Sometime during the middle of July (next month for all of you calendar fans!), Books of the Dead will release my new novel, The Bell Witch. Well, actually it’s an older novel, but more on that later.
So what, you might ask, is the Bell Witch? Well, that’s a tale…
The Bell Witch legend takes place in Tennessee in the early years of the 19th Century. It’s one of the more documented poltergeist cases, and it’s a quintessentially American story. The basic facts? A spirit of some kind came to the Bells–a rural farming family in Adams, Tennessee, just a little north of Nashville–for reasons that were at first unclear. She harassed everyone, saving most of her hatred for the family patriarch, John Bell, and his daughter, Betsy. The “Witch,” as she came to be known, never showed her form, only appearing as a disembodied voice that hectored, berated, sang and even offered prophecy. The haunting ends with the death of John Bell, supposedly at the hands of the Witch. This case was so well known even in its time that Andrew Jackson was rumored to have visited the Bells in order to witness it.
Anyway, the six of you who actually read this blog know that I was a big horror/paranormal/pseudo-science reader from waaaaay back in my childhood days. This is one of those stories that stuck with me for long, long time. One of the reasons for that is that it was really the first American ghost story I can recall reading about. Most ghost stories I read about back then occurred in castles or moors in Ye Olde Englande. Not so with the Bell Witch. Its setting, even removed by more than 100 years, made it resonate with me even more.
So, eventually I wrote about it, producing a novel some 15 years ago with a wonky title. I pretty much gave it to a small publishing house, where it went nowhere, and I moved on.
But the story never moved on from me. Eventually, I regained the rights to the work and decided to have another go at it. I’d like to think that I’m a better writer than I was 15 years ago. So, I rewrote the thing almost entirely, pared it down, streamlined it, gave it a new title, and viola, The Bell Witch was born. And the fine folks at Books of the Dead decided to publish it. And that’s where we are today.
I’ll share some additional details as they come in. I should be getting an advance copy of the cover soon, and I’m getting some pre-publication blurbs from a lot of people I greatly respect.
So, we’re getting close to publication. More details soon.