I grew up in Wadena, Minnesota, and now live in Fargo, North Dakota, where I'm known for my annual library program, Ghost Stories for Grown-Ups. In ten years, the themes have included “Dark Carnival,” “When the Hearse Goes By,” and “Thesaurus of Horror.” I've also appeared different times in the Fargo Forum as a local expert on ghost stories and horror movies.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I love Halloween, and even though it’s never openly stated, the book partly exists to answer the question I often get in life: “Why do you love Halloween so much?”
It's about a couple of little girls, who, along with a jaded big sister, are planning for the holiday. They worry about their costumes, decorate the house, tell ghost stories, and generally creep each other out. Although the characters and most of the situations are completely fictional, some elements are based on real-life shenanigans that led me on the path to becoming a life-long fan of everything Halloweeny.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Wadena, a town of about 4,000 people in central Minnesota. My first novel was very much inspired by my experience of Halloweens in a place and time (the 1970s) when kids had a lot of freedom to explore the world. In writing it, I tried to be as authentic to that time and place as I could be, with results that seem to me nostalgic, but not sentimental.
It's an old-fashioned Hallowe'en -- 1970's style.
Two little girls who love everything spooky -- along with a big sister who can't stop trying to scare them -- plot the orangest and blackest Halloween they can, in this trick-or-treat bag of a book.