Saturday, July 12, 2014

Finding the Way Back - Ghosts and Memories

From the time I was a little girl, I've always wanted to write a ghost story.  I remember watching the television version of The Ghost and Mrs. Muir and pretending it was my story.  In the fall I would rake paths through a grove of birch trees in the backyard pretending it was a little house with different clumps of trees designated as rooms.  I was the heroine looking up at my make believe painting and talking to it.  Answering the door to a nonexistent rental agent or traveling salesman, and having them put out by my impatient ghost.  The ghost was also there to do my bidding and keep me company.  We had a rioting good time.  It was a time where you weren't embarrassed by pretend worlds and people.  You didn't need to hide your make believe characters and stories.

As I grew up I read all the Gothic stories I could find.  Barbara Michaels, Daphne Du Maurier, Phyllis A.Whitney, Mary Stewart -- I could go on and on -- filled my reading hours.  I loved the pervading sense of doom, the covers with a woman in flowing dresses running from an old mansion, and the stories of secrets lost in time.  When I was alone I was continually making up stories and conversations in my head, sometimes they even made it to paper.  I'd reread what I had written and, unsatisfied, I would toss it out.  And so it went for many years.

Now, I've written stories of magic, fantasy, and other worlds but not about ghosts until this story came to me.  It was right after a doctor's appointment where the results started making me think about how little time we have here in this life.  It's not as if I had cancer but I certainly wasn't getting younger.  If I wanted to write a ghost story now was the time to do it.  I started writing a rough outline then scenes just started to appear in my head.  All of the classes Geo and I had taken were starting to really assemble into a process.  I started April 2, 2012 and by June 1st I had my first draft done.  I had actually finished a novel. I still had a long way to go before I would submit.  Geo and I did rewrites, then more rewrites, then even more rewrites.  I still wasn't sure I wanted to send it out for publication but Geo gently prodded, then ultimately sent out the submission for me when I was too nervous to do it myself.

I don't remember all the places we tried to send a submission but we didn't have any luck.  After joining Romance Writer's of America I heard about Melange publishing.  An editor was a member of the chapter and several members were published from the small press from White Bear Lake.  We took a chance and sent in my short story, Within Reach, and a bit later were accepted.  Being excited we decided to send them the novel as well.  We were so excited when it was accepted also.  We were on the path to publication.

After all the edits and rewrites the release day loomed and then came.  Time to wait for the reaction of family, friends and those I've never met.  They will like or dislike my story, but I hold onto the fact that I set out to tell a tale of ghosts and to entertain the reader - and I hope that's what I have accomplished!

Here is a link to my book trailer - Finding the Way Back Trailer


Anonymous said...

I can't wait to read your ghost story. I have a friend who is reading it and can only read it during the day. She gets 'spooked'. Not me, love the scary stuff like you, Jill.

Jill Bisker said...

Thanks Aubrey! I had no idea someone would really get spooked! That's wonderful really.