The Flavors of a Good Ghost Story
By Dreaming Novelist Laura K. Cowan
Guest Post for Chasity Nicole
April 21, 2014
“Not All Ghost Stories Are Sad.” That’s the line I have used to introduce people to my upcoming literary supernatural novel, Music of Sacred Lakes [ http://www.amazon.com/Music-Sacred-Lakes-Laura-Cowan/dp/1494711427/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1390140902&sr=8-1&keywords=music+of+sacred+lakes ] , in which a young man is helped to a discovery of his place of belonging in the world by the spirit of a girl he accidentally killed. There was a time when I thought all ghost stories were the same. But if you dive into the supernatural genre, particularly the YA flavor my fellow author Chasity Nicole writes so well, or the spiritual end that is my playground, you find a much richer genre.
“A beautiful young girl with a free spirit, so I’m told. Let’s see if we can break that spirit. I’m Miss Elleanora.” So begins Chasity’s story of Miss Elleanora’s Boarding School of Buried Dreams, in which children who misbehave are fed to a mysterious monster beneath the school. From this story to her haunting tales in the upcoming Sins of the Past historical horror anthology and Shades of Fear [change title if anthology name changes] in which we are both taking part, you can see how Chasity balances the frightening and the humorous, the human spirit and the things that try to suck it dry from the hereafter.
My stories? Well, they’re pretty strange as well. In Music of Sacred Lakes [ http://www.amazon.com/Music-Sacred-Lakes-Laura-Cowan/dp/1494711427/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1390140902&sr=8-1&keywords=music+of+sacred+lakes ] the protagonist Peter is pursued by strange images and sounds that haunt him through his waking and sleeping hours. The spirit of the girl he killed rises out of Lake Michigan under the Northern Lights and tries to help him understand something very important about the world around him and his place in it. And ultimately, it is the lake itself he hears whispering this truth to him when he finally finds an inner silence and gives up his will to die. But this story is so far afield from the standard ghost story that you might not even be sure that that’s what it is. I’m not even sure that that’s what it is! I love to write stories that are on a fringe like Chasity’s, where even I’m not quite sure how to explain them. I think that’s the key to a really good ghost story. It leaves you feeling a bit haunted, not quite with all the answers, but with some very interesting questions and an unforgettable experience. Who needs all the answers, anyway?
Laura K. Cowan, The Dreaming Novelist, writes imaginative novels that explore the possibilities of the human condition through the connections between the spiritual and natural worlds. Her debut novel The Little Seer spent its launch week at #2 and #5 on the Kindle Bestseller List for free titles in Christian Suspense and Occult/Supernatural, and was hailed by reviewers and readers as “riveting,” “moving and lyrical.” Laura’s second novel, a redemptive ghost story titled Music of Sacred Lakes, and her first short story collection, The Thin Places: Supernatural Tales of the Unseen, will be available soon. Connect with Laura on her website LauraKCowan.com, on Twitter or on Facebook.