Please join me in welcoming author Scott Nicholson here today to Dark Faerie Tales. Scott is here today to talk a bit about ghosts and his novel, Speed Dating with the dead. Be sure to check out the previous stops on his blog tour. Scott always does really interesting and engaging guest posts.
One lucky commenter will have a chance to win a Kindle DX or Kindle 3. As always, details are listed at the end of the post.
What’s Your Favorite Ghost?
By Scott Nicholson
Everybody loves a good ghost story, and they’ve been used everywhere, from “Hamlet” to “The Lovely Bones,” covering the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Ghosts have always been my primary paranormal trope of choice, having been raised in the Appalachian front-porch storytelling tradition. But even after I grew up and started reading in lots of genres, I tended to enjoy ghost stories the most. Some of my favorites are “The Haunting of Hill House” by Shirley Jackson and the “Haunted” series by James Herbert.
Stephen King’s “The Shining” is amazing, and those two twin girls in the Kubrick movie version are one of the creepiest images I’ve ever seen on film. What I like best about ghosts and haunted houses are the psychological implications, especially when you can’t tell whether there’s an actual haunting or if something is merely weighing on the protagonist’s sanity.
Alexandra Sokoloff’s “The Harrowing” and “The Price,” Deborah Leblanc’s “A House Divided,” and Christopher Ransom’s “The Birthing House” are modern books that fall under this category. J.T. Warren’s “Hudson House” is a creepy new haunted house tale, and William Meikle spins a good supernatural yarn.
For the record, Casper the Friendly Ghost always annoyed me, and I don’t get any special thrill out of books like “The Lovely Bones” or J.N. Williamson’s “Ghost,” (filmed as the Swayze/Moore movie) where the supernatural is not spooky. However, I enjoy a novel like Daphne du Maurier’s “Rebecca,” where the “ghost” is the presence and influence a dead woman casts over the lives of survivors.
I definitely prefer suspense to gore, and ghosts seem to impart a particular brand of menace just because you’re not quite sure what they might do. A vampire’s going to suck your blood, a zombie will eat your brains, a werewolf will shred you to ribbons, but a ghost? What’s the motivation?
When I use ghosts in my work, such as in The Red Church, Creative Spirit, or Speed Dating with the Dead, they usually have a dual role of delivering some sort of message from beyond but also projecting a threat. That reflects the combination of curiosity and fear with which I view the afterlife.
Some of my favorite ghost movies are “The Others,” “Session 9,” “Dead Birds,” and even “The Sixth Sense,” which is kind of “your parent’s brand of horror.” Once you’ve been to paranormal conferences and see relatively sane people stand there and claim to be seeing and talking to ghosts, cinema ghosts lose a little of their luster. Still, the element of the unpredictable remains fresh, and ghost stories tend to age well across the generations.
And maybe it’s no coincidence that classic writers like Shakespeare, Dickens, James, and Twain dabbled in the supernatural. Despite their distinguished presence in English literature, spirits aren’t as prominent in fiction these days. I suspect it’s because the paranormal and urban fantasy genres are heavily skewed to romance at the moment, and getting it on with a ghost isn’t so visually appealing.
But ghosts keep popping up in virtually every other genre, so it’s safe to say ghosts will never die. What are some of your favorite ghost novels and movies?
This week’s Scott special is As I Die Lying, 99 cents for a limited time.
Scott Nicholson is author of 12 novels, including the thrillers Disintegration, Drummer Boy, Forever Never Ends, The Skull Ring, Burial to Follow, and They Hunger. His revised novels for the U.K. Kindle are Creative Spirit, Troubled, and Solom. He’s also written four comic series, six screenplays, and more than 60 short stories. His story collections include Ashes, The First, Murdermouth: Zombie Bits, and Flowers.
To be eligible for the Kindle DX or Kindle 3, simply post a comment below with contact info. Feel free to debate and discuss the topic, but you will only be entered once per blog. Visit all the blogs on the tour and increase your odds. Scott is also giving away a Kindle 3 through the tour newsletter and a Pandora’s Box of free e-books to a follower of “hauntedcomputer” on Twitter. Thanks for playing. Complete details can be found here.
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.