I have known Marley Gibson for many years, since 2002 actually when we met at our local RWA chapter meeting. We’ve been fast friends since, and I’ve watched with admiration as Marley has written one book after the next. She is one of the most focused and disciplined writers I know and I’ve often asked her, “How do you do it?”
When I learned that the next book in her GHOST HUNTRESS series, GHOST HUNTRESS: THE JOURNEY was going to be released on October 31, Halloween, I invited her to be my first author interview on the blog. I’ve targeted half of the questions for YA readers and half for writers, though there’s bound to be some overlap. Hope you enjoy!
Reader focused questions:
So exciting that your new book is launching on Halloween! What should we know about this story?
Well, for fans of the GHOST HUNTRESS series, you’ll notice that as the series goes along, the stories get a little darker and more dangerous. THE JOURNEY is no exception. Kendall and her friends face their biggest challenge of all as they tour Europe and do some ghost hunting. The book is only available as a digital e-book, which you can download instantly.
This is book number 6? in the series. How did you get the idea for this series?
Yes! The sixth book indeed. I got the idea for the series when I was at the New England Romance Writers Conference in 2007 with my agent, Deidre Knight. She had told me that I really needed a high concept idea to really sell well into the young adult genre. At the conference, I saw there was a workshop on “Ghost Hunting 101” and thought, “People actually go looking for ghosts?” I went to the seminar and about thirty minutes into the presentation, I knew I had to write about teenage ghost hunters and I saw the first book in my head like a movie. Five years later, Kendall is still very much a part of my creative life.
Is there any interesting research or background information you discovered when you started researching and planning this series?
I’m a real stickler for research. I feel like if I’m going to write about a particular subject, then I need to know what I’m talking about. So, I became a ghost huntress myself. Not just that, but I married a ghost hunter, Patrick Burns of TruTV’s Haunting Evidence. I’ve been from coast-to-coast investigating famous haunts like the Queen Mary, the Stanley Hotel, Rolling Hills Sanitarium, Waverly Hills Sanatorium, Eastern State Penitentiary, Gettysburg Battlefield, and tons of other amazing places. All of my experiences have lent to my being a better writing of this series. In GHOST HUNTRESS: THE JOURNEY, the team is in London, Paris, and Rome. I used my own personal travels to help paint the landscape. Makes me want to grab my passport and look for a good deal on a flight over the pond.
What else have you written that readers might want to know about? And what is coming up next?
My husband, Patrick, and I co-wrote a non-fiction “how to” book for teenagers called THE OTHER SIDE: A TEEN’S GUIDE TO GHOST HUNTING AND THE PARANORMAL, as a companion for my GHOST HUNTRESS series. I’ve also been fortunate enough to work with New York Times bestselling author, Cecil Murphey, on two non-fiction books for St. Martin’s Press called CHRISTMAS MIRACLES and THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS. I’ve also released a contemporary romance series called “Resisting Temptation” that has two books, CAN’T TOUCH THIS and CAN’T FIGHT THIS. My young adult release, POSER, is about a teen model in South Beach Miami who’d rather be a doctor one day than to follow in her mother’s runway footsteps. And finally, the book of my heart is my YA book, RADIATE, which is a fictionalized version of the cancer I went through as a teenage cheerleader. RADIATE has done very well, garnered excellent reviews and is in its third printing.
What was the first book you got published? Can you tell about your experience getting ‘the call’?
My first sale was in March 2006 when I was chosen by Penguin Putnam’s Puffin line to write a “realistic and sweet” series about college sorority girls. The first two books in the three-book series, ZETA OR OMEGA and THE NEW SISTERS, were written by me under the pen name, Kate Harmon. I was at work in a financial firm in Boston when my agent, Deidre Knight, called to tell me about the sale. I literally jumped up and down at my desk…but the problem was, I had a broken foot and ended up squealing not only from the sale, but the pain. LOL!
What is your favorite thing about being a full-time writer?
I love the freedom of creativity and just sitting at the computer and letting the characters rule the day. I get to build my own world and really make thing happen. I also don’t have to punch a clock and can work at wild and crazy hours (I’m doing this interview at 2 a.m.!) whenever the mood hits me. Don’t get me wrong…it’s a lot of work and it’s a lot of dedication, but I love what I do and I hope I can keep at it.
What is your favorite way to promote your books?
I think social media is amazing. You reach so many people and they reach so many people. It’s human tentacles that spread out all over the globe connecting with people from everywhere. The amazing world that Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, etc., have opened is absolutely mind blowing. I also love sending out newsletters to my fan list to let them know how special and appreciated they are.
What are your top three tips you’d give to anyone looking to write professionally?
- Study your craft by reading and researching. Take the time to write cleanly…punctuation, grammar, formatting. It’s all part of the complete writer package.
- Don’t quit your day job…yet. Writing is a lot of hard work and you can support yourself with it if you’re successful, but be realistic and take things in stages.
- Just do it. Don’t talk about writing…do it. If you have a book in you, don’t dream about it or tell everyone your idea. Sit down at the computer and just write.
Thanks for letting me do this! = )
Here’s more on the book, and where to buy it!
Teen psychic Kendall Moorehead is about to embark on the most dangerous and shocking ghost hunt of her life. After all, it isn’t every day that the ghost of Princess Diana steps in as a personal spirit guide. But Shy Di isn’t the only surprise awaiting Kendall and her team of teen paranormal superstars as they begin a whirlwind tour of Europe with renowned TV medium Oliver Bates.
As soon as Kendall sets foot on British soil she immediately encounters her first specter—a meeting that raises many questions, and sends her hot boyfriend Patrick rushing to help with the mystery…and to comfort in the way only a boyfriend can. Surely the trip to Paris and Rome will be even more romantic than this first day in London. That is if Kendall’s ex-boyfriend Jason stays out of the way.
But love problems and eerie British ghosts aren’t Kendall’s only problems. Team leader Oliver has brought along Scottish teen psychic Christian Campbell, a rising star with a sinister aura about him—literally. When Christian starts dabbling with a Ouija board during their paranormal investigations, things turn dark, as a potentially demonic entity named Dojo emerges. This being torments Kendall, making her doubt her mission and calling as a psychic. Kendall races to battle not only Christian and his shadowy methods, but also Dojo…wondering if both might be far more real than she wants to believe.
Praise for the Ghost Huntress Series:
“This book has suspense, chills, and adventure—everything ghost hunting should be!” ~ Zak Bagans, star of Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures
“Kendall’s witty narrative voice (she quotes Shakespeare and Ugly Betty with equal aplomb) drives this fast-paced, wholesome-with-an-edge tale.
~ Publishers Weekly Review
“Ghost Huntress has it all – mystery, romance, ghost hunting and a quirky psychic teen named Kendall who I’d love to be friends with! ”
~ Simone Elkeles, New York Times bestselling author