Visiting author inspired by a spooky figure in fog

by Britt Aamodt, Contributing writer

Wendy Webb had her morning routine. When it was time for son Ben to head to school, she’d leash the dog and together the three would tromp a familiar path through their Duluth neighborhood.

Ben safely delivered, Webb would continue her walk with Tundra, an Alaskan Malamute. But on this particular morning, a heavy fog had rolled off the Superior, concealing the world behind a thick white blanket.

Wendy Webb

“I could hardly see anything,” Webb remembers. “Then all of a sudden this woman emerged from the fog. I’d seen her several times on my walks but she would never speak to me.”

Why was this woman so remote? Walkers were usually so chatty and friendly. Webb determined to coax at least a glimmer of recognition from the neighbor.

“I was getting ready to hurl my most friendly hello at her, when she walked right up to me and said, ‘Something’s coming.’”

The next instant, the neighbor melted back into the fog, and Webb was left with a feeling of dread.

What was coming? Bad news? Was this woman some otherworldly messenger?  That moment changed Webb’s life. She got the seed of an idea that has since grown into her first novel.

Tuesday, Webb will  reading from her supernatural mystery “The Tale of Halcyon Crane.” at Elk River Library beginning 6:30 p.m.

Webb’s curiosity about the “something’s coming” led her to conjure a character, Halcyon, who receives life-changing mail: word that she’s inherited an estate from a mother she thought died years before.

When Hallie arrives at her new home in the Great Lakes, she is confronted by a family history tinged with deceit and tragedy, and an island where ghosts and secrets walk abroad.

In stores March 2010,  this was her first novel, but she edits the Duluth Superior Magazine and has written for a number of periodicals.

Webb said she was “really nervous” about whether her book would be accepted,  but honors and accolades rolled in like the Duluth fog. “Halcyon Crane” was championed by independent booksellers, who made it an IndieNext Midwest Connections and a Great Read pick.Book clubs and awards committees came calllng. It was nominated for a 2011 Minnesota Book Award—and won.

“I didn’t have a speech prepared,” Webb says. “So I ended up thanking the committee, on behalf of writers present, for giving us an excuse to get out of our pajamas for an evening and interact with human beings.”

Webb has just finished her second supernatural mystery.


If you go

An evening with Wendy Webb, 

Minnesota Book Award winner, author of

‘The Tale of  Halcyon Crane’

a supernatural mystery

Tuesday, Nov. 1, 6:30 p.m.

Elk River Library

13020 Orono Parkway,