Hello everyone! Today I bring you a guest post from author Lisa Jackson whose incredible thriller I read a little while ago – to see my post please click HERE. As part of the blog tour, one lucky blogger would get the chance to display a guest post from Lisa written especially for the occasion. So that lucky blogger was me (hooray!), please see Lisa’s fabulous post below.
“When my editor first suggested I write a book about a house with a past, I thought he was nuts. He was interested in telling a story about what had happened to an old house during its lifetime.
Huh. I chewed on that. Intriguing, but how was I going to make the house a character in the book? How was I going to bring the past to the present and make the stories those old walls had hidden be a part of a modern tale?
It took a while and I dragged at least one foot as the story started shaping up. How about a murder that had happened centuries before? How could I solve it today and make it interesting?
In my mind’s eye, I saw Sarah, a woman with a couple of kids who was “coming home” to a huge dilapidated house, a manor of sorts that held its own secrets along with some of hers. Her return to the once-grand family home would be a bit of a catharsis for her, a way to exorcize her demons while dealing with two headstrong and very different daughters.
Okay, so the premise was: Fix the house, fix her family. Sounded good.
But the problem was, again, “How?”
Enter the ghost.
Me write about a ghost? Seriously? No way!
Though I’d written stories that had delved into the past and long-forgotten relationships, I’d never tackled a spirit from beyond. That said, the more I thought about the ghost, the more real she became. (I know–crazy, right? Now I’m not talking about an actual ghost, but a fictitious one that had become real to me, the writer . . .) Let’s just say it was a struggle.
Funny thing about that, though. As I wrote the book? The ghost became one of my favorite characters with a story all her own. And the house? It took on its own personality, being as it was haunted and all. I loved writing about these two unique characters, but I needed a way for them to be a part of the story through a living being, a conduit from past to present, so Gracie, Sarah’s younger daughter became that link. Gracie was already a kid who didn’t fit into the mold of a normal child–no round peg was she– so I made her a little odder by being able to see the ghost, which, of course flipped out her mother. The older daughter, Jade was already rebelling and giving her mother fits. Why not the younger one as well?
And so the plot line, with most of the characters firmly in place was born.
Even the hero had his own back story related to the past.
All I needed was a fabulous house, right? I already knew I was setting the book on the shores of the Columbia River and its deep gorge that separates the two western states of Washington and Oregon. I thought about a gorgeous old hotel that sits high on the cliffs then actually booked a room for the weekend. After a private tour of roped off areas, I patterned the upper stories of the house in the book to the hotel, using its upper floor, cupola and vast view of the river as the setting for the first murder. It’s absolutely lovely as you can see by this link: http://www.columbiagorgehotel.com/, so I changed the facade and then had it deteriorating from decades of neglect. You know, to creep it up.
Now that I had the idea for the house, I could finally sit down and actually write the book which became CLOSE TO HOME. I loved writing the story and maybe, just maybe, I might tackle another ghost some time in the future. Who knows?”
Many thanks again to Lisa, all the team at Hodder & Stoughton and Becca Mundy who made this possible. So why not check out CLOSE TO HOME, available now!