I’m often asked why the male protagonist in my novel, In The Spirit Of Love, is a ghost. After all, he’s dead, and really, what chance for a future romance is there?
When I started writing ISOL, I didn’t worry about that. I was concerned with the issues they’d face, the obstacles that would be inherent in both being a ghost, and in loving one. See, the fact is, love doesn’t offer guarantees, it’s often a leap of faith to accept that you’ll be together many years in the future. For that matter, the same goes for life. We aren’t promised happily ever-afters, or even temporary happiness. We have to create them ourselves. Every turn of life could send us tumbling into the abyss. But I’m a romance writer, so I couldn’t help but wonder; what if you loved someone because you were destined to? What if you had to put all the “what if’s” on hold and just love someone because of who they were, not for what they had, or what they could do for you.
As a ghost, Lord Richard Abbottsford is limited in his ability to communicate with the outside world. After almost one hundred fifty years, he’s come accept this limitations. Then he spies Claire Jacobs, who is the exact replica of his long deceased love, and suddenly, the future is rife with possibilities – and love.
Lots of publishers and agents said “rubbish”, it’s too far-fetched. Again I thought, but isn’t that true of life? Don’t we all meander down a path, accepting things as they are, we stop fighting, stop questioning, only to come smack up against something – or someone – who alters our course forever. Doesn’t mean we don’t sometimes rail against our lot in life, the disappointments and hurts, but maybe, just maybe, there’s a reason for it all. Maybe we really are supposed to learn something from the obstacles and pain.
By allowing my protagonists to experience pain and unhappiness, as well as joy and excitement, I hope to instil a sense of hope and expectancy for the future for them, even when it seems impossible there could be one.
Ghosts, re-incarnation, visions and déjà vu are all subjects that are kinda out there, but people have been talking about them for millennia. I’ll admit I think a lot of it is hooey, yet some are just so damned unexplainable – what if they’re real. What if the past affects the present, so that our future can change? I for one have definitely experienced many instances of déjà vu, or had dreams that were startlingly real – but those are stories for another time.
Because I wanted to write a story about a woman who falls in love with a ghost, I did a bit of research. Websites such as Ghosts and Stories abound, although I thought this one was fun and interesting. With the story set in England, I also researched haunted English estates and was surprised to discover there really is a Chillingham Castle in Northumberland. I say shocked, because I’d never heard of it before, yet I’d already written that one of the minor characters in the book is from “Chillingham Estate”. Coincidence, I’m sure but again, interesting.
So, back to my original question; why a love story between a woman and a ghost? Because it was a story that intrigued me, and once I started, it wouldn’t let me go. I don’t know if I believe in ghosts, or the paranormal, but I do believe in love, in second chances, and in leading with your heart as well as your head.