Episode 36: Halloween Special: Why I Write Ghost Stories

Welcome to the Halloween Special of Alchemy for Authors!

As an author who writes Gothic Fiction and Supernatural Suspense, it won’t be a surprise to you that I’ve had a fascination with ghosts and hauntings since childhood. In this episode, I get personal and share some of my thoughts about why I’ve always been drawn to write ghost stories and where I get my inspiration from.

If you have a fascination with ghosts and hauntings or are interested in why people write what they write, then this is the episode for you. As a bonus, I share some of my personal experiences and interactions with those who have passed over. You can expect a few goosebumps from this episode!

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, rate and review. It helps my little podcast stand out amongst the masses.

If you want to connect with me or share your own spooky story, you can find me here:

Follow me on Instagram: @alchemyforauthors and @jobuerauthor.

Join the Alchemy for Authors Facebook Page here.

Find the full transcript of this episode below.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

For more Ghost Stories check out: Episode 32: Writing, Vella, Query Letters & Ghosts with Brandon J. Greer

Join the Alchemy for Authors newsletter and download your FREE copy of Manifestation for Authors here.

Join my author newsletter and download a free copy of my short story collection Between the Shadows here.

Purchase my other books:

Voices: A Collection of Short Stories

Rest Easy Resort

Unspoken Truths

Episode 36: Halloween Special: Why I Write Ghost Stories

Hello, my lovelies. Welcome back to another episode of Alchemy for Authors.

So I’m so excited to have you join me today. It is October the 31st, 2022. So it is Halloween, which is one of my favorite times of the year, despite living in New Zealand where we don’t really celebrate Halloween. But I have always had a fondness for those things that were a little bit dark. I love my ghost stories and my horror movies. And I write Gothic fiction. So Halloween is just one of those celebrations that I just really resonate with and kind of makes me feel good.

So as a Halloween special, I wanted to do a quick episode this week about why I write ghost stories. And the, there’s a couple of reasons that I wanted to do this episode. I thought it would be quite fun working in with Halloween, of course. I also think it’s interesting, if not somewhat important to actually think about why we write what we write. Beyond the superficial, I’m writing this to make money or I’m writing this to meet the market, or anything like that, we’re usually drawn to write particular types of stories for a reason that’s a little bit deeper than that. And I have always been drawn to writing ghost stories or stories with some kind of ghostly or haunting influence in them.

For a long time, I felt a little bit bad about writing these types of stories, because as somebody that believes that we’re all here for a purpose and a reason, and have our own special gifts to contribute to world, I couldn’t understand why I would be drawn to writing ghost stories, and what the gift actually was within that. How was that serving anybody or helping anybody beyond being mildly entertaining to people? I guess.

And so that got me thinking. Just a little bit more about why I’ve been drawn to write these types of stories. So I thought in today’s episode, I’ll talk a little bit about that: where my fascination for writing ghost stories came from, some of my own real life experiences, and what other people have said about where the attraction for horror and ghost stories and that comes from, and what’s the psychological reason, I guess, that people are drawn to these types of stories.

So, just as I guess, a content warning for this episode, this is an episode that probably won’t gel with everybody. I know the idea of ghosts and hauntings and all that, is a bit of a controversial idea. People are usually quite cemented in their views of being a complete skeptic and no way do these things exist. And people who believe in ghosts and that are obviously a little bit crazy. This episode, probably isn’t going to be for you. And then there are people who are like, Ooh, a hundred percent, I believe in these things. If you’re somebody that’s a little bit interested and just wants a little bit of insight into why people might be interested in writing ghost stories or believe in these things, then you might find this episode of some value and I hope you do. Either way, I have some fabulous episodes lined up that are more the nuts and bolts of publishing and writing and whatnot coming up over the next couple of weeks. But here we are, onto today’s show.

So my fascination with ghosts, I can’t even pinpoint actually. But I’ve always had a big interest in the supernatural, particularly, ghosts and hauntings. And I remember way back in the 1980s, when the first movie of Ghostbusters came out on video tape, and my family and I sat down to watch it. And I absolutely love that movie. And there is so much goodness to love about that movie. Even the music, when I hear that, it just takes me back. So I absolutely loved it. Not only did it have really cool humor, but it made me think about, as a child, how there could be a world outside our world that also co-existed with our world. And I found that just so fascinating.

