I’m thrilled today to interview Lisa Medley, a RL friend, who has written a fantabulous funny-sexy ghost story. You’ll hear “funny-sexy” a lot in conjunction with Lisa’s writing style. Haunt My Heart is her fourth book, released Saturday night.
Cara Bristol: What was the inspiration for Haunt my Heart?
Lisa Medley: It all started with a ghost hunt. I went on my first and only ghost hunt a couple of years ago much to my husband’s dismay. His main concern was, “What if something follows you home?” Well, of course, nothing did follow me home except a great premise for a new story!
Cara Bristol: What other real life research have you done to research the paranormal?
Lisa Medley: As I mentioned I’ve only been on one actual ghost hunt with paranormal detection equipment and professional hunters. It was a blast even though we didn’t make in actual contact. There’s a scene in the very first chapter of the book concerning an EMF (anomaly detector) that actually happened to me. I’ve also been on a ghost tour while visiting New Orleans and I did visit a voodoo museum while I was in town. I’m open-minded and interested in whatever’s out there.
Cara Bristol: It was interesting that Sarah is overly trusting, it’s her best friend Ellie who believes in psychics and takes her on ghost hunting. I enjoyed the friendship between them. Haunt My Heart is as good a friendship book as it is a romance. Did you consciously try to create that or did it just evolve?
Lisa Medley: Honestly, it just evolved. I did know that as trusting and kind as Sarah was she’d need someone to balance her out. Everyone needs a fun friend like Ellie!
Cara Bristol: The hero is a ghost, a former Union soldier, who is trapped in hex, but is brought back to a half-corporeal form when Sarah finds and brings home his ring. Why of all periods did you pick the Civil War? (By the way, I loved seeing the 21st century through his eyes. His first car ride was hilarious!).
Lisa Medley: While I was researching ghost stories, I stumbled across one online newspaper clipping about a ghost hunt of The Lady in White at Chatham Manor in Fredericksburg, Virginia and it all just fell into place after that. I mean, it was freaky really. The synopsis practically wrote itself after that.
Cara Bristol: One of my favorite parts of the book was when Sarah’s ex attacked her—and Tanner intervened. All Sarah saw was Jason flopping around room as Tanner kicked his ass. What is your personal favorite part of the book?
Lisa Medley: I love when Tanner and Sarah finally get together 😀 It was a challenge!
Cara Bristol: What will your next release be?
Lisa Medley: I will be re-releasing The Reaper series books over the spring and summer. I can’t wait to share Reap & Repent and Reap & Redeem with a new audience. The third previously unreleased book, Reap & Reveal, will come out in July.
Cara Bristol: Everyone who knows you, knows you love your monsters. Why? What is the attraction?
Lisa Medley: I like the idea of good triumphing over evil and redemption stories. I don’t believe anyone is all good or all bad. We each have bits of both sides in us. Monsters (vamps, shifters, reapers or what have you) are examples of those qualities amplified to ELEVEN. Real life is scary and sometimes not understandable. Monsters I can control.
Cara Bristol: People love to know how authors write. What is your process?
Lisa Medley: My process has evolved over the past four books. Writing this book was the easiest so far and I think that’s mostly because I started with a five-page synopsis. I had a clear direction. While the story veered off a bit, I always knew where I was headed and that really propelled me along. I write at night mostly after my family has gone to bed (or is near going to bed). I have a writing cave upstairs and I can really lose myself up there. It’s like a wormhole.
I spend a few days to a week brainstorming, researching online and reading from my growing collection of books on the paranormal or supernatural and slowly piece things together until I have a rough plot. Then I work on the synopsis.
I already have the first chapter of book four of The Reaper series, Reap & Reckon, because those characters DEMANDED to be written and started without me. Now my mission is to discover what’s going to happen to them from here.
Cara Bristol: Quick five:
Your favorite TV show: “Supernatural” – hands down.
Tablet, laptop, or desktop: Laptop.
If you could invite five famous people (dead or alive) to dinner, who would they be?
Gosh, that would probably change every week for me! Right now, I’m really into and would LOVE to pick the brains of Stephen King, Guillermo del Toro (“The Strain” writer), Robert Kirkman (“The Walking Dead” writer) and Chris Hardwick (comedian and “Talking Dead” host).
A guilty pleasure: Hidden chocolate…everywhere.
A favorite childhood book: Nancy Drew Mysteries
Haunt My Heart blurb
A Civil War soldier is hexed and dies to save his men. Can he find true love to live again?
