LAURA SPINELLA: GHOST GIFTS WAS INSPIRED BY THE THINGS WE CAN’T EXPLAIN
Posted by Ognian Georgiev
Laura Spinella’s Ghost Gifts is set for release on March 1. The novel made a big jump into Kindle Amazon’s bestselling list and topped the ranking. Days before the official premiere the title already gathered almost 500 reviews with average 4.5 stars.
It’s always interesting to meet an author who just made the big break. Check out our cool conversation with Laura Spinella.
– Laura, what is your book Ghost Gifts about?
– Ghost Gifts is the story of Aubrey Ellis—a woman haunted by her psychic abilities. All she wants is an ordinary life. But when the remains of a girl gone twenty years turn up, she is drawn into a murder mystery. Who will discover the answers first—savvy reporter Levi St John, or Aubrey and the ghosts who haunt her?
– How did you decide to write the story?
– I’ve always been intrigued by psychic phenomenon, things we can’t explain. I actually had Aubrey’s job, as a real estate reporter, for a number of years. A few of the houses I visited certainly had a ghostly vibe. I started to wonder what might happen if there was more to those “house stories.” From there, the two thoughts just kind of married, and Aubrey’s story took off.
– What was the biggest challenge during the write up process?
– Making it believable. “I see dead people,” Right? Commence the eye rolling; it can be a slippery slope. Because I based the story on paranormal elements, it was important to have a counterweight—in Ghost Gifts it’s the very real murder of Missy Flannigan and the character of Levi St John. Both things proved to be grounding. It’s also an extremely layered plot, so there were lots of checks and balances along the way.
– Tell us something more about your main characters Aubrey and Levi? Are they close to someone from your real life?
– No, not at all. I can’t think of any main character I ever based on a real person. Aubrey and Levi are very much a product of my imagination, maybe traits I’ve borrowed and compiled from various people. The main thing the two characters have in common is the something missing components in both their lives. Eventually, and not without pitfalls, Aubrey and Levi find they are the answer to each other’s questions in life.
– How much time did you need to finish the story and to publish it?
– I wrote the draft in nine months—which is quick for me. It was just over two years from when I first wrote Ghost Gifts until Montlake published it. Of course, that answer doesn’t really touch on the great editorial advice I received along the way. I was very fortunate to find a publisher who took such a keen interest in the book.
– What was your reaction when you saw Ghost Gifts on the top of Amazon bestselling ranks?
– Still checking my heart rate on that one! I had a friend who was lucky enough to be a Kindle First pick last year. I saw what happened to her book, which was amazing. Amazon provides an incredible platform for authors to share their work. It’s kind of like The Voice or American Idol for books. You get the stage, but more than anything it’s a chance to compete. I’m very grateful for that opportunity.
– Would you share some insight about your other two books Beautiful Disaster and Perfect Timing?
– My first book babies! Hmm… There’ll never be another Beautiful Disaster. At least I don’t think so. Flynn was a one of a kind character, and his romance with Mia singular. Perfect Timing has a tad more fantasy to it, but I’m still an Aidan Royce (main character) fan! Compared to Ghost Gifts, they’re both more romance oriented. However, I like to think all my books—including my L. J. Wilson novels—bring elements of mystery and suspense to the reader.
– Who are you?
– Writer seeking readers, excited to share stories of romance and suspense. Wine lover, Patriots fan—always a DAWG, UGA grad. I bleed red & black. I’m also busy being a mom to three technically grown kids and when I’m not writing I work for a web developer—it’s a full dance card.
– What are your writing habits?
– I write from about 7 a.m. to one in the afternoon. It’s pretty intense—if you’re home, don’t bug me. If you bug me, you better be bleeding.
– Are you satisfied by the sales of your book?
– What are you doing to promote your book by the best possible way?
– Right now the Kindle First opportunity has really taken on a life of it’s own. But Ghost Gifts releases everywhere and in print March 1st. I’ve done some Q&As and there’s a blog tour in the works. I’d love to attend the RWA conference this year, but that’s a “we’ll see” right now. I’m always checking in on social media, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. Come find me!
– When we will see your next novel Unstrung and would you unveil something more about it?
– I believe it’s slated for a February 2017 release. I’m in the process of the first round of self-edits. For me this is the most grueling part, but I do love the story. It’s somewhat different than my previous books—but I hope I can say that for every book I write.
Unstrung is part romance and part black comedy—the story Olivia Klein, a symphony violinist whose life moves more to the rhythm of a death metal rock band. Olivia is gifted and impulsive and she’s a challenge—mostly to herself. Happiness is an elusive commodity and Olivia will have to risk everything to find it.
– You are writing under the pen name L.J. Wilson. Why you decided not to use your original name?
– That’s an interesting question. The simplest answer is that the Clairmont series (which are L. J. Wilson novels) run a little hotter than a Laura Spinella book. Some readers have a strong desire for that kind of story while others shy away. Plus, it’s a series, which was something different for me. Ruby Ink did very well and book two, The Mission, is out this May. I really enjoy writing them. I love the premise of following a family legacy and the idea of connected characters and stories. Readers can check them out at LJWilson.com.
– If you may ask yourself one question in the interview what it will be?
– Q: What does it mean to be a successful writer? A: I used to think it was finishing a book. Then I finished a book. After that I thought it would be having a book published. I had a book published—several. The answer changed again. Success, as a writer, might have to do with a monetary value and a large readership. (I won’t lie; I bet that’s not a bad answer.) But, realistically, I think success as writer has to do with a combination of being happy with your work AND not feeling the need to chase something. I’m not there yet, but I think I’m on that path.
Thank you so much! This was great fun and my pleasure entirely!