The Big Thrill Discusses GHOST TAMER With Meredith R. Lyons
Aspiring-comedian Raely is the sole survivor of a disastrous train wreck. While faced with the intense grief of losing her best friend, she realizes that someone is following her—and has been following her all her life. Trouble is, no one else can see him. For a ghostly tag-along, Casper’s not so bad. He might even be the partner Raely needs to fight the evil spirit hell-bent on destroying her.
Raely and her friend must learn why this demonic spirit is haunting Raely and how she can stop him before he destroys her life—and her soul. Which, much to her chagrin, means she needs the help of a psychic (although she’s sure they are all charlatans) and must rid herself of the pesky ghost hunter who’s interested in exploiting her new abilities.
Meredith R. Lyons recently spent some time with The Big Thrill discussing her latest thriller, GHOST TAMER.
Can you pinpoint a moment or incident that sparked the idea for this book?
I had a nightmare that I was riding the El train with a friend after an improv class and the train went off the rails. It was one of those terrifying dreams where you wake up flooded with adrenaline. I decided to write the dream. Then I just kept adding ghosts.
A novel is such a major undertaking; there’s the writing of it, of course, then you’re spending months and months revising, polishing, and then promoting it. How did you know this was the book you wanted to spend the next couple of years on?
I was in a dark place creatively when I wrote this book. I was literally forcing myself to the computer for thirty minutes a day, just making myself write. Sometimes it was fun and I’d write longer, often it was a slog and I didn’t know what I was doing. But by the end I really loved the characters and was proud of myself. I sent the manuscript off to a long form group and wow, did I feel ripped apart during the critique meeting. I put the book in a drawer and wrote two other books. I was pitching them at an event and when the second agent just ‘wasn’t into’ my subject matter, I pitched Ghost Tamer out of desperation and she asked for the first fifty pages. When I pulled it out to spruce it up, I realized it wasn’t that bad a book after all. I gave the whole thing an edit and started submitting it.
Were there any particular books, movies, or songs that were knocking around in your head while you were writing this one?
I have an entire Spotify playlist for Ghost Tamer. I make playlists for all of my books. Weddings & Funerals by Royal & the Serpent, Giver by K. Flay, Devil Side by Foxes, those are all on there with about twenty others.
When you first created your protagonist for this book, did you see an empty space in crime lit that you wanted to fill? What can you share about the inspiration for that character?
It took me a while to name her. I remember that. I wanted her to be funny, even when she was in pain. And I wanted her to be a normal person with normal hopes and dreams that’s going through a really terrible time, made worse by the fact that she now has a gift which makes her abnormal. And I wanted her to do her best to reject it. It’s such a human experience to have to go through crap to get to something better, but so often we just desperately want to go back to where we were comfortable. Raely isn’t the heroine who picks up the ring and trudges into Mordor. She wants to deny the ring’s entire existence.
In addition to a great read, what do you hope readers will take away from this story?
I hope they feel something. I hope they close the book and get the urge to call someone that they love.
What can you share about what you’re working on next?
I always have a couple of irons in the fire. I am on submission with two different sci-fi fantasy books right now, writing a third, and also writing a GHOST TAMER sequel.
Meredith grew up in New Orleans, collecting two degrees from Louisiana State University before running away to Chicago to be an actor. In between plays, she got her black belt and made martial arts and yoga her full-time day job. She fought in the Chicago Golden Gloves, ran the Chicago Marathon, and competed for team U.S.A. in the savate world championships in Paris. In spite of doing each of these things twice, she couldn’t stay warm and relocated to Nashville. She owns several swords, but lives a non-violent life, saving all swashbuckling for the page, knitting scarves, gardening, visiting coffee shops, and cuddling with her husband and two panther-sized cats. Ghost Tamer is her first novel.
To learn more about the author and her work, please visit her website.
GHOST TAMER with Meredith R. Lyons