If I was a Ghost
By: Annette Drake
If I was a ghost, I undoubtedly would be the most boring ghost ever.
I can see myself now, swooping around my children, whispering in their ears, “Did you brush your teeth? Did you floss?” See. Boring. It’s not that the living couldn’t see me; they would choose to ignore me.
I love the idea of haunting people, but where exactly should haunting occur? Do ghosts visit the hauntee in a dream? Surprise them when they’re in the shower? How exactly does one go about haunting?
I don’t think I’m alone in my fascination with ghosts. When my family and I visited Lexington, Missouri, last month to talk about my book, we toured the grounds around the Anderson House, which was used as a field hospital during the Battle of Lexington. The building had closed for the day so we couldn’t go inside, but standing outside looking in, I whispered in Jack’s ear, “Look up at that window! I swear I saw a man’s face there. Do you see anything?” It’s only now, writing this, that I remember one of the audience members during the presentation told me there was a ghost who wandered the halls of the Anderson House.
Which brings me to the question: are ghosts restricted to a location? The spirits in my book, Celebration House, choose to haunt the place in their lives where they felt the most alive or the most useful. For my hero, Maj. Thomas Stewart, that’s near Lexington, where he fought and died in his only battle. Another character, Col. Bartholomew Stratton, haunted the antebellum mansion he built in the 1840s, keeping the riff-raff away, particularly beer-swigging teenagers. That was a fun scene to write.
Other characters in Celebration House haunt their workplace. I make mention of a favorite physician who died but continued to wander the halls of a Seattle hospital where he spent his professional career. He was so relieved not to have to visit the office of medical records to sign charts.
But me, I wouldn’t haunt my work place. Nope. I’ve spent enough time there, thank you. I would haunt a Parisian café, which offered a magnificent view of the Eiffel Tower. Or maybe Hershey’s Chocolate World in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Or better yet, I would haunt Hugh Jackman. In the shower…
Carrie Hansen spent her life caring for cardiac patients. Little did she know she would become a patient herself. After recovering from her own heart surgery, she realizes she has a special gift: the ability to see and talk with the dead.
Now, with her new heart failing, she leaves the bustle of Seattle behind and returns to Lexington, Missouri, the small town where she spent her childhood. Here, she sets out to restore an abandoned antebellum mansion and open it as a venue for celebrations.
Carrie’s work is cut out for her. The 150-year-old Greek revival house is in need of serious repair. Her sister, Melanie, tries to bully Carrie into returning to Seattle, predicting “her little project” is doomed to fail. Finally, Carrie’s health gives out on her, requiring emergency surgery.
But she will not give up. Carrie’s unique gift allows her to build relationships with the mansion’s original occupants, especially Maj. Tom Stewart, the handsome Civil War soldier who died a hundred years before Carrie was born. He encourages and comforts her, though not in the physical way they both desire.
Then there’s the builder of the house, Col. Bartholomew Stratton. If there’s one thing this 19th century horse trader cannot abide, it’s the living trespassing on his estate. He delights in scaring these intruders away, even if they are paying guests.
Will Carrie finish restoring Celebration House or will it finish her? And how can she plan a future with a man who has only a past?
Annette left high school after two years to obtain her GED and attend Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri. There she earned a degree in journalism before working as a reporter and editor for newspapers in Missouri and Kansas. She earned a bachelor of science in nursing in 1994 from Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Missouri, and worked as a registered nurse in hospitals throughout Missouri, Alaska and Washington for 18 years before returning her focus to writing.
Annette recently completed her middle-grade novel, Bone Girl, and is hard at work revising her steamy contemporary romance, A Year with Geno.
She is the mother of four children. The oldest just graduated from the University of Washington; the youngest just graduated from kindergarten. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators. She loves libraries, basset hounds and bakeries. She does not camp.
You can follow her writing at www.Annettedrake.com She welcomes correspondence at: Write2me@annettedrake.com.
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