Not only did those things really appeal to me, but I forced my love for the supernatural on my poor defenseless, younger brother. So with the likes of the Ghostbusters movie, there’s an opening scene where Venkman is doing an ESP test on a couple of people and he’s using these cards and I can’t remember the name of the cards, but they’ve got basic symbols on them, like a triangle circle, wavy lines and whatnot. And I remember making a set of those cards myself as a child, and making my poor younger brother sit there while I was trying to get him to guess what the image of the card I was holding up was, and that I was trying to psychically send the image to him through the ether, and trying to get him to guess, and then taking turns in that.

And my love and fascination for ghosts and ghost stories continued on through my journey of elementary school, with the likes of me starting a ghost gang. I made everybody little badges and everything like that, and we would spend lunchtimes and morning teas with a little pendulum that I made, stalking around school, looking for ghosts and asking questions of the spirits. And so that might sound a bit dark to some of you, but I honestly don’t know where this fascination came from, it was just innately something that was born with me.

It seems so unusual because I really am the world’s biggest scaredy-cat when it comes to most things in life. I’m have always been incredibly shy, socially awkward, get embarrassed easily. And haven’t really wanted to stand out or be noticed because I don’t like a huge amount of attention on me. So I was definitely that weird kid. And it probably didn’t help that this very weird kid, also had lots of experiences growing up that could not necessarily be explained. And I’m going to share some of those with you, just because whether you believe them not, it doesn’t really matter. They’re just experiences that I’ve had. And as I’ve always thought of the spirit world, how can you believe things that you haven’t experienced or seen for yourself? I think it’s incredibly hard. And I certainly can’t hold it against anybody if they’re skeptical. And I actually think it’s really, really good to be skeptical, and I’m very much that way myself. I always look for the most obvious possibility of something before I go all woo-woo supernatural.

But I have had experiences that have stayed with me throughout my entire life. Some experiences, there have been other people that I’ve had them with, who can kind of vouch for things as well. But it has really colored my own belief system, and I guess in many ways, the genres that I write in as well.

I have always been a bit of a poetic and melancholy child, I’ve always had a little bit of a fascination with death. And for many reasons, not because I wanted to die or anything like that, but because death is one of those things that everybody experiences. And almost everybody seems absolutely terrified of, because it’s moving into that unknown. And so I’ve always had a lot of questions in the back of my mind like, why? Why do we fear death beyond the fact that we just don’t know what awaits us on the other side? Should we even fear death? Like if we don’t know what happens when we die, should we be fearful of it? And then there’s always, of course, what does happen when we die? Do we ever get to see our loved ones again? And are ghosts real, or as some people pose, and I tend to agree with this in certain circumstances as well, that maybe what we think are spirits or ghosts or whatnot, are really just memories or energy imprints or replays of things that have happened.

One of my absolute favorite authors of all time, is an English author called Barbara Erskine. And she is really who I attribute my passion for wanting to write novels to. It was her books that really inspired me. Now she is a bit of a historian by nature, and so her stories take place a lot in Scotland and England, Wales, back in history. They usually have a historical basis, but where the worlds of the present and the past collide. And so that’s always had a real fascination for me as well. So much so that I went on in and got an undergraduate degree in history. And studied for a good portion of time to be an archeologist, as that was my first career direction that I wanted to take.

So that idea that time is not linear and different times might even co-exist at the same time, is another aspect that really fascinates me and quite often finds its way into my stories. Because of this idea that so many people fear death, because it is the unknown. And I think we’ve all experienced grief in different forms. A lot of my stories are driven by my intention to get people to think a little bit differently about what death might mean. And the world that we live in now, how it may be only a small portion of what’s actually out there. That other worlds, in a sense, can coexist. So if I were to pinpoint a why for writing ghost stories, that’s kind of it. I really do want to push people out of their comfort zone to think a little bit differently, to be open-minded about how we experience life and what life really means and is. There’s a quote by Cesar Cruz that says, “Art should comfort the disturbed, and disturb the comfortable.” And that’s always been a little bit of my intention with my stories.

Now I have two collections of short stories at this point, with a few ghost stories in them, and two novels that definitely have a haunting, ghost story, Gothic vibe to them as well.

