Today I’m interviewing author, J.H. Moncrieff as part of the blog tour for her supernatural series.
What inspired you to become a writer?
When I was five years old, I started writing picture books. I remember wanting to write a classic and be the next Charles Dickens from a very early age. Children’s author Gordon Korman was another early influence. It probably helped that my mom read to me all the time and that my grandfather was a natural storyteller. We begged him to write his stories down, but sadly he never did.
Do you write every day?
Ha! I wish. No, I take time off for vacations, weekends, and conferences, and life can definitely get in the way. Thankfully I’m a fast writer, so I can make up the lost time.
Is there any romance in your stories and if so can you tell us a little about this?
In City of Ghosts, Jackson and Kate form a wonderful friendship. It’s obvious from the start Jackson is attracted to her, but he also has a lot of growing up to do. In the second book, The Girl Who Talks to Ghosts, their relationship continues to grow and evolve. It’s not the kind of love romance readers might expect, but it’s love all the same.
Can you give us a little insight into any characters in your latest series?
When City of Ghosts begins, Jackson is a wisecracking guy in his late twenties who thinks writing bestsellers about haunted locations will be an easy way to retire rich. After all, what’s so difficult about writing? Kate is a lot more level-headed, but she has a gift that’s taken a huge toll on her. She’s a medium who experiences the pain and suffering of the souls she comes in contact with. They’re both strong, intelligent people, so sometimes they hit it off and other times they clash.
What is the time period setting of your series?
The GhostWriters series is set in the current day, but because there are ghosts involved, the characters are greatly affected by tragedies that happened in the past. A reoccurring theme of my work is how the sins of the past come back to haunt us.
Do you prefer to write a series or one-off books?
GhostWriters is my first series, and it almost wasn’t. In the beginning, I wrote City of Ghosts as a one-off. It became a series when I saw how much my beta readers loved Kate and thought she should have her own book. People also wanted to know what happened to Kate and Jackson after City of Ghosts ended.
Before writing this series, I’d written nine stand-alone books, but I have enjoyed continuing the story of Kate and Jackson. Since they’re always investigating a new haunted location, there’s no end of ideas for that series! I’m really excited to see where it goes. Those two feel like old friends now.
Do you like to use lots of subplots or do you think they just confuse?
It depends on the book. City of Ghosts has the main storyline of what happened to the missing women of Hensu, but there is also Kate and Jackson’s relationship, what happened to Jackson’s best friend, the dynamics of Jackson and Kate’s tour group, and how Jackson evolves throughout the book. The Girl Who Talks to Ghosts introduces a different point of view and has a much more complex plot. Subplots can be great if they don’t take the novel too far off course.
Can you tell us a little about your protagonist and your antagonist and how they relate to each other?
In City of Ghosts, the main antagonist is Jackson’s tour guide, who is strangely resistant and almost aggressive to any questions about the Chinese ghost city and the missing women. As the story unfolds, the reader will learn why he behaves this way, but from the beginning, the guide seems to loathe Jackson and views him as a troublemaker (which, to be fair, he kind of is).
In The Girl Who Talks to Ghosts, it’s unclear who the antagonist really is at first, so I don’t want to say too much lest I give away the story!
How do you think you would feel if you received a really bad review that seemed justified?
I appreciate all critical reviews that are constructive. What I don’t like is when someone leaves a review that’s out-and-out nasty with no merit at all. Thankfully, that ends up saying a lot more about the reviewer than it does about the book.
Do you think all readers should do reviews to help the writers improve?
I don’t think it’s the readers’ job to help writers improve. A hundred people could read the same book and come away with a hundred different opinions. Diana Gabaldon once said she pays less attention to reader feedback now that she’s famous than before, because it’s all conflicting opinions. That said, I do think positive reviews are really important, especially for authors who are starting out or those who have small audiences. If you’ve enjoyed a book, tell your friends. Let people know. Post it on Amazon and Goodreads.
I’m not saying people should never leave critical reviews. Some can be helpful. But when readers tear a book apart, or hurl personal insults at the writer, or just leave one star with the word “No,” there’s nothing helpful about that, and it could really hurt the author’s career before they’ve even had a chance. I think people sometimes forget that there’s an actual human being behind every book.
About the Books
City of Ghosts
On the day the villagers were forced to flee Hensu, not everyone got out alive.
Jackson Stone is touring the abandoned Chinese city when he slips away from the group to spend the night, determined to publish an account of his ghostly experiences there.
Then he meets Yuèhai, a strange, soft-spoken woman who can tell him the city’s secrets—secrets the Chinese government would kill to keep hidden.
As Jackson uncovers the truth about Yuèhai and the ghost city, he’s drawn into a web of conspiracy, betrayal, and murder. He must risk everything to save himself and bring honor back to Yuèhai and her family.
The Girl Who Talks to Ghosts
Would you risk everything to save a stranger?
Off the coast of Venice lurks Poveglia, the world’s most haunted isle, steeped in centuries of innocent blood. A deranged doctor who took great joy in torturing his patients in life continues to rule his abandoned asylum after death.
Few go to Poveglia willingly, but medium Kate Carlsson has no choice. It’s her job.
While struggling to retrieve a young girl’s soul, Kate uncovers some shocking truths about the evil on the island that challenges her own convictions and morals—and even her life.
Is saving Lily worth making a deal with the infamous Doctor of Death, or is the price too high to pay?
J.H. Moncrieff’s work has been described as early Gillian Flynn with a little Ray Bradbury and Stephen King thrown in for good measure.
She won Harlequin’s search for the next Gillian Flynn in 2016.
Her first published novella, The Bear Who Wouldn’t Leave, was featured in Samhain’s Childhood Fears collection and stayed on its horror bestsellers list for over a year.
When not writing, she loves exploring the world’s most haunted places, advocating for animal rights, and summoning her inner ninja in muay thai class.
To get free eBooks and a new spooky story every week, go to http://bit.ly/MoncrieffLibrary .