Friday, May 18, 2012

INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR, LYNN MICHELSOHN

INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR OF "LOWCOUNTRY GHOSTS," LYNN MICHELSOHN



Hello Lynn! It is so wonderful to have this opportunity to interview you. It seems your greatest love in writing has to do with the historical, and scientifically unexplainable. What was the inspiration behind this and tell us more about your writing.

Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity to talk to readers.

I write for three rather selfish reasons. First of all, it's fun. Secondly, it keeps my brain alert and functioning as I keep learning new things. Finally, and probably of greatest importance to my two adult sons, it keeps me out of their hair (I just know I could run their lives better than they do, if only they would let me!).

I write non-fiction, primarily about travel and folklore, which often come together in my books. Ghost stories associated with particular historical places especially interest me, as do quirky facts about places I love and the fascinating characters who once lived there.

You have a book out right now called Lowcountry Ghosts what was the inspiration behind this one.

One of my greatest treats as a child was to spend the day with my Cousin Corrie, a Hostess at Brookgreen Gardens in the South Carolina Lowcountry. 

Philanthropist Archer Huntington created this first American sculpture garden in the 1930s to showcase the work of his wife, Anna Hyatt Huntington. Her bronze and marble statures reflect in quiet pools set there under ancient moss-draped live oak trees. 
Cousin Corrie and the other Hostess, “Miss Genevieve,” both “sixtyish” Southern ladies wearing sturdy shoes, welcomed visitors in the garden’s small Museum. There, they sold postcards, gave directions, and told local folktales. The story of haunted trade beads from a nearby grave was a frequent favorite. 

Lowcountry Ghosts recounts this and several other stories featuring ghosts, as best I remember them. In my mind, these tales from Cousin Corrie and Miss Genevieve weave themselves together with the swaying Spanish moss, sparkling splashing fountains, and winding shade-dappled pathways of Brookgreen Gardens to create visions of a timeless spirit, forever living in the heart of the Carolina Lowcountry.

Being born in North Carolina, it seems you've traveled quite a bit. Do you feel your travels have played an important part in your creative spirit when it comes to writing?

Yes. Spending time in a variety of places has given me the opportunity to know wonderful people from all corners of the world (well, at least, from a lot of the corners). Every place, every person, has at least one fascinating story to tell. I have already encountered more stories than I could record in ten lifetimes. Each new story inspires me and excites me to write more.

Do you have a book that will be coming soon, if so tell us more about that.

Right now, I am working on a book about Billy the Kid. 
My husband and I live in Santa Fe, New Mexico, much of the year. I was surprised to discover that this icon of the Wild West also spent time there on two—and perhaps—three occasions. A wonderful body of historical fact, legend, and controversy surrounds these visits. I’m in the process of sorting these out and presenting them in ways that, I hope, will appeal both to Billy the Kid aficionados and modern visitors to Santa Fe.

So far, I have published a short ebook on the subject. Called Billy the Kid’s Jail, Santa Fe, it explores one controversy: the location of the jail where Billy spent the winter of 1880-81 while trying to figure out how to avoid his upcoming trial for murder (among other unsuccessful strategies, he tried digging his way out and begging the governor for a promised pardon).
The complete book should be available in 2013 in both paperback and ebook versions. I haven’t yet decided what to call it. Possibilities include the more straightforward Billy the Kid in Santa Fe: History, Myth, and Mystery at the End of the Santa Fe Trail or something more dramatic like I Didn’t Kill Them All: Billy the Kid in Santa Fe. (This last comes from something Billy said about being singled out for prosecution, “More than 200 people died in the Lincoln County War. I didn’t kill them all.”) What are your thoughts on a title?

Have you thought about writing in any other genres and if so what are they?

I would love to be able to write mysteries. Agatha Christie is my favorite author of all times. However, I find that I am much more skilled at digging into the details of historical events and characters than at making up stories. And, I often discover that truth is just as amazing, and entertaining, as fiction.

Have you ever seen a ghost?

Not really, although I have always hoped to see one.
The closest I came took place in All Saints Cemetery near Pawley’s Island, just south of Brookgreen Gardens. One afternoon a few years ago, several of us stopped there to visit Alice Flagg’s grave. She is the White Lady of the Hermitage who sometimes wanders the shore looking for her lost ring. Lowcountry Ghosts includes her story.

The afternoon was wet so we were the only ones in the cemetery. Only the faint whisper of raindrops broke the silence. We found the grave easily, even though the gravestone rests flat on the ground. 

Visitors often leave mementos for Alice. Some people report having seen Alice herself in the cemetery. That afternoon, a single red rose and some greenery lay in shallow accumulations of rainwater on the stone’s rough surface. 

My son took photos (one of which appears on the cover of Lowcountry Ghosts), then we spent a few minutes looking at other gravestones. 

Before leaving, we returned once more to Alice’s grave. The rose and greenery remained as before, but now a small silver ring lay beside them in a pool on the wet stone’s surface. None of us had noticed the ring earlier. It isn’t visible in the photos. Had water previously obscured the ring’s presence? We prefer to think otherwise . . . 

Tell us more about your family and if you allow them to read your books before they are published.

As I mentioned, my husband, who describes himself as “a recovering attorney,” and I live in Santa Fe. We spend winters in Florida—after years in Montana and Vermont, I finally realized I hate dealing with cold and snow!

We have two sons. One is a biologist and a wonderful nature photographer. His delight in these Carolina Lowcountry stories as a child first inspired me to start writing them down.

Our other son is on his way to becoming an attorney. Something of a writer himself, he has always helped with editing my work.

All three of them always encourage my writing, which helps make it fun.

Do you have any advice you'd like to share with other authors, or in general that you think would be beneficial to our readers? Also we'd love you to share your links and let us know where we can find out more about you.

What a wonderful time to be a writer, or a reader! Ebooks have set off an amazing revolution. Who knows what new technologies will appear over the next few years, and how they will affect the literary world? I encourage both readers and writers to embrace and explore all available opportunities!

You can find out more about me on my Amazon Author Page at www.amazon.com/author/lynnmichelsohn. That is also the easiest place to find a list of all my books, both paperbacks and ebooks. All are also available at Barnes & Noble and at Amazon’s international websites. 

Lowcoutry Ghosts and my other three books of tales from Brookgreen Gardens are available on iTunes, and in Kobo and Sony ebook stores. 

Excerpts from some of my books are available at the publisher’s website, www.cleananpress.com.

I hope you and your readers enjoy them.

Thank you again Lynn for this wonderful interview. We hope to do this again in the near future!

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