I wouldn’t classify them as horror. They’re not Stephen King worthy or anything of the sort. Although they have been referred to, as a literary horror before. And they do have some chills and supernatural things going on within the stories, but I tend to think they’re more subtle than what you would find in real horror stories. And that’s because, in my experience, these crossing over of worlds, if you will, is a little bit more subtle. And the scariest things, the things that have given me goosebumps, in the past, are usually the things that are so close to reality that they get really hard to ignore.

So I’ve heard it said that people that write horror and ghost stories in that, we use it as a bit of a metaphor to help us confront our own shadows and mortality. And I can’t really argue against that. That could very well be right. I haven’t really got it clear in my mind as to what the draw is. But I guess being a really shy and anxious child growing up, and to be honest, the same as an adult, the appeal of horror and ghost stories and all that, in the fictionalized world, is a sense of control. Because when you open a book, you know that the story it’s just words on a page and you can close the book and put it down at any time. Same with a movie. I can watch a horror movie and I can get the chills and thrills and everything, but know that as soon as the TV goes off, it ceases to be. Even Stephen King is quoted as saying that: “We make up horrors to help us cope with the real ones.” And in a way, I think that is true as well. If you’re somebody, like me, who can be quite a fearful person in real life, then by watching horror movies or reading scary stories, we get to experience horror’s, but in that safe environment of knowing not only is it fictionalized but we have control over its ending as well. And maybe, maybe it helps to build that resilience for some of the scary things going on in our lives, even if it’s not exactly the same as what’s going on in the story.

It is also possible, or something that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, is maybe it has a bit of a connection to meeting my needs as somebody who has ADHD. Now, although I’ve only relatively recently been diagnosed with ADHD, without a doubt I’ve had in my entire life, as people with ADHD generally have, and I’ve gotten really clear on being able to see that since my diagnosis. Horror and scary stories and all that, triggers that fight or flight response, which in turn boosts Adrenaline and endorphins and dopamine. Which are some of those things that people with ADHD can struggle to manufacture on their own, like the dopamine. So it gives us the kind of hit that we need, that stimulation that we need. Which I’ve always thought was quite interesting because my friends could never understand how it was that I tended to sleep better if I had watched a scary movie or something before going to bed. Which is a little bit opposite to what most people experience. But it was almost like I could get all that anxiety or that thrill and everything out of my system through watching the movie, that my brain shut up and allowed me to sleep afterwards. I would be super interested if any of your listening right now had ever had that experience. And I would love to hear from you, because as far as I know, I haven’t come across that with anybody else.

So, like I’ve mentioned my stories tend to be Gothic fiction, ghost story, haunting like stories. And I have always based most of my stories off a setting, a place, or characters or circumstances that are close to real life in some ways. Not entirely, of course, but I do get my inspiration from real life.

And so this is the part where I’m going to go a little bit woo-woo, and people might find me a little bit weird, but I’m completely honest with you here that, yes, I do believe in ghosts and spirits. Yes, I have experienced them before. And my experience might be very different to your experience, and that’s okay. You can choose to believe me or not. But of interest, I just wanted to share with you some of my experiences and how they’ve impacted on my writing.

So I have a compilation of short stories called Between the Shadows, which was my first book that I published, and you can actually get, if you’re interested, you can go to my website and download your own copy for free. And it’s a collection of some short stories that I wrote while I was actually at university doing a writing degree. And one of the stories in there, the very first story, which is called ‘On the Edge of the Living’, was a story that was originally inspired by an experience that I had when I was five years old. I know that was a very, very long time ago. But the opening scene in that story, is was very much as it happened. I had to walk down this gravel road down to the bus stop to go to school in the mornings and there’d be older kids waiting at the bus stop. And so my mom was always confident, and remembering this is back in the early 1980s so a bit of a different time than now, that I could walk down there on my own, get onto the bus, because the older kids were there and I’d be nice and safe, and make my way safely to school. And I remember very, very clearly, walking down that hill with a young boy beside me, and we were talking. And I guess even at the age of five, believe it or not, I’ve always been a little bit of a romantic, and I remember asking this little boy, if he knew so much about everything, who was I going to marry? And so he said a name. And the name started with J and over the years, as I had different boyfriends whose name started with J, I would always kind of believe that, oh, they must be the one, because this little boy, when I was five told me. Now the little boy didn’t exist. Well, not in the way that we think of people as existing right now. He was indeed a spirit and a little bit of an imaginary friend, except my parents didn’t know about him but there were a couple of other memories that I have that he was there with me at this time in my life. And he was incredibly, incredibly real to me. And this was before I knew anything about ghosts and the supernatural, obviously I was five. Now my parents were not religious in any way, they never talked about ghosts or spirits or anything woo-woo, in fact, as I got older, they were becoming a little bit concerned about me because I always had this interest and it didn’t seem to be coming from family or friends or anywhere. They couldn’t work out why I’d always had this interest. And I think there were always just a little bit scared that the strange interest that I developed, particularly as it continued into my teen years and that, was going to have me run off and join a cult or something like that.

