Gwendolyn McTutcheon can’t move on even though she’s been dead for a year. Having left behind a grieving husband, Evan; and three sisters, Trudy, Bethany, and Sarah; she knows there is work yet to do.
Sarah, Gwen’s youngest sister, is back in town to help her two remaining sisters confront a depressed Evan about settling Gwen’s will. Still grieving—and raw from wrongful accusations made by Trudy and Bethany that he’d murdered his wife—Evan must set to the task of putting the past, and Gwen, to rest. But not all of the past stays in the past when Sarah offers her help and a romance between her and Evan begins. After all, it was that inappropriate kiss years ago that sparked the notion he might have harmed his wife in the first place.
As Gwen watches, unable to intervene, Trudy and Bethany keep secrets of their own, secrets that level the field and make Sarah consider coming home to stay again. But when an arsonist sets his sights on Evan’s bar, Duard’s, and Sarah’s life is threatened, Gwen knows she must find a way to intervene, for her family and for her own peace.
1. What “possessed” you (see what I did there?) to write HAUNTED?
There were a couple of things that prompted me to write Haunted. I primarily write stories that might be considered genre, but I hadn’t written anything focused on a fictional family, and I wanted to try that. I also wanted to write a piece of fiction about the things that happen between major life events. You know that saying, “Even when nothing is happening, something is happening.” I wanted to sort of address that idea in an interesting way, so I decided to write about the McTutcheon sisters a year after they had experienced the significant loss of their sister Gwen. Of course, I couldn’t quite pull myself completely away from genre and we get to hear from Gwen’s ghost.
2. What is your writing process? Are you an outliner or a pantser?
I am somewhere in between. I sort of gather my ideas and when I set out, I have a general sense of where I am headed. Perhaps I’ll have a few plot points or “notes” that I know I want to hit, but I always begin with character. Nothing happens without that. That’s how I approach novel length works. Short stories are slightly different in that I set tighter parameters. I have to or I’ll do things like let side plots take over or go way over the required word count.
3. Do you write full-time? If no, how do you fit in time for writing?
Well, I definitely put in a full 40 hour work week, if not more, into writing. But I do have a part time day job, which lets me pay bills and forces me to leave the house on days I would probably stay in my pajamas all day, dreaming out loud.
4. You self-published your novel. What do you think are the greatest challenges facing self-pubbers?
That is an excellent question. I think if you ask that of ten different self-publishers you might get ten different answers. There are a lot of hurdles your first time out. Coming to the decision to self-publish and then selecting which project you think might best be served by going the indie route are challenges all by themselves, but once you’ve done the deed, formatted, edited, selected cover art, edited again and hit the all-powerful “publish” button the biggest challenge is creating signal out of noise. What I mean by that is figuring out how to get the work into the awareness of the audience that might want it. Marketing and promotion are uncomfortable, but necessary. If you self-publish it means doing it yourself. There’s a ton of talk about this in the publishing blogosphere. The most recent example I can think of is Brian McLellan’s “An Author’s Complicated Relationship with Self-Promotion” https://www.brianmcclellan.com/blog/an-authors-complicated-relationship-with-self-promotion
The idea of doing your own PR can be daunting. My best advice is to do your best to have fun with it when you can, and when you can’t just recognize that every job, no matter how awesome, has its set of tasks that kind of suck. And then go do that set of tasks so you can get back to the business of writing.
5. What’s next for you?
I am so glad you asked that! A short story collection, Aliens in the Soda Machine and Other Strange Tales, is currently available for pre-order on Amazon. It will be released in digital and print on May 1, 2015.
The first draft of the sequel to Haunted was recently completed. It needs time to breath before I get into edits. I also have a post-apocalyptic dystopian trilogy in development with Devon Miller. The first book is complete and in editing. Another collaboration with Che Gilson is also in development. And of course, there’s also [redacted because super-secret and we haven’t built the decoder ring.]
Thanks for being here, Reggie!