S.E. Schlosser is the author of the Spooky Series published by Globe Pequot Press. She has been telling stories since she was a child, when games of “let’s pretend” quickly built themselves into full-length tales acted out with friends. A graduate of both Houghton College and the Institute of Children’s Literature, Sandy received her MLS from Rutgers University while working as a full-time music teacher and a freelance author.
Sandy is the editor and writer of the award-winning, internationally-known web site called American Folklore (https://www.americanfolklore.net) that features retellings of folktales from each state. This site was created as part of a graduate study at Rutgers the State University of New Jersey in October 1997 and is used daily by teachers throughout the world in lesson plans for students of all levels. Stories from the site have also been used in college text books and in Masters level programs. She is also the editor of World Folklore (https://www.worldfolklore.net) which features myths, legends, fairy tale, fables and folktales from around the globe.
Sandy travels extensively, researching supernatural folklore all over the United States. She also spends many hours answering questions from visitors to the American Folklore and World Folklore web sites. Her favorite e-mails come from other folklore enthusiasts who delight in practicing the old tradition of who can tell the tallest tale.
AN INTERVIEW WITH S.E. SCHLOSSER
Question: What does "S.E." stand for?
My full name is Sandra Elizabeth Schlosser - so "S" stands for Sandra and "E" stands for Elizabeth. But the only one who calls me that is my mother, and she only says my full name when she is mad at me! Everyone else calls me "Sandy."
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: 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: 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 gives everyone the shivers – is “Tailypo”.
Tailypo was first published 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.
Another great story for telling around the campfire is "Turnabout is Fairy Play" from Spooky New Jersey. In this tale, a ghost turns the tables on two mischievous boys who loved to tease him when he was still alive.
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 true ghost stories in the following books:
- Spooky New Jersey 2nd edition - On Washington Rock, The Figure in the Window, and Haunted Birthday
- Spooky Georgia - Shave and a Haircut, Hurry, Hurry and The Lighthouse
- More Spooky Campfire Tales - Try the Gingerbread
- Spooky New Orleans - Preemptive strike
Question: Would you share an interesting fact that your readers might not know about you?
Answer: The very first purchase I made using the money I'd earned from my very first book - Spooky New England - was a little parrot who I named...drum-roll please...Spooky!
(Yes, I am that original.)
Spooky still lives with me today and is still baffled by the computer that “Mommy” finds so fascinating.! There are usually several typos in every first draft that may be attributed to Spooky the parrot trying to figure out how to use my keyboard. And don't get me started on all the times she pecks at the screen on my phone or iPad and changes the app I am using to one that she prefers.
Spooky also has decided opinions on when its time for me to take a break! I sometimes wonder if she is petitioning me to step away from the computer so she can write her own parrot blog while I am taking a break! After seeing a photo on a famous bird seed manufacturer's bag that looks suspiciously like my parrot, I am convinced Spooky is leading a double life.