Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Some people - quite a few actually, have asked me what compelled me to write six "ghost" novels. Some people call them ghost stories, while others - mostly teachers and librarians, refer to my novels as "time travel". Having read many sci-fi books as a teen and university student, I always assumed time-travel books were about people who, literally (so to speak), moved through time via some kind of futuristic machine or other more organic method.
I don't see my books as time travel stories. I call them stories with a supernatural twist. I think there is an intensity about them that can make the hair stand up on your arms now and again, too.
In simple terms, my stories are always about two worlds colliding - the past and the present. The past usually has one or more "ghost" or spirit unable to leave a place because of some traumatic event in their former lives which holds them fast and earth bound; but eventually they finally connect to someone in the present, someone who can help them find peace. And often the person in the present finds peace as well.
As a teenager, after losing someone very important in my life, I became interested in exploring all aspects of life after death. This led me to reading many books about the experiences of people encountering what they believed were "spirits from the other side".
Some were frightening, such as the strange phenomenon of poltergeists - but many more were very touching - and often involved a spirit with unfinished business or a strong longing to stay near their living family or a beloved place.
The idea for my very first novel, Who is Frances Rain? came from finding a pair of wire-rimmed reading glasses in an old turn of the (20th) century refuse dump on an island near our cabin. When my sisters and I had children of our own,we wanted to clear the island so our kids could play on it more safely than we did! And that's when I found the glasses in an old crockery mug.
I asked myself one question. What if I put those glasses on and saw someone paddling across the lake toward me in a canoe - or walking through the trees toward me. Someone who came closer and closer and then drifted into the air and vanished?
The connection between my main characters - the unhappy and unsettled spirit of a female prospector called Frances Rain from the past, and the equally unhappy girl, Lizzie McGill, (in the present - staying at her grandmother's cabin on a north Manitoba lake) is the foundation for that story.
Each of my "ghost" books, Who is Frances Rain?, The Warnings, My Mother's Ghost, The Dark Garden, and Angels Turn their Backs deal with families, conflict, coming of age, change and growth - for both the spirits and the living characters.
One reviewer called me an archaeologist of past lives. I liked that. Being the family researcher and historian in our family, I often feel as if I am digging up the past and meeting people I wish I had known....real people, who once had hopes and dreams, ambitions, failures, loves and terrible losses. I guess that is what drives my interest in continuing to connect to their spirits through my writing.
at 11:09 PM