About a month ago, our resident hound and I celebrated a new anthology release from Dingbat Publishing called Gateways to the Paranormal. We were among the fourteen contributing to this anthology of sweet paranormal stories. Also among this group is long-time virtual friend Kay Springsteen, whose story “Arachne’s Tapestry” piqued my interest. Check out the blurb for the story and you’ll see why:
Author John Mason cannot seem to start his sixth book. That is, until he meets an inspiring new friend with eight legs and a love of weaving webs. Suddenly he’s got all kinds of ideas. Trouble is, what he writes is starting to come true.
Sound intriguing? I had to find out how Kay came up with the idea of a man befriending a spider, so I asked her to explain it to us, and she kindly agreed. Here she is!
I have enjoyed making up stories and writing them down since I was a small child. My story generator is part of me in a way that not only brings me story ideas but implants them into my mind as though I lived them, like memories. I can tell the difference between my true memories and the story memories, but the details are sharp and clear. It’s… a process, my writing.
I have had a few successes in the writing world, with stories such as contemporary romance, military romance, contemporary Western romance, romantic suspense, Regency romance. “Arachne’s Tapestry” is not my first foray into the paranormal. I wrote a paranormal short story with my sometime co-author Kim Bowman (Inner Flame). But the inspiration for Arachne’s Tapestry is rooted in something much further back in my career. In fact, to a time before my first book was published, around 2001. I was living in Annapolis, Maryland, and writing a romantic suspense story that was becoming cumbersome. Now, my routine was and still is to write with music. I sometimes will just sit and listen and kind of go into a dreamspace to study the story and plot more deeply. While writing the romantic suspense, which I set in Annapolis, I plotted and wrote of a massive fire that destroyed a favorite part of the city. At that point, life basically caught up with me for a few weeks, so I got out of the writing zone.
Then the unimaginable happened. Downtown Annapolis caught fire. The circumstances were far different from those in my story, and only three businesses were gutted. But the fire changed the city landscape. My children and I joked about my writing a fire into existence. Thereafter, whenever a fire came into the news, one of my kids would say, “Mom, are you writing about fires again?” And we would all have a good chuckle.
Fast forward to my first published book, Heartsight. I wrote about a hurricane, and shortly after it was published, a hurricane struck on the North Carolina coast, the same area I had written about. So, more joking commenced about Mom writing things that came true. I want to interject a note here that hurricanes happen, and regularly, especially in North Carolina. So do fires. The things I write into my stories are realistic and have happened before and will happen again. By no stretch of the imagination am I claiming that my writing predicts the future. Believe me, I tried writing one of my kids picking a winning lotto ticket once. Nada! However, the family joke lives on.
A few years after Heartsight, while working in my garden in a small town in Virginia, I came across a very intriguing spiderweb. It was round with a zigzagged line through the center from top to bottom. It didn’t take me long to find the web’s occupant. A yellow and black lady spider, Argiope aurantia. This is often called the yellow-and-black garden spider, the zipper spider, and the most intriguing name she is known by: the writing spider. I enjoyed watching this lady in my garden well into autumn when frost finally hit. The following summer, more of these ladies showed up. I began talking to them; it was pleasant just to have company as I pulled weeds and deadheaded flowers. And in the evenings… I wrote. So, I started saying out loud that Argiope aurantia was my muse.
At some point over the past handful of years, I married my family joke of being a predictive writer to my self-declared muse, Argiope aurantia. And while I ruminated on the connection, the story of an author and his relationship with a “writing spider” was born.
Note from PK: to further illustrate Kay’s reputation for predicting disasters, one of her daughters recently sent her this text:
Gateways to the Paranormal can be purchased at Amazon.