WAYNESBURG – The mystical world in the “Sensate Nine Moon Saga” is coming to Greene County.
Thanks to a foray into family genealogy, author Carol Cajigas of Lancaster was inspired to write a fantasy trilogy based on an obscure ancestor she stumbled upon, Teater Higgins, a great-grandfather who was, according to old family accounts, “buried somewhere in Waynesburg.”
Cajigas will be at Artbeat Gallery in Waynesburg at 7 p.m. today to discuss her fantasy world of long-lived people born with a recessive extra-sensory gene who keep their identities secret to avoid exploitation.
“I was doing my family history in 2011 and ran across Teater, but couldn’t find where he was buried. It was a mystery and I still don’t know where,” Cajigas said.
The books, written under the pen name H.H. Laura, begin with a young woman named Alexandra who comes to Greene County to investigate her own family ties. The parallel was no coincidence because writing the first book, “Larkspur,” gave Cajigas a unique way to spend quality time with her mother, who was in the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s disease.
“It was a stressful time in my life,” Cajigas said.
In order to enrich her mother’s failing memory, she began researching family history, which became part of the script as Cajigas created Alexandra to go to Greene County looking for the missing Teater, while Cajigas herself drove from Lancaster to the family home in Bellaire, Ohio, to read the manuscript to her mom. Alexandra’s parents were built from the memories Cajigas had of her own childhood.
“Mom would listen to me read and say, ‘That’s not what happened.’ Then we’d rewrite it together,” Cajigas said. “It was fun for us.”
At some point, the personal history grew into an epic fantasy that turns Waynesburg into a town surrounded by mountains and lets Alexandra and Teater Higgins introduce Sensates to the world.
“I was born in Bellaire (Ohio), and as a young adult I lived in Wheeling, so I know this area and its history. The people are warm and friendly and that’s part of the story,” Cajigas said.
Through Alexandra, the world of Sensates unfolds and the adventure that pits their high morality against the forces of intrigue and dangerous intents now spans three volumes. Sensates do not age past age 35 and one, an indigenous American, lived 2,000 years. But death can come through accident or design and once their secret is revealed, there are those in power who would try to harness it.
With the trilogy written, it is possible the mystery that began the “Sensate Nine Moon Saga” will finally be solved.
Cajigas came to Greene County for the first time a few months ago and recently learned there’s a Higgins Cemetery in Jackson Township.
“I can’t wait to see if Teater Higgins is buried there,” she said.
On Tuesday, Nikki Cole hurried into Art Beat Gallery on her lunch break from Waynesburg University to buy “Ryeth” and “Heartseed,” the second and third books of the trilogy. “I bought the first book because my friend told me about it. I’m part way into it and I want to make sure I get all three. I’ll be here Friday to get them signed,” Cole said.
Those who attend the book signing today will have a chance to talk to the author and register to win the trilogy. Refreshments will be served. Artbeat Gallery is located at 52 E. High St. in Waynesburg.
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