Writer Laura Ellen Scott enjoys working from cabin retreat
Writer and George Mason University professor Laura Ellen Scott and her husband have had a cabin in the Great Cacapon area since 1997. They’ve come here for years to enjoy the natural beauty of the area and to write.
Scott’s first published novel Death Wishing came out in October, 2011. She has a collection of gothic short stories entitled Curio that was published in 2011.
Scott has also been published in a number of online and print publications including Plowshares, Harper’s Ferry Review and the Mississippi Review.
Their two-acre Morgan County retreat is “a fantastic place to work.” Scott said she does all of her writing there. They fell in love with the area and purchased property here after visiting a friend that had a family-owned cabin outside of Berkeley Springs.
Scott has been teaching mostly fiction writing at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia for 20 years.
Scott has used details and inspirations from her surroundings in Great Cacapon and also from Berkeley Springs and West Virginia in her works. About half of her stories in Curio are based in West Virginia, especially the story Moon Walk.
Death Wishing is a comic fantasy set in post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans, It involves a divorced, middle-aged man whose dying wishes come true. Cats and cancer get wished away and a vintage Elvis from 1967 is wished back from the dead.
The main character Victor Swaim moved there to change his life and all this magical stuff starts to happen, Scott said.
She said she wanted to write about the city of New Orleans, “a city that can cope with calamities, but in a very different way than you might expect.”
Scott said she has always been interested in dark fantasy, ghost stories and gothic tales. The stories in her Curio collection aren’t conventional ghost stories, but are very creepy, she noted.
“Listening to the trees creak in the cabin fuels the imagination. I had a lot of fun with it,” she said of her ghost stories.
Scott credits her inspiration to being around her students. They have told her they “enjoy fiction that surprises them.” Scott is less into writing realism now and likes injecting humor and fantasy into her works.
Scott said her relative success with writing has come recently. She has done a lot of traveling to promote her novel, which took her to San Francisco.
Scott is working on a new novel about a treasure hunt that is set in Death Valley. She is also putting together a collection of short stories, some of which are based in West Virginia.
Where Scott writes is really important to her work. West Virginia, Berkeley Springs and Great Cacapon have been incredibly influential in her writing, she said.
Life in a suburb of Washington, D.C. goes by a little too fast. Scott is surrounded by beauty and quiet here and can really focus on her writing.
“I need to be in a place like Great Cacapon to do my very best work,” Scott said.
Scott’s Death Wishing novel is available through Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and other bookstores.
Curio is available through Uncanny Valley Press.