A Cemetery Puzzle (And Launch Day Eve)

By March 28, 2016

Here it is, the eve of launch day for The Visitor, and I thought it might be fun to look back on how that book came about. First and foremost, I’m a visual writer. Before I have plot, characters, setting and atmosphere, I start with an image. Sometimes I actively seek out visual inspiration, but more often than not, I stumble across a photograph that intrigues me.

The photograph below turned up in a search for “Strange Graves”:


I was immediately drawn to the subject and composition of this photo and I loved the mysterious and dreamy atmosphere. I started thinking about a small, walled cemetery in an area so remote, so well hidden that no visitor had stumbled upon it in decades. Behind those walls would be a fantasy cemetery with meandering pathways and whimsical headstones that, in fact, created a giant puzzle:

The graveyard was small in comparison to the maze, completely contained within the crumbling brick walls and shaded by an immense live oak. A rambling rose had snaked all the way to the top of the tree, spreading its feelers along the branches and snowing petals down upon the graves beneath. Where light shone through the leaves, the trunk and limbs took on a fragile glow from the thousands of cicada husks that clung to the bark. The effect was breathtakingly surreal, as if the whole cemetery had been trapped in amber.

Once I had that premise—a puzzle within a cemetery—the story started to fall into place.

As for Amelia, I wanted to delve more deeply into the secrets that have been kept from her since birth. Her father’s rules–which she broke in The Restorer–not only protected her from ghosts, but from a terrible legacy that’s only now coming to light:

“What am I, Papa?”

“I don’t know, child.”

But I knew. I was a perfect storm. A Gray and a Wysong. An Asher and a Pattershaw. I was the culmination of all their dark gifts and on top of it all, I’d been born dead to a dead mother, giving me an even stronger connection to the other side. No wonder Papa didn’t know what to call me.


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Photo Credit: Jessuko

Join the discussion 22 Comments


    I love this….I have read all you books that I could get my hands on since reading the first one in this series. I can not wait to read this one!!!

  • Lisa says:

    I can’t wait!!! I love this series

  • Fannie says:

    These books are so intense, so atmospheric. I love them, Amanda. Keep it coming!

  • Jen Gawne says:

    So, I got the book yesterday (Release day) and dove right in to Amelia’s Story. I missed her! The fabulously creepy undertones in this story had my imagination running WILD, and I actually had to sleep with the lights ON last night! I finished this afternoon, and must say, you certainly left me wanting more!!
    THANKS for another great story!
    Just out of curiosity.. is there a plan for how many books will be in this series? (crossing my fingers that there is no end!)

    • Amanda says:

      Yay for sleeping with the lights on. My work is done. 😉

      I’m not sure yet about the continuation of the series. I hope there will be more books because I have so much fun living in Amelia’s (creepy) world. haha But I also have ideas for new projects that I’m excited to write. In the end, it’s all up to my publisher, but I will keep you posted. 🙂

  • Linda says:

    I just finished The Visitor, it was wonderful. Once again I was totally wrapped up in Amelia’s world and now miss her and Devlin, I will be reading it again. Thank you Amanda for continuing the Graveyard series with this captivating book. I’m ready for The Sinner and many more in this series.

  • Ban says:

    Worth every bit of the wait 🙂
    I can’t remember when or how I discovered your Graveyard series, but I know it has always been good timing.
    A million thank you’s

  • Deborah Burrows says:

    Just purchased it at B&N on Friday. Can’t wait to read it. They are all on my keeper shelf.
    Thank You

  • Vickie says:

    I bought The Visitor and read it the same day. I have missed Amelia and John Devlin. Thank you for releasing two books in one year!! Long time coming but we’ll worth the wait!

  • Nancy says:

    I just bought this book Friday and finished it over the weekend! I could not put it down! I really enjoyed the first books and kept checking occasionally to see if the newest one was ever coming out!! I’ve already pre-ordered the The Sinner!!

  • Saira says:

    Congratulations Amanda
    I love you histories, i’ll keep reading every book you write,
    hugs from Mexico

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