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Cam Shaw is hoping that her life will be ghost-free from now on. But that hope dies with the appearance of Mac “the Faker” Green, a wise-cracking ghost from Vegas who has followed her grandmother home. And during the opening night of Blithe Spirit, someone has sent Susan Ingram to her ghostly afterlife. What does her death have to do with the death of her mother-in-law fifty years ago? Who is trying to wipe out the Ingram family one person at a time? And when will that Vegas ghost stop sticking his nose into Cam’s business?
Q: Thanks for stopping by Island Confidential, Teresa. Can you tell us a little bit about your protagonist, Cam?
A: Cam Shaw is a ghostwriter who suddenly found herself able to see and talk to ghosts. You can imagine how unnerving something like that would be. Her first encounter with a ghost was Stanley Ashton in the first Ghostwriter book, and it didn’t leave her with a warm, fuzzy feeling. Her parents live in the same town; her father, Jim, a retired Methodist minister, and her mother, Charlotte, running a coffeehouse that is located downtown. She sometimes finds herself running interference between her mother and her grandmother, Grandma Alma, is a bit of a wild child at times. Overall, Cam loves her life. Being able to communicate with ghosts, well, let’s just say it’s definitely turned her life a bit upside down and sent her in a direction she didn’t expect.
Q: How much of you is in Can Shaw? How would you feel about her if you met her in real life?
A: Way too much of me is like Cam! I love Dr Pepper, I do have penguin lounging pants, I love to read, I’m a writer (not a ghostwriter like Cam, though), and I have a close relationship with my family. Cam’s parents in the story are based on my own, and Grandma Alma is based on my grandmother, although she was never as wild as Grandma Alma is in the books.
Q: Do your characters change and evolve throughout consecutive books in the series?
A: This is only the second book in the series, but yes, I think they do. Randy, Cam’s best friend, is starting a new relationship, and Grandma Alma has a relationship. Even Cam has changed, because of this new ghostly ability, as well as her relationship with Mike. She’s learning that she can depend on her family and friends when the chips are down. I think the person who is going to evolve the most is Mike. As a police chief, he’s always been a by-the-book, follow the rules kind of guy. Now, he finds himself dating someone who can talk to ghosts, and it kind of unnerves him that she’s able to provide information that can help him close his cases, but he can’t tell anyone how he got that information. That’s not an easy thing to do for someone who has to be able to provide evidence to solve his cases. He can’t go to a judge and say, “A ghost told me that so and so killed him.” They’d lock him up in the funny farm!
Q: Have you ever thought of killing someone that you know in real life–on the pages of a murder mystery, I mean?
A: You mean you’ve seen my hit list? (laughs) Actually, there are a couple of people that have irritated the bejesus out of me, and I will admit to wondering how to turn them into my next victim. I’ve actually had a couple of people ask me to “kill” them in my books. No, really!
Q: How realistic is your setting? Do you take liberties, or are you true to life?
A: Very realistic! Waxahachie is the setting for this series, and it is a real place (I live here!). In this book, I do my best to describe the Waxahachie Community Theatre, which was built in the early 1900s, and is located near the entrance of Getzendaner Park. One of my editors sent me a message one night: “Waxahachie has a lake?!” Yes, we really do! It’s called Lake Waxahachie.
Q: When the movie or TV series is made, who plays the major parts?
A: Oh gosh, what a question! Let me think…Emma Stone as Cam (she’s a redhead like Cam & I); maybe Channing Tatum as Mike; Doris Roberts as Grandma Alma; Len Cariou as Jim; Polly Draper as Charlotte; Ryan Reynolds as Randy. Now I’m going to be thinking about this the rest of the day, so this lineup is subject to change!
Q: What’s the worst and best advice you’ve heard or received as an author?
A: I’m not sure if this is the worst advice, but it was the worst thing that was ever said to me. A publisher liked the first book I ever wrote, but he wanted me to make it longer (it’s only 84 pages). He said no one would go for a novella from a no-name writer. I thought about it, and declined, because I felt it would ruin the story. Now that goes hand in hand with the best advice, which I got from my father. He told me to remember why I wrote the stories I wrote, why I wrote them the way I wrote them. “Do you write for money, or do you write to tell a story?” he asked me. I said to write a story. “Then be true to yourself, and write them the way you want to. That’s the most important thing.”
About The Author
I’m the daughter of a semi-retired Methodist minister, and have spent most of my life living in Texas and New Mexico (no, I am not a native Texan; I was born in the state of Washington). I graduated from West Texas A&M University with a bachelor’s degree in 2000. I taught school for a couple of years before realizing that I really wanted to spend my time writing.
I’m a daughter, mother, wife, sister. Currently, I live in North Texas with my husband (still getting used to being an empty nester!). I love sports, and spend my free time harassing my husband about his Cowboys losing to my Redskins (and Steelers). Who Invited the Ghost to Dinner? is my tenth book (second book for the Ghostwriter series). I also write the Lizzie Crenshaw Mysteries (next book for this series is Death Drives a Zamboni).
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