Saturday 27 April 2024

The Story Behind the Story with Rhonda Bulmer of Moncton, NB, Canada.


The recent launch of Rhonda’s novel was a tremendous success.

Hats off to the marketing pros of Merlin Star Press for generating lots of buzz around their first novel.

None better than the dynamic storytelling from one of the province’s most talented authors.

Let’s welcome Rhonda to the Scribbler.

Read on my friends.



RHONDA BULMER is a Moncton, New Brunswick-based author with a background in public relations and freelance writing, and currently serves as executive director for the Writers’ Federation of New Brunswick. She has published three fiction books independently, and in 2023, her short fiction appeared in the anthology, Monsters in the Fog, (Partridge Island Publishing). The Widow & the Will (Merlin Star Press, 2024) is her first novel.



Title: The Widow & The Will

Synopsis: Lindy Hall has begun a promising career in Toronto with her boyfriend, George. When Grandma Runa, her only living relative dies, Lindy receives a shocking bequest—the d’Avray Manor Inn in Harmony Bay on New Brunswick’s Bay of Fundy.

Lindy takes two weeks off to visit the inn. Locals call it The Widow’s Inn, said to be haunted by the grieving widow of its first owner. She finds herself on a collision course with the proprietors, Tony and Anne Allaby. In the face of bankruptcy, Anne is bitter. Lindy is sure the couple is holding something back.

When a handsome tour operator vies for Lindy’s affections, and the ghost of Elizabeth d’Avray visits her, an impatient George urges Lindy to forget it all and come home.

Could Gram’s final wishes and The Widow’s Inn be the keys to unlock Lindy’s mysterious past—and her future?



The Story Behind the Story: I am interested in family conflict. Nothing can ignite (or worsen) family conflicts more than the final wishes in a will, especially a parent’s will. What they have written down can make heirs feel loved, appreciated, ignored, or hated by the deceased.

My mother comes from a family of 12 children, and Mom was named executor of her own mother’s will (against Mom’s wishes). As a consequence, my grandmother’s stipulations put Mom at odds with her siblings for many years. I always thought it was quite unfair of my grandmother to place my mother in this uncomfortable situation for an extended period – 25 years, in fact. And so, in 2014, I began the initial premise of my book: a will. A young woman from Ontario becomes the sole heir of her grandmother, who leaves her with an inn on the East Coast. Her grandmother charges the heroine with a long-term obligation to those who run the inn, for reasons that are not explained. This big reveal is both cryptic and inconvenient.

In the last ten years, whenever I’ve told anyone the premise of the story I was writing, they enthusiastically volunteered their own family will story. Money – or the lack thereof – seems to bring out the worst in people.

Along with that, I stuffed all my favourite story elements in the same novel: an old neglected historic inn, with an accompanying supernatural presence (my mom likes ghost stories, too), a love triangle, the gorgeous setting of the Bay of Fundy (which I think is one of the most beautiful places in the world) mercurial weather, grouchy, eccentric people, and a big family secret. I didn’t realize I had written a gothic novel, until a publisher who heard my initial pitch in 2019 put that label on it.

As a lifelong New Brunswicker, this book is my love letter to New Brunswick. Throughout my life, many people I’ve known left the province in search of better opportunities elsewhere. However, especially in recent years, I’ve come to the conclusion that with a bit of determination, we can create our own opportunities here.



Rhonda – Go HERE.      Merlin Star Press – Go HERE.

                    Buy the book HERE.


A question before you go, Rhonda:

Scribbler: What is the ideal spot for you when you write your stories? Music in the background or quiet. Coffee or tequila? Messy or neat?

Rhonda: At home, I like to sit not so much at my desk but on the couch with my laptop, near a sunny window. And I like to listen to baroque cello – or even better, rain noises. I do like sitting at a coffee shop, too. Sometimes a couple of hours of people-watching helps to keep the writing fresh.

I am fifty percent neat. I suppose if it’s too messy at home, I’ll go to the coffee shop so I don’t have to look at it!

An Excerpt from The Widow &The Will:

The wind rose sometime in the night. It whipped around the corner of the house and preceded an abundance of rain. Under normal circumstances, the thrum of water on the windowsill would be comforting, but the bang of the widow’s walk door was more insistent. It opened and slammed shut with every gust of wind from the window. The latch arm clattered against the groove.

Don’t turn your back to the stairway. Looks like something is moving down there in the shadows.

Melinda, stop being ridiculous.

Yeah, okay, Gram. I hear you.

I threw back the patchwork quilt. Maybe grouching out loud would push back the darkness, even if it was all imaginary. “Am I going to have to do this every night?” Tomorrow was my first day in that tiny office and it was important to be fresh.

I opened one of the desk drawers and found a roll of packing tape.

Perfect. I pushed a chair against the door and weighed it down with a couple of old-fashioned hardcover dictionaries from the bookshelf in the corner. Then I tore a few pieces of tape and applied them to the latch.

I stood back to examine my handiwork for a moment. “There. Let’s see you break through that, Mrs. d’Avray.”

I left the light on and climbed back into bed. Comforted by this achievement, my eyes grew heavy, and I drifted away.

In the gentle light of the desk lamp, a woman in a dark linen gown with a white collar appeared at the end of my bed, holding something like a photo in her hand. I pulled myself into a tight ball against the bed frame. I didn’t want her to grab my feet.

Was she looking at me or through me?

A few tendrils of grey-streaked dark hair escaped her bun, and her face was lined not so much with age, but with sorrow. She paced the room before sitting on the edge of my bed. Her shoulders shook as she wept.

“They’re all gone. I’m all alone.”

I heard the words clearly. And I answered her clearly. “I know.

They’re all gone.”

Uncontrollable grief welled up from the centre of my being. Was it hers, or mine? Loneliness for Gram and Gramp swept over me. For the parents I never had. “I’m all alone, too.”

“What does life mean without them?” The widow’s walk door

opened, and moonlight streamed through it. She walked through the door, dropping the photo as she melted into the darkness.

At five o’clock, my eyes snapped open. My pillow was soaked. I’d been crying in my sleep.

Last night’s steady rain gave way to a dull, overcast sky, but the

wind was still blowing. And I shivered, not just from the cold and damp.

That dream…it was a dream, right?

I sat up. Everything was the same as I’d left it—the chair in front of the door, the tape on the latch, and the desk lamp glowed in the daylight. But I could have sworn the door had banged open. And the woman cried at my bedside, and disappeared up the steps.

Not only had I seen her, I’d felt her. I’d shared her emotions. I

understood them because I had the same ones.

Hey, it was only a dream. Snap out of it!

I had a big day of number-crunching ahead, and I couldn’t schlep around indulging my grief-stricken night visions.

I dressed, returned the chair to the desk, and tore the tape off the

latch. In the literal cold light of day, don’t you feel silly? Everything sounded louder in the dark. And who can control what they see in their dreams?

As I turned away, the little door burst open behind me.

It slammed with a loud bang! against the wall.

I shrieked, jumped back and stumbled over the bed. An icy blast of wind hit me in the face. My eyes were locked on the steps, waiting for something to come through. After a minute, I dared stick my head through the doorway. A strong gust of wind whooshed freely throughout the observation deck.

Glass shards were scattered on the tiny staircase. This morning’s

gale had finally broken through the old, cracked window panes, and they crashed to the floor.

There was something else.

Book Launch. April 2024

 Thank you Rhonda for the terrific tale and for being our guest this week. We wish you continued success with your writing.

 And a Humongous thank you to all out visitors and readers.

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