by Hannah MacLeod
First time published author, Hannah Grieve, has based a large amount of her novel on Kincardine, a town she remembers fondly from childhood family reunions and now, visits with her parents who have moved to the area.
“My family has deep ties to Kincardine, for generations we were the lighthouse keepers,” she explained. “My ancestor Thomas (Big Tom) McGaw even helped save passengers of the Anne Maria when it capsized and another one of my ancestors was born on the lighthouse kitchen table!”
“Some of my family has remained in the area but my grandparents moved away after they got married and I was raised in Burlington,” said Grieve. “We would return for annual summer family reunions and I’ve always felt like Kincardine is my home so I was thrilled when my parents moved back a few years ago.”
As for the book, Grieve says that it was originally set in Muskoka, but the more she wrote the more Kincardine started to come to mind.
“When I started writing this novel it was set in Muskoka, specifically at a marina my family would pass through when I was a child,” she began. “But the more I wrote, the more Kincardine started seeping onto the page. Even though the fictitious town is named Markie the vast majority of the story is based on Kincardine, from Victoria park and the Monday market, to the harbour, and of course the iconic lighthouse.
Next to Kincardine and pieces of Muskoka, Grieve was inspired to start this novel by the classis mystery novels she read as a child.
“I was a huge Nancy Drew fan, many of my copies of Nancy Drew Mystery novels came from Condor Fine Books on Queen street,” she recalled. “I wrote the first chapter of this story, I don’t remember when exactly, and then just set it aside for a while. When I finished my undergraduate degree I dug it out and decided to use it to apply to a creative writing post graduate program and I got in, so I wrote the majority of it in that program with my mentor.”
The plot of the novel follows Alana Collins, an 18-year-old girl who has returned to her small lakeside hometown after her first year of College. She expects a typical summer working at her family’s marina and hanging out with her best friends Jamie and Ben but when she begins to see mysterious girls around town with creepy matching tattoos things start to get strange. Soon after she meets Eric, the mysterious and admittedly handsome newcomer in town who just complicates things further. As she digs deeper into the mystery she makes discoveries about her seemingly quiet hometown and the people around her. She learns about the Sunshine Girls, seven local girls who all went missing one night in the nineties. Even though she’s lived in Markie her whole life no one has mentioned them before but when she discovers a connection between those girls and the ones she’s seeing around town she knows she has to find the truth no matter what.
Grieve is currently working on a sequel to her novel and hopes there could be more after that.
“The Secret of Markie Beach” is currently available on Amazon, Indigo and Barnes & Noble but she is hoping to get copies at local stores as well, as well as throwing a few copies in the free libraries around town.
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