2008 Haunted Hearths and Sapphic Shades
interview with author Melissa Scott. See the Sacchi Green post for general book info.
Can you talk a bit about your inspiration for your story "One Horse Town"?
I've always been fascinated by the idea of familial ghosts, the kind that one inherits, and of the equivocal protection/danger they can provide. And I had spent a lot of time around horse people over the last four or five years, so the two seemed to fit well. Plus the scariest ghost story I've every read involves a ghost horse, and I think I was trying to exorcise it!
Have you ever had an encounter with a ghost?
Once. I was staying at Lisa's parents' house (Lisa being my late partner), and was sitting in her room doing some embroidery. The room had three doors: one into another bedroom, one into the hall, and one into the bathroom. And as I was sitting there, I heard someone come up the stairs and go into the bathroom. But the door didn't close, so I looked up, and no one was there. I assumed I'd been mistaken, and went back to work. And then I got the feeling that someone was looking at me - that very distinct sense of presence when someone is paying attention to you. I was absolutely sure that there was someone standing in the bathroom door watching me - but there was no one there. I put my embroidery down on Lisa's desk, and went downstairs where the rest of the family was - and they were all there, all accounted for - and explained what had happened. I was more than a little freaked out, but Lisa's mother just nodded and said, "that'll be the ghost." Apparently no one had ever seen it, but it moved things around periodically, so when something disappeared you just had to wait for the ghost to give it back. I waited a while, then Lisa and I went back upstairs. I had pretty much talked myself into believing I'd imagined the whole thing - but my embroidery had been moved from the desk to the bed, and unrolled so that the full pattern was visible. I can't explain that one any other way!
What's your favorite ghost story (you can pick a movie if you prefer)?
William Hope Hodgson's "The Horse of the Invisible." That's the story I was trying to exorcise with "One Horse Town" - but there's nothing like a really well done Victorian ghost story to stick in your subconscious!
What are you working on now and where can readers find out more about you?
Currently I'm working on a novel about a bootlegger, his Duesenberg race car, and a lucky "thunderstone" (two pieces of the 1930 Paragould meteor were found, and the third landed in my novel). It's an expansion of a short story, "Mr. Seeley," that I sold to the anthology _So Fey_. As for more information - my website is Melissa-Scott.com