A CHAT WITH HEATHER GRAHAM
AUTHOR OF “LET THE DEAD SLEEP”
It’s a pleasure to welcome N.Y. Times bestseller Heather Graham to my blog. Heather is the maven of romantic suspense and paranormal mystery, and a love of her work is one of the reasons I chose to write in those genres.
In her newest novel, LET THE DEAD SLEEP (April 2013), Heather again takes her readers on a spine-tingling visit to the world of the paranormal. When a centuries-old carving of an evil man is stolen from a New Orleans grave, it sets off a race for possession of the object – and control of its malevolent powers. The current owner visits an antique and curio shop, desperate to rid herself of the vile sculpture. But before shop owner Danni Cafferty can make the purchase, it disappears and the owner is found dead, plunging Danni and P.I. Michael Quinn into the conflict to try to keep its evil energy contained.
Question and Answer with Heather
- In your new book, LET THE DEAD SLEEP, the theft of a centuries-old sculpture, the carved bust of a wicked man, sparks a struggle between good and evil. You introduce two compelling characters, Danni Cafferty, a young woman who inherits an unusual antiques and curio shop in New Orleans, and Michael Quinn, a private investigator with a mysterious past. Is this the first of a new series of Cafferty and Quinn books with the pair battling evil with the aid of an ancient text?
Yes, thank you! The team of Cafferty and Quinn will struggle through more ordeals—and how to manage their relationship, as well.
- Like many of your books, LET THE DEAD SLEEP involves elements of the paranormal and the ability of human beings to deal with the unknown. What intrigues you so much about the paranormal?
I love the possibilities out there. I can be the world’s worst skeptic, but I’m also curious and ever hopeful. Most of us have lost loved ones—I want to believe that I will see mine again. If such things are possible, then the world of what we don’t see all the time just might be possible, too. I love hearing stories and I’ve heard some really good ones that make you wonder about the power of the human mind—and soul.
- You’ve been on a number of ghost hunts, ghost tours and walks. Which ones are your favorites and where is your favorite haunted place?
I think I’ve loved them all. Last year (available on On Demand, I believe!) my daughter and I appeared on “Haunted Encounters” for the Biography Channel. It was for their half hour segment on the Lizzie Borden house. She played Lizzie and killed me as Abby and our friend, writer Dennis Cummins, as Andrew Borden. She was great! But they had me lying right where Abby had been found and Chynna had a real hatchet. It was pretty creepy!
I also love the cemeteries (and any place, really) in New Orleans, the Spanish Military Hospital, St. Augustine, a number of places in Key West, Salem, Massachusetts, and the Myrtles Plantation, in Louisiana. There’s a YouTube video up (Heather Graham’s Krewe of Hunters Ghost Series, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FtC2fCOwV9A) from our Myrtles Plantations trip. We had the whole plantation to ourselves for a weekend to film and explore. My friends, the Peace River Ghost Trackers, were with us.
We had a séance once at the House of Seven Gables. That was amazing! Other places in the world would include the Tower of London, the Capuchin Monastery church in Rome, the underground in Edinburgh . . . my list could go on and on.
- What was your most recent ghost hunt?
As I write this, the Queen Mary. The Peace River Ghost Trackers arranged for us to have one alone with just a single guard to explore the ship. We spent a lot of time in the pool area and beneath the stairs, said to be among the most haunted places on the ship. It was the most convinced my daughter ever was that something or someone else might be there.
- A recent survey reports that six in ten U.S. voters believe in demonic possession, more than a third believe in ghosts, and 52% believe houses can be haunted but just 47% would be willing to stay in a haunted house overnight (Public Policy Polling). You’ve stayed in several haunted houses. What was the most interesting and do you believe the house was truly haunted?
Most probably the Lizzie Borden house. The owner, Lee-ann Wilbur, has done an amazing job refurbishing and refurnishing—areas of the house look exactly as they looked in pictures taken at the time of the crimes. She also has a number of headless mannequins dressed in period clothing throughout the house. Every year after a great conference in Rhode Island called NECON, I go up to Fall River with a group of writers. We take the entire house for a night. The only time I was the last one to go to bed, I was moving through the house walking normally, when I suddenly began running to get to my room. Lee-Ann is a wonderful hostess and the B and B is beautiful. Whether you’re a believer or not, it’s a great place to stay.
- You’ve written a number of books set in New Orleans. Why is it such a perfect location for paranormal stories?
There’s something extremely special about New Orleans. It’s where the documents for the Louisiana Purchase were signed and it’s been home to about every nationality in the world. The food is great and just walking down the streets in the French Quarter you can hear some of the best music in the world. Jackson Square is as filled with life as the cemeteries are with the essence of death. I think I especially love the city because you do see every one of every belief from everywhere in any flesh tone known to man. I love the history because it’s so rich, and I especially love it because it’s a living history. Lafitte’s old shop is a bar. Hotels where soldiers were cared for once still stand—and welcome guests. I love the art, the music, the architecture—you name it!
