Monday, July 2, 2007

The Whalehead Club

The Whalehead Club is an old hunting lodge built in the 1920s by Edward and Marie Knight on the northern Outer Banks. Check out . At the time, women were not permitted to join hunt clubs, so Edward Collins Knignt, a Pennsylvania industrialist, decided to buy up the property and build his own hunt club so his wife, who loved duck hunting, could participate.

The place thrived for about 12 years until the Knights could no longer vacation there because of health problems. The property passed through several different hands until it eventually fell into disrepair. In the late 1990s, the Currituck County Whalehead Preservation Society raised funds to begin restoring the building. They have succeeded in bringing it back to its original splendor with all of its Art Deco designs, furnishings and wonderful historic detail. Thousands of vacationers tour The Whalehead Club every year and visit its gift shop.

Several important chapters of my novel, Murder at Whalehead, occur in the Whalehead Club. One of the final suspenseful scenes involves a chase through the many rooms of the lodge to the rooftop. I knew Murder at Whalehead would be a good seller in the Whalehead Club's gift shop. The problem: my novel is fiction, and the Whalehead Club is an important historical landmark. Although Loretta Robinson, the gift shop manager, was excited about the possibilities of selling Murder at Whalehead, she knew the board of directors would have to approve it.

When I arrived in Corolla last week, I stopped by the Whalehead Club and dropped off a couple copies of the book early in the week. Edna Baden, the Executive Director, told me she'd read the novel and enjoyed it. She was recommending it to the board, but several board members may have reservations. All I could do was wait and see.

On Friday I got a call from Loretta. The board had approved the sale of the novel. She wanted 80 copies. 80 copies! I thought that was a lot. I delivered the copies Friday morning. In the late afternoon I dropped off the invoice--eight copies had already sold. Things were on a roll. Now what am I going to do? If I sell out too quickly, should I go to an offset printer and bigger run? What if 2000 or 3000 copies overdoes it. Can I take the financial risk?

Lots of questions. I still don't have all the answers.

Talk to you later,

Joe C. Ellis

Here are some links to my novel, Murder at Whalehead:

CLICK HERE to view video trailer

Link to front cover: CLICK HERE (Click on cover to enlarge)

Link to back cover: CLICK HERE (Click on cover to enlarge)

Link to first eleven chapters:CLICK HERE

Visit my website at

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