Long Island’s largest lake, and a place of legend, Lake Ronkonkoma was the perfect setting for Brian Muff’s debut young adult suspense novel, Lady of the Lake.
“It’s such a mysterious place that really inspired me to write the book,” he said.
The 25-year-old Port Jefferson Station man came up with the idea nearly four years ago. While reading up on legends of the lake, he found its stories so intriguing that he decided to write a fictional story around the tales many locals have come to love.
There are several versions of Lake Ronkonkoma and the lady who haunts it. The most common tale is that of a young Native American princess who fell in love with an English settler. Their relationship was kept secret, and depending on the story, one or both of the lovers gets killed.
But the common denominator for all of the legends is that for every year on, the princess haunts the lake and drowns a young man in her murky waters – hoping to find her one true love again.
“I took all of the legends that I’ve heard, and I made my own version of it,” Muff said. In his novel, a teenager named Miley and Braden visit the lake. He’s then dragged underwater by the Lady of the Lake, and with the help of a classmate and his eccentric “mad scientist” father, they devise a plan to reunite the princess with her forbidden lover.
Muff said the novel took about 16 months to write, all while working part-time and working on his MBA at Stony Brook University. Eventually it was picked up by The Word Verve, Inc. who published it last month.
“I’ve gotten a lot of feedback from people who have really enjoyed it,” he said. “Older people that have heard the legend for years, they’re excited to read about it.”
Muff’s interest in local legends and all things paranormal are leading him towards writing more novels down the road. He said there might even be a trilogy bringing Miley and Braden back for another spooky adventure.
“I try to do well-known Long Island landmarks and legends because I feel like people know them,” he said. “They know where the lake is, and it makes it more immediate and impactful for them when they read the book.”
Lady of the Lake can be purchased right now on the publisher’s website. It is also available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.