Today on Reade and Write I welcome Carolyn Ridder Aspenson to the hot seat. She’s here to talk about her newest release, Get Up and Ghost. Welcome, Carolyn!
Tell me about your new book.
I just published the first book in a new paranormal cozy mystery series. Get Up and Ghost is a psychic medium mystery about a woman who works for the historical society in a small North Georgia town called Castleberry. She falls down the last part of the stairs at work, bumps her head and suddenly starts seeing ghosts. She doesn’t realize it at first, but it becomes fairly obvious quickly. When a local resident is murdered, and she’s the last one to see him alive, she’s determined to prove her innocence, with the help of a long-dead woman from the town, who’s also in need of her help.
Who is the audience for the book?
This is a cozy, so it’s clean — no sex, no swearing, no death on the page. The main character is a mother in her mid-forties and recently divorced, with two senior aged friends and a younger coworker, so I feel like I’ve hit a lot of the variants for different types of women.
Tell me about the setting of your book—how did you choose it, what kind of research did you have to do, why did you choose it?
I live in the southern part of North Georgia, and I know this area well. The town is fictional, but I modeled it after a few local towns nearby to give it a traditional small town, North Georgia appeal. Since I’ve lived here for 23 years, I have a fairly decent handle on the area, and have incorporated some of the local flare and stories into this first book, and the second one I’m working on for the series. Each of the ‘haunting’ type stories (the ghosts of time past) will have a bit of truth to them for the area. Well, truth in the sense that it’s a story from here, though I’m not sure the ghosts are actually real. I’ve yet to see any, though I’ve certainly looked!
What was the hardest thing about writing the book?
Two things tie as the hardest part. First and foremost, I have another mystery series (it’s NOT a cozy by definition at all) with a psychic medium. I needed to make the character unique, and the storyline different. That character does make an appearance though, because she’s from an area close by. I also have another cozy series in a similar area, so I had to keep them different also. They are similar in some ways because there are two older women characters, but they are different types of older characters, and the main character is different. I’m hoping they will all be unique in their own ways.
If your book were made into a movie, who would you like to see playing the main characters?
Oh gosh. That’s a tough one. I’m still getting to know them all. I do feel like one of the older women is a bit similar to Betty White’s character on “Golden Girls,” but I think Betty’s retired by now! I’d definitely go with a Hallmark actress, because this series has that appeal, other than the paranormal element. I could see Erin Krakow as the lead. I think the two older women would be well played by someone like Sissy Spacek. Wouldn’t that be great to have someone of that caliber in a movie about my book? Gosh, I’d be so excited!
Have you written any other books?
I have, I think, 21 books out now. Some are novellas, but I’ve got about that many published. I’ve got my Angela Panther Mystery series, which is not the cozy mysteries, and then the Lily Sprayberry Realtor Cozy series. I also have a few romances, but those weren’t my thing. I guess I’m not very romantic! I’ve also done a great deal of ghost writing, but those books are all business and nonfiction.
Are you in one or more critique groups or partnerships?
I have a partner that I swap books with and we help each other, but other than that, no. I’ve found everyone has their own unique writing style, and I don’t like to infringe on that.
Do you write every day?
Since I’m now completely self-published (I was traditional for a while, but no longer) I consider this a business and treat it as such. I write for about 5 hours a day at this point and handle other business related things for an hour or so also.
Who are your favorite authors? Favorite genres?
I’m such a book snob! It’s a horrible thing. I grew up reading mysteries from Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys to more intense thrillers by Jonathan Kellerman and the like. Hands down, my favorite writer is Robert B. Parker. The Spenser series is my favorite series. When Mr. Parker died, I cried. I am also a big fan of Robert Crais, and I love the Elvis Cole books so much.
Where would you like to go more than anywhere else on earth?
Back in time. I’d like to go back fifteen years to when my parents were both here and healthy and spend more time with them.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
I think the same thing most people would. Write every single day. Learn the craft and do what you can to improve. Hire an editor. Writing a novel isn’t easy and there is a lot to learn to make it something others want to read. Learn that ever-changing element.
What is your favorite movie and why?
I have two. I love “Shawshank Redemption” because the friendship theme is astounding. I recently found out that Mr. King wrote that, (Yes, I live under a rock) and I was shocked! It’s not his typical book at all, but it was so good.
My second favorite is “When Harry Met Sally.” I just loved the concept of that and Billy Crystal? He was the perfect pick for that lead. I loved that story.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Care less about what other people think sooner.
Describe yourself in three words.
Wife. Mother. Friend.
Is there anything I haven’t asked that you wanted me to?
Where can readers connect with you?
I’m on Facebook at www.facebook.com/carolynridderaspensonauthor
My website is carolynridderaspenson.com where you can access my newsletter. I send it out once a week.
And I am also on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/carolynridderaspenson/.
I’m not a Twitter gal. I’m Italian. I need more than a few characters to say my thoughts.
Where can readers find your books?
The Lily Sprayberry Cozy Mystery Boxed Set (books 1-3) are at books2read.com/u/49oGEX.
Congratulations on your new release! Thanks for visiting.
Until next time,