Interview with Simone St. James

I wanted to switch it up a bit and introduce my friend, Simone St. James. Simone may not write YA, but her Adult paranormal books have become a must-have on my book shelf. When I first read THE HAUNTING OF MADDY CLARE, I was instantly in love with her writing. Her descriptions are beautiful and the ghost themselves incredibly creepy. Not to mention that the romance in her books can be quite spectacular and utterly romantic. I’m really excited to have her on  the blog and I’m sure you’ll find yourself becoming a fan in no time. So please welcome the lovely Simone St. James.

Simone, your writing is based heavily on ghost stories with a little added romance. Did you experience something paranormal at a certain point in your life that inspired your writing style? 

I’ve never experienced a ghost, but my writings are based on two things: 1) I certainly think ghosts are possible, and 2) that thought terrifies me. I’m seriously, seriously scared of ghosts, but I love ghost stories. I write my books with the thought that if something scares me that badly, there’s a good chance it scares somebody else as well.

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Where do you get your ideas? Are the hauntings in your books based on real stories you’ve read or heard about? 
The hauntings in my books are entirely made-up. The town of Rothewell in An Inquiry Into Love and Death is based a little bit on the English town of Pluckley, sometimes referred to as “the most haunted village in England.” (Interestingly, Pluckley’s official website makes no mention of this; I like to think they’d rather not talk about the ghosts.) It’s also based a little bit on the village of Clovelly, in Devon, which is built on the side of a steep hill to the water. But mostly the ghosts come entirely from my imagination.
That said, since I’ve been published, readers and strangers love to come up to me and tell me their personal ghost stories. “You’ll love to hear this,” they always say. And they’re always right.
When you started writing, did you know this was the direction you wanted to go? Or did you start off with a different genre? 
I started out as a romance writer. I have two and a half historical romance manuscripts sitting under my bed. I sent them everywhere, and was rejected everywhere. I was starting to despair. Then I got an idea about a ghost hunter from a temp agency and the mysterious man who hires her, and the idea wouldn’t let go. I honestly thought it had no chance at all of selling because it was such a weird mix of genres. I finally wrote the book when I decided I didn’t actually care anymore if I sold; I just wanted to write the book that badly. That book became The Haunting of Maddy Clare.
In the end I wrote the book I really wanted to read: spooky, but not gory; a little like those old-style gothics; with a ghost that was actually scary and a heroine I could root for and a real romance. I couldn’t find that book as a reader, so I had to write it.
Do you plan to dabble in a little something else aside from paranormal? 
No plans as of yet, but my brain is always working. I’d love to write non-paranormal historical mysteries someday, when I have so much spare time that I can write entire extra novels…. At the rate I get ideas, I can’t write fast enough. I know I’m not the only one with this problem!

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How do you prepare for your books? For instance, do you ever go ghost hunting to capture the vibe you’re trying to portray? Do you watch certain shows or movies to get in the right state of mind?
I would love to go on a real ghost hunt, but—see my answer above—I’m actually too scared. I have watched Ghost Hunters. In fact, I had to stop watching it while home alone because I couldn’t take anymore of those guys sitting in the dark going “Did you hear that?” It was freaking me out. Mostly to prepare for my books I read old research books about the 1920’s and World War I, which I enjoy because I am a history geek.
What do you find the most intriguing about the paranormal? 
I think everyone, even skeptics, examines the possibility of the paranormal at some point in their lives. It’s that moment of questioning that I like to explore. That moment we all have when we say to ourselves, “What if?” What if that sound you heard was a footstep? What if that wasn’t really the wind at the window? What else might it be? What would you do? What then?
The characters in my books usually have a moment when they realize the world isn’t anything like they thought it was. I love those moments.
Do you have another ghost story in the works? 
I do. Silence for the Dead releases April 1, 2014—it’s about a haunted asylum for shell-shocked World War I vets, and the nurse who is the only one who believes her patients aren’t entirely mad. I’m also working on my 2015 release, which is as yet untitled. I can give you only one hint: It involves seances.
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Thank you, Simone, for being a part of the Scream Queens! And for all you readers out there, Simone has offered to giveaway a signed advance copy of Silence for the Dead to one random commenter. US and Canada only. Just comment that you want one, and she’ll pick someone at random! So get to commenting and good luck!
StJamesForweb200Simone St. James is the author of gothic ghost stories (with romance) set in 1920’s England. Her first book, The Haunting of Maddy Clare, won two RITA awards from Romance Writers of America, and her second book, An Inquiry Into Love and Death, released in March 2013. She lives just outside Toronto, Canada, with her husband and a spoiled cat. Her website is www.simonestjames.com and she is on Twitter as simone_stjames.


Categories: Books, Writing

Tags: , , , ,

8 replies

  1. Yes, I would love to have a copy of the book please! 🙂

  2. I would love to have a copy! Awesome post! 🙂

  3. I’m not sure if my comment showed up because it’s not on my phone but yes please! 🙂

  4. Ghost stories? Yes, please!

  5. I’d love a copy to add to my holiday reads pile!

  6. I would totally, absolutely love a copy! Especially since I write YA horror ghost stories. YES PLEASE

  7. Thanks guys! I’ve done a random drawing and Cat Scully is the winner! You can email me at simonestjamesauthor [at] gmail [dot] com or find me on Twitter as simone_stjames!

    Thanks for hosting me, Heather!

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