HALLOWEEN, ‘MAGIC’, AND A FULL MOON

The last time we had a full moon on Halloween was in 2001. I remember it well, because that was the night the idea for my first novel, Gate to Nowhere, was born.

We were at a party at my friend, and fellow-homeschooler, Lisa’s house. She and her husband had recently bought an old farmhouse, complete with pastures, barns and various outbuildings. After supper she’d planned a hike to a spooky, old cemetery out a gravel road behind their property. The adults grabbed flashlights, the kids, glow-sticks, and we headed out.

When we arrived at the cemetery, a perfect Halloween vista spread out before us: big, fat full moon squatting between the mountains, and a hundred or more silver-edged gravestones lining the hillside. All we needed was the hoot of an owl or a coyote howling in the distance to complete the scenario. A shiver ran up my spine.

One would think nothing could top that, but on our way back to the house, my flashlight happened to swing to the right and landed on an old wooden gate, spotlighting it like it was on stage. So, what? Gate and farms go together like ham and eggs, biscuits and gravy, or sweet and tea. You’re right. But gates usually go with fences—otherwise, what’s the point? And this gate stood alone, at the edge of a pasture, with no sign of a fence anywhere.

I turned puzzled eyes to Lisa. “Question. Why do you have a gate without a fence?”

She shrugged and said, “It was like that when we bought the place.”

I decided to make it part of the Halloween experience by adding a few notes of spooky music. “Dum, dum, DUMMM. The gate to nowhere…” I intoned in my eeriest voice.

She laughed and said, “That sounds like the name of a book.”

“It kind of does, doesn’t it?”

“Well, why don’t you write it?

Her question caught me off guard. I’d never written a book; not unless you counted the little illustrated ones I’d put together for my sons when they were young. But when those words left her lips, ideas began flooding my brain like someone had just blown a whole in a dam, and the story began gushing out. I replied in a daze, “Maybe I will.”

That gate provided me with the story seeds for my first three novels: Gate to Nowhere, Return to Nowhere, and Magnolia Blossoms, and the ideas just keep coming. I recently signed contract on my 8th novel, am working on the 9th and have two other, unpublished manuscripts that need some polishing before they’re published.

A Halloween full moon began my writing journey, and I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of ‘magic’ this one will hold.

 

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