How a ghost helped me write my novel

imageOkay, okay, ghosts can’t really help people write novels. They can spark good ideas though.

I am often asked why I chose to write paranormal romance novels. It’s a great question. Usually, I hem and haw, and eventually cite a fact I read on Wikipedia: Paranormal romance is one of the fastest growing trends in the romance genre.

That sounds great until I search for hard evidence and turn up empty-handed. Yes, there are many best-selling paranormal romance authors, such as Stephanie Meyer of Twilight fame or J.R. Ward who writes the popular The Black Dagger Brotherhood series, but there are just as many contemporary or historical romance authors with best sellers this year. In fact, the number one best-selling romance author of all time is none other than Barbara Cartland, who wrote more than 700 books and still holds the Guinness World Record for the most novels published in a single year in 1976. Her books focused on the Victorian era and contained nary a vampire, mythological creature, time-traveler or psychic.

So what gives?
One of the things about producing this blog week after week is that I’m forced to dig deep and reveal truths that I’d prefer to keep hidden. Authors are no longer allowed to scurry away like crabs in the deep, dark ocean of life, largely unknown by the general public. Now they are expected to be social media savvy — blogging, chatting, liking and following on the Internet. So it is with some trepidation, that I make this confession: I see dead people.

Alright, okay, I don’t really see dead people. It’s definitely not like the movies, where dead people appear while they are sitting on a park bench or going to the library. But for as long as I can remember I have been visited by the strange and mysterious. Perhaps, a story is the best illustration.

I am five years old.
It is near dusk in the height of summer, and my sister and brother and I are playing in the backyard. Someone, probably an older sibling, mentions that they heard on the news that you can “adopt a ghost.” That sounds intriguing. “How?” I question.

“You just have to ask them to come home with you,” they tell me.

Well, that’s easy enough, I think, proceeding to open up my mouth and holler at the top of my lungs, “I want to see a ghost! I want to see a ghost!”

As the final words leave my mouth, a round disk-shaped orb comes flying from the top of my house. For a second it hovers next to my nose and then flies off into the distance. I stand there in awe, hardly believing what I am witnessing. “Did you see that? Did you see that?” I yell to my brother.

“What?” he calls back over his shoulder.

“A UFO,” I say excitedly. “Didn’t you see it?”

He had not. He was never still for long and had turned his back to run out into the yard, missing the action.

Years later and after many more brushes with the supernatural, I think back to that strange encounter. I had shouted that I wanted to see a ghost, not a flying saucer. What made me think that what I was seeing was a UFO?

I suppose if my young mind had made sense of it, I would have been petrified. Certainly, I would have run screaming in the other direction. The object itself had flown so fast from the top of our house to where I was in the backyard that if it would have spoken aloud, I know I would have heard it shout, “Boo!”

That was my first encounter with the unexplainable.
I have been experiencing these encounters ever since, usually in the form of dreams, where I am “visited” by long-dead relatives or strangers I have never met. Sometimes, I am awakened from a deep sleep to see a strange object floating above my head or what appears to be an intruder, standing over my bedside. I have always tried to ignore these happenings, telling myself that it’s all in my head. But if I am truthful — and what better place to be truthful than my own online journal — I know that there is something mystical that takes place with each encounter.

Many people struggle with issues of faith, but I have always had “proof” that there is something more..some unseen world that is hidden from the naked eye. Although I’d much prefer they stay hidden, ghosts do make great material for paranormal romance novels. When MIND WAVES is released in book form, you can read it and wonder, could any of this possibly be real? Or is it all just a figment of an over-active imagination?

Let’s let the ghosts have the last word: BOO!


  1. Eiger's Mom

    Now this is a great concept for one of your books … you could have your characters share ghost/psychic stories that you collect from your readers.

  2. Jena C. Henry

    I liked this post! I am not a ghost person- but interested to learn more about it!

    • amandauhl

      I certainly have lots of ghost stories to tell! I have never seen one at Lakeside but I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re there:)

  3. Jennifer Taylor

    I really enjoyed reading your blog, Amanda. Sounds like you have some great fodder for your paranormals! My daughter and I have had some strange experiences, where I dream something, and she does it the next day.

    • amandauhl

      I have had a LOT of experiences like this. I have written about many of them on the blog. The oddest was when I recounted a “memory” to my sister and then later realized I was never there!

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