And it wasn’t really until my teen years that they started to open their minds a little bit, and they had to admit some of their own weird, unusual things we’re not of this world. Yet, despite all that, in that very same house where I first had those interactions with this young boy, I heard much later on in my life when I was an adult and whatnot, that my parents had experienced some unusual things in that house that they really couldn’t put their finger on. And most of them centered around my younger brother. So my younger brother’s two and a half years younger than me and he has always had and he seems to attract very unusual things, strange energies around him at times. And so my parents have talked about how at night before they’d go to bed, they would look in on both myself and my brother to make sure that we’re sleeping fine in our beds, in our rooms, and then turn off the hall light and go to bed.

And they looked in on my brother one night. And I think it was my mum who was there first in the doorway, and I might have this wrong, maybe it was my father, but I think the story was that it was my mother and she was there in the doorway looking into my brother and she just, my father came up behind and saw just how freaked out she looked, and my brother was in his bed and the bed was rocking furiously side to side, and yet my brother slept like a log. It was moving so much, and rocking so much, and there was no earthquake or anything like that, that it actually looked like it wasn’t on the floor.

And you can put that down as a once off, like, okay, well obviously delusional and that, but my brother has always had unusual things happen. Like when he came to visit me and stay with me for a while, while we were in Canada. And I have always been, I felt very blessed, in that every now and then I do get a bit of an insight to the spirit world and I do see spirits. And we had one that would sometimes walk through the middle of this house that I lived in at the time. Completely oblivious to us. He was just continuing on his way. And he’d just walk in almost like through the front door and then in a straight line and out the house again. There not being a door on the other end, but he would just kind of walk in that straight line through oblivious to us, like we didn’t even exist. And, my brother noticed him too. But not only that, one night I remember my brother freaking out and coming to get me because the lights and the TV and that in his room had turned themselves on. Which I don’t know, electricity fluctuations or something like that. Except the TV was unplugged. And that’s the kind of thing that my brother has always dealt with. Really unusual things tend to happen around him. I’ve always really embraced this stuff that tends to scare other people, but I’ve always thought it very, very cool.

In my other compilation of short stories, Voices, a lot of the tone of the book, just like Between the Shadows, is very much grief and how we experience grief in different ways. Both my collections of short stories, explore things like what might happen if we didn’t realize we were dead? Or how sometimes grief itself is its own haunting. We don’t even need ghosts or spirits because we’re haunted in different ways, by our grief and our emotions.

 Voices, one of the very first stories, has a theme about how unaccepted grief, grief that we haven’t really fully embodied, can of itself become our own horror story. And until we accept and start to move forward, we create our own hauntings.

I also have, a story in that collection in Voices called ‘Ruatapu River’, which is almost entirely based on the experience of real life when I was a really young teenager, about 12 or 13. And it examines this thing that I’ve seen occur for a lot of people where when somebody passes, it is almost like some small part of them knew, or was getting ready to pass, even though it wasn’t on their agenda for the day. And what I mean by that is in that particular story, it’s about a young teenage boy that I knew growing up, and how has parents told me his behavior changed the day that he drowned. And the circumstances leading up to his drowning were so unusual and unexpected because this boy didn’t like to go swimming didn’t really like the water and yet went anyway.

I’ve had people in my own life who’ve said similar things. A friend of mine who lost her fiance talked about how, and he was incredibly young too, just in his twenties, but how the day that he was in a freak car accident and passed, he had just been talking to his friend about, the day before about what he wanted done with his ashes and whatnot when he died. Which was not a topic of conversation that apparently ever come up before. These were not premeditated deaths. And yet, somehow on some level you could almost believe that something deep down was trying to prepare them and prepare their loved ones for their journey ahead.

