If there’s one thing I’ve learned as an author it’s that an idea can come from anywhere.
The loose concept for ISLAND OF SECRETS, my debut novel, came from a family history. The small red book, compiled by a distant family member was written to give each of us insight into our ancestors. In addition, it contained a historical account (whether accurate or legend I couldn’t say) that inspired me to elaborate, and the result was the #1 Bestselling Gothic Romance and #5th Bestselling Time Travel 9/14/11 at Amazon US.
Imagine a family crest, a ship held up to land by a severed and bloody palm. Imagine a woman struggling with her own problems, pretending to be somebody else to help a friend out who discovers a note of warning dated hundreds of years before she was born and addressed to HER. Imagine an Island of Secrets.
I love an old manor with a grand staircase and hidden passageways. I love secrets that span centuries just waiting for fate to step in and reveal the answers and right the wrongs of the past that lingered. I love a love story that can withstand the test of time and grow stronger despite evil forces' interference.
I’ve always had a preoccupation with old books, family histories, old houses, unexplained phenomena and such. The books I enjoy reading the most are those that keep me guessing, those with a little mystery and page-turning suspense woven throughout. When it comes to real life historical accounts like old diaries and such I’m drawn like a moth to a candle.
Spooky houses have always fascinated me and when I’m traveling, I watch closely for prospects for future books. You never know when you’ll come across a place, a story or an object that will spur your next novel. That’s why I’m always looking. As morbid as it sounds, I visit graveyards to research names appropriate to a time period and scour books that were actually written in the time period my characters will live so that I can get a feel for what they would say and do, first hand. You’d be amazed at how many people depend on histories written by contemporary authors, when the most reliable sources are those who lived during the period.
I’m working on a new book actually based on a couple of lessor know legends that caught my attention and spurred my imagination.
Whether you’re a writer or just enjoy the written word, we share one thing in common, the love a good story told well. For now, I’ll endeavor to uncover those little nuggets of information whether via an unusual house or forgotten volume in a dusty library that will prompt my creative juices to flow freely. Until, the next time our paths cross, I’ll leave you with a snippet and invite you to visit an ISLAND OF SECRETS...
Tammie Clarke Gibbs
Still clenching the scribbled note of warning, Lila Fitzpatrick stepped out of the carriage and into the crisp, cool, night.
The haunting silhouette of Winship Manor towered above like a savage animal, crouching in the darkness waiting for its prey.
Large, strange-looking statues were poised protectively on either side of the door. Above them, an eerie glow emanated from the flaming torches that lit part of the narrow pathway.
Lila shivered. She wished she’d thought to bring a sweater. She wished she was wearing some comfy sweats and not this straight, black skirt she could barely walk in.
She reached for the door then paused. Something about the coat of arms bolted under the heavy knocker unnerved her. It wasn’t a very friendly picture. A ship held up to land by a severed, bloody hand and the name Winship.
She stood staring for the longest time. She’d been invited, but felt reluctant to announce her arrival.
Lila looked down at the note then slipped it and the other purse inside her own. She was sure the note had something to do with her jitters, that and the fact that this place looked nothing like the brochure.
She was beginning to understand why the heiress and her new hubby fled. Winship Manor did not look like any posh resort she’d ever seen. It looked like a haunted castle.
The night was chilly. The howling whistle of the wind had followed the carriage the entire distance from the shore to Winship’s tangled gates of iron. Now, however, there was nothing. The trees were oddly still. The only sound, her heart thumping in her breast, echoed in her ears.
Lila lifted the knocker. It was cold against her fingers, and she dropped it sending a loud, quite annoying thud reverberating through the still evening air. She’d known better than to let Cassie talk her into such a hair-brained scheme.
Not only was she stuck on an island pretending to be someone she wasn’t she was getting warning notes from more than three hundred years ago too.
Tammie Clarke Gibbs is the author of ISLAND OF SECRETS, a Time Travel, Gothic Romance and several other non-fiction titles. She is awaiting the upcoming release of her second novel THE COUNTERFEIT, A Mid-Western Historical Romantic Suspense. You can purchase her books via Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords and at most online ebookstores.
Link to Amazon: http://amzn.com/B004DNWQ98