Guest post by high desert author
Roberta Smith, a Victor Valley author, reveals what influenced her to write novels about ghosts. She is a member of the high desert branch of California Writers Club. High Desert Blogging features articles by high desert authors about writing novels and nonfiction.
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.
Things That Influenced Interest in Ghost Novels
I was born with an interest in ghosts. As a kid, if a story had a ghost in it, I wanted to hear it. In putting my talk together, I realized four things influenced and developed this interest.
The first is a short story titled “Georgie.” Georgie is the original friendly ghost. The tale was in my beloved childhood anthology, “The Tall Book of Make-Believe.” I must have read that story a hundred times. I started naming pets Georgie, too.
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.
Roberta Smith has published five novels and has completed a draft of her first young adult novel, “Simone’s Ghosts.” You can learn about her books on her website: www.bertabooks.com .