I’m happy to announce that the winner of Marionette via the ‘Tis More Blessed event—drum roll please—is Milo James Fowler. It’s fitting that the host of this event won since my mother always told me never to show up at a party without a gift for the host. I recently started following his blog and I’m quickly becoming a fan. And I started reading his 1 Dozen—Short Tales Of The Strange And Spectacular collection and I’m impressed. Very impressed. Look for a review in 2014.
Last Thursday, I spotlighted Julie Flanders novel, The Ghosts of Aquinnah. The original plan for Thursday was to host an interview with Julie. However, the blogging gremlins interfered and the interview had to be postponed. Today I’m happy to share the interview. Thanks Julie for being so understanding.
Julie, thanks so much for stopping by today. And congrats on your latest release. Can you tell us more about The Ghosts of Aquinnah?
Thanks for having me here! I’m always thrilled to be able to talk about Ghosts. It takes place on the island of Martha’s Vineyard and alternates between the present day and 1884. The primary storyline is in 1884 and it’s a combination mystery, ghost story and love story.
What type of research did you do to write this novel?
I didn’t have to do research on the setting because my father’s family has been on Martha’s Vineyard for generations and I’ve been going there for summer vacations since I was a kid. But I did have to research the Vineyard of the late 1800s and get a sense of what the island was like then. I love history so that wasn’t a chore for me at all. The story begins with a real shipwreck, The City of Columbus, which went down off the coast of the island in January, 1884, so I researched that wreck as well.
Did you love ghost stories as a kid? What’s the scariest one you’ve heard?
I did! I went to a Catholic elementary school and when I was in the third grade a group of us loved to tell ghost stories during recess. The one that scared me the most was about the nuns at the convent near our school. The convent is located at the top of a steep hill which drops down to the Ohio River, and one student told a story about “Sister’s Hill” and the ghosts of nuns who haunted it. I can’t remember the details, but I know it scared me to no end.
You’ve also published Polar Night. Can you tell us more about it?
Sure, thank you for asking! Polar Night was totally different than The Ghosts of Aquinnah for me because it is set in Alaska, where I’ve never been. So I had to do a ton of research on the setting and I hope I did it justice. The story takes place in the dead of winter when Alaska has near 24-hour darkness, the polar night. It’s a paranormal thriller that combines the supernatural with a traditional detective story.
Recently you did a book signing. How did it go? Where you nervous at all?
Unfortunately the book signing was canceled due to bad weather, but I was totally nervous all week just thinking about it! But I will have to wait now for another opportunity to have my first signing. I know whenever I do one I will be nervous.
In 2011 and 2012 you worked on a project called Travels with Clancy. As a huge Steinbeck fan, I have to say I’m jealous. How did the travels go? Did you and Clancy learn a lot? Will you be writing a book about your experiences?
Oh, thanks for asking about this. I am also a Steinbeck fan and loved Travels with Charley. But unlike Steinbeck and his dog Clancy and I didn’t travel across the country, we just stayed in my area. I got the idea to try to explore the area and find the beauty in my own backyard. Clancy loves nothing more than riding in the car so I knew he’d love going with me. We explored lots of parks and hiking trails in this region and I discovered that there are tons of beautiful dog-friendly areas around here. All in all I had a lot of fun with it and I think Clancy enjoyed it too. I originally wanted to write some type of essay about it but I never have.
Are you working any projects at the moment?
I’m working on a sequel to Polar Night, called Polar Day. This time the story takes place in the summer, when Alaska has nearly 24 hour daylight. I haven’t been able to get very far on it but it’s another paranormal thriller with a new monster this time around.
I see you are a member of Insecure Writer’s Support Group. How did you find out about the group and do you find it helpful? Would you recommend it?
I can’t remember for sure how I found out about it, I think I just saw Alex posting about his idea to start the group and decided to get involved. I definitely find it helpful and would highly recommend it; I think it’s a fantastic way to get to know more writers and bloggers. It’s a great group of caring and supportive people and I feel fortunate to be part of it. I don’t think anyone imagined it would grow the way it has but I think it’s wonderful and look forward to it each month.
Lastly, you are an extremely busy person, how do you find the time to relax and what do you like to do?
I am lucky in that even though I work full-time I live very close to where I work and don’t have a long commute at all. So I usually don’t have any trouble unwinding when I get home and I am able to relax and leave work at the office for the day. I’ve found that writing helps me relax more than anything else so I’m always happy to make time for that.
Thank you for interviewing me, TB! I really enjoyed your questions.
Another freezes a cloaked figure within a frame of salty mist as waves crash against a rocky shore. Her harrowing expression shadows the beacon to a pinprick.
By the next blaze, she is gone. Only the lighthouse remains.
Hannah’s eyes blink in step with each heartbeat. Images of her deceased parents and Martha’s Vineyard explode like firecrackers inside her mind.
She shakes her head.
For weeks this eerie woman dressed in nineteenth century garb has been haunting my webcam, but tonight she stared into my soul.
Who is she? …
Casting aside months of research on historic lighthouses, Hannah drives to the coast and boards a ferry.
What is the strange connection she has to this mysterious woman suspended in time?
Hannah finds out.
But, it’s not at all what she expects…
Hannah unravels a century old murder.
Julie Flanders is a novelist and freelance writer in Cincinnati, Ohio. She has a life-long love affair with the ocean and has spent more summer vacations than she can count on the island of Martha’s Vineyard. When not writing, Julie can be found playing with her pets, reading, cheering on her favorite sports teams, and watching too much television. The Ghosts of Aquinnah is Julie’s second novel. Her debut novel Polar Night was released in February, 2013 by Ink Smith Publishing.
Find Julie at:
Before I go today, I want to wish everyone happy holidays. I’ll be taking the rest of the year off. Have a marvelous time and see you in 2014!