"Alexa (Alex) Bentley is the type of main character I love... the plot grabbed me and made me want to read on, while the lightheartedness made the story even more enjoyable... I couldn’t work out the solution to the mystery... this is a book I would be quite happy to read a second time." -Long and Short Reviews, Orchid
Michigan native and author April A. Taylor’s fourth book, Missing in Michigan: A Paranormal Mystery, will be released by Midnight Grasshopper Books on June 19, 2018.
Is she a medium? A psychic? Alexa Bentley only knows one thing for certain; she can talk to ghosts. And sometimes, they take her advice. Alexa's unusual ghost therapy skills take her to a remote corner of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. But this case is much trickier than anything else she's ever encountered. A grieving ghost, several missing teens, and a supernatural creature from Native American folklore stand in her path. Along the way, she manages a bit of romance and lots of witty humor.
“Michigan's Upper Peninsula is a very special place to me. I stayed at a cabin just outside of Munising on my honeymoon, and many of Alexa Bentley's experiences were inspired by that wonderful week. For example, my spouse and I saw the Northern Lights there together for the first time on a chilly night in September. The restaurants Alexa visits were also inspired by the wonderful food we had in Munising and Marquette (especially breakfast!). Although this is a work of fiction, locals will undoubtedly notice many real-life touches. I've also taken some artistic liberties with the area, but I think Yoopers will find the changes to be minimal. As far as I know, there are no ghosts haunting Munising, nor are there any dark secrets or mysteries to solve. But some of the things that are discussed in the book, including ancient mining on Isle Royale and the Native American wendigo legend, are based on Michigan's real history," Taylor said.
April A. Taylor is a Michigan native who currently lives in Metro Detroit. She is a professional writer and has published four books to date. Her genres include paranormal mysteries, reimagined fairy tales and horror. Previous titles include The Haunting of Cabin Green (also set in Michigan), Vasilisa the Terrible: A Baba Yaga Story and Death Song of the Sea: A Celtic Story.
The latter two books are part of the Midnight Myths and Fairy Tales Series, and they were both best sellers in Amazon’s Canada store in March 2018. The Haunting of Cabin Green was the #1 best seller for United States Horror New Releases in Amazon’s U.S. site from late April to mid-May 2018.
Taylor is also a photographer whose work has been exhibited and published internationally. In June 2010, she was named Artist of the Month by Detroit area radio station 93.9 FM.
“Made in Michigan” has multiple meanings for Taylor native and novelist April Taylor, whose paranormal mystery novel, “Missing in Michigan,” set in the Upper Peninsula, was recently released.
A 1995 graduate of Taylor Truman High School, Taylor, who grew up in the city which shares her surname, spent a decade in property management before she was able to devote more time to her photography and freelance writing.
“My day job is content writing for websites for people all over the globe,” she said.
The websites she writes for range from senior care providers, to massage therapists, to fiction for horror web sites, including bloody-disgusting.com.
Taylor said writing has always been her passion.
“At Truman, Mrs. Proctor was my favorite teacher,” she said. “James O’Barr, the creator of ‘The Crow’ (graphic novel) grew up in Taylor and went to Truman as well. When ‘The Crow’ movie came out, it was a big deal for all the teachers who had him. (Proctor) pulled me aside and said, ‘I expect that to be you some day.’”
After a decade of working for corporate American, Taylor said she took a leap of faith and left the nine-to-five grind behind.
Taylor said she has been passionate about her writing from an early age. “The Haunting of Cabin Green,” and “Missing in Michigan — Alexa Bentley Paranormal Mystery Book 1” are her third and fourth books, respectively.
She said “The Haunting of Green Cabin” spent its first three weeks in the top spot on Amazon for United States horror new releases, and now, several months after its release, it is still in the top hundred for the genre on Amazon. She said the book is a metaphor for depression and how it impacts the people around us.
Taylor said she has two short stories, “Vasilisa the Terrible,” a Baba Yaga story, and “Death Song of the Sea,” a Celtic story, which were released just for Kindle, e-readers designed and marketed by Amazon. Like many writers, she said she also has several unpublished manuscripts.
“Missing in Michigan” is set near Munising and Isle Royale, Upper Peninsula spots Taylor found appealing during a stay in an area cabin.
“I saw the Northern Lights there for the first time, and so does she,” Taylor said, referring to Alexa Bentley, her protagonist. “It is just so beautiful, so when I decided I wanted to write this character, Michigan made the most sense for the first book.”
Taylor said the second book in the Alexa Bentley Paranormal series, which can be ordered in advance of its release, is set in France.
“Frightened in France,” book two in the paranormal mystery series, with “witty humor and the slightest touch of horror,” has a July 31 scheduled release date.
A release date has not yet been set for the third Alexa Bentley book, “Lost in Louisiana.”
Taylor describes her character, Alexa Bentley, as a witty character who can talk with ghosts.
“She calls herself a ‘ghost therapist’ but she is really more of a ghost empath,” Taylor said. “She can literally feel their emotions, and that is how she helps them resolve issues.”
Taylor said she is ambivalent about the existence of ghosts, but said she has always been empathic with humans.
“I feel other people’s emotions very easily, sometimes too easily,” she said. “I am sure that is a big part of what inspired her. But I was taking a shower and she just popped into my head. Her first paragraph popped into my head, and as soon as I got out, I just started writing it, and it was so easy of a voice to get into.”
Taylor said writing the Alexa Bentley series has brought her more pleasure than anything else she has written.
“I have been writing short stories since I was six, so it is so awesome to really connect with a character,” she said.
She said it was nice to switch from the heavy darkness of “The Haunting of Green Cabin” to the light wittiness of Alexa Bentley.
“She covers heavy stuff as well, but it is done in a much lighter way,” Taylor said. “Everything I write, all of my photos, at their base are a societal commentary. It is up to other people if they want to find that in it, or find their own thing in it.”
For more information about her work, go to aprilataylor.net.