Sarah Knight has a job she’s good at, a quirky BFF and a boyfriend who’s bad for her. When Sarah unearths a Civil War artifact on a ghost hunt at Chatham Manor in Fredericksburg, VA, she brings home more than a souvenir.
Lieutenant James “Tanner” Dawson fought for the Union, working as a supernatural liaison for his Major General in a secret Masonic offset called the Brothers of Peril. When he’s hexed by a witch, he learns the only way to save his men is to die himself. But death is not the end. Awakening 150 years later, he knows if he wants to be corporeal again, he has to find true love to break the hex: a task no easier in 21st century than it was in the 19th.
Excerpt from Haunt My Heart, Chapter One:
“Hurry up, Sarah. We’re going to miss the ghost!”
Sarah Knight rolled her eyes in the cold December darkness, but trotted after Ellie’s bouncing flashlight beam. Sarah’s heels crunched through the frozen topsoil as she crossed the lawn, and she worried about the damage being done to her only pair of sensible work shoes. Ellie had failed to mention this would be on an outdoor excursion.
Ellie had been dragging her out on girls’ nights against her better judgment since they graduated from college. Last month, they’d gone to a mixed martial arts fight, complete with blood, screaming and more than one missing tooth. And that had been the spectators.
Ellie had a strange idea of fun. It was only in the car on the way over that Sarah had learned tonight’s adventure would be a ghost hunt.
Sarah and Ellie caught up to the tour group as the leader, a tall dark-haired man in his mid-forties, wrapped up his ghost-hunting protocol explanation. She’d missed the rules. Ellie wouldn’t care about missing that part. She hated following the rules, but Sarah was a little miffed. If she was going ghost hunting, she wanted to know exactly what the boundaries were.
“At least we didn’t miss the ghost,” Ellie pointed out. “And they haven’t doled out the equipment yet.” Ellie’s mouth split into a mischievous smile, and she angled up closer to the group leader.
“Again, my name is Allen if you have any questions during the tour. Since we have such a large group tonight, we’ll split into two teams. Carla will take this half.” Allen sliced an imaginary line through the group of twenty or so ghost-hunters. “And the rest of you will go with me.”
Relieved she and Ellie were on the same side of the line, Sarah snuggled up closer to her friend and surveyed the rest of their team. A middle-aged couple, a grandmotherly woman, and a group of ten sorority girls—exactly the type of girls she’d avoided in college—made up Team Allen. The girls sported matching Greek-lettered sweatshirts, scarves and mittens and tittered incessantly. Sarah was fairly sure their chance of seeing a ghost with this group was nil. Fine with her. Ellie was the one who went for the paranormal stuff.
“We’ll walk the path where the Lady in White has typically been spotted. Carla’s team will cover the grounds around the house,” Allen said. He nodded to Carla, and she gave him a little salute, then led her team around to the side of the building. Allen’s group stayed put in the doorway.
“First, I’ll need a couple of volunteers,” Allen announced.
Ellie’s hand shot up before Sarah could register what was happening. “We’ll do it.”
Classic Ellie, leaping before she looked. She didn’t even know what she was volunteering for. It could be anything. If Allen wanted virgins to sacrifice, however, he was out of luck.
Allen pulled two little handheld meter devices out of his messenger bag. His brows lowered a bit as he studied Ellie, cast his eyes around the group, then settled back to her. Ellie’s enthusiasm won out and Allen handed one device to her and the other to Sarah.
“This is the Anomaly Detector,” Allen said with all the reverence of presenting the sword Excalibur. “It measures EMP and temperature. If these lights change, it’s your job to let us know. I’ll be taking photos and interacting with the ghost, trying to draw her out. I can’t keep my eyes on all of the devices at once. Can you manage this?”
“Absolutely,” Ellie squealed.
Sarah resisted rolling her eyes again. She accepted the detector and did her best to reduce her scowl.
“It’s okay to be skeptical,” Allen said. “It makes it all the more exciting when we convert you to a believer.” His smile warmed and Sarah realized he was actually handsome. Old, but handsome. What an otherwise normal and attractive man—who was way old enough to know better—was doing leading a bunch of ghost hunters, she had no idea. People were strange. She supposed she’d have to include herself in that judgment, considering she now held a ghost detector.
Lisa Medley writes urban fantasy and paranormal romance about monsters in love, because monsters need love too. A lover of beasties of all sorts, she has a farm full of them in her SW MO home including: one child, one husband, two dogs, two cats, a dozen hens, thousands of Italian bees and a guinea pig. Not so in love with the guinea pig. She can do ten pushups IN A ROW and may or may not have a complete zombie apocalypse bug-out bag in her trunk at all times. Just. In. Case.