At least, that's what Alison Kerby thinks, and I have to agree with her. After all, I put the ghosts in her house to begin with.
Alison is the main character in my new (June 1) mystery, NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEED, which launches the Haunted Guesthouse Mystery series. And she has a bit to deal with (yes, the following is something of a sales pitch, but it's necessary to explain this to make a point that really is coming, I promise): She's recently divorced, she has a nine-year-old daughter who's probably smarter than Alison is, and she recently bought a huge Victorian in the Jersey Shore town where she grew up, with the intention of renovating and turning the place into a guesthouse for the tourist crowd. That's enough to handle.
But, of course, there's more. One day, after a somewhat suspicious head injury, Alison finds she can see two spirits in the house: Maxie Malone, the previous owner of Alison's new house, hasn't actually left, despite being dead. And she's unable to leave the premises. So is Paul Harrison, the private investigator Maxie hired when she started receiving death threats. The two ghosts are still hanging around the house, and they're not leaving--or letting Alison finish her repairs--until she does them a little favor. They want Alison to find out who murdered them.
Okay, that's the plot set-up and the sales pitch. If you're interested, I hope you buy a copy ASAP. But even if you don't, that's not why I told you all that. It's to get across the point that ghosts don't always have to be scary, bloodthirsty, homicidal entities that take out their frustration on the living indiscriminately.
Not if you're writing fiction, anyway. The good thing about writing fiction is that you can do anything you want. Literally. So I got to make up rules for the ghost world that Maxie and Paul inhabit. But that's when the freedom starts to constrict: If you make rules yourself, you have to stick to them. And once I started writing the follow-up to NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEED, a book currently in the editing process that's (for the moment, anyway) called AN UNINVITED GHOST, I had to adhere to my rules.
So I wish I'd been a little more careful when I was making them.
It's not that anything I wrote in NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEED is going to cause me undue trouble for the rest of the series. But it's funny--when you're writing the first novel in a series, you think you have a whole vision for the complete series, but the fact is, you don't until you're about three books in. Because you haven't learned everything about your characters yet. You don't know how they're going to surprise you, how they'll explode your expectations, and hopefully, those of the reader. Assuming there's a reader (remember, for you, it's $7.99 or less--for me, it's a career!). You don't know what rules you're going to have to rue creating, because they're you're rules, and you can't break them. Most of the the time.
And come to think of it, that's the fun of the process.
E.J. Copperman, in case we haven't been obvious enough, is the author of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEED, which launches the Haunted Guesthouse Mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime, available... let me check... NOW!