Inspiration Behind Julianna’s Secret

When I worked at an ad agency in Chicago, I read a strange story posted in Newsweek, written between 1980 to 1982. It was about a Victorian mansion in New England that had an old trunk in the basement left behind by the original owners. The new owners moved in and couldn’t wait to open the trunk. What valuables did it contain? Old antiques? Old coins? Old photographs?

After the new owner broke the locks and greedily ripped open the yellowed newspaper, she discovered …a dead baby complete with hair on the skull. In fact, the trunk contained at least four to six full-term babies, all wrapped in old newspaper, so they weren’t recent killings.

Julianna and Nils

Julianna and Nils

The owners turned the corpses over to the coroner, and that was the end of the gruesome article, except to say that the original owners were an elderly couple, now dead, so with them went the secret of the old Victorian house.

Obviously, the babies weren’t meant to be born, or they would have been given decent burials. So who killed these babies? How were they conceived? Why not an abortion? Why turn to infanticide?

Those questions will never be answered, but it gave me the inspiration for a story about a mysterious house and a beautiful young woman, no one in town can figure out, but everyone knows something is wrong. Unfortunately, instead of befriending the girl, they judge and condemn her.

No, my book doesn’t contain a trunk full of dead babies. So I won’t write anymore because I want to surprise you. Julianna’s Secret is my favorite novel, and I’m glad for the Newsweek article that inspired it. My book is now available at online bookstores.

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