Haunted Steel Adventures: Love Among The I-beams

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I wrote this book with several ideas in mind. In the beginning, I wanted to do a split-time book, with part of the story in the 1930’s and part in the present time. The thirties story was about a rather strange male ghost and a female magician who had fallen on hard times, ca 1940. The modern story concerned the discovery of the old events.  As I wrote, I discovered that the modern story was the most interesting part and slowly dropped the old part.  In addition, the book has always had two levels, a psychic level and a practical level. This is most directly expressed by the two main characters, one for each level. On the practical side, I wanted to design and explore an old English mansion with secret passages, odd structures, abandoned rooms, and major structural problems.  Bringing the reader through this house would be interesting and it would provide opportunities to describe clever aspects of structural engineering in a friendly manner.  Interfering with the practical side is a crazy ghost and a young psychic woman who together cause much trouble for the practical main character.  As the book evolved, the interactions between the young man and woman, who are the main characters, became the focus while the other aspects became the setting for their story.  The book is the first part of a trilogy which covers the development of Matt and Azur’s turbulent relationship.

The details in the text, from both the psychic and the engineering worlds, are extensive, authentic, and clearly explained.  In addition, complete, but not-too-technical, descriptions of the structural engineering is in an Appendix for those who wish to learn something of the ideas behind Matt’s steel beams.

The story concerns a bright but shy young man, Matthew, and a posh young woman, Azur, who struggle to understand several most unusual psychic phenomena which engulf them both.  Matt, a practical Engineer, strains to believe what he sees and feels, while Azur, a snooty English parapsychology expert, thinks she knows all about it.  A difficult but romantic relationship starts to develop between them as they interact with the undead creatures who were Matt’s grandparents sixty years ago.  These entities can be playful one moment and deadly the next: they are beyond anything that Azur has studied.  The word ‘Ghost’ does not begin to describe their unusual mix of characteristics, powerful in some ways, surprisingly weak in others, with strong interests in practical jokes and sex.  Matt is fascinated by their invisibility, but Azur is worried and senses much about their past and their ability to cause harm to creatures in the living world.

The setting for these adventures is a huge old empty and dilapidated English cliff-top mansion that is falling into the sea. Matt is torn between his heartache over Azur and the task of designing and installing complex steel bracing under the large house before it washes away.  He has inherited this moldering pile of stones and is determined to stop the erosion and restore the house to its former glory, even though bureaucrats want to demolish it and build a power plant on the site. Perhaps his weird grandparents can help . . . .perhaps he can somehow win Azur back . . . perhaps the rock under the house won’t crumble before he installs enough steel . . .