Christy Award and Carol Awards–winning author Jaime Jo Wright has captured audiences with her numerous thrilling and mysterious novels, including The Souls of Lost Lake, On the Cliffs of Foxglove Manor, and The Haunting at Bonaventure Circus. Featuring rich characterization and intricate plots with just the right amount of spookiness, Wright will have readers clinging to her every word until the very last page in her latest novel, The Premonition at Withers Farm.
In this interview, she shares some of her thoughts on what went in to writing this new novel.
FF: Please provide a brief summary of your new novel The Premonition at Withers Farm.
Two women must wade through family trauma and a rural-farmland serial killer’s motivations to find safety for their loved ones and the truth behind the murders.
FF: The Premonition at Withers Farm alternates between a setting in Michigan in the early 1900s and present day. What about this concept first captured your imagination?
The first thing that captured my imagination was when my friend and I were reading old letters that were found in an actual chicken coop on a farm. I started envisioning how the letters may hold something much darker—like a killer’s record of their victims—and from there, the story was born.
FF: Protagonist Perliett Van Hilton is a rural healer in the novel. What kind of research was required to learn more about those who practiced this kind of medicine?
Honestly, it was super fun! There are books that abound with information of old medical practices, and some of them are beyond the mind’s imagination! I had fun doing a lot of reading and research but included only a teensy percentage of the quackery I discovered.
FF: Can you tell us a little more about the inspiration behind this book?
I have always been fascinated with the surge of spiritualism in history and the fascination with the spirit world. With literary masters like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle making it a distinguished part of their lives, I wanted to understand the history behind it—both the solved trickery and the unsolved mystery. I was able to consult with a magician, who helped open the doors to the secrets behind much of the “trade,” the illusion and the dangers of being led into a world we know little about.
FF: Your other main character, Molly Wasziak, is working through depression after experiencing several miscarriages. What did you find the most challenging about accurately portraying her character?
I’m big on drawing on personal experience, so this was one I have personally traversed through myself. The experience of miscarriage is a difficult one to navigate, often being a silent grief, as it’s commonly treated as though the mother is recovering from an ailment, not from the loss of her child. Along with that, the reality of postpartum depression is also not discussed often and was something I experienced as well. If untreated and pushed under the rug as though a “weakness of faith,” this type of depression can become not only disabling but also dangerous for one’s mental health. I wanted to portray these in a way that raises awareness while also lending credibility to the women who struggle with such things.
FF: How do you think The Premonition at Withers Farm serves both fans of dual-time fiction and suspense fanatics?
I think people will find enjoyment in reading about both the historical and current worlds, witnessing the two collide, along with being satiated by how the threads of suspense are woven through the lives and tales of the different eras. They aren’t two mysteries really, but rather one, as we see the union of the past influencing the present, and the present discovering the stories of the ancestors who came before. Because dangers don’t always die in the past; sometimes they linger and haunt the future.
FF: What elements do you believe all great mystery/suspense novels need to have?
I believe all great mystery/suspense novels need to have a strong and unpredictable tale woven through them. Personally, I love those with many layers and strings that require tying up at the end, as well as a red herring or two to send me, the reader, down a completely different path, along with the perfect twist at the end.
FF: What do you hope readers gain from reading The Premonition at Withers Farm?
The search for truth is a delicate thing, especially today when so much truth is considered relative and preferential. I hope readers can discover that truth—solid and foundational truth—does exist, is never-changing, and can be a beacon of hope in a world filled with darkness.
The Premonition at Withers Farm
Jaime Jo Wright
Genres: Mystery & Suspense, Romantic Suspense
Release Date: October 11, 2022
The voices of the past cannot stay silent forever.
In 1910 Michigan, Perliett Van Hilton is a self-proclaimed rural healer, leaving the local doctor convinced she practices quackery. It doesn’t help that her mother is a spiritualist who regularly offers her services to connect the living with their dearly departed. But when Perliett is targeted by a superstitious killer, she must rely on both the local doctor and an intriguing newcomer for assistance.
In the present day, Molly Wasziak’s life has not gone the way she dreamed. Facing depression after several miscarriages, Molly is adapting to her husband’s purchase of a peculiar old farm. A search for a family tree pulls Molly deep into a century-old murder case and a web of deception, all made more mysterious by the disturbing shadows and sounds inside the farmhouse.
Perliett fights for her life, and Molly seeks renewed purpose for hers as she uncovers the records of the dead. Will their voices be heard, or will time forever silence their truths?
Buy The Premonition at Withers Farm from the FF Store HERE!
Buy The Premonition at Withers Farm from Amazon HERE!