25 Sep 2012

Author Interview: J E Hall

J.E. Hall is the author of the romance mystery novel, Angie of the Garden.
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About the Book:
Angie of the Garden is a story about a psychiatrist named Hollis Simms. He is an affable individual who is dedicated to his patients, and his family. Hollis is married to a provocative and wealthy woman named Olivia: their irrepressible teenage daughter is named Annabelle. She used her considerable resources to purchase the estate called Fairhaven for them to live in.
As a boy Hollis found a diary written by a woman named Angie Barton buried in a garden. The journal told of the hardships and deprivations suffered by the woman from Boston as she traveled on the Oregon Trail. She became his first love. One evening as Doctor Simms walked past a garden on the estate he encountered the spirit of Angie Barton. Hollis learns that she worked at Fairhaven as a house servant after returning from the west. He cannot fathom how this adventurous woman could have come to such a station in life. Hollis decides that Angie must have experienced some kind of trauma. During her subsequent appearances he entices her into recounting the long trek westward in order to discover the cause of her malaise.
Hollis’ obsession with the woman from the past also begins to strain his relationships with those closest to him. Hollis is determined to find the reason for Angie’s moribund spirit. In the end he does, and Angie finds peace. Then a chance encounter reveals something else about the woman in the garden.

If you could work with any other author, who would it be and why? 

John Irving. I’ve always enjoyed the characters he creates.

What would be a typical working day for you? When and where do you write? 

I usually spend an hour or two working in the evening. I work in my apartment.

What is the hardest part of the writing for you?
When I start to get on a roll and I find myself having to constantly stop to correct spelling and grammar. I shouldn’t complain considering how much of that is done automatically by word. But I will anyway.

When and why did you first start writing? 

About ten years ago. I had always intended to write, but in my twenties and thirties I was burning the candle at both ends as they say, and never found the time. Now I’m able to get into a routine, which is essential to finishing a novel.

How did you come up with the idea for the book ‘Angie of the Garden.’?

I wanted to write a story that involved a ghost. I took a trip one day to the Planting Fields Arboretum in Old Westbury. It’s a beautiful place with a wide variety of trees and plants. There’s a mansion on the grounds form the Gold Coast Era. I imagined a family living there today, and the father being a psychiatrist who encounters a troubled spirit. I tried to think of something that would make the ghost interesting. One day soon after I was searching for something on the internet (I don’t remember what it was) and came across an article about the Oregon Trail. I’ve always been interested in history, and I thought that having the ghost be a pioneer from the 1800s would make for an interesting story.

Are you a big reader? If so, what are you reading now?
I used to be, but since I started writing I’ve used my free time to create my own stories. My favorite book (s) of all time is the Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolken.

Do you have any advice for other aspiring writers?

My approach is to write the stories that occur to me, instead of taking in account what’s popular at the moment and trying to fashion something that will sell. It really depends on what your objectives are. If I write a good story that rings true to me I feel the time and effort was justified.
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