North Augusta author’s sequel to ‘Mrs. Field’s Journal’ opens the mystery of ‘The Locket’
It’s been six years since the end of Charles Campbell’s novel, “Mrs. Fields’ Journal,” and it appears an old evil is about to return.
The North Augusta author tells that story in a sequel, “The Locket: Mrs. Fields’ Journal,” to be released Saturday, Aug. 4.
Campbell will sign copies of the novel and his other books from 6 to 9 p.m. Aug. 4 at the Book Tavern at 936 Broad St. in downtown Augusta.
Set mostly in the 1980s in Millen, Georgia, “Mrs. Fields’ Journal,” released in 2014, told the tale of a town on edge: children were disappearing. The story, which combines horror and suspense with the supernatural, centered on two young kids, Reggie Murphy and Tonya Benson, who loved each other very much.
“The thing about this story is I tell you directly who is responsible in the title. There’s no secret as it’s revealed in the first paragraph while Agnes Fields lay dying in her hospital bed,” Campbell said. “The motivation behind doing what she did is where the real story lies, and that ‘supernatural motivation’ carries over into ‘The Locket.’”
“The Locket” picks up the story with a grown-up Murphy; his wife, Cynthia; and their little girl, Tonya.
A new group of kids, friends from elementary school, become curious about pictures inside a sunflower-engraved locket that had belonged to Agnes Fields. The new novel tells the story of what happens when the locket is opened.
Campbell didn’t have a sequel in mind when he finished the first book, which he said is his most popular, best-selling and “most asked about” novel. In fact, he wrote four other books before returning to the story.
But readers kept asking him for more.
“How could I take them back into this world of sweet, Southern goodness surrounded by something ominous?” Campbell said. “Well, enough people asked for it, and ‘The Locket’ is my effort to give them what they asked for – and a little more. You know the old saying, ‘Be careful of what you ask for because you just might get it.’ That certainly applies to this book as the ending should have people talking.”
Campbell said he believes readers, based on their responses, will want to continue the journey with the characters from the first novel.
“I am heavily invested in them,” he said. “I write what I know, and I know sleepy, Southern towns. I put the readers right in the middle of Millen, Georgia. They feel like they are being offered a glass of sweet tea, and they can see the warm smiles. One Amazon reviewer called ‘Mrs. Fields’ Journal’ ‘un-put-downable.’ That is the goal I have with any of my books. I want to make it so hard to put down even if you don’t like the story.”
Campbell said his “passion for writing” began in high school when he picked up his first Stephen King novel.
“I thought to myself, I really want to do that, so I did,” he said.
He wrote his first novel, “Burning Light,” while still in high school, but only a few friends and his economics teacher saw the manuscript.
“Back then, I hand wrote pages and then transposed them via my first electric typewriter back around 1983,” Campbell said.
About five years ago, the writing “bug bit me hard,” he said.
“I had this story in my brain that had to get out called ‘Black Tears,’ released only as an e-book in 2014, and after that, I feel like I’m trying to make up for lost time because I am writing like a madman and love every single world-creating minute of it.”
Campbell and his wife, Amy, will celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary this year. They have two children, Brooke and Seth.
Campbell’s books are available on Amazon, at 2nd & Charles at 2834 Washington Road in Augusta and at www.charlescampbellauthor.com.
Artist Kervin Lacson designed the cover for “The Locket.”