Friday, 16 September 2011

Guest post By Scott Nicholson - Creative Spirit and Art

Creative Spirit and Art
By Scott Nicholson
My modern Gothic ghost story Creative Spirit was inspired by an actual haunted manor, set high in the foggy Appalachian Mountains. The Cone Manor was built just before the 1900’s by industrialist Moses Cone, who very loosely serves as the chilling antagonist Ephram Korban in the novel. Cone bought up thousands of acres of prime ridge lands and built a magnificent estate, though he didn’t spend a great deal of time there due to poor health and the demands of running an industrial empire manufacturing denim jeans.

Art and music center around many of the ghost stories that swirl around the manor house, and perhaps it’s fitting that the main floor of the house is now a mountain craft shop. (The house was used for some opening scenes in the Stephen King movie “The Green Mile.”) There were portraits of Mr. and Mrs. Cone that occasionally slid from the walls and would be found the next morning leaning against one another. Piano music can often be heard softly playing even when the building is empty. 

People who spend the night in the manor, snowed in during bad weather, report hearing furniture moving around upstairs though the building is empty, and doors often open and close by themselves. I toured the entire house once, which is where I got the idea for the cramped basement, and the creepy upstairs rooms that have “boxcar siding” for walls but are oddly shaped.

The element that served as a prominent scene for the book is the widow’s walk, a porch-like area on top of the house that was a fixture of seaside houses, where the “sea widows” would scan the ocean looking for the return of a loved one. The actual manor view is of valleys and ridges, and I borrowed those for the novel, along with the numerous chimneys in the manor, which seem to suggest Cone was rather cold-natured. Or maybe he had an affinity for fire, another element of the book.

Even after he died, he didn’t find peace, as his body was reportedly dug up because of rumors that he’d been buried wearing jewelry. The grave robbers, upon finding nothing, allegedly left his corpse propped up against the granite monument to his memory. Another legend says the marked grave is not his actual burial site at all.

I couldn’t say for sure whether the actual manor is haunted or not, but it sure gets creepy in Creative Spirit! I hope you journey inside the story and find out for yourself…if you dare.
Scott Nicholson is giving away 15 percent of his ebook revenues in September to people who spread the word about his books! Giveaways are at Scott Nicholson is author of The Skull Ring, Speed Dating with the Dead, The Red Church, Drummer Boy, and nine other novels, seven story collections, and six screenplays.

You may also want to take a look at my recent review of Creative Spirit and Scott's video showing a little of the manor (The Manor was the original paperback title of the book, changed for e-book release) 

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