Roanoker Walt Mayes, a retired counselor for the Virginia Department of Corrections, recently released his first novel, “Hungate’s Ghost,” set in the 1770’s. Peter Hungate is a wealthy man killed while swimming one night with his beautiful bride, but he refuses to believe he is dead. Mayes takes his readers along, as Hungate wanders through history for the next 200 years, seeking that peaceful light to the other world.
An Army veteran during the Vietnam conflict, Mayes finished college and graduate school, before becoming a counselor. Now he’s a novelist.
“I’ve been writing basically all my life. I hope this is going to be my 15 minutes of fame,” chuckles Mayes, who calls writing, “my passion… my mistress.”
A dream he remembered about a Revolutionary War figure that became a ghost led to his book, which has been released by PublishAmerica.com. He also remembered traipsing through a house with friends as a youngster, imagining it was haunted.
After initially shopping it around, Mayes sat on the manuscript for several years.
“He refused to go through the light – he thought he wasn’t dead,” said Mayes of his lead character. He allows Peter Hungate to experience the Civil War, the JFK assassination and other milestones in American history as he wanders through two centuries.
Mayes had a double major in college – history and psychology – so his interest in the past comes naturally.
“I love history,” he notes.
Much of the book concerns Virginia’s past, while at the same time it touches on death and immortality.
“[But] it has its humorous moments,” said Mayes.
It’s not Stephen King, but Mayes hopes his tale of “undying love, enduring friendship … and a little passionate lust sometimes,” will interest many readers. Visit PublishAmerica.com ,or online booksellers to order “Hungate’s Ghost.”