- The location always seems to come to life in your books, whether it be The Alamo, Salem, Massachusetts, South Florida and the Keys or New Orleans. The locale almost becomes a character in the story, just as it does in LET THE DEAD SLEEP. How does location help inspire your novels as you are developing the story line?
If I love a place, I try really hard to let a reader see it—and hopefully, love it as I do, or want to visit! Also, I know in life that where I grew up influenced me. What we see, feel, live, and touch every day definitely has a bearing on our view of the world. Some of us love snow and can’t see a Christmas without it. Some of us are accustomed to having water near by—warm water in my case!—and can’t imagine life without escaping to the sea. Growing up, I was lucky. My parents were readers. I read my dad’s war books and a lot of the histories and novels my mother brought from Ireland—they made we want to see the places I read about. I hope to do the same—bring a place to life.
- A blogger recently reported that there are over 70 first-run or syndicated television programs devoted to topics of ghosts, aliens, mediums and psychics airing in the U.S., England and Canada. Paranormal romances have become one of the dominant romance novel sub-genres. What do you believe is behind their popularity?
We’re mortal—and we don’t want to be! I think, as well, that most people feel the same way I do—that we must see our loved ones again. Also, curious but true, the concept of vampires remains sexy, superpowers, well, we all want them, and as for zombies . . . well, we’re always afraid that the apocalypse is coming, so you should be ready to fight off zombies, right?
- What are your favorite ghost/paranormal program on television? Favorite movie with a paranormal theme?
On television, “Supernatural” is my favorite. When it comes to movies, I have a few! “Ghost”—a beautiful story! “The Frighteners”—funny and creepy. And popping vampires in there, I’d say “The Lost Boys.”
- What is coming up in 2013 after LET THE DEAD SLEEP?
More of the Krewe of Hunters. They’ll travel to an old theater out west, in Arizona, to a haunted restaurant in Savannah, and then to Nashville, where a Civil War soldier still tries to warn others of impending danger! THE NIGHT IS WATCHING is out in June 2013.
11. You write both historical and contemporary romances. Which do you prefer?
I love them both! When you are writing an historical novel, you’re dealing with a different set of values, a different political situation, even a different moral code dictated by another time. To make the story work, you have to take all those things into consideration, as well as everyday things like appropriate dress, the running of a household or the raising of children, to make the story come alive for the reader.
12. You have five children. What’s the most important thing you have learned from them?
That your kids really raise you. Children open so many doors. As parents, you meet people you wouldn’t have met, learn about things you would have missed out on, have experiences you’d never have had without them. I’ve gotten the inspiration for books from my kids’ Little League days, a friend of one who is a U.S. Marshall, one son’s passion for dance—and the love of the mysterious and travel that we all share. But the most important thing I’ve learned from them is that there is nothing more important than the ones you love.
13. If you weren’t a writer, what do you think you’d be doing right now?
My major was theater, so if I hadn’t become a writer, I would probably be playing one of the witches from Macbeth somewhere in regional theater. Who knows, maybe I’d be on a top soap like Kelly!
14. What else would you like your readers to know about you?
That I feel so blessed to be able to do something I really love to make my living, and it’s the best career in the world with five kids.
We feel blessed to be your readers, Heather! Thank you for providing us with such wonderful entertainment.
Please write in with your comments because my next post will have news of a special surprise courtesy of Heather!
About HEATHER GRAHAM:
New York Times best-selling author Heather Graham, an acknowledged master of paranormal fiction, believes our fascination with the paranormal stems from our hope that there is an afterlife where we’ll meet our lost loved ones, leading us to believe that their spirits continue on after death. Heather’s fascination with the other-worldly has taken her on ghost walks in haunted locales across America and around the world, and on ghost hunts in New Orleans, on the Queen Mary and to Lizzie Borden House where she actually participated in a recreation of the infamous crime.
Heather has written more than a hundred novels, many of which have been featured by the Doubleday Book Club and the Literary Guild. An avid scuba diver, ballroom dancer and mother of five, she still enjoys her south Florida home, but loves to travel as well, from Venice, Italy, Cairo, Egypt, New Orleans, Los Angeles and Boston to her own backyard, the Florida Keys.
Heather Graham has written more than a hundred novels, many of which have been featured by the Doubleday Book Club and the Literary Guild. An avid scuba diver, ballroom dancer and mother of five, she still enjoys her south Florida home, but loves to travel as well, from Venice, Italy, Cairo, Egypt, New Orleans, Los Angeles and Boston to her own backyard, the Florida Keys.
Reading, however, is the pastime she still loves best, and she is a member of many writing groups. She’s a winner of the Romance Writers of America’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Thriller Writers’ Silver Bullet. She is an active member of International Thriller Writers and Mystery Writers of America, and also the founder of The Slush Pile Players, an author band and theatrical group.
Heather hosts the annual Writers for New Orleans conference to benefit both the city, which is near and dear to her heart, and various other causes, and she hosts a ball each year at the RT Booklovers Convention to benefit pediatric AIDS foundations. For more information, check out her website: eHeatherGraham.com. You can also find Heather on Facebook.
LET THE DEAD SLEEP
$24.95 US / $27.95 CAN.