Pierce Leewood, known to the town of Cobbly Nob as the Piano Man, played for the visitors who graced Reagan Inn. His magical melodies made him beloved to guests but stories of his past left him a source of suspicion for locals. When young girls began to go missing and turned up dead, the Piano Man played his last tune.Twenty years later, Sarah Hayes and her daughter Amber find themselves uprooting their lives and returning to Cobbly Nob to help take care of family and the soon to reopen inn. While her mom and Grams immerse themselves in opening-day preparations, the mysteries of Reagan Inn and its most feared employee haunt Amber…as do its ghosts.As the monster known as the Piano Man sets his sights on Amber, she is determined to free the ghosts otherwise bound to suffer at his hands. Can she put an end to the Piano Man’s terror? Or will Amber find herself the next to face the music?
Q&A with author Rena Marin
In your own words, how would you describe your book? Piano Man is YA ghost story about the family who owns an old Inn a small mountain town. The Inn has been remodeled and is set to reopen which has the ghostly spirit of the town’s most notorious murderer ready to claim new victims.
What inspired this story? I worked in a haunted hotel for quite awhile. My daughter Amber still talks about the motel all these years later and remembers things that happened when she would visit with us at work. It amazes me how she remembers so much since she was just small at the time. She is a huge paranormal fan, just like her momma, so the more we talked about it, I decided it was time to give the motel its own story in a way. Of course, the real piano man was nothing like the one created for the book, but the name is the same. It’s the name Amber, and several others, called one of the motel’s most active ghosts due to the piano in the corner playing so often.
What can you tell us of Cobbly Nob, where this story takes place? It’s actually a real community. I drive through it every day on my way to work and its beautiful. That’s what inspired me to use it as my setting. My version of Cobbly Nob is extended compared to the real location. It’s your typical small town. A grocery, a few mom and pops stores, library, small school, etc. To the older people in town it’s the perfect place to live a peaceful life. The kids? Well, they may get a few bouts of boredom which is why they are constantly looking for adventure to get into.
Have you or would you ever stay in a haunted inn? I have. The one I worked at would be my home several weeks in the winter months. It was hard to get to work when it would snow. If need be, the family and I would pack up and stay till things cleared up. I’ve spent many nights hearing things, seeing things, and even wandering around with the kids looking for things while there.
If you could place yourself in your book, which character would you be? What would you be doing? Oh, I would love to be one of the kids. Learning all the old legends about their town, exploring the Inn, and facing a new adventure would be something I would love to take part in. Especially the research part. I love reading about the history of haunted locations.
What surprised you most about your book as you were writing it? Piano Man began as a standalone. By the time I ended it, I found I couldn’t say goodbye to the characters and the location. A series is now in the works revolving around them. Graveyard Girls, book two, will be coming in 2020.
Give us a Rena Marin fun and/or unusual fact. I’m a huge horror/paranormal fan. Growing up, I didn’t have siblings to do the adventurous checking out of creepy places. My friends weren’t as into it as I was, so I was left with research and learning about places. Now, I have a partner in crime. My daughter, she’s 13, is just as taken by the paranormal as I have. We’ve started doing a few things here and there like ghost walks, explorations, etc. We have more planned for the future. I guess in a way you could call us wanna-be-investigators, lol.
What are you reading now? I just finished a reread of Wuthering Heights for an anthology I’m in. Next up will be Erin Lee’s Cotton Candy.
What can you tell us about your future releases? I have several anthologies releasing this year including Beyond Atlantis, Infamy, and Art Inspires with Crazy Ink. I also have the third installment of the Dead Oaks Terrors Series, Night Stalker coming in November which is written with Skylar McKinzie. In October, The Hunter’s Guild of Dark Hollow Ridge will be releasing. It is part two of my Dark Hollow Ridge saga. In December, another solo of mine, Backroad, will be released. As an exclusive author with Crazy Ink, all these titles will be published by them and their amazing team!
And because I’m a movie person, I have to ask, name a movie you could watch over and over and over again and still find merit in? Oh, I am such a huge movie fan!! I love too many! Let’s see as a fan, I love all the great horror movies of the 70’s 80’s and 90’s. Halloween, Scream, Nightmare on Elm Street, all of those. I love all the superhero movies too, but a good movie that gets me every time I watch it has to be Steel Magnolias. It’s my ugly cry movie but watching it reminds me of my family and the people I grew up with so much. Those women act just like my grandma and my aunts. It’s a great nod to life in the south and a time when things were simpler.