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Donna Flake's new novel, "The Haunted Life of Lura" is out now

Courtesy of Donna Flake
Courtesy of Donna Flake

What do you get when you mix murder, suicide, dismemberment, Southern ladies, a crumbling mansion and family secrets that ripple across generations? You have the recipe for Donna Flake’s new novel, The Haunted Life of Lura. Flake says the book is 80% true but is a work of historical fiction.

She was inspired to write the book after attending an auction of a house in Raeford, NC in 1995. As she walked around the house looking at items, Flake says she heard people saying things like, “Is this the room where the man was dismembered?” and she knew she had to find out more.

“The headline for the Raeford newspaper said, ‘Mystery House Opens Its Doors,’ and so, I’ve been a librarian for a long time, retired now and I know how to research things really well.  I just started looking and I found harrowing stories of what went on there. So I took the basis of that and made it into a book."

Flake says it took her about two years to complete the book. Though the idea had been in her head for years, she didn’t have the time to write it until she retired. She says one of the most fun parts of writing the book was making up characters.

To that end, Flake says she based Lura’s college roommate on her own college roommate, “My college roommate told me she was the reincarnation of Anne Boelyn. And she acted like she believed it. She even wore a ribbon around her neck to hide the scar. And I would just talk with her for hours about what it was like to be married to Henry VIII. And so, I made a character just like that in my book.”

Donna Flake will present a talk about her book, The Haunted Life of Lura, on Thursday, October 20th at 2 pm in the Southport Public Library.

Cheril was born in Charleston, SC but has lived all over the US, including Mississippi, Illinois, Georgia and Nebraska. Her first broadcast opportunity was as a weather forecaster on the Far East Network (FEN) in Okinawa, Japan! Cheril admits she loves to talk and enjoys meeting people through her work and hearing their stories. Traveling, reading, going to concerts, laughing with friends and trying new restaurants, are a few of her favorite things. She also judges films for the Omaha Film Festival. Her next big trips will include a return visit to Ireland, a first time trip to Taiwan and New Zealand. Have an arts story idea? Email Cheril at clee@whqr.org