By E.J. Copperman
I love writing mysteries and I REALLY love hearing from the people who read them. Every one. Seriously.
But some of them worry me a bit, even as I find their attention flattering. Here's the thing: I write the Haunted Guesthouse Mystery series (NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEED, with AN UNINVITED GHOST coming in April), and as the name might indicate, the story takes place in and around a Jersey Shore guesthouse thats... haunted. By two ghosts. In NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEED, they insist that the new owner of the place, a woman named Alison Kerby (that's a hint) find out who murdered them. In the second book... well, read the first book and then we'll talk.
Now, I don't know where you stand on the issue of ghosts, and you don't know where I stand, either (right now I'm sitting, but that's beside the point). And I have grown used to criticism, sometimes even taking it to heart and sometimes not. I don't think you're a pet peeve if you don't like my book--this is America. You can read any books you want.
What scares me are the people who don't like the book because they think the ghosts aren't realistic enough.
Those who are serious about their ghosts, or for that matter, really serious about their mysteries, might want to think twice before reading my books. I'm not serious about anything when I can avoid it, and the books are meant to be fun and challenging, like a crossword puzzle, but with laughs. The characters should engage you, the story should keep you turning pages, and the ghosts--well, the ghosts are characters in the book. A fiction book. A comedic mystery fiction book.
If your ghosts don't act like my ghosts, let's assume that my dog might be a different breed from yours, or that I eat a different breakfast cereal than you do. I've heard from readers who have no problems with the idea that the owner of a guesthouse on the Jersey Shore would investigate murders, but they feel that ghosts who can be seen and heard by a select group of people (and you don't know who can and who can't--it's random) is an element that takes them out of the story and ruins the experience.
Again, I can't argue with that. If something doesn't work for you, it doesn't work for you. I could debate the point for hours on end, and I'm not going to change your mind. I'm guessing you wouldn't change mine, either.
But in the interest of my income and my children's astronomical college tuition, I'd appreciate it if people who believe that ghost characters are deal breakers would realize that's a personal preference and not try to dissuade someone else from reading the books.
I'm not in the habit of making threats, but I do intend to haunt anyone who ignores this plea. But hopefully, not for a very long time.
E.J. Copperman writes the Haunted Guest House Mysteries. Feel free to visit the author's web site and blog. Feel free to follow on Facebook, too. And don't Miss An Uninvited Ghost when it's released on April 5th. (I can't wait to read it!)