Hi, Readers. I’m delighted to welcome back friend and fellow author Mae Clair to my site today. She has just released a brand new book, the first of her new Hode’s Hill Series. I’ve had the pleasure of reading this one and I promise you won’t be disappointed. Please give a warm welcome to Mae as she talks about Cusp of Night.
Hello, and thank you so much for having me on your blog today. I’m delighted to be sharing my newest release, Cusp of Night. This book combines past and present timelines, a growing trend in the mystery/suspense genre. I’m not only a fan as a writer, but as a reader, too. I love the back-and-forth element of two mysteries that ultimately need to clash head-on at the end.
In Cusp of Night, I address an assault and disappearances in the present, with an urban legend and spiritualism in the past. Both stories and timelines have the same setting in common. Although the town of Hode’s Hill, Pennsylvania is purely fictional, I was able to draw upon familiar elements from my childhood, growing up in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
Nestled on the banks of Susquehanna River, Harrisburg is a town that enjoys an active Riverfront with everything from festivals and concerts to fireworks and parades. A few steps away you can find cultural exhibits, museums, athletics stadiums, eclectic dining, water sports and more. When I envisioned Hode’s Hill, I “borrowed” many of those elements. My town is built on smaller scale, surrounded by outlying rural areas, but I wasn’t above pirating a few of the basics I’d grown up with.
My river became the Chinkwe—a word that means “bobcat” in the language of Native American tribes from the Delaware. My Riverfront isn’t quite as active, but it benefits from similar walking/biking trails and the occasional festival—most notably the Fiend Fest—an event held every June to commemorate a creature of urban legend.
You can’t live in a river town without bridges and I added several to Hode’s Hill, including the remains of the Old Orchard Truss Bridge, an old walking bridge built in the 1800s.
Harrisburg had a similar truss bridge, constructed in 1889. Once open to traffic, the Walnut Street Bridge was converted to a walking bridge after Hurricane Agnes did massive damage in ‘72. In 1996 Harrisburg experienced a substantial blizzard, followed immediately by rising temperatures and an unexpected thaw. Already weakened, the bridge decking was ripped away in the river and swept downriver. The spans folded against the Market Street Bridge, crushed like matchsticks. The entire video, shot by an amateur photographer, can be seen here.
My brother was living in Florida at the time and recalls walking down a street to find a group of people clustered in front of store window with a TV. When he stopped to see what they were watching, he discovered the tragedy of the Walnut Street Bridge.
If you click the video link, the most dramatic images come at the end when all that metal folds under the unyielding force of the Market Street Bridge. Below is a photo of the Walnut Street Bridge, taken after the destruction.
A coalition was eventually formed to preserve the bridge, with the eastern span repaired and opened to pedestrians.
Although the destruction of the Walnut Street Bridge happed decades in the past, I drew on that event to create a history for the Old Orchard Truss Bridge in Hode’s Hill. It’s just one of several bridges in my fictional town, a tip of the hat to an area I remember well—swimming in the river as a child, sitting on the riverbank to watch fireworks, boating under bridge spans, and walking Riverfront paths during festivals.
In Hode’s Hill, my lead character, Maya Sinclair discovers that not all festivals are frivolous fun. Here’s a look at the blurb:
Recently settled in Hode’s Hill, Pennsylvania, Maya Sinclair is enthralled by the town’s folklore, especially the legend about a centuries-old monster. A devil-like creature with uncanny abilities responsible for several horrific murders, the Fiend has evolved into the stuff of urban myth. But the past lives again when Maya witnesses an assault during the annual “Fiend Fest.” The victim is developer Leland Hode, patriarch of the town’s most powerful family, and he was attacked by someone dressed like the Fiend.
Compelled to discover who is behind the attack and why, Maya uncovers a shortlist of enemies of the Hode clan. The mystery deepens when she finds the journal of a late nineteenth-century spiritualist who once lived in Maya’s house–a woman whose ghost may still linger.
Known as the Blue Lady of Hode’s Hill due to a genetic condition, Lucinda Glass vanished without a trace and was believed to be one of the Fiend’s tragic victims. The disappearance of a young couple, combined with more sightings of the monster, trigger Maya to join forces with Leland’s son Collin. But the closer she gets to unearthing the truth, the closer she comes to a hidden world of twisted secrets, insanity, and evil that refuses to die . . .
You can find Mae Clair at the following haunts: