Thursday, January 1, 2015

The Ghosts of Mariposa & General Musings

So one of the questions that I got when I sent out Mariposa to beta readers was if the ghosts in the story are real ghosts. And part of me hates to say yes because then it feels like I cheated by using real stories but then again, the truth is the truth. But I took those stories and asked "What if? What caused them to become trapped? How did they die?" and then I wrote THAT story. I think it worked out pretty well.

And San Antonio, being such an old-world city in the new world, has a LOT of them. I wanted to do a whole scene with the entire cast of the Battle of the Alamo but then I figured that was probably out of my reach. I like to think some of them might have showed up in one of the big scenes (no spoilers!) but who knows?

So the answer is Yes.  All but two of the ghost characters in the story are based on "true-ghost tales" of San Antonio and parts otherly (some even north of the Mason-Dixon!). It was amazing researching that, and there are a few ghosts that I learned about in the research process that didn't make it into Mariposa that are going to show up in the sequel, tentatively titled Orpheus & the Butterfly.

There is also at least one mythological character who is based on a real life character, as well as some literary allusion mixed in there, too. I don't want to ruin it for anyone who hasn't read the book yet, but I'd love people to tell me your guesses for where some of the bigger characters come from.

I like to research. I like to find stories, and pictures, and songs, and all kinds of things that build the world in my head. And I know as a reader, I love it when an author tells me some of the "behind-the-scenes" moments to a story, like maybe a video that inspired them.  One music video that was intensely crucial to the writing of two of the creepier scenes is this one, from the Amazing band Coco-Rosie.
If you've read the book, you might be able to guess which character was inspired partly by these two immensely creepy ladies, and which character the handsome hanged man might have been a little bit like.

Then there's the Pinterest file.  Do NOT look at it if you are afraid of Spoilers, but if you're wondering if some of the places in the book are real, the answer to that is YES too. I love San Antonio, and the book became a bit of a love-letter to it. But I'm a Texpatriate-- a Texan living abroad from their home country. In search of good Mexican food and other Texans, we exiles long to return.... (which we will be doing probably in 2015, and I will be super happy). I make one of these for all my works-in-progress, so if you don't want spoilers for future novels, I urge you to NOT look at those, either. (So why am I putting it here? For those of you who HAVE read it.  Don't open that box, Pandora...... seriously.)

Finally, there's the Mariposa music playlist. I had a different one when I started writing but that web service went away eventually. Now you'll have to settle for the one I recreated. It includes the song that is in the intro, "The Ghost You Know" by Lauren Hoffman, who let me keep it in the book's intro and for which I am very grateful. As soon as the book is out in print, I'll be sending her a signed copy. :)  

And that's another bit of news: I'm well on the way to there being real print copies of the book for people to buy. When there are, I will post a link of how to buy it and how to get a signed copy of it from me, too. I'm just waiting to get the large file version of my book cover art. When it was created for me by my amazing cover artist Lawrence Mann, I flaked and did something weird with the folder he sent me the art in. It's on my computer somewhere, but heck if I know where I put it.  Anyway-- the point is: soooooon. Soon you can actually read a real live in your hands, pages smelling of old vanilla BOOK. With my name autographed on it, and possibly something pithy and Oscar Wilde-ish. I think I'll go practice the signature now....

Happy New Year, y'all! It's rainy, cold couch-weather here in Louisiana. I've had my black-eyed peas and am ready for another movie to watch. 2015 will be a big year, I hope, and I hope some of y'all will come with me!

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