I love ghost stories. That’s probably a side effect of being born on Halloween. While I’ve never seen an actual ghost, it’s not for lack of trying. When I was a kid, my friends and I used to spend our October evenings waiting until it was dark so we could go throw rocks at the haunted shed on the back of our property to see if we could get the ghost to come out. We saw things and heard things—shadows and sparks and footsteps—and once a rock came back at us, but I can’t say for sure that I ever saw a ghost. I guess I’ll have to keep trying.
In the meantime, I like to read about other people’s encounters with the supernatural. One of my favorite souvenirs to pick up on vacation is a book of local haunted lore. What better way to get to know a place than to read about what scares the people who live there? I’ve read haunted tales from all over the country, from Alaska to Montana to my own city of Austin, where you can take a tour of the most haunted spots in town. (I recommend it.)
So when Arcadia Publishing decided to adapt their Haunted America series for middle grade readers and offered me a chance to write one of the books, I jumped at the opportunity.
Ghost stories? Local lore? Scaring children? Check, check, and CHECK. I knew this project was right up my haunted alley.
In April and May, between online teaching and online grading and zoom meetings and virtual celebrations and socially-distanced parades, I was writing and revising The Ghostly Tales of New England. I was grateful to be busy. This project helped keep me sane during a stressful time. Plus, it was a lot of fun. I mean, getting paid to write stories about mad doctors and lake monsters and ghost pirates and vengeful witches? It doesn’t get much better than that.
It was especially cool getting to write about New England because I’ve visited those states a few times. It’s a gorgeous part of the country, full of history and beauty. I loved going to the beach, eating delicious lobster, and seeing where some of the great writers of the past are buried (as well as some of the great ice cream flavors of the past).
[Pictured above: The final resting places of Washington Irving, Louisa May Alcott, and Rainforest Crunch]
If only I’d known that some of the locations I visited were haunted! Like the picturesque Nubble Lighthouse in Maine and Mystic Seaport in Connecticut. (You can read about the creepy side of these popular tourist spots in the book.)
I’m proud to announce that The Ghostly Tales of New England will be available on September 7, 2020, but you can pre-order a copy on Amazon. The book is written for grades 3-8 (ages 8-12) but will hopefully be entertaining for adults too.
Happy (Scary) Reading!
4 thoughts on “Ghostly Tales”
I love ghostly things. I would like to visit the home area of writers whose work I love. But it hasn’t been possible. Thanks for sharing. Rose Marie
That’s very exciting! Can’t wait to read it – already pre-ordered it!
I don’t like spooky stories, but I like to listen scary music (Black Sabbath) 😉 . I celebrate my birthday on Halloween too. In Poland, where I come from, we celebrate especially 2 following days: All saints’ day and Day of the dead. Maybe it sounds spooky, but it’s a nice chance to meet members of family and friends on… graveyard beside the graves of those who have gone, but stay in our memories. We talk, pray, light candles, set flowers and even listen to special “graveyard mass”. When I in these days walk after dark through the graveyard I see blazing sea of burning candles. It looks so warm in cold autumn evening.
Greetings from Poland 🙂
Thank you for your comment! I’ve always been intrigued by Day of the Dead and All Saints’ Day celebrations. They sound very life-affirming. And the image of the burning candles in the graveyard is lovely.