By Sue Ann Jaffarian
The 5th book in my Ghost of Granny Apples series, Ghost in the Guacamole, is about to be released. Wow! The fifth! And that doesn’t count the two Granny Apples e-book novellas that are already out: The Silent Ghost and Dummy of a Ghost.
When this series first started I really had no idea that it would be as popular as it is or would extend beyond a few books. (Not that I’m complaining!) Really, I didn’t. I thought after a couple of books, there wouldn’t be much to write about or that readers would grow tired of it.
Boy, was I wrong! On both counts!
Just as readers are thrilled to see another Ghost of Granny Apples mystery hit the shelves, so am I thrilled when the ideas for stories continue to present themselves to me. Maybe ghosts are whispering in my ear?
Ideas for these fun books are triggered from all kinds of sources, but mostly it’s a place that plants the seed for a story. I love to weave a little bit of history into these stories about a 100-year-old pioneer ghost who helps her great-great-great granddaughter, who is a medium, solve murders or prevent them, and that means researching the geographical area in which the book is located.
For example, the idea for the last Granny Apples book, Ghost of a Gamble, came to me on a trip to Las Vegas and while reading up on the colorful history of the famous gambling mecca. Ghost in the Guacamole takes place mostly on Olvera Street, the birthplace of Los Angeles, and a destination that I’ve always wanted to feature in a book. Because of Olvera Street’s Mexican heritage, I knew I wanted a title that reflected that but was also catchy and cute. Thus, Ghost in the Guacamole was born.
Another great thing about letting the setting call the shots is that I often get to research the history of these places in person, so it’s not only fun, but educational for me, and I hope for my readers. One of my favorite research trips was for Gem of a Ghost, the third book in the series. For that I visited Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, and got a personal tour of a haunted prison, which I used in the story.
Currently, I’m working on the sixth book in the series. It’s working title is Ghost Writer and it takes place in rural Massachusetts. I’ve recently taken a trip there and returned armed with research books on New England haunted villages and ghosts sightings. I have a few more interesting ideas for future books, which I hope I will get the opportunity to bring to life on the page.
Now if you’ll excuse me, this writer has to get back to Ghost Writer before the ghosts that whisper to me get restless. They’re pretty strict task masters.
* Photograph by Ayman Samman