As a result of living very close to water, I think I’ve always been drawn to a coastal setting. As luck would have it, I’ve spent most of my adult life in the Midwest – Indiana, Kansas, and now Wisconsin. Currently, my family and I live within a few blocks of Lake Michigan in a north shore suburb of Milwaukee, which gives us a “feel” of home. I should mention that my wife grew up in Virginia, so she is oriented towards the beach life as well. Her family spent many summer vacations at Virginia Beach, Virginia and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
As a family, we have decided to spend our vacations on the East Coast, enjoying the shoreline geography of the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and every now and again, the beaches of South Carolina. Based on my experiences, I knew that my first attempt at a novel would take place on the coast, and I quickly settled on South Carolina for Birth Offering.
We've been to many of the beaches around Charleston (Edisto Island, Isle of Palms), visited Charleston multiple times, and toured smaller cities up and down the coast (Beaufort, Georgetown). The setting is truly unique, at least to my visiting eyes. The landscape is breath taking (I never tire of the low country), and I have come to find that it is the perfect setting for a horror novel. The region is steep in history, ghost tours in various communities are abundant, and let’s face it, Spanish moss instills a very haunting presence.
Birth Offering had its inception on Edisto Island. During a visit in 1995, we found ourselves on a quiet road (I honestly don’t remember if it was paved or not). The road was lined with live oaks which were festooned with Spanish moss. The picture above could be the same location. I remember the vegetation as being very thick so that you couldn't see very far off the side of the roads. For all I knew, there were homes back in there somewhere (my mind’s eye recalls a mailbox or two), but it could have been deserted. And, here was the exciting part, an ideal location to be stalked by something evil. I remember thinking that this was the coolest location. I might have even said something to my wife about the perfect setting for a novel if I was to ever write one. Imagine being chased by something here?
And there it was. The first idea that stuck with me as a potential passage for a novel. Fifteen or so years later, this was written into Birth Offering. You should have no trouble finding it within the story…