Edie Ramer

Today I’ve invited Edie Ramer to be my guest on Stringing Beads. edieEdie writes women’s fiction about quirky, strong minded people. This year, she’s a finalist in Romantic Times American Title V contest. I’ve enjoyed Edie’s creative style and unique voice since I first read her work a few years ago. I’m sure you will, too.

Thanks so much to Debra for having me as her guest! I love her Lagniappe, where she reveals that one of her passions is looking at houses. She says, “Sometimes while driving in a strange town, I gaze on homes we pass. Nearly always one house will reach out to me until I can almost see those who live inside, can nearly feel the emotions of their lives.”

I feel the same way! She mentions the Pabst Mansion in Milwaukee, and I’ve taken the tour three times. (See the picture.) But though I love looking at the rooms, my favorite part is hearing stories about the people who lived there.

I’ve toured other old homes, too, and I get a sense of ghosts and wisps of memories, just out of my reach. At night when I drive past homes with the shades open and the lights on, I stare, drinking it all in. I’m not looking for a glimpse of furniture. If that’s all it was, I’d go to a furniture store. No, I’m fascinated by the glimpse of lives of other people.

In DEAD PEOPLE, my American Title V book, the haunted house is a character with its two turrets and a secret room. It was part of the Underground Railroad, a history that affects the outcome of the story and was fascinating to research. And I had fun giving the house old ghosts and new inhabitants.

There are five rounds of the ATV contest. The first round was, appropriately, first lines. My hero is a songwriter, and every other chapter starts with one or more verses from his songs. But after the verse in the first chapter, I introduce the house as a character. So here’s the first paragraph that I didn’t use in the contest:

Cassie Taylor cruised down the snaking tree-lined driveway, her foot on the brake, as if her body knew something she didn’t. Ahead of her, a twilight shroud draped over the twin turrets of a pre-Victorian house. A greenish light shimmering in its tall windows reminded her of swamp gas, an effect she’d never seen before in central Wisconsin. Behind the house, the stagnant lake appeared murky, secrets hidden in its depths.

I wrote this paragraph to give the book a Gothic feel. But right after this, I turn it on its head and Cassie has a snarky dialogue with her traveling companion. Who happens to be a ghost. First the glimpse of the house, then the glimpse of the people.

Have you used a house or a building as a character in a book? Or perhaps a place, like NYC in Sex and the City or small towns in so many Southern books?

Edie Ramer

Thank you for your wonderful post, Edie. I’ll keep my fingers & toes crossed for your win! Readers, please go to American Title V and vote! ~ Deb

23 thoughts on “Edie Ramer

  1. Edie, really enjoyed your post! And I love the paragraph you shared, great writing! I do use small towns as characters, and in my WIP a Plantation home has become a beloved character. Love when that happens!

  2. I’ve used a street in London that I loved the sound of in my current WIP, Edie. It doesn’t exist anymore, it was destroyed to make way for a bigger road, but from what I could gather it was packed with character. Most of the other places in my books are made up.

  3. Houses are of great significance to me too. I love to look at houses and make my husband drive slowly through new places so that I can admire the architecture and gardens. At night I also enjoy peeking through the lit windows, as we pass by in the car, but don’t tell anybody that.

    I know that in dreams houses can represent the soul. In my book (work in progress) my character lives in different houses that are changing and evolving just like her.

  4. I love this, Edie. And I definitely feel the same way about architecture. In my WIP, London’s Old St. Paul’s Cathedral is first a benevolent presence, then a brooding one, then an accusing one, as the heroine’s life comes apart. And then the cathedral catches fire….

  5. I love old houses. The office I work in is a converted house that was built in 1872. When they renovated, my employers tried to keep it as close to period as they could. I love working here. There’s such character and I try to imagine what it was like living here all those years ago.

    Terrific blog, Edie. Good luck with the ATV.

  6. Edie,

    Wonderful post. I love your excerpt and, as you know, I’ve already voted. I can’t wait till this book is published! I know it will be. 🙂

    I’ve been through the Pabst Mansion also and had special tours twice and got to see rooms and hear bits of history not on the usual tour. It truly is such a grand house and I swear I heard the rustle of petticoats more than once.

    Thanks, Deb, for having such a lovely guest.

  7. Great post, Edie! I agree, the appearance of a house and its furnishings can tell you a great deal about its occupants. My ATV entry Once Upon a Masquerade is set in New York City in 1883. In the novel, I describe Delmonicos and Central Park, both of which still exist in New York today. When I finally traveled to New York City, it was really interesting to compare my research to what exists now.

  8. Love the paragraph Edie! It immediately immersed me in the setting. One of my favorite books/movies is Rebecca. The house is as strong of a character as the actual characters. I also like to use a house, or surroundings, to demonstrate a character’s growth throughout a book.

    In my latest book the first page has my protagonist arriving at her sister’s apartment building in Paris and she is horrified at the dump her sister lives in and doesn’t want to stay for even one night. At the end of the book the tiny, quaint apartment has grown on her–as she has grown–and she takes over the lease when her sister moves out.

    Good luck in the American Title contest Edie!

    Beth

  9. I know that in dreams houses can represent the soul. In my book (work in progress) my character lives in different houses that are changing and evolving just like her.

    Lori, that’s a great way to mark your character’s journey. And I didn’t know that houses could represent the soul in dreams. That gives another dimension to my book. Thanks!

  10. Jessica, I wanted to read your book before this. Now I want to read it more. I love the stages of the cathedral reflecting the stages of your story. It gives me chills.

  11. Mary Jo, special tours! I’m so jealous! LOL

    The regular tour is great, so I can’t imagine. You’ll have to tell me about it at a meeting soon.

    Thanks for your vote!

  12. maybe I should get off this computer and go clean the bathroom.

    Flandrumhill, so funny! My office reflects my personality than any other room in the house — and it’s a mess. I hate to think what that says about me.

  13. Great scene you shared, Edie. Creepy.

    I’ve not made a house a character, but have changed how a building looks to match the character’s mood, which turned out pretty good, although it might look pretty bad when I re-write. You know how it goes….

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