I was recently interviewed on the JustGhostStories Forum. Here are a few highlights:
DSD: Hello, Mary, and thank you for joining us! I loved your first
book, by the way, particularly the characters Cynthia and Gus. It's
my understanding that the Cynthia's Attic series has some factual
basis. Are Gus and Cynthia real people?
MC: The idea for the series originated in the very real Southern Indiana
attic of my childhood friend, Cynthia. We were great friends and,
unlike Cynthia and Gus, never had an argument. (After living away
from each other for more than 40 years, we are about 50 minutes
apart, and have renewed our friendship! I truly believe in
serendipity.) Our real grandparents parents, and brothers and
sisters also play supporting roles. The POV character, Augusta Lee,
Gus, is played by yours truly. As a kid, I was a tomboy, loved
fantasy and adventure, had a wicked sense of humor, and ate
constantly (still do).
DSD: Your first book, Cynthia's Attic: The Missing Locket, has a
ghost. Who is this character, and are there ghosts in any of your
MC: I loved Louis the minute he popped into my head. He's the young
son of a steamship captain. On a trip across the Atlantic with his
dad, he contracts "The Fever" and dies. His dad has such remorse
because Louis died in his care, that he can't forgive himself.
Cynthia and Gus meet Louis on the ship and show the little ghost the
way to help his dad find peace.
In book three, Cynthia's Attic: Curse of the Bayou (in process), a
horrendous ghost pirate, Black Jack Hawkins, does everything he can
to recover a stolen treasure chest, and to make life miserable for
Cynthia and Gus. I can almost feel (and smell!) his stinky breath on
my neck as I write.
DSD: What other supernatural characters are creeping through your
MC: My favorite character, to date, is Mouton Boudreau, fondly
nicknamed Mud Bug by his mother, Jasmine. She is also fond of using
spells, or "gris gris" as it's called in the bayous of Louisiana,
the setting for the book. When it becomes known that there is a
posse coming to take Jasmine away for practicing "witchcraft," she
puts a spell on her son; one that will protect him from anyone
trying to do him harm. You'll just have to wait for the book to read
about his supernatural side.
DSD: It sounds like you have a rather eclectic collection of
mysterious characters in your books. What made you decide to
include ghosts in your stories?
MC: I always had a fascination with ghosts, and watch every ghostly
movie and TV program I can. I love shows like Medium and Ghost
Whisperer, and also watch John Edward, James Van Praagh, and Lisa
Williams. I know they have their critics, but I still find them
entertaining. My love for ghosts does not, however transcend to
werewolves and vampires! Even at my age (ahem), they still scare me!
DSD: Could we possibly see a spooky excerpt from one of your novels?
MC: Absolutely! From Book Three: Cynthia's Attic: Curse of the Bayou:
Cynthia and Gus have just been warned by Mud Bug's mother, Jasmine,
about venturing out into the swamp. Later that night, Gus falls into
a fitful sleep.
Follow me…follow me, Augusta Lee. The voice got closer and closer.
It sounded nice, and "sing-songie" at the beginning, but, the closer
it got, the more threatening and evil it became. My heart pounded. I
knew I had to run, but in what direction? It was so dark.
Surrounding me appeared the shadows of gnarly, moss-covered trees,
and they were breathing. Which reminded me–breathe, Gus, before you
It was right beside me. I couldn't see anything, but I knew
something awful was there because the air became foul with a burning
Look at me…look at me, Augusta Lee.
What was with this weirdo? I'm not deaf! This "thing" doesn't have
to repeat every sentence. I tried faking annoyance to hide the
knocking of my knees, but it didn't work.
"Look at me!"
I jumped straight into the air and almost fell backwards. Fearfully
turning toward the command, I saw a shape looming over me. An
involuntary scream escaped. "Ahhh!" I knew at that moment that I was
already dead, or soon would be. Eyes the color of red-hot coals
stared back. Eyes that could only belong to pure evil…
The shape doffed its black plume-feathered hat and took a deep,
theatrical bow. "Captain Black Jack Hawkins at your service, Miss."
Pure Evil or…Black Jack Hawkins, the pirate in Mud Bug's story. From
the way he described the wicked captain…one in the same.