Question: How do you find the stories in your Spooky books? How do you do your research?
Answer: I have a Masters in Library Services, so by profession I am a researcher. I have used many sources for the Spooky books. Some of my major resources include out-of-print folklore collections dating back to the early 1800s, present day books about ghosts and hauntings, interviews with people local to a state or region, online sites featuring ghost stories and urban legends, forums, blogs, and research contacts within state and federal libraries. Even some first-hand experiences and family stories have made it into the series.
I go on extensive “spooky research trips” in which I visit haunted locations all around the region, state or city about which I am writing and interview people who have themselves experienced real ghosts or had paranormal experiences. Others share spooky stories that have been passed down in their families. I have written several travelogues chronicling these journeys and the spooky experiences I’ve had. You can read about my adventures in the Spooky Research category on the S.E. Schlosser author website.
Question: How long does it take you to write a book?
Answer: I wrote my first book, Spooky New England in four weeks in order to make a September 2003 publication date. That pace is a little faster than I enjoy.
The other spooky books have taken about 3 months to research and 3 months to write. This is a fairly leisurely pace for me, which is essential since I work full-time during the day and have to write the Spooky books at night.
It doesn’t take as long to update the expanded editions, but I always add some new stories, so long time readers may want to check them out!
Question: Do you believe in ghosts?
Answer: I was a skeptic when I first started the Spooky Series back in 2003. Since then, I have visited a lot of haunted locations and seen some truly amazing things. NOT what I expected at all. I also have friends and relatives – very credible people – who have personally encountered apparitions, and I myself have had several supernatural experiences that were down-right scary!
If you want to read about some of my adventures – and those of my family – you will find stories in Spooky New Jersey 2nd edition (On Washington Rock, The Figure in the Window), Spooky Georgia (Shave and a Haircut), and Spooky New Orleans (Preemptive strike). There are probably a few more scattered throughout the spooky series. Maybe you can spot them!
Question: What is your favorite “spooky” story?
Answer: There are many spooky stories that I like and I can name one or two favorites from each state or region about which I have written. But my all-time favorite spooky story – and I have no idea why I like it so much, except perhaps because when I read it aloud it scares the dickens out of people – is “Tailypo”.
Tailypo is one of the 30 folktales published in Spooky South and it features a terrifying but tiny creature that comes out of the swamp to seek vengeance against a trapper. In a high-pitched, squeaky voice, it chants over and over: “Tailypo, Tailypo. All I want’s my Tailypo,” thus sealing the doom of the old man.
Question: Would you share an interesting fact that people might not know about you?
Answer: My very first purchase from the advance on my very first book (Spooky New England) was a little parrot who I named (drum-roll please) Spooky! She’s still with me today and still baffled by the computer that “Mommy” finds so fascinating.! There are several typos in each my first drafts that were caused by Spooky the parrot trying to figure out how to use my keyboard. And she has decided opinions on when its time for me to take a break!