Recently I gave a talk at the Arts Council in Menifee and with only nine people present, including me and my husband, it was the most fun I ever had giving a presentation. Why? Because the audience loved it.
Here’s the funny thing. Even though I had told the council six weeks earlier that I was going to talk about “Ghosts in Literature: How I Came to Write Paranormal Novels,” they were expecting me to talk about my Civil War Diary book. Surprise! But the people were there. They didn’t walk out. And now they may never look at ghosts the same way again. Maybe.
Another influence is a poem titled “The Highwayman.” In it, lovers are willing to die for each other and in doing so become ghosts who will be together for all eternity. To my young mind, ghosts were romantic.
In sixth grade, my class had to memorize the poem, “The House with Nobody in It.” We had to punctuate it correctly, too. But that’s not the point. The second stanza of the poem laments that the house “wouldn’t be so lonely if it had a ghost or two.” Once again, ghosts are viewed as something positive.
And finally, as a thirteen-year-old, I read “Rebecca.” If you know the story, you know there is no ghost per se in the book. But Rebecca is such a force to be reckoned with, her memory haunts the living. The book haunted me. Maybe I love to be haunted and that’s what I try to do with my novels: write stories that will haunt the reader.
I’ve been asked to come back to Menifee and give my “Ghosts in Literature” talk in September. Of course, I said yes.