Now when I wrote my novel, Rest Easy Resort, this was a real fun one and pretty much entirely fictionalized. A little bit more scary than probably some of my other works. But Rest Easy Resort was based on a real setting and, and I love this because settings are always something that really inspires me for story. I had my own honeymoon in the Cook Islands in Rarotonga, and it was just magical. It was such an amazing week of my life and not just for the fact that it was my honeymoon, but there was something about the energy in Rarotonga that just, I really felt it really just, it was haunting in the most beautiful of ways. And I really fell in love with it. And there was a resort there that I remember driving past and it had had millions invested in it at one point. And, it was said that the land was cursed and the deal for the resort fell through on multiple occasions and unfortunately really hit the economy of the small island incredibly hard. But that idea of a cursed resort and its remenants still sitting there. For many of the locals, I’m sure it was a real eyesore and a reminder of a lot of wrongdoings and hurt and tough times in their life. And yet it hadn’t been demolished. It had been graffitied and people had stolen fittings, light fittings and things like that from there. But it was also guarded quite ferociously by some of the locals. And I remember driving past on my little scooter and seeing a guy standing at the entranceway with a machete. They did tours, but I guess you had to book a tour because I had heard stories that it was not a place that people liked you to go alone. And so that was really the inspiration. The ghosts and everything like that, that was purely fictional and based on my own imagination.

Unspoken Truths, though, which is my most recent novel, although largely largely, largely fictionalized, the inspiration for it came from an experience that I had at a small school that I worked at. There had been a few times for various reasons I had to stay at school alone at night instead of going home because it was out in the country, so that I could attend a late night meeting. And school’s are interesting places at night when you’re there alone and it’s getting dark. For a lot of people, they could probably be quite spooky. It’s unusual when you’re in a space that you’re so used to it being filled with the sounds of kids and laughter and all that good stuff, to have that eerie feeling of just emptiness and quiet. And there were a few times as I was walking from one room to the next gathering resources, or just spending time lesson planning while I was waiting for other people to arrive for the meeting, where I’d be walking along the deck and I would hear footsteps behind me and there was nobody there. And at one point, I even heard somebody right in my ear, right in my ear, say hello. And there’s nobody there. Now, this was out in the countryside. There’s not many people around, you know? People live quite far away. There was a house on site with a family, but that doesn’t account for the person who was standing almost shoulder to shoulder with me, whispering in my ear. And it could be imagination and I’m sure people are thinking yeah, it’s imagination. Where’s your proof? All the rest of it. Except one of my colleagues, oh, a couple of times I think, one of my colleagues was onsite with me at these times, and we were just talking and gossiping and doing, as we did, when this woman’s voice started singing. And it was the most beautiful voice, I thought anyway. And we went room to room looking for who else was on site because ours were the only cars here, we were the only people. We didn’t know of anybody who could sing like that. She was getting incredibly freaked out. I kept saying, but you’re hearing this too, right? Because, um, you know, I’ve got to question my own sanity sometimes too. And we tried everything. We’re like, oh, well, is it a is it a whistling through an open window where we’re just like thinking that it’s a woman singing? Or is some unusual mooing from some cattle in the paddock next door that’s making us actually think it’s a woman singing? We tried to go through all those rational things, but the truth of it was the mystery was never solved. My poor colleague was incredibly freaked out about it and pretty much ran to her car to go home. I kind of thought, Hey, well, if anyone can sing that nice and not really going to do me any harm. And was okay with it. But it did trigger that little bit of inspiration for me to write that book. Which is based around a couple of teachers 70 years apart in time, and with some spooky kind of things that go on, based around a murder and cover up by the local community.

Now here’s the thing. I don’t really believe there’s a downside to believing in ghosts. Because, and I know there’s a specific quote I’ve come across, I don’t know who it’s by and I’ll have to just paraphrase here, but it really fits so well as to what I believe in regards to why there is actually a positivity behind subject matter that could be considered a little bit dark. And that is that if you can for a moment, read a scary story and believe in those monsters in the story, that you can actually get chills and get a little bit scared, or you can believe for the moment that maybe oof ghost do exist. Then that means you also have it in you to believe that the opposite could be true. Because if you can believe in darkness, or if you can see darkness, you know that you can also believe in seeing light as well. So if we can believe in monsters then as it’s such a jump to believe that there might actually be angels, or guides, or spirits on the other side who are actually looking out for us? If we can believe so easily in the bad, could we also maybe believe in the good? And wouldn’t that be a cool way to live?

