July 1st sees publication of yet another spooky book by my good friend Catherine Cavendish. I asked her to come over and tell us a bit about her inspiration. Take it away, Cat!
In my new novel, Saving Grace Devine, a young girl is drowned, but her spirit returns to haunt the lakeside where she met her untimely end. She seeks help from the living, to help her cross over to the afterlife.
From my research, it would appear that my fictional Grace is not alone. Many people have reported seeing ghosts of drowned girls who are all apparently earthbound. Searching for something, or someone. In need of help from the living to help them join the world of spirit.
So it is with this account – the ghost of the lady they call Minnie Quay.
Forester Township, Michigan is a small town of some 1100 people. It lies north of Port Sanilac, on the east Michigan coast of Lake Huron which bulges at the seams in summer when all the tourists come, gather around camp fires by the lake and share their stories. Some true – some not. But the tale of Minnie Quay is attested to by many who will swear to its veracity.
On a street in this little community is an abandoned tavern, with the date ‘1852’ above the door. It once belonged to James Quay and his wife, Mary Ann who lived there in the mid-nineteenth century, along with their children. Their eldest daughter – Minnie – died at the age of fourteen in April 1876 and it is her ghost that wanders restlessly along the shore nearby.
In those days, Forester was a busy, bustling lumbering town, used as a seaport for hauling timber to various locations on the Great Lakes. Four long warehouses and a pier (whose pilings can still be seen) saw a constant stream of traffic and sightseers, keen to see which ships had docked that day.
There were plenty of visiting sailors and it was one of these who took Minnie’s eye. She fell in love with him, but her parents were horrified when they discovered the relationship. They didn’t want their daughter mixing with sailors! They forbade her from seeing him again.
Poor heartbroken Minnie didn’t even have chance to say goodbye to her beau. In the spring of 1876, the boat he had been working on sank in a storm. He was killed. Mad with grief, Minnie threw herself off the pier into the icy waters of Lake Huron and drowned, her only wish to be reunited with the spirit of her dead sailor. It was not to be.
She’s buried in the local cemetery but, by all accounts, she still wanders. Weeping and searching for her lost love. But there is a more sinister side to this story. Some young women have reported that she has beckoned to them to join her in the freezing waters of the lake. One even drowned after saying she had seen Minnie’s ghost beckon to her that night. So, if you are young and female, do take care when strolling along the banks of Lake Huron alone. At night.
A ballad was written about her tragic story. Here’s the first verse of one version (courtesy of Wikipedia):
‘Twas long ago besides Lake Huron
She walked the sandy shore.
but the voice of one sweet Minnie Quay
‘Twill echo ever more.
Here’s a flavour of Saving Grace Devine:
Can the living help the dead…and at what cost?
When Alex Fletcher finds a painting of a drowned girl, she’s unnerved. When the girl in the painting opens her eyes, she is terrified. And when the girl appears to her as an apparition and begs her for help, Alex can’t refuse.
But as she digs further into Grace’s past, she is embroiled in supernatural forces she cannot control, and a timeslip back to 1912 brings her face to face with the man who killed Grace and the demonic spirit of his long-dead mother. With such nightmarish forces stacked against her, Alex’s options are few. Somehow she must save Grace, but to do so, she must pay an unimaginable price.
You can find Saving Grace Devine in all usual ebook formats and paperback (where available) here:
About the author
Catherine Cavendish is joint winner of the Samhain Gothic Horror Anthology competition 2013. Her winning novella – Linden Manor – is now available in all digital formats and the print anthology will be published in October. She is the author of a number of paranormal horror and Gothic horror novellas and short stories. Her novel, Saving Grace Devine, is published by Samhain Publishing on July 1st.
She lives with a longsuffering husband in North Wales. Her home is in a building dating back to the mid-18th century which is haunted by a friendly ghost, who announces her presence by footsteps, switching lights on and strange phenomena involving the washing machine and the TV.
When not slaving over a hot computer, Cat enjoys wandering around Neolithic stone circles and visiting old haunted houses.
You can connect with Cat here: