Because my novelette, The Crazy Old Lady in the Attic, has become so popular (over 40,000 copies have been sold) it seemed like a good idea to write its sequel – even though I didn't think there was one. For nearly a year I tried to imagine how that story could be continued. The story was originally intended to be a short story to be entered in Level Best Books annual anthology of crime stories by New England writers. But, as I wrote, the story grew to 15,000 words – too long for Level Best – so, finally, I decided to publish it as an Amazon Short. It has done very well. With 121 reviews on Amazon, it has 47 5-star reviews which makes me really happy.
Then, as I was finishing The Whiskey Bottle in the Wall, I got an idea for continuing the story. Actually, it was a comment by a reviewer that sparked my imagination – she said she would have liked to have known what happened to the body discovered at the end of the story. I hadn't thought of that and, slowly, my imagination took over and the result is a 39k word story (almost a full-length novel, since novels begin at 40k) making it more than 2 1/2 times as long as the original.
This story is told from the point of view of a woman named Vivienne Lang, Mattie's best friend from childhood. As little girls they played in GrammyLou's fabulous townhouse and, like Mattie, Vivienne loved GrammyLou's jokes about “the crazy old lady in the attic.” She told her own grandmother that she wanted a crazy old lady for their attic.
But Viv's happy life was upset when her young, flighty, and irresponsible mother, dragged her off to California, and into a life that she hated. When she returns to Boston, she is a changed woman, lonely, insecure, vulnerable. She deals with her sense of powerlessness by studying martial arts and fighter training but, other than her elderly grandfather, she spends her time alone or picking up sailors in waterfront bars. When she sees the article in the newspaper about the body being exhumed from the garden of the townhouse in which she and Mattie once played, Viv looks up Trent Doyle, who helps her reconnect with Mattie.
Their reunion is exciting for both of them but is promptly marred by two mysterious deaths. First, the body of the realtor, who is handling the sale of GrammyLou's townhouse, is found at the bottom of the servant's staircase with a broken neck. Then the body of Nell, GrammyLou's old housekeeper, is discovered floating in Marblehead Harbor. As Viv and Mattie deal with these strange deaths, Viv meets a gorgeous, sexy ex-cop named Joe Quinn who takes an interest in her – more than she is used to. Strange events multiply. Two more deaths strike too close to home and Viv suspects someone is stalking Mattie – and she's not sure who she can trust.
So the story is with 3 beta-readers now and, as soon as they give me their opinions, I'll get the changes made and hope it is all set to go.
All of this has gotten me thinking about something else. The climax of The Crazy Old Lady's Revenge is pretty intense and I'm thinking there might even be more to this story...
What if GrammyLou's house has sheltered so much horror that it is now unlivable? What if Mattie cannot find a buyer for the house because every time someone wants to buy it, the house itself scares them away? What if, in desperation, Mattie seeks out a “ghost-hunter” to clear the house from The Return of the Crazy Old Lady? What if....?