Is it just me or when you’re following a book blog tour and you’re reading fantastic guest posts and interviews and discovering fabulous new bloggers to read, do you ever think “God, this is great but, dammit, I wish there were more ghosts!”
Just me then, I guess.
Usually, in this situation, I would move on swiftly… maybe with a hilarious joke to distract you at how much of a loser I am for having a passion for all things ghosty.
But this time I don’t have to because, ladies and gentlemen, I have met my soul mate.
The incomprehensibly brilliant Shirley Marr is just as much of a Ghost Geek (GG) as I am!
I’ve always been a believer in ghosts and the paranormal and the person I have always wanted to be when I grow up is Yvette Fielding. Make of that as you will….
So imagine my JOY when I was trying to decide what “theme” to base my Preloved Blog Tour Post on and I sent Shirley Marr a speculative e-mail with one question:
“Do you believe in ghosts?”
And her reply was:
“OF COURSE I DO!”
What follows is the two of us geeking out completely and utterly because we want to and we can.
So, grab a torch, stick it under your chin, light a campfire… actually, wait no… don’t. I do not want you to blame me for houses burning down….
And join Shirley and I as we discuss all things spectral.
Paranormal books get a bit of a rough time in YA circles. Words such as ‘cliché’ and phrases like ‘already been done’ get thrown around a lot. Were you nervous that people might lump Preloved in within that group?
Oooo. Straight onto the tough questions. I love it! Honestly, I don’t mind being lumped into the paranormal genre if that’s what I’ve written. I keep thinking back to The Changeover by Margerat Mahey, which was written about twenty years before the modern paranormal popularity boom. It’s book that I absolutely loved when I was a wee thing and it’s a landmark Aussie YA classic. So if I am lumped in with books like that, then it’s an honour.
What makes Preloved different to the others?
I wrote Preloved along the lines of a contemporary Aussie YA fiction that just happened to have a ghost in it. As opposed to picking up a paranormal cookie cutter format with the obligatory three-novel story arc, forbidden instalove romance, dodgy mythological elements, climatic battle scenes… you know the drill. So I hope it has a different hybrid feel to it, but more predominantly contemporary. The other problem I have with the paranormal genre is that it takes itself oh so seriously and oh so real. I mean, what if the narrator was only seeing ghosts because they were having a psychological breakdown? Exploring the psychological, as opposed to supernatural, perspective intrigued me more and that’s what I wanted to do in Preloved.
Do you believe in ghosts?
Apparently I saw the ghost of my recently-deceased grandad when I was three years old. In Chinese tradition, it is believed that the spirit of the buried come back home after seven days. On that exact night, I told my family that Grandad came into my room and he stole my pacifier. That was a game that he used to play with me when he was alive. I was too young to lie or to understand the belief, so that makes you really think doesn’t it? And the other thing – Toddler Shirley’s pacifier was never found.
What’s the scariest thing that has ever happened to you?
Believe it or not, every holiday is always the scariest thing ever because I’m scared of ending up in a haunted hotel room! When it comes to bed time and I’m draping a towel over the TV set because I’m scared that something might crawl out of it (The Ring style) then you know you are dealing with a serious ghost phobic! And there’s always less room for one book in my luggage ‘cos I have to bring the Bible with me. Am currently unsure if a Kindle version will work.
If you had the chance to go to any haunted destination in the world, where would you go and why?
I would go and stay at the Banff Springs Hotel in Canada! It’s supposed to be the most haunted hotel in the world. Apparently there is a bricked up room number 873 that the hotel denies exists, but which was the location of a horrific murder and which guests can hear noises coming from in the middle of the night. Yes, I know this is an odd choice, but there’s only one way to conquer a fear right?
I bet you were the kid who would tell everyone ghost stories at sleepovers (don’t worry, I was one of them kids too). Which are your favourite ones?
Oooo! I loved those good old days! Listen. This one is a true story actually. My late uncle rented this apartment once in Singapore and he couldn’t believe his luck because not only was it really huge, it was also really cheap. Because he was on business most of the time, he just wanted somewhere he could crash whenever he was in the country. He was to learn why it was cheap later on.
