I’m very excited to welcome another author to my blog! Please help me make Linda Rettstatt feel comfortable.
What was the inspiration for In The Spirit?
I’ve never dabbled in writing a paranormal story because, honestly, some paranormal scares me. But I got to thinking—what if a writer rented a mountain cabin for a few months to escape the familiar of the city in hopes of getting past writers block, only to soon learn the cabin is also inhabited by a ghost? Talk about potential distraction!
In In The Spirit , who is your favorite character and why?
I just love the character of Andrew McCabe, the ghost. He’s funny and not at all threatening and he is still deeply in love with his former fiancée and committed to finding out what happened to her. He wants nothing more than to have his own murder solved, the murderer arrested, and to reunite with his love, Laura, if she has preceded him in death.
Who is your least favorite character and why?
That’s tough. I should say the character of Daniel Flynn, the villain. But he’s very adept at being a murderous villain. I can’t fault him for that. He does, however, represent all that is dark and evil.
Tell us an interesting or fun fact – or a few -about In The Spirit.
The original story had a different setting—the New England shore—until I discovered a book recently published by another author that followed a similar vein and was set on the West Coast along the ocean. I felt I had to make changes to my story so as not to produce something too similar to that of another author. I think I ended up with a better story than my first version, so it paid off.
Do you ever experience writer’s block? How do you work through that?
I rarely experience anything that could be called writer’s block. I’m always working on more than one book at a time—usually two or three. If I hit a stumbling block on one book, I switch to a different one for a while.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I’m on the far end of the pantser scale, though I’ve learned it’s helpful to start with a working synopsis and keep a fact sheet about the characters so I don’t have to go back through pages and pages to remind myself of things like a character’s eye or hair color.
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
In my wildest dreams, I’d love to be successful enough to solely support myself from my writing. But that’s every author’s wildest dream. My goals right now are to strengthen my writing platform and grow my readership. And, of course, to continue to write the stories that touch my own heart and linger in my head.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
There’s something to do besides writing? Uh—just kidding. I like to travel with friends, visit the mountains or the seashore once in a while. Then there’s my day job in Social Services. I love doing nature photography when I do travel.
Do you have any advice for other writers trying to get published?
Yes. Always work to improve your skills. Let rejection teach you rather than discourage you. Surround yourself with other writers who will be both critically honest and encouraging. And, most importantly, stay true to your own voice, your own heart, and your own vision for your writing.
Can you share an excerpt of your current work? Why did you select this particular section to share?
Excerpt: In The Spirit
The form first appeared like a plume of smoke. But as her eyes adjusted, he came into focus—the same man she’d seen earlier. She backed away until her legs encountered the sofa. “Y-Y-You’re real?”
Andrew leaned against the wall, his arms crossed over his chest. “As real as a ghost can be. I’m sorry if this is frightening for you.”
“S-Sorry? You’re sorry? What the hell is going on here?” He moved toward her and she moved to the end of the sofa. She picked up the nearest object—the table lamp. “Don’t come any closer.”
“What are you going to do, en-lighten me?” He laughed again, but she continued to glare at him. He sobered and took a seat in the chair—his chair—the one she’d moved. “Sorry. It’s been a long time since I could actually talk with anyone. Okay. Let me explain.”
“Please do.” She clutched the lamp in front of her body.
“I came here two years ago to work and to spend time with my fiancée, Laura. She went out one evening to visit her sister. Laura had been divorced for a couple of years. Her ex-husband, Daniel Flynn, was crazy and abusive. He came here that night, killed me, and disposed of my body.”
Jessica gasped. “I remember. You disappeared and the case was never solved.”
Andrew nodded. “My spirit has been a prisoner in this cabin ever since. If I leave these walls, I’ll be gone forever.”
“So, why don’t you just leave? Go on to the hereafter?” She narrowed her eyes. “Unless you’re afraid of where you’re going for eternity.”
“I’m hoping for mercy. I can’t leave yet, because I have unfinished business with Mr. Flynn. And I need to find out what happened to Laura. She never came back here. That’s where you come in.”
“Me? Why me?” Feeling a bit more secure, she set the lamp down and shook her head. “Why the hell am I talking to a ghost?” She picked up her wine and downed the full glass.
“Alcohol is not the solution.” He took a few steps toward her. “In the past two years, you’re the only renter who’s been able to see and hear me, other than children and animals, like Binky.”
At the sound of her name, the cat streaked from beneath the sofa and disappeared into the kitchen.
“Mr. McCabe, I came here to work. If I don’t get this novel written, I may as well kiss my career goodbye.”
“Ah, well, then. That’s where I come in. You snoop around for me, find out where Daniel Flynn is now and what happened to Laura. I, in turn, will help you with your novel. I can be your ghostwriter—so to speak.”
“You’re joking, right?”
He grinned at her. “I already pointed out the error with your approach, didn’t I?”
“I…uh…” She paused. “Do you know how crazy this is? You’re a…a…ghost. I don’t even believe you exist.”
“Yet we’re having this conversation. Look, it’s late. Not that time matters to me, but you look exhausted. Why don’t you sleep on it, and we’ll discuss it again in the morning?”
“Sleep? You expect me to be able to sleep with a ghost in the house?”
He laughed. “I thought you didn’t believe in ghosts? Goodnight, Jess.” He turned on his heel, floated more than strode straight through the wall beneath the steps.
*** I chose this excerpt because it’s the first real meeting between Jessica and Andrew and gives us a glimpse into the personalities of both characters. I think it was at this point in the writing that I began to image Andrew as Nathan Fillion from the TV show, Castle—similar in both looks and personality.
In The Spirit is a novella available in ebook at Champagne Books http://champagnebooks.com/store/index.php?id_product=21&controller=product
Thanks so much for this interview and allowing me to introduce your readers to my writing.
Thanks again for stopping by, Linda! Looking forward to reading “In The Spirit”.