Here’s the thing…it’s my job to freak you out. Truly. And barring that, it’s my job to make you cry. Barring that, I should at least be able to make you laugh.
And if I can’t make you do any of that…well then clearly you are dead inside.
The truth is, I loooove writing scary stories that are balanced with either a whole lotta funny, or, something emotionally powerful that makes the reader well up a little. Sometimes I’m lucky, and my stories are both scary and riddled with punch lines. Other times, the focus is a bit more serious, and funny may not always be appropriate. Each book is a little different with its own unique combo of, “Eeek!” + “Haha!” + “Sniffle!”
Mostly, though, I want your heart to pound, your funny bone to itch, and your eyes to leak. And it delights me if all of that would happen to you someplace public – the subway, the lunch counter, the library. Can you tell that I’m a bit of a sadist?
Still, I will give fair warning for my M. J. Holliday fans that my latest release, NO GHOULS ALLOWED, is super-duper scary. As in…even I had trouble writing once it got dark out. And to balance that “better keep the lights on” feeling, I had a choice to either bring on the funny, or reach for something a little more emotional. I went for emotional. “EEEEK” + “SNIFFLE!” + perhaps only a soupçon of “ha!”
Mostly I thought that after nine books it was high time for my fans to get a better sense of M. J.’s character. For those of you who’ve read the series, you know that my plucky little protagonist has been a bit of an enigma, which hasn’t always been on purpose. I was excited to write this particular installment to finally fully explore what makes M. J.,…well,…M. J. In the end I can honestly say that it was such a satisfying endeavor. I finally feel like I’ve presented her fully to you, my fans. I feel like you now know why she is the way she is, tough, cool, but also a person capable of caring deeply for those she loves, and I’m not sure that in previous books that always came through.
It also, I think, finally makes it clear why M. J. would put up with her BFF Gilley’s antics all these years, because, as you all well know, he can be just a bit of a handful.
To be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever been closer to M. J.’s character than I was while writing this book. She’s the most like me in this ninth installment – except of course that if someone asked me to go explore a haunted old mansion I’d be all, “Uh…I would, but I think I have to be somewhere else right now. And tomorrow. And the day after that. And for the rest of my life.”
So, yeah, I’m totally willing to scare the pants off you, because, like I said, that’s just fun for me. And if you could also throw in a chuckle and a sniffle, that’d be super swell, too.
About NO GHOULS ALLOWED
On a trip to Georgia to see her father, M. J. Holliday finds herself trapped in a haunted mansion and discovers…
The South will rise again–from the dead.
M.J. has had a distant relationship with her father since her mother died more than two decades ago. But when M.J., her boyfriend, Heath, and BFF, Gilley, take a break from their show, Ghoul Getters, and visit her family home in Valdosta, Georgia, they find Montgomery Holliday a changed man. The source of his happiness seems to be his new fiancée, the charming Christine Bigelow.
But despite the blush of new love, Montgomery and Christine are dealing with a big problem in the form of the antebellum mansion she is having renovated. After a series of strange accidents, the work crew is convinced the place is cursed, and the contractor has walked off the job. At Christine’s request, M.J. and her pals agree to find out if they’re really dealing with some spirited saboteurs and a possessed plantation home.
Read Fresh Fiction’s review of NO GHOULS ALLOWED here!