About three summers ago, I began writing a love novel – a totally different genre for me. I can’t remember now what possessed me to write such a story. I’ve always been interested in ghost towns and for some reason, Michael’s Bay, Manitoulin Island, Ontario struck my fancy and that’s where the story takes place.
Michael’s Bay was a lumber town in the late 1800’s. The town’s most prosperous times were during the mid 1880’s boasting a population of about 150 residents. Unfortunately by 1888, the lumber company was deep in debt and with its limited timber rites it folded. By 1900, the town’s population was meager and the last place of business to close was the post office in 1916. Today, the town is overgrown with vegetation but if one searches carefully a few foundations, cellars, and part of the King Street Bridge can be found.
I imaged what Michael’s Bay would be like today if it had survived as a small town. In detail, I drew a map of the town streets, shops, houses, a school, a church, and a cemetery. There’s an interesting story behind the placing of the cemetery on my map. The summer of 2013, while vacating on the Island, I noticed a new sign along the road to Michael’s Bay. The sign read “Michael’s Bay Pioneer Cemetery”. My husband and I parked along the road and took a walk through the cemetery. Forty-three graves had been found and marked. On our way back to the car, we met a man who is searching for the forgotten graves of pioneers. He told us about his research, the clearing of underbrush in the cemetery, and the identification of the graves. Then he showed us a map of Michael’s Bay. I was surprised to see that the actual cemetery was located on his map in the same location I had placed it on my fabricated map. I had no previous knowledge of the cemetery when I drew my map. I don’t know what this means; the placing of the cemetery on my map and meeting the man involved in uncovering the gravesite. But it certainly excited me and inspires me to continue writing the story.
Work, other commitments, and illness have prevented me from writing steadily on this project. In fact, it has been sitting untouched since last summer. I hope to have time this summer to concentrate on this novel and finished it by next summer.
The working title is “Bittersweet”. It’s a story of an older man’s love for his young wife, Fay. Henry, the husband, hides his heart condition from his wife and secretly makes plans for his wife’s future without him; financial freedom and a new husband. He doesn’t want Fay to suffer the way he had when his first wife died suddenly. He prepares his will and liquidates his assets. Henry meets Shannon, a young man Fay’s age, who is financially established and has just moved into town. He confides in Shannon. Fortunately, for Henry Shannon is attracted to Fay. Who wouldn’t be? She is a beautiful woman with a tender disposition and artistic talent. But Fay is loyal to Henry in life and in death making her union with Shannon…well, you’ll have to read the book.
Of course, there are many other characters in the story; their lives all intertwined in this small town.
Well, I’ve gotten myself excited just telling you a wee bit about the story. Oh, I can’t wait to get back to it.