Southerners and Incorporating the Paranormal – Guest Post by Karen White

Thank you to Karen White for joining us today.  I have previously reviewed her book “The Lost Hours” and in the next month will be reviewing “The House on Tradd Street” and the sequel, which is being released today, “The Girl on Legare Street.”

It’s Fall—finally!  The air is cooler, the leaves are dressing up in their holiday finest, and, best of all, the children are back in school full time.  It’s Homecoming and Friday night football games, bonfires, hayrides, and, my favorite, haunted houses.

Why this fascination with haunted houses?  Maybe it’s because I’m a Southerner and for us it seems to be a natural leap from sweet tea, grits and good manners to believing you can speak with family members who’ve crossed to the other side.

My grandmother was known for her premonition of Pearl Harbor, and frequently saw her husband who had predeceased her by nearly 20 years.  My own son, when he was about 4 years old, definitely saw something in our house one evening as I was getting him ready for bed.  And my father, for no reason I can discern, used to read to me ghost stories that were supposed to be true before bedtime.  I think I was a teenager before I actually slept in my own bed instead of under my parents’.

Growing up, my reading material reflected my interest in things that go bump in the night.  I cut my reading teeth on Nancy Drew and quickly progressed to Victoria Holt gothics.  In college, I graduated to Stephen King and Anne Rice—great stuff as long as you’re not reading at night.

When I started writing my own books, I tended to tuck in a paranormal element here and there, but never anything that might have labeled my books “paranormal.”  “In the Shadow of the Moon” had time traveling, “After the Rain” had pennies that appeared from nowhere,” The Color of Light” had a little girl who could talk with people who weren’t visible to anybody else.

I suppose it was just a matter of time before the idea for a series about a Charleston realtor who sees dead people and helps solve mysteries reared its head—and thus “The House on Tradd Street” and its sequel, “The Girl on Legare Street,” was born.  Whereas my other books, which I call southern women’s fiction or “grit lit” tend to be darkly emotional, these books are more women’s fiction lite, with a dash of humor, romance, mystery and, of course, ghosts.  They have all the elements of the books I like to read, and they seem to have found a loyal readership, too, which tells me I’m not alone in my fascination with the unexplained.  I’m thrilled that my publisher has asked for books 3 and 4 in the series so there will be plenty more adventures for my ghost-speaking realtor and her true-crime mystery writer heart throb/sidekick.

We’re heading for England and Scotland next summer to celebrate my daughter’s graduation from high school and, of course, I will look for a haunted Scottish castle to stay in because that’s what I do.  I can’t really say that I actually want to experience a haunting but, being a writer, I can only hope that whatever happens will be the seeds for the next book.

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