by Stephanie N. Macomber
Smashwords Edition published at Smashwords by Crossroad Press
Copyright 2010 Stephanie N. Macomber & Crossroad Press
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The Southern Hotel, in fact, was once operated as a hotel in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. Mary Lou and all the other characters are completely fictional, but the hotel and town are based on actual places.
The historic atmosphere of the 1872 hotel inspired "what if" type thoughts the second I peeked through the window and saw the lobby in July 2005. As my family, the realtors, and I toured the four-story, brick structure we noticed it hadn’t changed much since the last renovation in the 20s, except for the 1970s carpet and paneling in some of the rooms upstairs. It felt like stepping back in time when I walked through the building. It was hard to believe the hotel shut down in 1991— only about fifteen years ago then. The plaster was falling from the ceiling and the rooms had years of dust and dirt, not to mention old wiring and plumbing.