Tuesday, March 13, 2012

PR Special Edition: Deborah Coates!

Poisoned Rationality Special  Edition

Welcome to another Poisoned Rationality Special Edition! Today we have Deborah Coates author of the recently released ghost story Wide Open talking about...well ghosts and why they're hanging out in her newest novel.

Synopsis: When Sergeant Hallie Michaels comes back to South Dakota from Afghanistan on ten days' compassionate leave, her sister Dell's ghost is waiting at the airport to greet her.

The sheriff says that Dell's death was suicide, but Hallie doesn't believe it. Something happened or Dell's ghost wouldn't still be hanging around. Friends and family, mourning Dell's loss, think Hallie's letting her grief interfere with her judgment. 

The one person who seems willing to listen is the deputy sheriff, Boyd Davies, who shows up everywhere and helps when he doesn't have to. 

As Hallie asks more questions, she attracts new ghosts, women who disappeared without a trace.  Soon, someone's trying to beat her up, burn down her father's ranch, and stop her investigation.

Hallie's going to need Boyd, her friends, and all the ghosts she can find to defeat an enemy who has an unimaginable ancient power at his command


Ghost Writing
Thanks so much for having me on your blog, Lexie! I thought today I'd talk a little bit about ghosts and ghost stories and why there are ghosts in Wide Open.

Ghosts stories have been around forever. Sometimes the ghosts are malevolent.  Sometimes they're kind. Sometimes they're practically the same as they were in life, except they float a lot and aren't very substantial. Sometimes they're little more than an evil force in a scary house or a cold spot in the hallway. I suspect there are lots of reasons for their popularity, but often ghosts and their stories exist because they have unfinished business in the world. It's unsettling to think that a ghost might remain for years, lurking, watching us, even when we don't know they're there. On the other hand, I think, it's a way to deal with the fear that we or someone we love might leave unfinished business behind.

There are ghosts in Wide Open for a couple of reasons. Among the tropes that I really like and that I like to explore are things that not everyone sees and the world turned a little bit askew. And so, Hallie Michaels sees ghosts. She nearly died in Afghanistan or, she did die and was brought back for some reason--Hallie's not really sure. But ever since she woke up, she's been able to see these ghosts. They
don’t talk to her. They don't seem to interact with anyone or anything, though sometimes they'll stare at a picture or a person, like they're significant, though Hallie's never quite able to figure out how.

One of the things I wanted to do with the ghosts in Wide Open was to make them enigmatic. I was tired of helpful and sometimes even witty ghosts. I wanted ghosts who were *there* and yet not really there at all. Hallie's ghosts are cold, silent, and altogether not-human.

And yet, for Hallie, there's a comfort in them too, because her sister's ghost, the ghost of her fellow soldier, Eddie Serano, and even the ghosts of others, strangers, who appear as the story progresses are at least present. If Hallie can see their ghosts, if she can feel them, there's still the chance that the people she loves aren't yet gone forever.

When Hallie gets off the plane in the Rapid City airport at the beginning of Wide Open, her sister's ghost is there to meet her:
She started forward again and walked into a cold so intense, she thought it would stop her heart. It felt like dying all over again, like breath froze in her lungs. She slapped her hand against the nearest wall and concentrated on breathing, on catching her breath, on taking a breath.

She looked up, expecting Eddie.

But it was her sister. Dell.


Suddenly, Brett was there, a hand on her arm. “Are you all right?” she asked.

Hallie batted her hand away and leaned heavily against the wall, her breath sharp and quick. “I’m fine!” Her voice sounded rough, even in her own ears.

Dell looked exactly as she had the last time Hallie’d seen her, wearing a dark tailored shirt, jeans with a hole in one knee, and cowboy boots. She was a ghost now and pretty much transparent, but Hallie figured the boots were battered and scuffed because she’d always had a favorite pair that she wore everywhere. Even when she’d dressed up sometimes, like no one would notice the boots if she wore a short black dress and dangly silver earrings. And no one did—because it was Dell and she could carry something like that off, like it was the most natural thing in the world.

Hallie scrubbed a hand across her face. Goddamnit, Dell. She wasn’t going to cry. She wasn’t.


Thank you Deborah--I admit ghost stories used to be my thing as a kid.  I really couldn't get enough of them (especially living as close as I did to a centuries old graveyard!).  My stepsister's house was even haunted...though I was never certain if that was the truth or not (I certainly never saw the ghosts, but my sisters did).

Wanna know more?  Follow along on Deborah's blog tour (its pretty extensive AND awesome looking), check out her own blog or peruse her short stories!

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