The (Ghost) Stories We Tell

GUEST BLOG: New York Times published essayist, Cold War Queen, and Historical Fiction Author Victoria Dougherty  (The Bone Church) Featured on Cover 2 Cover with Jami and Michele; Blogtalk Radio Thursdays at 7 p.m. EST. 

The (Ghost) Stories We Tell

When Michele Gwynn and Jami Brumfield asked me to come on their Blog Talk Radio program, Cover to Cover, I figured I was in for an interesting time. Case in point, Michele writes about murders, angels, aliens, ghosts and a German dominatrix who changes careers and becomes an officer in the State Police. Jami is a passionate paranormalist (Is that even a word? Don’t know, but it fits) and hypnotherapist, no less, who writes fun and suspenseful novels about witches, vampires, ghosts, werewolves and forbidden love.

Pull me up a chair.

Not surprisingly, our conversation got a little bit woo-woo when Michele asked me about the paranormal elements in my own work.

It’s funny, I don’t consider myself a paranormal writer at all, and I think if you go strictly by genre rules, I’m not. I’m a Historical Fiction kind of girl, who weaves some pretty significant Thriller aspects into my stories. But more often than not, a certain degree of magical realism does define the way I spin a yarn. My characters can have visions – religious or otherwise, divine love (albeit wrongly) from some pretty sadistic acts, and see the occasional ghost. One of my characters even becomes the Angel of Death after his own untimely demise.

I suppose that is a bit unusual for Historical Fiction.

But not unusual in history. History is filled with leaders who feel they were communing with God or being whispered to by spirits. Just ask Joan of Arc, the Egyptians, or any number of Native American tribesmen or women – especially ones from days past. Nor is a paranormal element unusual in historical writing. Homer comes to mind. Macbeth.

In my own life, I’ve always felt a co-existence with the “other.” From niggling feelings that end up being prophetic to simply answered prayers. Like any self-respecting history buff, I live in a house that was built while Thomas Jefferson was still among the living, for heaven’s sake. Our living room has been a bar, a theater, a train station. Countless people have lived, died, made love and given birth in our home. Our cellar was even used as an interim morgue for fallen Civil War soldiers.
So, I know a thing or two about living with the dead.

And I can’t imagine telling a story that doesn’t acknowledge at least the potential for belief in the existence of other worlds, of souls, of an overlap in space and time that even Einstein allowed for.

Because really, does any one of us know a single someone out there who doesn’t have a ghost story to tell?



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