It gives me great pleasure to share Rhoda Baxter’s guest post, ten thoughts about ghosts, with you today.
September last year saw Rhoda in my hot seat chatting about her latest novel Please Release Me which was published in digital format. The paperback was released in June 2016.
What if you could only watch as your bright future slipped away from you?
Sally Cummings has had it tougher than most but, if nothing else, it’s taught her to grab opportunity with both hands. And, when she stands looking into the eyes of her new husband Peter on her perfect wedding day, it seems her life is finally on the up.
That is until the car crash that puts her in a coma and throws her entire future into question.
In the following months, a small part of Sally’s consciousness begins to return, allowing her to listen in on the world around her – although she has no way to communicate.
But Sally was never going to let a little thing like a coma get in the way of her happily ever after …
Please Release Me can be purchased from all good book stockists.
I’ve never met a ghost. I’m not even sure I believe in them. But when I had the idea for Please Release Me, I knew it had to have a ghost in it. Moreover, the ghost had to be wearing a wedding dress. This left me with a few options – the obvious one being that whatever happened, happened on her wedding day. Which means that the guy she was married to was a widower now … Nah. This was too easy. Option 2 was that she wasn’t actually dead. The ghost was her spirit trying to get back into her comatose body. Her husband is still her husband, but he can’t see her and doesn’t know if she’ll ever wake up. This was the character who became Sally. I had a brilliant time writing Sally because she was borderline psychotic. So. Much. Fun.
Once that was decided, I needed to do some thinking about ghosts. I thought I’d share my list of random things to do with ghosts in general and Sally in particular. Most of it comes from watching films and TV. Ghost, Truly Madly Deeply, Being Human, Doctor Who … all sources of inspiration.
1) Ghostly spirits and alcoholic spirits are different things. See this glass full of clear liquid here- not a ghost. That woman who just walked through the sofa. That’s a ghost. They will both make you cold on contact with your skin … but I can drink the stuff in the glass (woah. That’s strong). You cannot drink a ghost. I don’t recommend you try.
2) There have to be rules. Writing paranormal stories is all well and good but the story must be consistent within itself. Ghost Sally can only go to places her live body has been to. Just as well, really, because that’s what stopped her chasing Grace down the stairwell that first time.
3) The big question is ‘can they walk through walls?’ Ghosts walking through walls – that’s practically the law, right? Except… Sally has never been through a wall before. If she can’t go where her body hasn’t been – then she can’t go through a wall. She can, however, walk through doors, provided she’s been through them when they were open. Ah, you say. She walked through a table in the kitchen. Well the table’s been moved – it wasn’t in the same place when she was last there. So there.
4) Ghosts make places feel cold. Again, another thing that happens in all ghost stories and when people recount encounters. It’s cold. I reckon this is to do with energy. Cold isn’t a thing in itself, it’s just the absence of heat. So … maybe, just maybe … the ghost is taking up some heat energy to make you see it, which makes it feel cold.
5) Poltergeists are ghosts that can move things. It must take a lot of energy to move physical objects. Patrick Swayze learned how to throw things when he was in a fit of high emotion in Ghost, so I figured Sally could do the same. Of course, Patrick Swayze played a ghost with rational and honourable intentions. I’m not sure I can say the same for Sally …
6) Ghosts can possess people. Sally finds this out by accident when she finds she can influence choices of someone who is in a semi hypnotic state watching a slot machine. As Sally gets more powerful, her abilities grow.
7) Ghosts are people too. Seriously. Just because someone’s come back from the dead, it doesn’t mean they’re a different person. Sally the ghost was exactly the same as Sally the living woman, but more… transparent. It’s annoying to her that the only person who can see her is Grace, but Sally is resourceful and learns to work with that. What she doesn’t expect to find in Grace is friendship.
8) Not all ghosts swear, but this one does. A lot. (Weird, ‘cause I don’t!)
9) The kind of spirit that comes in a glass is very good for inspiration. Notes made under the influence have a touch of mad genius. Unfortunately, once you sober up, the ‘genius’ part tends to disappear.
10) If you’re writing about a ghost it’s very VERY tempting to put in a gag where one character responds to the ghost and the other character (who can’t see the ghost) gets confused. This is to be avoided because it’s a cliché.
Rhoda’s sense of humour shines through doesn’t it 🙂 I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it as much as I have!
Rhoda Baxter writes smart contemporary romantic comedy for Choc Lit Publishing. She likes to write about people who make her laugh.
In real life, she’s a former scientist who now works in intellectual property. She writes when her kids are asleep. She likes to pretend that sleep is for wimps. She also hears people chatting in her head but that had nothing to do with sleep deprivation. No way.
She lives in East Yorkshire, where the tea and cake is excellent.
Rhoda is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and her first book, Patently in Love was shortlisted for the RNA new writing award in 2012, it also came in the top 10 of the P&E poll (romance) in 2012. Her 2015 book, Please Release Me has been nominated for a Love Stories 2015 award. She’s very excited about that.
You can find out more about Rhoda and get free stuff (like chapters and bonus bits about the characters, recipes etc) by visiting her website. You can also follow her on Twitter @RhodaBaxter and visit her Facebook author page.