I’m kicking off our next blog series here on Moonlight & Mystery (if you missed our last one, each author discussed fun details about the setting of one of her books; start here with my post on Cape Cod!) Today we begin a look back at a book from our youth that inspired us in some way—a novel that maybe made us fall in love with reading, drew us to a new genre, sparked our imagination, or inspired us to write our own stories someday.
I love ghost stories, which is probably pretty clear from my novels…and while I do try to elicit a few shivers up my readers’ spines, the hauntings in my novels are more mysteries than horror. My plots revolve around a ghost who has some unfinished business that the characters need to unravel before the spirit can rest in peace. After all, even ghosts need goals and motivation to make the story work!
Of course, romance is a big part of my novels as well, because I love love stories as well! Who doesn’t want to see a meant-to-be couple finally get their Happily Ever After, once they’ve managed to overcome all the obstacles in their way? Readers get to experience all those emotions associated with falling in love while rooting for the characters to find their way to each other.
So, yeah, I have a thing for ghost mysteries mixed with romance. What started this?
Well, when I was in second grade, my father brought home the usual weekly stack of chapter books the local librarian had recommended for me. Generally, the books revolved around horses, my main interest as an 8-year-old girl. But sometimes other subject matter found its way into the pile, and this time, there was a book entitled Jane-Emily, by Patricia Clapp. The tag line read “A ghost story…and a love story”. My first paranormal romance, this YA book is both a sweet romance and a spooky ghost story. I was hooked. I read that book over and over again throughout my childhood. I made my best friend read it. To this day, we’re both still scared of those silvery reflecting balls that sit on pedestals in yards.
Ten years ago, I purchased my own copy (finally!) from ebay and read it to my kids. The ghost of 12-year-old Emily still delivers chills even after all these years as she unleashes her wrath on 9-year-old Jane–but of course the romance piece was there as well between the hunky Doctor and Jane’s young aunt Louisa.
This childhood favorite has made a lifetime mark, impacting what I write as an author–although the romantic element in my novels is decidedly steamier, as my books are meant for more mature readers. But I still go back to revisit Jane-Emily from time to time–my copy from eBay sits on the bookshelf. And I may never have discovered this book without my Dad’s dedicated trips to the library to keep me reading for pleasure.
For more info on my romance/ghost mysteries, visit my Amazon page here!