I am thrilled to once again welcome Patti Sherry-Crews to my blog…and what a fascinating book she’s sharing with us today! The Ghost and the Bridegroom from The Good, The Bad and the Ghostly
Please tell us a little about yourself, where are you from? Where do you live now? Family? Pets?
I live in Evanston, Il where I was born and I’m married to fellow Evanstonian, Bob. I have two children, one of each, and a stepson who has made us grandparents. We have a parakeet, a cat and a puggle. I have lived in Iowa, Boston, and Wales, UK during my student and post-student years.
Where did you get the idea for The Ghost and the Bridegroom?
All of the stories in this anthology are connected by a paranormal detective agency. Somewhere at the beginning it was suggested this agency is like the Pinkerton Detectives, so I thought it would be fun to have my agent meet a Pinkerton detective while they are staying at the same hotel in Tucson while working on separate cases. They fall in love, of course. Not really sure how I came up with the rest of the story. I thought it would be interesting to have my rather socially awkward young lady detective find herself put on a case where a rancher is unable to consummate his marriage to his mail-order bride because he’s being terrorized by a ghost in the bedroom. Eventually the case the Pinkerton is working on intersects with the case my agent is on. My story is more humorous than scary.
Why did you choose this genre (is it something you’ve written in before)?
I usually write historical westerns or contemporary. I never wrote a paranormal story before, but I was excited to be asked to be part of this anthology which is a collaboration between western and paranormal authors.
Was there anything unusual, any anecdote about this book, the characters, title, process, etc, you’d like to share?
Yes, at the suggestion of one of the other authors I named my heroine Healy Harrison after my daughter. When she was born I wanted to give her more than her father’s father’s surname. So Healy is the maiden name of my great grandmother and Harrison is the maiden name of my mother-in-law. I thought I was being clever, but the poor girl has to go through life correcting her name because everyone calls her Kelly or something similar. The same thing happens to the character in the story.
What is the most difficult thing about writing a book?
I think everything that comes after writing the book is the hardest part, starting with what to do with it once you write “The End.”. I write for Prairie Rose Publications for my historical westerns and medieval romances. I’ve also self-published a number of things. Keeping up on all the social media sites alone is time consuming. And then there is the promoting…Thank you Alicia!
What was the most difficult thing about this one in particular?
I really love Tucson but as stated earlier I live the Midwest. I also live in the 21st century with the rest of you, not 1880. So trying to get the setting right for this book was a challenge. I mean, I don’t want folks from Tucson coming back to me and telling me I put the streets in the wrong places. I was trying to find maps, etc. when something fortuitous happened. Some man on Pinterest messaged me to say he had boards devoted to late 19thc Tucson and he invited me to repin. He had so many photos and maps! We didn’t even follow each other so I don’t know how he found me and I haven’t heard from him since. Thanks to him, I could be more accurate with streets and buildings. He had a great photo of a Chinese laundry across from the train station, which I put in my story.
Are there any tricks, habits or superstitions you have when creating a story?
People who know me are probably sick of hearing me say this, but I’m a big believer in walking. I find an hour long walk at the start of my day stimulates my creativity. I do much of my “writing” while I’m walking. And because I do not have a fenced in yard, but I do have a dog with a small bladder, I’m frequently taking more walks during the day. It really clears my head. People who know me are probably sick of seeing me walking by their houses ten times a day.
What actors would you like in the main roles if your book were made into a movie?
While I was writing this story I had Irish actor Aidan Turner in mind for detective Aaron Turrell (see how I did that with the name). If you don’t know him from the Hobbit or Poldark, he’s tall, dark and handsome. Since the heroine is based on my daughter, I’d cast her, and then she’d get to meet Aidan Turner.
If you could be a character in any of your books, who would you be?
Oh, good question! I make such delicious heroes; I’d be happy to be any of the ladies in my books. But, there is one book very close to my heart, Patrick III. It’s based on a trip I took with 3 generations of my family to Newfoundland to discover our roots. Even though the book has nothing to do with that trip other than I liked the dynamics of generations of a family traveling together outside their usual roles, I did weave in some personal experiences–including finding a small town named after my family. It was full of Healy’s and Nugents (the other Newfie branch of my family) who never left Newfoundland and remain in situ (they welcomed us with open arms). There is more of me in the main female, Gwen, than I usually put in a character. Plus, I think the hero, Patrick, is one of my favorite creations. He’s a solid, reliable guy, who’s taking some personal time to reevaluate his life. He and Gwen keep crossing paths on the island as they are each on their own quest. Eventually Gwen ditches her family and spends a glorious time riding out on the back of his motorcycle, doing outdoorsy things like hiking and kayaking during the day and ending their excursions in fine hotels and restaurants. My dream vacation: I’m an active person but I’m not going to sleep in a tent.
If you could spend time with a character from your book, whom would it be? And what would you do during that day?
One of my favorite characters is Des Costello in Love with an Expiration Date. He’s dynamic, charismatic, and has a wicked sense of humor. He’s an independent filmmaker who lives in Dublin. He’s kind of a player (he’s been wounded) but when he meets a visiting American English professor, he falls head over heels. His mission becomes to make her fall in love with not just him but Dublin as well so she’ll stay. I’d love to walk around the city with him or visit the pub. He’s so charming. I could talk to him forever.
Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?
Probably like most authors, I love to people-watch. I’m also a shameless eavesdropper, so I store bits of things I’ve seen or heard in my head. But really I make up my characters. Though on two occasions I woke up from vivid dreams where I saw a scene with people I didn’t know. I based two books, Love with an Expiration Date and Pairings, around the snippets I dreamed about.
What do your friends and family think of your writing?
My friends and family are very supportive and my biggest fans. Big shout out to my husband for letting me disappear hours a day doing dubious things with my time and who also helps me with technical stuff. My friends are my beta readers and have always encouraged me from the start.
How did you come up with the title?
Coming up with titles is a challenge for me. If I ever strike it rich I’d hire someone to think up titles for me. Then I’d hire another person to write blurbs. Because this story is a detective story set in the past, I wanted to give a nod to the classic detective novels whose titles started with “The Case of…” Originally I was going to call my story The Case of the Ghost and the Bridegroom. But because my own name is long enough, I didn’t want to eat up the cover with text. I also didn’t want to type the longer title every time I had to refer to it, so I chopped off the first few words.
Thank you for sharing such an interesting interview, Patti. Now, she has a question for readers:
When you start reading a romance novel and the Hero first appears what qualities about him hook you into the story?
The Ghost and the Bridegroom by Patti Sherry-Crews
Life is looking rosy for Abbott Foster when he brings his new bride to his ranch in Arizona. But when he is unable to consummate his marriage due to a malevolent spirit in the bedroom, he is forced to call in Psychic Specters Investigations.
Agent Healy Harrison doesn’t want to accept this case. She has her own demons and likes her quiet life, lived in the anonymity of St. Louis. But Tucson is where she finds herself—with instructions to “Have an adventure! Have a romance!” Things get interesting when she meets handsome Pinkerton detective, Aaron Turrell. Is this the romance she’s meant to have, or when their two cases intersect, will it drive him away?
In this excerpt agent Healy Harrison meets the rancher for the first time and learns about his haunting.
He ran a hand through his sandy brown hair. “I can’t talk to you about this. I thought you’d be a man. This is a delicate matter.”
“Mr. Foster, I assure you I’ve seen everything. There isn’t anything you can tell me I haven’t heard before. What’s happening to you has happened to many before you.”
“That’s just it. I’ve heard about it happening to other men, but it’s never happened to me before.”
“Ah, I see. Well, this too is a common reaction. Many don’t believe in ghosts until they experience the phenomenon themselves. You’re not alone.”
He looked down. “I’m not talking about ghosts.”
“What are you talking about?”
“I can’t talk to a young lady about this.”
“You can! Nothing you say will shock me.”
“Are you a…spinster?”
Healy huffed. “I don’t see how my marital status is relevant, but yes, I am not a married woman.”
“So you don’t have experience…”
“Please, I have traveled a long way under the most trying circumstances to help you. You’ve already paid the agency, and here I am! Let’s just start at the place where you encountered the haunting?”
Abbott sighed. “In the bedroom.”
“You’re lucky in that sense. Some ghosts follow people around and make all kinds of mischief.”
“Naw, you ain’t catching my meaning.”
“Aw, all right.” He took a long pause, studying his boots before he looked up again. “I’m a newlywed….”
“Yes, but here’s the crux of the matter. The ghost will not allow me to…consummate my marriage.”
Healy felt her face burn red. “Oh, I see. Well, that is a new one on me. Never heard of that one before. How is it that the ghost has power to stop…the act?”
“Ever since I brought Erline—that’s my bride—home, things don’t work right.”
She put a hand on his arm. “Are you sure you’re consulting the right expert? Have you talked to your doctor?”
His face went beet red with frustration. “It’s having a ghost in my bedroom gumming up the works.”
“You have to be more specific. I need details.”
He shuffled his feet in the dust on the boards of the porch. “I think about Erline all day. She’s so pretty. I can’t wait to go to bed. I get in next to her all cocked and ready to fire—and she’s eager too–I can tell, but then when I put….”
Healy put up her hand. “I don’t mean those kinds of details. Tell me about the ghost.”
“Oh, well, it always starts the same way. First there is this god-awful odor like rotten flowers.”
“Olfactory manifestations. Very rare. Interesting. Go on.”
He looked proud of himself a minute for having a rare haunting. “After I smell the odor a shape appears in the corner. A big, black shadow.”
“Oh, this is bad. Very bad. Black shadows are extremely malevolent.”
“It gets worse.”
“Worse than a black shadow? You’re wise to call in a professional.”
“The shadow moves. It walks, or floats–or whatever those things do–and comes and stands right next to the bed, and the creature points at me! Things shrink up down south at that point, if you know what I mean.”
Patti Sherry-Crews lives in Evanston, IL with her husband and two children. She writes both contemporary and historic romance. Under the name Cherie Grinnell she has written a series of steamy romances set in Dublin and Wales. She likes to include armchair travel with her books.
Patti studied anthropology and archeology at Grinnell College and the University of North Wales, UK. After college she opened an Irish and British import store, which gave her an excuse to travel to the British Isles for the next fifteen years.
Now she works from home and devotes much of her time to writing.