Tomorrow, my novelette, The Raventree Society, The Strawberry Lane Hotel, is released. If you’ve been following me for any amount of time you’ve probably heard about it before now. And if you are like most of the people I’ve talked to about The Raventree Society, you will probably have asked yourself: “Why a ghost story?”
That is a good question. After all, it’s a good long way off the beaten path. If you can call a book and a novella a “beaten path”.
There are a few different reasons why I chose to write Raventree, and why I chose the format and the timing that I did for publishing. Some are business choices, some are about branding, some are just because, well, I wanted to.
Yay for self-publishing! I do what a want!
But seriously, why did I chose to write a ghost story?
When most people think of ghosts stories, they think of fear. Horror. Creepy atmospheres and dark purposes. There are many many books out there on the dangers of haunted houses and of leaving the tent at night to investigate the creepy sound. But I am attracted to the paranormal for other reasons.
While I don’t personally believe in ghosts, or in most paranormal entities for that matter, I have always been fascinated by them. Myths, folklore, even local tall tales. There are countless stories that have spilled out of the collective history of mankind that are populated by the dead.
We don’t know what lies behind death, so we tell stories to try to solve the mystery. We don’t understand fear, so we try to explain it with details pulled out of our nightmares. What we do understand is history. Heavy pasts and memories that we can’t quite shake free of. We understand the weight of culture and politics and sorrow that stains a place. That stains people. Theology, philosophy, and ethics, all of these things we understand on some level and explore within the confines of a ghost story.
In some ways, I feel like ghost stories are the most raw and real picture of a culture we can have. It exposes how we feel about family and friends. What we will fight to keep and what we will sacrifice to live. It exposes what we honor, and what we despise. And most importantly, it exposes what we do when we are faced with death.
And I do think that, in some ways, writing Raventree has plumbed the depths of my own heart.
Like most of my stories, Raventree is focused on a character. While each episode covers and new interaction with a new spirit, the three seasons I have planned follow a single arc.
When Kyle’s younger brother goes missing during the filming of an episode of the paranormal investigator show that Kyle stars in, Kyle is forced to face death. Not just the possible death of his little brother, but also the death of his father and the effect that has had on him and his family, and eventually the reality that death will come for him one day.
While writing this first season, I was constantly looking at things from my own life. The close relationships I have with my own family, and how that shift and change as I grow. What I would do to protect my family and the truth that I cannot protect them from so many things. One of those things being the fact that I will die one day and leave them. Wow, that got really heavy.
If you’ve been following me, you’ve seen that my tagline is “Speculative fiction that explores the boundaries of the universe and the human heart.” This project is, for sure, the latter. And I hope that it will allow you, the reader, to not only catch a glimpse into my own soul but to take a deep look at your own.
And, of course, to have a bit of fun while you are at it. That's why we tell stories, after all!