Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Rhys Might Ramble...

RHYS BOWEN: Dear friends I'm writing this post with one eye on the TV set on election day. Frankly it's hard to concentrate, so if I am writing nonsense please forgive me. I don't know about you but I haven't managed to breathe properly for ages.I can't wait for it to be over (with the right outcome. I'd better not say which that is or I'll get hate mail).

As for what I'm writing, I have just finished the first draft of next year's Molly book. It's a Christmas book that will come out next November. The title is THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST. It's one of the few books I've written that I have pitched on a premise. The problem with that is that you have to deliver. I had this intriguing idea: what if a small child walked out of a house into the snow years ago and simply disappears. No other footprints but hers. Never seen again. Her body never found.

It was intriguing all right and I looked forward to writing it. However, when I started to write it I realized what a challenge I had given myself. What did happen to the child that was plausible? So my story brings Molly and Daniel to a mansion on the Hudson for Christmas. There is a definite atmosphere of tension in that house. Somebody there knows what happened to that child--or thinks that they know, and for good reason cannot tell.

Molly has her own agenda. She's battling her own demons (and I can't tell you about that part) so it becomes doubly important to her to find out what happened to that child. Well, I've finished it and I'm really pleased with the way the story turned out. But I was holding my breath about that as well... not sure I could bring off the story until I finally did.

Here's a small snippet when Molly learns a hint of the family's story at a party (which, incidentally is given by Carrie Chapman Catt, leader of the suffrage movement!!!).

“So are you staying near here?” I was asked.
            “She’s staying at Greenbriars,” Sid said. “You know, that estate we can see from our windows?”
            Two of the women had moved over to make room for me on the sofa. I sat and was handed a cup of hot wine punch. The warmth of the punch, the warmth of the fire, and the warmth of the reception sent a glow through me. I felt the tensions in my body ease away.
            “Greenbriars?”  The tall, rather severe-looking one called Josephine said, frowning as she stared out past us across the room as if she was thinking. “Isn’t that the Van Aiken place?”
            “That’s right,” I said.
            “And she’s finding it rather gloomy and tense from what one gathers,” Sid said.
            “Just today because the hostess has not been too well,” I said hastily. I glanced around uneasily to see if Miss Lind was within hearing distance. I didn’t want her to think that I had been running down her family’s hospitality.
            “Well, no wonder it’s gloomy and tense,” Josephine went on.
            “Why do you say that?” Gus asked.
            “Well, that was where it happened, wasn’t it?” Josephine said. “Greenbriars. Don’t you remember? Everyone was talking about it. And it was at Christmas too.”
            “Oh yes,” the chubby one—Annie, I believe—agreed. “Of course. The Van Aiken child. I’d forgotten all about it.”
            “A child?” I asked. “The Van Aikens had a child?”
            Josephine nodded and I noticed that the group of women had drawn closer together, as one does when sharing a secret. “A little girl.” Josephine had lowered her voice. “She wandered out into the snow right before Christmas and was never seen again.”

Now I'm getting back to the TV set and may do some pacing and nail biting in the next few hours. 


  1. Oh, an intriguing piece, and a secret, too. Now I’m wondering what could have happened to the little girl! I’m really looking forward to reading this story . . . .

  2. Rhys, the Molly book has me hooked already. I am grieving right now, at 1:06 a.m. CST, with the results of the election being so far away from what I had hope they would be. Barring a miracle, I will be grieving for some time.

  3. I went immediately to Amazon to order THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST, but it's too early. This morning I awakened at three a.m. to a new world order. If I could walk out into the snow and disappear right now, I would.

    Last night I started THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD by Colson Whitehead. A frightening perspective of the evil that men do.

    Kathy, most all of us are grieving with you. I think I will isolate myself today, and try to make an escape plan. First on that list is to check the market and buy. I hear we're having a sale.

    Rhys, what I need is a cozy. I plan to read all your books in order, starting today, even the ones I've already read.

    Thank you for writing them. The inside of a book is my only safe place.

  4. Very intriguing, Rhys. As Ann said, "The inside of a book is my only safe place." True words. Today presents the start of a depressing and deeply terrifying time, and for me it's going to feel like that for the next four years. I'm glad I have writing and reading to escape into.

  5. I am getting ready to go to the airport to fly to Wisconsin, and it feels like the whole world is so different.

  6. THIS is nice to wake up to... Otherwise I think I'd just turn over and go back to sleep for 4 years.

  7. This is the right time to read a cozy--they are made for times of fear and sorrow. I recommend Rhys's Georgie books

    But also after a time of grieving, we'll need to get to work. Figure out what's really important to us and how to make it happen...

  8. I thought, Lucy, that one ray of hope would be the Congress, but no. A republican majority. I look at that photo of Julia and Smithie after voting yesterday and I can't feel any of that bright happiness this morning. My nephews are sweet and good-hearted, but so young and naive--they can't really grasp what just happened last night.

    I'm not even sure I can read to escape what I'm feeling this morning. But, Rhys, thank you for that snippet--I love those 'what-if' moments that pop into our minds--in the mind of a writer they can become fantastic tales, a universe of wonder and make-believe! Bless you all here--writers and readers!

  9. Rhys, this is a wonderful snippet. So intriguing.

    For all those who fear, I give you these words from Thomas Paine: "THESE are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value."

  10. Please forgive me if I can't make witty and insightful comments this morning. I can't think clearly... Except that Sheila Connelly has it right with a cottage in Ireland. Sounds perfect right now. Or Australia.

  11. Rhys, I apologize for not giving your post the attention it deserves right now. I think you understand my inability to do so.

    Thinking this morning about my now-bereft grandson, who has followed politics with his mom and dad for as long as he can remember, and comparing his crestfallen enthusiasm with my own joy and pride at our then-newly elected President at his same age, John F. Kennedy. What a vivid contrast.

  12. I grew up in the Hudson Valley and love all those old mansions on the river, many of which are now schools (the Culinary Institute, for example) or serve other uses. My mother still lives there, actually right next to the river -- so close that she has been flooded twice. The mansions sit high on hills, but my mother is on a little spit of flat land near the Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge. I look forward to giving her this book.


  13. Quite honestly, the only thing that's likely to keep me sane for the next 4 years (hopefully it's only 4) is reading good books and getting out into nature on a regular basis. So, thanks for keeping on with the writing, Rhys. And thanks to all the Reds for what you do.

  14. Strangely, the internet has been a comfort this depressing morning - wise words from Louise Penny, Sujata Massey, JKRowling, even Madonna... have helped, not to mention friends around the world. And now the smart, compassionate women of Jungle Red Writers. Thanks everyone.

  15. No Fair, Rhys! I want that book. I'm going to dream about that story. And I can't preorder.

    Definitely on my tbr list and my tbo list. Amazon should have a place for that. Coming soon will be here sooner than you think, don't miss out, reserve now.

  16. Everything will be OK, right? It will.
    Getting ready to take off from Detroit to Madison… Will anyone be at Mystery to Me Bookstore there tonight? Love to see you

  17. I went to sleep last night heart heavy. My belief system encourages us to acknowledge suffering, but not to embrace despair. By acknowledging suffering we also acknowledge there is a path for healing. Then I read Rhys post. New adventures with Molly beckon. My Jungle Reds are still creating and publishing. The sisterhood continues. I do not know the future, I do know that today I will be gentle with me spending most of the day curled up with a good book.

  18. Rhys,

    Look forward to reading your new book. Thank you for sharing.

    Keep calm and carry on,