This weeks author is Cricket Baker author of The Ghosting of Gods. Enjoy the inteview and enter to win a paperback copy of The Ghosting of Gods below!
The Author: Cricket Baker
I grew up near Dallas, Texas and got lots and lots of sunburns with my pale complexion! (And you wouldn’t believe my accent. It’s...strong.) My childhood was full of books, fried chicken, playing hide-and-go-seek, snow cones, and trips to the lake in summer.
Known as a “brain” in school (I wasn’t really, I just studied a lot), I went on to get a bachelor’s in psychology and later a grad degree in education. I’m now married to an Air Force guy who is my best friend and sooo sweet, and we have three amazing sons who are the delight of my life.
I work besides my writing. Though I didn’t go looking for it, I somehow landed in a counseling job where I go out to homes and try to make things better for teens and their parents. This means I go into homes where abuse has sometimes occurred. This means I sometimes drive home crying. It’s meaningful work—that I’m tempted to run away from.
Books are a needed escape for me.
I like scary or unusual books. Mystical/spiritual/otherworldly ones, too. I’m weirdly attracted to haunted scenes, haunted imagery. On a related note, thunderstorms thrill me, so it’s great that I live in the panhandle of Florida smack dab in the lightning capital of the United States! It’s perfect atmosphere for writing ghostly stuff.
I’m a contemplative sort who is intrigued with the Big Questions: Who are we? Why are we here? What’s the meaning of life? How can it get better? How can we all live peacefully together, even when we believe different things? Sigh.
Oh my gosh. Well, I always loved reading and thought I wanted to be an author. But on the afternoon I finished reading Maeve Binchy’s The Glass Lake, and it was sooo painful to have the story over, I KNEW I had to write my own story. It was the only way I could keep characters going as long as I needed them around. As an author, you do what you want with your characters’ lives.
I wrote draft after draft of my novel over several years, on and off. Writer’s workshops, conferences, an independent editor...more rewrites...then The Ghosting of Gods was a finalist in the Hay House novel contest in 2012. Right after, a publisher offered me a contract. It was a long, long, long, long, long road.
The Book: The Ghosting of Gods
The world is not escaped by death
Jesse is an apprentice exorcist who defies his priests when he learns his sister is in danger even though she’s dead. When he’s exiled to a haunted world, Jesse must unravel the mystery of ghosts if he is to save her. He plunges into a deadly game of hide-and-seek. The players include denizens draped in monkish robes, ghosts with matted eyes, the dead who tunnel underground in terror, and...Elspeth.
A coven scientist, Elspeth is both respected and feared for her abnormal spiritual powers. Jesse needs—craves—the knowledge of ghosts which she possesses. But is she a spiritual prodigy, or dangerously insane? The coven scientist begs him to trust her. He doesn’t. But he wants to.
Caught in a world on the brink of spiritual evolution, Jesse struggles to understand Elspeth even as frightening contacts from his sister force him to face the secret, shattering meaning of a verse he knows well: Blessed are the poor in ghost.
My first intention was to write a solid novel, tending to character development, plot twists, tension on the page, world building, etc. But the story is also meant to be different, surprising, and lasting. By that I mean The Ghosting of Gods is a contribution to the genre of transformational fiction, which is meant to be storytelling which awakens the reader’s soul. That’s how I think of it, anyway.
Last but not least, I wanted my novel to be spooky, creepy, ghostly. It’s just what I love.
How does it feel to be releasing The Ghosting of Gods
You want me to be honest? It doesn’t feel like I thought it would feel. We all build up in our minds how something is supposed to be...I thought it would only be exciting and the best fun of my life (other than those great roller coasters where your feet dangle and you go through spirals—I love those!). The truth is that it’s exciting, yes, but it’s also painful. I believe very strongly about being authentic and letting out your creative, weird self...but this is the first time I’ve done it on a world stage. I feel vulnerable. This novel means a lot to me, and it will be JUDGED. But...you don’t connect to the world without vulnerability. Not really.
Here’s a quote by Brene Brown that’s been helpful to me lately: “Vulnerability is the birthplace of everything we’re hungry for.” It’s an insightful quote, and a powerful one, too.
Can you describe your protagonist Jesse in less than 140 characters?
He feels both special and ashamed. All at the same time, like we all have from the time we were two years old. The opening line of The Ghosting of Gods is his confession: “My secret fear is the priests are right to doubt me.” Jesse loves his faith, but he wants more, even if the more is forbidden knowledge.
If you could encourage anyone to pick up The Ghosting of Gods what would you say?
It’s a ghost story, but it will be different from anything you’ve read, and the ending is spectacular.
Favourite genre and why?
Haunted, not horror. It’s the best escape. I want to feel like hiding in a blanket with hot tea and a sweet treat while I read. I want to be reminded of the supernatural.
Favourite YA author and why?
I’m just so in love with J.K. Rowling...her success story, her unusual talent of using both humorous and scary elements in her storytelling (most writing teachers will tell you that you can’t mix “tones” like that), her soft heart, her keen intelligence...Can anybody imagine the world without her and the Harry Potter books?
Debut author/ upcoming author we should check out ?
I want to read that PODS book by Michelle Pickett. I’ll read all the post-apocalyptic fiction you can give me.
Favourite 2012 read and why?
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I know it had already been out awhile, but I finally read it and deeply, deeply appreciated it. How could I not? Death was narrating! It was a memorable story and weirdly poetic
A book series you love and why?
His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman. It’s a series that you can read whether you’re a kid or an adult. It’s spectacularly creative and the last installment of the triology, The Amber Spyglass, is especially brilliant. It’s got that mystical/supernatural flair I like with the daemons, and it’s a bit shocking with how it ends. I like that.
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