Anyway, my aunt and some of the others in the family who were in charge of occasionally dropping by to check on things, decided to stay overnight this one time. In the middle of the night my Aunt heard this noise. It was like a creaking noise that kept repeating itself. Right outside the door. She woke everyone up who was also sleeping in the room and asked them if they could hear it too. And they could. Everyone was shitting themselves and too chicken to go into the hall and see what it was. So they decided to try and peak under the bottom of the door to see if anything was there. Nothing. But the sounds was still there, right outside the door. Creak. Creak. Creeeeeak. Although somewhat familiar, she couldn’t quite place the sound.
A few days after, my aunt talked to one of the neighbours who commented “Aren’t you scared of that apartment?” “Why?” asked my aunt. “Because there was a death there once. The owner killed himself by hanging himself in the doorway outside his bedroom.” That’s when my aunt freaked out. Of course that’s why they couldn’t see anything through the crack under the door. Not if the “thing” was suspended off the floor. My aunt realised then that the creaking noise sounded just like a rope… with something heavy attached to it like a body… swinging back and forth, back and forth….
If you could have a ghost visit you from any era/place for the day, where would they have come from and what would you get up to?
I would love a visit from a girl my age and social standing from any of the ancient Chinese Dynasties. Watching romanticised movies from that time makes me wish I lived back then, but I’m sure it was very hard. What I want to do is show her how I live and what I do and to find out whether I am considered lucky or not. I always think modern life is incredibly blessed, but it’s also very hard and I would love a definitive answer. Otherwise I would LOVE a guy my age from the 80s. We could go on a date and I bet it would be hilarious.
OK, picture this, you have to spend the weekend in a haunted house with three people. Who would they be and why?
Markus Zusak – so that every time something goes bump in the night I have someone’s buff arm to hang onto. Plus he can take everyone’s mind off things by reading Bridge of Clay. And Fox Mulder and Dana Scully so I can have one believer and one sceptic to keep things balanced. Plus Mulder & Scully are my favourite paranormal couple ever. If I could have a fourth person I would bring you with me Jo.
[Added by Jo: OF COURSE YOU CAN HAVE FOUR PEOPLE. MY BAGS ARE ALREADY PACKED. Um… I mean… yeah, sure I think I could have some time off work.]
Are there lots of ghosts like Logan drifting around waiting to fall in everyday heroines?
According to my mum, yes. But you should never fall in love with a ghost because there’s only one way that the two of you can end up together and it isn’t because they’re coming back from the dead.
And, finally, do you have any advice for girls who find that they have inadvertently fallen in love with a ghost?
Real boys are way better because you can snuggle into them. If you try and make out with a ghost in public and you’re the only one who can see them, people will be very scared of you. But if you do fall in love with a ghost, don’t do anything rash. If you believe in the Afterlife, agree to meet them there at a specified time in the future, making sure it allows for you to live a very long natural life. If you believe in reincarnation, agree to get born at the same time and then meet up at a suitable time when you are both alive and single. It might help to have a password like say “Preloved” whereby you can identify each other. Good luck girls! If you take Agony Aunty Shirley’s advice, let me know how the relationship pans out.
Thanks so much to the wonderful Jo for having me on her flirty, fun and fabulous blog today! Tomorrow I will be heading off to The Readventurer where I go back in time to high school (YA Author Heights High to be exact) and demonstrate my awesome skills at Art, Science and my speciality – lunch time. I hope not to fail Math. You don’t want to miss it, but till then – seeya later cool kids.
OK, Shirley Marr, let’s make a deal. I’ll spend a night with you at the Banff Springs Hotel if you’ll spend a night with me in Blair Street vaults in Edinburgh and/or Chillingham Castle.
Thank you to the wonderful Shirley for answering my questions.
Do you want to be in for a chance of winning a copy of Preloved?
You do? Oh good! Because Shirley and the wonderful people and Walker have provided me with a copy for just that reason.
Pretty simple rules: To enter this International Giveaway- just leave a comment on this post (don’t forget to include your e-mail!) and you’ll be entered into the draw. The winner will be chosen randomly and announced on Sunday 29th April so you have just under a week!
Also, because this book is extra difficult to hold of in the UK… I’m giving one extra entry to all people who live in the UK.
I’m good like that, you see.
Good luck everyone!