This Georgia town was gripped with heartbreak and fear.
Children were going missing without probable cause.
In the middle of the tragedy is a mysterious woman – Mrs. Agnes Fields.
Fields tells this town’s tales in North Augusta author Charles Campbell’s new fiction novel “Mrs. Fields’ Journal.”
“Mrs. Field’s Journal” is described as a “horror or suspense novel with a little ghost story mixed in.”
The novel opens in 2012 with a dying Fields lying in a hospital bed. She is with nurse Cynthia Blair.
“I need to share something very important with you before I go,” Fields said to Blair. “I have done some terrible things. Unspeakable things ... It’s all in there.”
Fields points to her bag. Inside is an “old, green hardbound journal.”
The journal’s entries are set in 1987 in the town of Millen, Georgia.
“(The city) really just popped in my head. My wife’s extended family owns a small barbecue restaurant in Millen, and I had an aunt that lived in Waynesboro that my brother and I visited for a week every summer when we were kids,” Campbell explained. “I thought (Millen) would be a nice small town setting with a country feel.”
Self-published, Campbell released “Mrs. Fields’ Journal” in July.
The company Third Designs designed the cover.
Campbell consulted two of his close friends to review the content.
Mary Frances Spires edited, while Shannon Hoffmeister offered feedback.
Hoffmeister has been reading Campbell’s work for more than 15 years.
“I may not be able to recall all of the details of Campbell’s first novel, but the feelings I got while reading it left an impression on me that I have never forgotten,” she wrote in his latest book’s foreword. “When I began receiving chapters (of ‘Mrs. Fields’ Journal’) in my email, I was immediately interested in the characters and where the story would lead next ... I have thoroughly enjoyed discussing the possibilities and plot twists of this thrilling and disturbing tale with Charles.”
Campbell has written two other novels.
He wrote “The Burning Light” while he attended Midland Valley High School.
“It never saw the light of day outside a few friends and an economics teacher,” Campbell said.
His first completed novel “Black Tears,” also self-published, was released in April.
“‘Black Tears’ was kind of a practice run to get back into the groove of writing, and I had this story in my head that had to get out,” Campbell said.
Campbell enjoys mystery and horror stories by authors like Stephen King and Dean Koontz.
“The thing that I love the most about writing is how the initial concept of the story grows once I am sitting down in front of my computer. I get completely lost in what I am writing, and the stress of my day just disappears as I live in the world that I have created in my head. I love that feeling,” Campbell said.
Campbell lives with his wife, Amy, and his children, Seth and Brooke.
On Oct. 11, he will be in Charleston for the first Lowcountry Authors Expo.
For more information on this event, visit www.tdpconsulting.net/#!lae/c2t8.
Among spending time with his family, watching the Atlanta Falcons and fishing, Campbell has been drafting out his next work – a short story collection currently titled “Bumps in the Night.”
For more information on Campbell or to purchase his books, visit www.mrsfieldsjournal.com.
Stephanie Turner graduated from Valdosta State University in 2012. She then signed on with the Aiken Standard, where she is now the arts and entertainment reporter.