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Friday, April 8, 2011

Guest Blogger: Lara Nance

Our guest today is author Lara Nance. Lara will be giving away a copy of her book, Memories of Murder, to one lucky commenter chosen at random.


By Lara Nance

In my paranormal romance, Memories of Murder, there is a story within a story. When I find some historical fact that captures my imagination, it invariably ends up as part of one of my books, hidden among the twists and turns of the tale.

The plot of Memories of Murder was sparked by observation of my Alzheimer’s patients and how they seem to be in another world part of the time. I fantasized that maybe they now operated on a different plane, and in that world they could see and communicate with ghosts.

From there I created the old insane asylum from which these ghosts would come. That led to my interest in old insane asylums. I studied pictures of the old Kirkbride buildings, the castle-like asylum structures of the 19th century. Then I ran across an article that I couldn’t stop thinking about.

This article told the story of the closing of the Willard Psychiatric Center of New York in 1995. As the staff worked to salvage remnants of the past, they came across an attic filled with hundreds of old suitcases. The suitcases held the last effects of some asylum inmates and the contents told the stories of their lives.

It’s a chilling reminder of how those considered to be insane were treated in the past. Many of these people were locked up for life for little more than a public outburst of anger. And yet they spent their entire lives in the confines of the asylum. Later a non-fiction book was written chronicling the people and their lives. In addition, an exhibition of the suitcases was set up.

Now that you know the real story, you’ll recognize how it influenced my scene in Memories of Murder where Maeve and Paul find the old maintenance shed from the asylum filled with suitcases.

If you’re interested in learning more about the true story of the suitcases in the attic of Willard, follow the links below for a news article and the actual exhibition site.

Article in Newsweek Magazine about the discovery of the suitcases:


Website of the exhibition:


Memories of Murder is a paranormal romance published by Crescent Moon Press. A portion of the proceeds from sales of this novel will be donated to the Alzheimer’s Association in honor of my dementia patients, past and present.

For Lara's complete biography and more information on her books, please visit: www.LaraNance.com

Check out Memories of Murder at: www.CrescentMoonPress.com


  1. Lara, What a fascinating topic. I certainly admire your work with Alzheimer patients. How nice that it could inspire a novel. Thanks so much for guest blogging on the Lady Scribes.

  2. Lara, what a fascinating story! And I know already it will be too scary for me to read. LOL I am too impressionable. I will just have to buy the book and give it to my friend to read, because I know she will enjoy it.

    Congrats on your success. :)

  3. You're book sounds really fantatic!! Will be following the links!!

    Jacqui Jacoby

  4. How sad to think of all those suitcases filled with those poor people's belongings. I can see why it touched you. I can't wait to read this story. And I LOVE the cover.

  5. Thanks for the kind words, guys!! Yes, that suitcase story was so compelling I had to use that image of forgotten lives in my novel.
    Unfortunately, that's just one instance, I wonder how many other asylums of that era closed and their hidden suitcases were never uncovered?
    Sad. Lara

  6. Hi Lara, thanks for posting on this topic. Bless your heart for the work you do with your Alzheimer's patients, and for donatung to that cause.
    I care for my elderly grandmother who has Azheimer's and I know how challenging it can be. I read the article in Newsweek and it brought tears to my eyes. Thank heavens we don't lock people up like that anymore but I agree that the system still needs improvement.
    Thanks agsain for posting.
    Sincerely, Debby Lee
    please enter me in the drawing

  7. Wow, I got chills reading that article. Fascinating stuff, Lara. I love your website and commend you for the work you do with your patients. Azheimers runs in my family and my mother is starting to show the first signs of it. You're book sounds wonderful and welcome to the lady scribes! So glad you joined us today!

  8. Love the article, Lara. Such a fascinating source of inspiration!