Suzanne D. Williams
Today we have one of our most active GNFA authors. She’s here to tell us a little more about herself and her book, Suzanne,what inspired this story?
Actually, I dreamed it in its entirety. I saw every character, every scene, heard the dialogue in my head, and only had to sit down and write.
I’d already created the book cover and had a concept in mind when this happened. I’d picked out Andre Garner’s name and that of Cerise Delacroix. I’d also thought to make it a Halloween alternative story with a Christian viewpoint.
But I could never have plotted out the intricacies of it on my own. I’m simply not that smart.
What do you mean by “Halloween alternative”?
I believe as Christians it is important to set an example when it comes to typical Halloween fare. Things like witchcraft and demonic oppression are not something to be entertained with or make light of.
At the same time, God came to deliver us from fear and set us free from the power of the devil. (2Ti 1:7;Jn 10:10) In this story, I use the authority Christ died and rose again to provide for man as the final word on the goings-on inside the Delacroix mansion.
It has the air of mystery of a Halloween-type story with Biblical perspective on how Christians should react.
What is the gist of the storyline?
Andre Garner is an up-an-coming glass-maker called to do a major, life-changing design for the Delacroix glass collection, rumored to be worth millions of dollars. But when he arrives on the island, the weather and the strangeness of the elderly owner keep him there overnight.
What promises to be hours of boredom are soon relieved by the owner’s granddaughter, Cerise, who tells him a tale tying his father, who he never knew, to the house and a horrible story of murder and intrigue begun years ago.
Yet even then, things are not what they seem, and the truth as they know it, really isn’t the truth at all.
Give us a taste of the story.
This scene comes from Chapter 1. Andre Garner finds himself forced to stay overnight and the strangeness begins:
“Mr. Garner,” Cerise said.
He glanced left to where she stood.
“My apologies for my grandmother’s poor mood. Had I known what she was thinking …”
He glanced back at the pre-prepared room. “Didn’t you?”
She gave only the slightest breath. “No. I’d hoped she’d conduct her business and let you go home. I knew nothing about her plans until you were most likely on your way here. I do my best with her, but …” Her words fell away.
“Forget it,” he said. “I should have expected it.”
Should have known something was up, but kicking himself was profitless.
She didn’t respond, so he turned. “Tell me, what do I do with my time?” The remaining hours of the day stretched out before him endless. “You said you like solitude, but I’m not used to it.” No, he was used to the crowd in the shop, a multitude of hands to help with the process, seeing friends in the evenings, dinners and dates. This place was … empty.
Which begged a question. “How many people live here? You, your grandmother, the boatman …”
“Osiris,” she said. “He’s been here since Grandmother was a girl.”
“Mimi. You met her; she answered the door. And one other, Yolanda, that’s Osiris wife. She’s the cook.”
“Five of you then all cooped up in this … this … house. My cell doesn’t work, so I take it there’s no internet.”
He sighed. “Television?”
“There is one, but … effectively, no.”
Of course not. “You do have a phone?” he asked. The old woman had called him on one.
Cerise didn’t respond, and he exhaled loudly. “The dark ages.”
If she heard him, she didn’t say so nor did her cool demeanor change. “We’ll do our best to keep you entertained,” she said. “You’re welcome to anything in the library. You’ll find it at the bottom of the stairs to the right.”
He vaguely remembered seeing bookshelves on the way up, leather chairs, and a desk.
“You’re welcome to go outdoors,” she said. “Though …” They both raised their gaze to the window. The rain was falling in earnest now.
“Yeah, I get it,” he replied. He was stuck.
“You can also explore at will. But I have to ask you to avoid the left wing. Grandmother values her privacy.”
He nodded. “What of the rest?”
Her brow wrinkled.
“There is a third floor. Isn’t there?” he asked.
She waffled, the first sign of any hesitation on her part. “If you wish to risk it, but the third floor is empty. No one’s been up there in a decade.”
He started. No one? Was this house so large they didn’t need an entire floor for ten years? Or was there another reason?
“My room is down the hall, second on the left. If you need anything, either ring the bell …” She indicated a small brass bell on the bedside table. “Or come find me. Lunch will be served at noon.”
Spent, he bobbed his head. Her footsteps moved into the distance and the door clicked shut. He flinched at the finality of it. Wandering across the room, he stood before the window watching rain dribble down the glass. One rivulet met another and another forming a stream at the bottom.
He pressed a finger to the pane, his own reflection staring back at him. Sandy blond hair, a hint of a goatee, and two crystal blue eyes. His father’s face, his mother had told him that many times. Yet he’d never seen a picture. Those she’d had, she’d disposed of long ago. He’d grown up wondering about Levi Garner. Yet life comes full circle, and here was a place he’d been, people who’d known him, one glimpse of the man who’d given him life.
Andre turned and as he did, a knock came at the door. “Come in,” he called. He expected the girl, Cerise, to have returned. Perhaps she’d forgotten something, an instruction. Instead a dark-skinned woman entered, her ankle-length black gown sweeping the wooden floorboards. Must be
“Mistah Garner,” the woman said. “Miss Delacroix asked me to bring you these.” She opened her palm.
He strolled across the room and lifted the offered stack of photographs.
“She says you can keep them.”
He nodded, and she left. Finding a seat in an armchair, he crossed his ankle over his knee, and flipped through the stack. A fist pummeled him in the gut. The circle that was life tightened, and for a moment, his vision blurred. He blinked back the haze and raised an image closer.
There, staring up at him was the same face he’d seen in the glass only minutes ago. That of his father.
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“Cerise.” The pull of her breath flared her nostrils the tiniest bit and lifted her chest. She was beautiful, and priceless, like this house. She didn’t deserve to be trapped by all its legends. Because that is all this was, the stories of the past holding her in some vice-like grip, the grip of an old woman who wouldn’t let them go.
Andre Garner, up-and-coming glass-maker, thought the trip to the island was worth the risk. He’s been warned the place is full of mystery, that the old woman living there is peculiar and anything can happen.
Yet the Delacroix glass collection is the stuff of fables. To contribute to it could make his career and set him up for a very long time.
But soon the stories and legends of the past pull him in, he and the beautiful girl he didn’t expect to find there. Trapped together, unable to escape, he finds the most valuable thing inside isn’t the glass at all.
From the best-selling author of FLIGHT RISK (The Italian Series #1), SUZANNE D. WILLIAMS, delivers another page-turning romantic suspense.
Best-selling author, Suzanne D. Williams, is a native Floridian, wife, mother, and photographer. She is the author of both nonfiction and fiction books. She writes a monthly column for Steves-Digicams.com on the subject of digital photography, as well as devotionals and instructional articles for various blogs. She also does graphic design for self-publishing authors.