Giveaway (US/Int): Mary Castillo on how living with real ghosts inspired Lost in the Light
Please help me welcome Lost in the Light author Mary Castillo!
Growing up with a ghost is like living with an eccentric aunt who comes and goes whenever she pleases. Just in case you’re wondering, I’m used to people reacting to that statement in one of two ways: they quickly excuse themselves, or their eyes light up as they admit that they have also had experiences with doors opening by themselves, unexplainable noises and even seeing people walk through walls. By the way, I’ve never seen our ghost walk through a wall. But I’ve seen a few things that were hard to explain. Perhaps because my parents never made a big deal about it, and the ghost never hurt us, I’ve been groomed to write a story like Lost in the Light in which a skeptical detective befriends a ghost.
Our ghost story began when my parents moved into their two-bedroom postwar bungalow in late 1973. Shortly upon settling in, they noticed a woman who would park in front and just stare at the house. When my mom approached her, she would quickly drive away. Mom asked the neighbors who this lady was and they explained that she was the sister of the woman who had passed away in our house. Apparently, our ghost overdosed in the master bedroom a few months after her husband had died of a heart attack.
My parents had already been experiencing activity such as hearing someone call their names, or seeing someone walk by out of the corner of the eye. The real test was when my dad woke up to see a lady standing at the foot of their bed! But he said they were young, they hated renting and had gotten such a good deal on the house that they stayed.
A few years later, when I was three, I told my mom about my invisible friend. She was a nice lady named Mary who also had a daughter named Mary Ann. My mom was really creeped out because I corroborated the names of previous residents even though she had never told me what had happened. She then went to the church for a blessing. They gave her some holy water, told her to say a few prayers and call if things got ugly.
Unfortunately things got “interesting” when I was 17 years old and doors began opening and slamming shut, lights flashing on and off (we could actually hear the light switch click) and a voice calling us from the hallway. So I contacted all of the cemeteries around town and on my third attempt discovered where the previous residents were buried. We took them flowers and were stunned to see the photos of our lady ghost and her husband on the marker.
Making that connection between disembodied voices and slamming doors to an actual human being has stayed with me throughout my life. Our ghost left behind three adult children and a sister who couldn’t let her go. I imagine she missed them and maybe she felt some kinship with us because often when my brother and I heard our names being called we may have been sneaking candy in our rooms, or playing when we were supposed to be doing our homework!
There’s a scene in Lost in the Light when Grammy Cena tells Dori that Vicente appeared to her for a reason; that maybe she should try to help him be free of his purgatory, and thereby free herself. I like to think that when we tracked down our ghost’s resting place, she felt comforted that her humans were looking out for her.
While I don’t go out of my way to encounter ghosts – you would never find me in a dark house provoking spirits like they do on Ghost Hunters – I respect them. And if you hear a few mysterious noises or wake up to someone by your bed (who isn’t a crazy person!), just do what I do: close your eyes and say, “Please don’t scare me.” It works. Sometimes.
|No one remembers…
One October morning in 1932, Vicente Sorolla entered the white house on the hill and was never seen again .
Now, Detective Dori Orihuela helplessly witnesses his brutal murder in her nightmares.
Settling into a 120 year-old Edwardian mansion, Dori restores her dream home while recovering from a bullet wound and waiting to go back on duty.
But then one afternoon, Vicente materializes out of her butler’s pantry and asks her to find a woman named Anna. Dori wonders if she’s not only about to lose her badge, but also her sanity.
|Dori and Vicente’s unlikely friendship takes us back to the waning days of Prohibition in San Diego and the dusty barrio of National City. Mary Castillo’s new novel, featuring the wild Orihuela family that first delighted readers in Names I Call My Sister, weaves romance, history and a mystery into a humorous, touching and unforgettable story.
Read an excerpt
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About the author
|A lifelong professional writer, including a stint as a reporter for the Los Angeles Times Community News (second best job in the world), Mary is the proud author of three novels (Switchcraft, In Between Men and Hot Tamara) and three novellas featured in the anthologies, Orange County Noir, Names I Call My Sister and Friday Night Chicas. Her latest book, a paranormal that goes back and forth between modern day and Prohibition, Lost in the Light is now available.|
|Latina magazine called Mary “an author to look out for” and selected In Between Men and Names I Call My Sister for the Top 10 Summers Reads in July 2009. OC Metro magazine named Mary one of the hottest 25 people in the O.C. (the first but certainly not the last time her hotness has been publicly confirmed). She has also been profiled in Orange County Register, Coast, The Arizona Republic and San Diego Union Tribune.
Mary grew up in a haunted house in National City, CA. She cries every time she sees the movies, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir and Casablanca, and feels that Joan Collins is by far the preeminent TV villain (which is why Joan plays such an pivotal role in the novel, In Between Men).
A graduate of USC, Mary lives in The O.C. with her family.
Also, she may have a mild addiction to Pinterest.
Mary is giving away one e-copy of Lost in the Light to a commenter on today’s post! To enter to win, leave a comment telling us whether or not you believe in ghosts and why, then fill out the Rafflecopter.
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