Telling Ghost Stories

7 Jul

One of my best friends has just informed me that I have written a ghost novel. I have? Is that what I did? It seems strange to me, but I suppose having a main character who can communicate with the dead technically registers as a ghost story. But from my perspective, I believe it may just be a matter of bridge building between the seen and the unseen. The veil between these worlds can be very thick indeed. But for some people, it’s as thin as chocolate shavings on a hot day.

So I started thinking about the novels that might show up on Amazon some day where it says, “If you liked this, you might like this.” I’m stumped. I mean, I know who I like to read. But I wouldn’t say that I am particularly into one genre over another. Sure, I tend to stick primarily to YA fiction. But even within that group, there are numerous subgroups that completely attract. But I have a confession to make. I don’t recall reading any paranormal novels lately. Not one.

To me, the book I just wrote is about a girl– a girl who is having some trouble understanding and accepting an extraordinary supernatural family gift. This gift, in many ways, is not so different than the other gifts she wrangles with: writing and drawing. She’s trying to make sense of how to use what she’s good at in a world that isn’t quite that kind to people like her. Oh, and there are some famous ghosts who come to help.

The creepy factor is something I cherish in a novel because it takes me out of a place that is expected, normal and predictable. And creepy doesn’t have to mean supernatural. When I was 12, I was obsessed with V.C. Andrews. I would skip entire lunch periods to read the Dollanger series (Flowers in the Attic, Petals on the Wind, If There be Thorns, etc). The creepy factor was based on macabre family secrets, abuse, incest and abandonment: the ghosts of pasts that should be forgotten and locked away. They were awesome. I look back on that now and I am shocked that Sister Theresa didn’t confiscate my books. If only she had known…


One Response to “Telling Ghost Stories”

  1. Liz Fillmore Garrett July 8, 2011 at 1:42 pm #

    I think Petals on the Wind is the book I have read the most times… her vengeance was so sweet!

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