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Although I’m a fiction writer, many of my stories weave bits of truth from things I’ve encountered in the world. Like many people, I’m interested in true crime and often the cases I learn about appear in some capacity in my books. In part, my curiosity surrounding people’s motives is why I went to school for a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. People often wonder where writer’s ideas come from. It’s an interesting question with a pretty simple answer – everywhere.

For a glimpse into some of the true stories that have inspired aspects of my Northern Michigan Asylum Series, read on…. Oh, and if you haven’t read the books, tread carefully. I tried not to introduce any spoilers, but I’m not sure I succeeded.

Some Can See Inspiration
A Haunted Picture: Though this story is mostly unrelated to the plot of Some Can See. I did find inspiration in the original story, which evolved into Hattie painting the image of the deceased Rosemary Bell. Learn More About this Potentially Haunted Painting….


Calling Back the Dead Inspiration
The tragedy I’m going to share is going to seem awfully unrelated to Calling Back the Dead, but oddly it’s still the piece that originally inspired the book. Years ago, I watched a true crime documentary called ‘Graveyard love.’ The documentary covered the tumultuous relationship and eventual murder/suicide of Addie Hall and Zack Bowen. Graveyard Love became my working title for the book. Eventually, I changed it because I found another book with the same title.

In any case, this story stuck with me. A few years after I saw the film, while I was writing Calling Back the Dead, my husband and I visited New Orleans, and during a ghost tour, we heard about the story of Zack and Addie again. We also saw the hotel where Zack took his own life. I went on to read a book about the murder by Ethan Brown. It was a heartbreaking story and really spoke to the deeper reasons why crimes like this happen.

Novel about the Case: Shake the Devil Off by Ethan Brown: See it on Amazon
The Zach and Addie Murder/Suicide


Are you interested in the full nursery rhyme from Calling Back the Dead? Here it is…
One for Sorrow Nursery Rhyme 


Ashes Beneath Her Inspiration
I don’t want to offer spoilers for the book, but this story  from Unsolved Mysteries inspired the backstory for the character Abe in Ashes Beneath Her. Below you can watch a video about the true case of a woman abducted from a payphone.

I won’t mention the killer in Ashes Beneath Her, but I will say he was inspired by Ted Bundy. I read Anne Rule’s book The Stranger Beside Me and found her depiction of Bundy specifically fascinating because they worked together at a crisis hotline in the Seattle area before he started murdering co-eds.
The Stranger Beside Me by Anne Rule


The hitchhiking ghost. The true story of the murder and ghost of Mamie Thurman. Check out this video by Mysterious West Virginia:


Dead Stream Curse Inspiration
In Dead Stream Curse, you’ll see many references to hag stones. You can learn more about the lore surrounding these unique stones here:
Hag Stone – Sacred, Powerful, Magickal

Are you curious where some of the symbols and staves originated from? Check out this article titled 9 Spooky Spells from an Icelandic Book of Sorcery. See the full article here. 
Although I don’t have a link to the podcast, the house on Spellway Road in Dead Stream Curse was inspired by a true account of a paranormal experience I listened to. The storyteller described house sitting for a man who owned a large Victoria mansion,. The man was an antiques dealer and the house was filled with antiques. During his stay, the storyteller heard creaking sounds in an upstairs bedroom. He investigated several times, but found nothing except for a locked trunk. He never saw what was inside the trunk, but the story gave me the chills when I heard it and ultimately inspired the trunk in Dead Stream Curse.

This is by no means a complete list of all the things that have inspired characters and story lines in my books; however, I hope it gives you a peek into some of the more intriguing things I’ve come across.

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