UM, WHAT’S PARANORMAL ABOUT APPLE ORCHARDS?
My new paranormal romance, “The Devil in Midwinter,” is set in a fly splat of a town called Mattawa, just off Highway 243, in between the mighty Columbia River and the Saddle Mountain National Wildlife refuge in Central Washington.
There’ are reasons you’ve never heard of Mattawa. First of all, who goes to Central Washington? People who visit Washington State go to Seattle, where there are Seahawks, ferries and a Space Needle. Plus, there’s not much to Mattawa, anyway. Blink and you’ll miss it. You can count the traffic lights on one hand. Not a single bar livens up the city limits. The place is encroached by apple orchards, rattlesnakes and coyotes. Who needs it?
But Central Washington is a hotbed of paranormal activity, oddly enough. It’s also fantastically beautiful, which makes it a lovely setting for a romance.
First, the paranormal report:
The earliest Native American settlers of Central Washington have an oral history which includes legends of tiny people and beings made of light. These stories have been around for hundreds of years.
Yakima Washington, just a few miles from Mattawa, is one of the top UFO hotspots in the country. It has one of the highest UFO reporting rates per capita. And a lot of what gets reported are … mysterious balls of light.
Long standing stories of resident ghosts and hauntings are reported all over Central Washington from Ellensburg to Granger. My favorite is the haunted park where the ghosts of children supposedly run around screaming, sometimes for as long as half an hour.
Central Washington has an actual paranormal investigation outfit. If you have any unexplained activity in one of the area’s small towns, you have someone to call. Never mind that only one tenth of the state population actually lives in that region. There’s evidently enough weird stuff going on to warrant a professional ghost hunting team.
Now for the romance:
Seriously, you should visit an apple orchard. It’s not only spectacularly beautiful, with the perfect rows of fragrant trees, but it’s also very nice place to kiss and be kissed.
The Columbia River, a fabulous ribbon of silver, surrounded by red cliffs, is swimmable, fishable, boatable, skinny dippable and gorgeous. The highway that leads to Mattawa from Seattle twists and winds right by this extraordinary natural resource.
Lights are few and far between in the rural areas of Eastern and Central Washington. If you like to get naked under a meteor shower, here’s a place to do it.
Washington State is second only to California in US wine production. If a bottle of local wine and a picnic by the river rank high in your romantic fantasies, guess what? There are infinite bottles of wine you can try until you get the moment right.
Scads of cowboys. Real ones. Central Washington hosts a top notch rodeo every year and grows world famous hay and horses. If tight Wranglers are your thing, there’s a lot of ‘em.
Needless to say, “The Devil in Midwinter” is only the first of my paranormal romances set in Central Washington. While you’re waiting for the next installment of sexy, small town weirdness, stop by Mattawa yourself, get some good Mexican food at La Popular, tour an apple orchard (you will not be sorry, I promise) and raise a glass of local wine to the river views.
Synopsis of The Devil in Midwinter:
A handsome stranger, a terrifying monster, a boy who burns and burns... Mattawa, Washington, is usually a sleepy orchard town come December, until a murder, sightings of a fantastic beast, and the arrival of a handsome new vintner in town kindle twenty-year- old reporter Esme Ulloa’s curiosity—and maybe her passion as well. But the more she untangles the mystery, the more the world Esme knows unspools, until she finds herself navigating a place she thought existed only in storybooks, where dreams come alive, monsters walk the earth and magic is real. When tragedy strikes close to home, Esme finds she must strike back, matching wits with an ancient demon in a deadly game, where everything she values stands to be lost, including the love of her life.
Elise Forier Edie is an author and playwright based in southern California. Recent works include the play “The Pink Unicorn,” which performed at the United Solo Theatre Festival in New York, a short story, “Leonora,” published in Penumbra magazine and several plays, included in the anthology “Original Middle School Scenes and Monologues,” edited by Kent R. Brown. She is a member of the Authors Guild, the Romance Writers of America (RWA) and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). She is married to actor Keith Edie. When she is not writing, she likes to make quilts and soup, but rarely at the same time. Visit Elise Forier Edie on these sites to follow her or list her as one of your favorite authors: Amazon, Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter @EliseForierEdie, and www.eliseforieredie.com.