Now. I have had just so many experiences throughout my life that were supernatural, and a little more scary than some of the few that I’ve just shared with you. Setting has always played a major part in my stories. And I think that’s because I’ve always found that a lot of places hold an almost emotional imprint of the people who’ve been there before. And so that’s why I’ve heard some authors who also write ghost stories, Barbara Erskine, being one of them, say that maybe sometimes what we think are spirits and ghosts and whatnot, are actually just memories in the walls of a place replaying. A little bit of history just replaying itself and we’re just lucky enough or sensitive enough to be able to pick up on it on that time.

When I was about 13 or 14, we lived in this, oh, it was my favorite house that we’ve ever lived in, but my family moved into this house and a very small town. And to me at the time, it was like a mansion. It was a great big old farmhouse in town. We were still on a quarter section. It was over a hundred years old. It just has such a beautiful vibe to it, even though it was old with giant fireplaces and an old barn that had been converted into a garage and workshop and whatnot. It had a lot of old Oak trees and Willow trees. And there was just something about it that was so special, so magical, but you also felt this amazing sense of love whenever you walked into it. But also that you weren’t necessarily alone. And interestingly enough, I had a few experiences there, but not only that my parents did too, which blew them away. It was almost like a conduit for the other side. Again, I guess my parents never grew out of checking in on my brother and I, as we slept at night before they went off to bed. They would just like peek their head around the corner of the door. Except. I’ve been told, and I wasn’t told until we moved out of that house, which I don’t know, I guess my parents were trying to protect me so I wouldn’t freak out, that quite often they’d walk down the hallway and there was an old woman who’d be standing outside my door looking into my room. And I don’t really know why they thought it would freak me out because in the end they got so used to seeing this woman that it didn’t end up freaking them out. And I never had any sense of anything evil or bad or anything there. So if there was an old woman still hanging out in that house, even if I had been told, I had no problems with it. And her looking in on me, maybe she’s just actually looking out for me. And I was okay with that.

But we had other experiences where my poor mother, who was a big skeptic for the longest time, when her father, my grandfather, passed away she woke up in the middle of the night quite freaked out because there was her father at the end of her bed standing in his underwear. And I know that’s quite funny, and at the time she was more horrified, but we laughed about it as a family. She woke up my father and by then my grandfather had disappeared. And so maybe it was just a leftover remnant of grief or something like that, but why she pictured him in his underwear? None of us will even know, and even mum was a bit shocked as to, “Put on some clothes, Dad. What’s going on here? That’s how you choose to visit me?”

But there was something to be said with whether it was imagined or not, how it made her feel afterwards. And the memories never disappeared. But it made her, I guess, feel in a way that there was something beyond death. Which I think is what most of us are looking for. And so maybe if you’re drawn to ghost stories in particular, it’s because we really want to believe that there is more after life then just darkness or blackness or ceasing to exist. I think we all want to believe that we will be able to see our loved ones again. Now in that very same house we had a cuckoo clock that belonged to my dad’s step-father, that we inherited when he passed. And the cuckoo clock didn’t work. It sat on the wall in our dining area. And we couldn’t do anything to get it to work and neither really could we be bothered. We’d tried. And nothing happened.

Except for the day when lots of weird, unusual things happened. And I felt really blessed by this because I’ve always had unusual things happen, but now I had witnesses. I had my dad, and I had our dog Chester. And I remember my dad and I and Chester were actually in the living room. And it was an unusual setup of a house, but in the living room, there were doors that opened up that looked into my parents’ bedroom at the time. And dad and I were talking, who knows what we were talking about, and then the dog started to act a little bit unusual and ran into mum and dad’s bedroom, and started jumping up and down and barking at something above the bed. And when dad and I looked to go, what’s going on Chester? There was literally, and this is about the only time I’ve ever seen what people have described as orbs, but there were these white balls of light hanging in the air, above the bed. And they were moving around and the dog was barking at them and that, and then it zipped down our hallway, out the door, down the hallway, dog chasing behind. Me and dad chasing behind the dog. And we could follow it all the way down the hallway and into the dining room and then it disappeared. But the cuckoo clock started working. Out of the blue. Hadn’t worked for years and years and years and years. I’d never known it to work at all. And it started working.

