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Thursday, December 1, 2011

If Your Dream Home Were a Haunted House

Sometimes we just get lucky.

Nothing but luck explains a late-in-the-year addition to the Dog Ears author event calendar. Susan Newhof just happens to have in-laws in Northport and also happens to have a book tour scheduled in the U.P., so she’ll be stopping overnight to visit her in-laws on the way back home. Would I like to host a reading and book signing at Dog Ears Books while she’s in town? Ya, sure, you betcha. (That's how a Yooper--or, closer to home, a Norwegian bachelor farmer would say it, right? But I digress....)

Newhof’s novel, recently released by University of Michigan Press, is called Spirits and Wine. That’s right, a novel—not a nonfiction book on what drinks to serve with dinner, although you'll understand the allusion to wine early in your reading. But no, not that kind of spirits. 

Here's the setup: a couple finds their dream house in a little lakeshore town in west Michigan, the old house all decorated for Christmas in midsummer. Peculiar--but they decide to buy it. Then they discover that they are not living there alone! The house is haunted by the spirit of a previous inhabitant, and the new residents resolve to find answers to the questions the haunting raises.

When asked about her own life experiences, the author acknowledges that “many of the things that happened in the story are based on events that happened in our lives, and based on things that happened in the house.  For example, in the story, John and Anna bought a house that was completely decorated for Christmas and they bought it in July.  That comes directly out of the old house that my husband and I bought, which was decorated from first floor to second floor for Christmas and we bought it in July.  And much like Margaret in the story, it was decorated for Christmas just because the owner loved Christmas.  So things like that came directly out of our life, but the story is fiction.”

Another question readers will have is about the town where the haunted house is located. Is there really a Carlston, Michigan? “Carlston is a made-up town,” Newhof says, “but many of the little towns along the lakeshore have a part of Carlston in them.”

How much do Carlston and Northport have in common? We’ll all have to read the book to find out. Author Susan Newhof says she wants her readers to get “so engrossed in this book that they completely lose track of time.” Isn’t that the best kind of fiction-reading experience and just what we all as readers love?

Come hear Susan Newhof talk about her book and read a short selection on Friday, December 9. The event will begin at 5 p.m.


dmarks said...

The song "Home by the Sea" about a shore-side haunted house came to mind immediately upon reading this (an old song from the Phil Collins-era Genesis).

I know thousands of town names, but have never heard of a Carlston. Googling it shows a tiny one in the bootheel area of Missouri, and a township in Minnesota.

Dawn said...

Sounds like a good book, and a fun author visit too!

P. J. Grath said...

All I know for sure is that the author lives in Montague and made up the name Carlston. When I told her the town in the book (I'm still in the early chapters) reminded me of Pentwater, where I lived one summer long ago, she was pleased. Yes, I think it will definitely be a fun event!

Kathy said...

Would love to be there December 9th! My friend, Jan, lives in a haunted house. She says the energy has really accelerated lately.

P. J. Grath said...

Tomorrow (Sunday) I'm going to wallow in this novel for hours. Doesn't that sound like a good plan? I'm really looking forward to meeting Susan on Friday. Wish you could be here, too, Kathy, but Susan will be coming from a BOOK TOUR OF THE U.P., so check around and see if she'll be somewhere near you!

Kathy said...

Sounds like FUN!