Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Interview: Goldie Browning

Today where going behind the scenes of Night Journey to find out more about how this ghost story came to be. 

1. What was your inspiration for Night Journey? The 1886 Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. A few years ago my husband and I took a motorcycle trip through the Ozarks, and we decided to stay at the beautiful old hotel in the enchanting town of Eureka Springs. We booked two nights in Theodora’s Room and we weren’t there very long before she let us know it was still her room. 
She made banging sounds where nothing had fallen, there were cold spots in the room, and the first night there I saw what looked like a blue, fluorescent mist that hovered in the upper corner of the bedroom for several moments. The next night I took the ghost tour and learned all about the hotel, its ghosts, and its true, macabre history when Dr. Norman Baker, a 20th Century snake-oil salesman, ran a cancer hospital there in the 1930’s in which he promised a cure for cancer to poor, desperate people during the Great Depression. That night, I actually dreamed the basic plot of Night Journey, so I had no choice but to write the book. A recent review of Night Journey complained about one character talking as if she were conducting a tour. Well, that’s exactly what she’s doing. I wanted my readers to experience the Ghost Tour for themselves. It not only shows them what happens in the real hotel, but it relays a lot of good information about the hotel and its history. I have been told that people sometimes carry my book with them on the tour to use as a reference!

2. How did you make your story of a haunted mansion unique from other books? The combination of fact with fiction. The Crescent Hotel is a very real place where a person can go to sleep with ghosts, if that’s what they want to do. I spent months researching, finding out everything I could about the mysterious Norman Baker and his crimes. I even located his trial court records in the national archives in Fort Worth, Texas that hadn’t been touched in decades. I wanted to learn everything about what happened there to cause so many restless spirits. I was privileged to write Norman Baker’s bio on Findagrave. If you’re interested, go to, click on “famous name search” and enter Norman G Baker. 

3. Can you describe the main character, Emma, and her personality? Emma is a goal-oriented person who puts everything she has into achieving whatever it is she wants. Her five-year plan is to have a baby with husband Zan, but it hasn’t happened yet, so she’s stressing about a medical procedure to “kick-start” her fertility. As an adopted child, she’s slightly insecure and she likes order and predictability in her life. So, she must learn to think on her feet while on her “night journey” adventure. The sub-plot about Emma almost being the victim of a transplant scheme came only months before I fell ill with cardiomyopathy and was referred for heart transplant evaluation. Thankfully, a miracle happened and I made a full recovery—but there is a bit of irony in the situation.

4. How do Zan's and Emma's view of the hotel they will be staying at differ? Zan thinks the idea of staying at a haunted hotel is cool, but Emma is not amused. She’s never really thought much about ghosts, and she doesn’t really believe in them, but she can’t help being slightly creeped out. She’s also never thought about reincarnation, but she soon discovers she’s been at the hotel in a former life.

5. How did you use foreshadowing to give readers hints about how Emma might be connected to the hotel? When Zan and Emma stop at the Overlook and she sees the hotel on the hill that appears to be floating in the clouds she has a feeling that she’s been there before. Then, when they get inside and she looks around, her feeling of déjà vu become stronger. When she hears the room number they will be staying in is 419 she remember it’s the room number from her dream in the car.

6. You use a lot of small clues in the early chapters. How did you plan each clue? I worked backward. I learned who my characters were and what they were like. Then, working from a basic plot outline, I fleshed in the details.

7. The two living MCs aren't the only one who make and appearance in the opening. Can you tell us a little about Theodora without giving away too much? Theodora, whom I have personally met (hovering blue mist), is a little old lady, age 75-80. She had ovarian cancer, so she went to the Baker Cancer Hospital for treatment. Actually, Theodora is not a documented person who died there. However, she is one of the more active entities inhabiting the Crescent Hotel and people have reportedly seen her as a full body apparition. In my story, she is like a guardian angel to Emma on several occasions during her “night journey.” When the TAPS Ghost Hunter crew filmed there they stayed in Room 419 and she moved their luggage and camera equipment against the door while nobody was there!

8. Who are your favorite authors? My favorite famous authors are: Nora Lofts, Phyllis Whitney, Rebecca Paisley, Stephen King, Charlaine Harris, Caroline Clemmons, Heather Graham, Lorelei Shannon, Edgar Allen Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, on and on…

My favorite SOON-TO-BE FAMOUS authors are: Laurel Bradley, Lorrie Kruse, Paul Xavier Jones, Lyn Alexander, David L. Parrott, Harol Marshall, Ann Fields, and Debby Grahl

9. Do you have any interesting rituals or habits when you write? I must have my one-year-old Maltese, Trinket, next to me at all times.

10. Can you tell us about any other books or projects you're working on? Groan… I am so busy editing Storyteller Publishing books I don’t spend as much time as I’d like on my own writing. However, I am working on a book called THE BRIDES OF THE ADOLPHUS which is another “haunted hotel” book, this time set at the Adolphus Hotel in Dallas, Texas, which just celebrated its one hundred year anniversary, and incidentally, was where Stephen King stayed last year while promoting his book “11/22/63”. And we all know what happened in Dallas that day. My book will involve time travel to three different times in the past: 1912, 1937, and 1963 and will incorporate different ghostly legends at the actual hotel. 

You can stay up to date with Goldie on her personal websiteStoryteller Publishing's website, and the Crescent Hotel's website. 

Night Journey is available now from Amazon and B&N