A SCANCy series takes on Covid: Ghost Fever by Cherie Claire
The last thing I wanted to rehash in my mystery writing was the virus that stole two years of my life. Of course, I’m exaggerating. I’m still here and am grateful my immediate family and friends are healthy and well. But write about Covid? Wasn’t high on my list.
And yet, I had visited an outfitter in a rural area of the Florida Panhandle, just outside Pensacola, and it birthed an idea. Here was a place to zip line, kayak and relax in cabins on a piney woods property with an old schoolhouse from the 1920s and a creepy cemetery — yes, a cemetery! And it got better. Inside my cabin was a book about a rash of UFO sighting in the area in the 1970s. Nearby is a state park named for Ponce de Leon, the Spanish explorer who searched for the Fountain of Youth.
My imagination took off.
The seventh book in my Viola Valentine paranormal mystery series combines all those elements, but adds time travel as well. What other pandemic had Americans been subjected to — the Spanish Influenza of 1918! That’s in the story as well.
Ghost Fever may take place in 2021 amid the Covid scare but there’s a lot of adventure to enjoy.
The series features my main character, Viola Valentine of New Orleans. After a hurricane upends her life, Viola separates from a loveless marriage and becomes a travel writer, her dream profession. But the storm also blew open a psychic door. Now she sees ghosts who have died by water and mysteries to solve everywhere she goes.
She’s what I call a SCANC. But it’s not what you think. SCANC stands for Specific Communication with Apparitions, Non-Entities and the Comatose. And Viola has seen all three!
The key word here is “specific.” Viola repressed her psychic abilities when she was young, tired of being chastised as having a vivid imagination when ghosts would appear. Children of the Paranormal TV show had yet to air so poor Vi had no support system, either. When my mystery series opens, Viola realizes that the trauma of the hurricane opened that door back up, but this time, the ghosts Vi sees are strictly related to water.
Along the way, that husband she tried to distance herself from won’t let her go. When I first started writing the series, I envisioned him a goofy distraction at best. He ended up stealing my heart and has become a colorful fun character throughout the series. He has some supernatural talents as well.
Do they get back together? You’ll have to read to find out.
Ghost Fever is the latest book in the Viola Valentine series, but the fun begins with A Ghost of a Chance, when Viola first discovers her ghostly talent. That ebook is free to download at all online bookstores. I also routinely give away copies of other books in the series through my newsletter. You can sign up and enter the contests at chereclaire.net.
Hopefully, Viola won’t have to experience another hurricane or pandemic, although being a New Orleans native she’s bound to see another storm or two. Vi has visited numerous Deep South locations and I’ll be sending my travel writing character to Southern destinations in future books, although an Alaska cruise is floating through my mind these days. Pun intended.
Regardless, there will be more Viola Valentine ghost stories to come.
The ghosts of the past never stop haunting.
Viola takes a job at her old summer camp in the Florida Panhandle, hoping for a peaceful place to work after months in Covid lockdown. But old traumas from her time at Camp Secret Spring resurface and Viola’s dream of a quiet getaway quickly turns into a nightmare.
Her best friend disappeared that summer, never to be found. Was it the camp’s mysterious water that Ponce de León searched for? Or can her friend’s vanishing be chalked up to the UFO sightings over the years? And just who were the Utopians who lived there before, many of whom died in the pandemic of 1918?
Book Seven in Cherie Claire’s Viola Valentine mystery series.
Cherie Claire is the award-winning author of a mystery series and several Louisiana romances. New this year is Ghost Fever, part of a paranormal mystery series featuring New Orleans travel writer and ghost sleuth Viola Valentine. A native of New Orleans, Cherie now lives in Georgia where she works as a travel writer, but returns to her home state of Louisiana often. Visit her website at www.cherieclaire.net and follow her on social media.
Twitter: @Claire_Cherie, https://twitter.com/claire_cherie