Thursday, January 17, 2008

Tribute to a Fine Wickie

It's already January 17th. Didn't we just watch the Rose Parade a few minutes ago? Okay, I'm once again bemoaning the passage of time.

I'm blazing through my WIP. CAPE SEDUCTION is the story of Darla Foster, the sexy, eccentric, 20 year old starlet who went missing in 1949, and the folks in 2008 she is haunting. Well, maybe haunting is too strong a word. But she's apparently dead and wanting a little closure.

There's a lighthouse in this book, patterned after St. George Reef Lighthouse in extreme Northern California. In fact, the lighthouse itself inspired the story. So, although the lighthouse will have a fictional name in CAPE SEDUCTION, I've been doing lots of research to make the story authentic. One of the things I did was contact Dennis Powers, author of THE SENTINEL OF THE SEAS, which is the story of St. George Reef, from its 10 year construction in the late 1800's to present day restoration efforts. Dennis led me to Mr. John Gibbons, retired St. George Reef Lighthouse Keeper, who now lives in Colorado.

"Gibby" was more than happy to take my call, and reminisced about his 39 months in residence at St. George. 39 months, btw, is a record for continuous service on this 6-miles-off-shore rock. He recalled for me perilous days and nights in stormy weather, when waves would actually reach the top of the 140 foot high beacon! During the winter of 1955, stormy weather kept the crew of 5 captive for over a month, and their Christmas dinner was one last can of Spam.

Mr. Gibbons was generous with his advice and anecdotes, and later sent me a handful of snapshots taken inside the lighthouse in 1953, and a gorgeous 11" x 14" "portrait" of the light station taken from a Coast Guard helicopter in 1957. Also enclosed was a copy of a page from the log book.

It's nice to come across truly gentile and caring people these days. Both Dennis Powers and John Gibbons get my vote for modern day heroes, and will be acknowledged in CAPE SEDUCTION when it comes out!