peppernell Manor, an antebellum plantation near Charleston, South Carolina, that has seen better days. But when its owner hires restoration specialist Carleigh Warner to oversee its return to grandeur, disagreements over the property’s future threaten to tear the Peppernell family apart. Carleigh is swept unwittingly into a whorl of secrets that she must face to protect her future and her daughter’s life.
My books are available at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, books.google.com, kensingtonbooks.com, amazon.co.uk, amazon.ca, and kobobooks.com. I also invite you to visit me online, where I love connecting with readers. You can find me at the following places:
Website: http://www.amymreade.com (my website has a page listing my appearances)
My Review- 5 Stars
When Carleigh Warner gets the opportunity to restore an old South Carolina Plantation complete with tree-lined drive, slave quarters and a ghost, she moves herself and her three-year-old daughter into the house for the job. The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor is a romantic mystery with good pace that includes an old Southern family who can’t decide if they want to turn their plantation into a tourist attraction. Amy Reade does a great job with not just providing one villain, but several characters who could do harm, which keeps you guessing until the end. Great mixture of mystery, paranormal and romance.