Now there was, again, the whole thing it was so weird and unusual and out the blue. And who knows who or what or why it was. But there was some comfort for my dad at least, in thinking that, Hey, maybe it was his stepfather come to visit. They’d had a bit of a contentious relationship in real life, and I think that it always laid quite heavy on him. So there was a little bit of that healing, I guess, in having something as unusual and simple as the cuckoo clock working again.

Now that’s really all I want to share with you at this point. I could talk about my experiences with the ghostly realm and spirits who’ve passed over, and that, forever, because I really do have a lots of stories. But I just wanted to give you an idea as to where stories can sometimes come from and what might be the drivers behind stories. And I may not know all the reasons that I’m driven to write the stories that I write, but I think there is something healing in writing ghost stories. Something comforting in allowing ourselves to believe that there is life after this life.

Some of my favorite authors write quite Gothic, contemporary Gothic stories, like I endeavor to write, so not only is there Barbara Erskine, but I also really enjoy, in case you’re interested in checking them out, susanna Kearsley, Kate Morton. I’ve always loved Edgar Allan Poe. I love the thrills and chills that his work gives me and the poetry that he writes. Another one of my more recent favorites. Is Shani Struthers, who writes some slightly darker, more Horror-ish, is that even a word? More horror-like stories. And yet, I know she’s also a believer in the spirit world, and so her stories, for me at least, are somewhat easy to believe, because even though it’s fictionalized and the anti’s always amped up a little bit more for, you know, to keep people turning the pages and that, from my own experiences, I can still see and believe in her stories because there are parts of them that I can see are based very much on my own experiences as well.

So anyway. That is my little spiel as to why I write ghost stories. And I hope you’ve enjoyed this talk and it’s at least made you think a little bit about why you write the things that you write. Did it start as a passion from childhood? Are the stories that you write or the things that you write about interests that you’ve had developed over the years? Or is it to help heal you in some way psychologically? Or is it to change the world in a way? Or get people to think about things in a bit of a different way? I think reflecting sometimes is really good. And it’s fascinating to see where our interests and our passions come from. I’m going to leave you with that. I’m going to have some more episodes out in the next couple of weeks that are more with the nuts and bolts of writing, but I hope you’ve enjoyed this little episode. And I hope if you celebrate Halloween, you have an amazing Halloween.

I would love, love, love on a personal note, to hear any of your own ghostly, scary, spooky stories. If you’ve had any real life interactions with the spirit world yourself, I just love hearing these things. And if you haven’t already go back and check out the episode where I interview Brandon J. Greer who is an Y A and middle grade author. He also shares some of his own spooky stories. And I think that was released at the beginning of October. So you can get a little bit more of that spooky hit from that episode, if you haven’t already listened to

Otherwise as always, I would love if you enjoyed this episode, if you could, please, please, please give it a review. Reviews really do help me out, I know I say this every week. But it does make a difference to how many people are able to get their eyes on this episode. It helps boost the algorithms a little bit to make Alchemy for Authors a little bit more visible and not lost in the traffic of podcasts and everything like that.

If you haven’t already and want to do so, please do enjoy my newsletter. You can actually go to my website, which is just https://jobuer.com. And the front page is all set up for my books. So you’ll be able to find all my books there. At the, very, very top there’s a little black banner that allows you to get your own free copy of Between the Shadows, if you would like to. It is literary fiction, so it’s a little bit dark, it’s quite different than my novels, but my novels are there to purchase as well. And you can get them from any retailer or purchase directly from me. There is also, if you go to the Alchemy for Authors podcast page on that website, you can subscribe to the Alchemy for Authors newsletter, and download your free PDF on Manifestation for Authors. And keep in touch that way too, which would be really, really cool. I’ll be putting all the ways that you can connect with me, as usual, in the show notes. And I would love, love, love if I could hear any of your own scary stories. If you’re willing to share them with me, that would be just amazing.

Otherwise, my friends, I’m wishing you a wonderful week ahead, a wonderful Halloween and a wonderful beginning to November, and a prolific, productive, inspired, week ahead with writing. All the best my friends.