Friday, November 1, 2019

A GHOST TOO MANY by J. Thomas Witcher

J. Thomas Witcher


Tell your readers a little about yourself, where you grew up, where you live now, where you went to school etc. Let them get to know the personal you.

I am an Air Force Brat who grew up in a lot of different places, including England. I started writing when I was small. I liked to make up stories and put my classmates in them, mostly bloody murder mysteries. They made me popular. Either like me or I'd make you the victim in my next story.
I joined the Marines after high school (I thought writers needed actual life experience) and spent a tour in Vietnam where people who didn't know me kept shooting at me. Hint. Life experiences aren't always the best way to go.

I came home to Georgia, went to a community college, and tried to write in the manner of the writers I enjoyed reading. Then one day I discovered I wasn't enjoying writing anymore. It wasn't fun. I stopped for a few years. I ended up retired in the north Georgia mountains and I wrote my first book about a detective in the mountains. I enjoyed it because I stopped trying to write like somebody else.

Then I got this idea about a cozy ghost story. I'm not sure former marines are supposed to enjoy writing cozy mysteries, but I loved writing this one. It was fun again. That's my goal. Somebody can read a ghost too many and not worry about gritty realism. Just think of it as entertainment.

What inspired you to author this book?

I wanted to do something that was fun. A ghost story is always fun, unless, of course, you do the deep, dark stuff. I wanted this one to be something you could read at the beach but still had enough adult drama to keep the interest. And a few laughs along the way. And of course, I started getting really caught up in the characters after a while.

Where did you get the inspiration for your book’s cover?

Covers are hard. I'm not artistic. But honestly, I wanted something that said mystery but wasn't scary. I wasn't sure what fits, but I liked a lot of the illustrated covers. I'm not sure it came out exactly right, but I like it.

Who has been the most significant influence on you personally and as a writer?

That's a tough one. Lots of people. But I'd have to say the greatest influence was a high school teacher who read one of my short stories and then spent the next four years encouraging me to write. She also encouraged me to join her Latin classes, saying it would help my craft. I'm not sure that worked, but I sure loved the teacher.

What were your struggles or obstacles you had to overcome to get this book written?

This was not a hard book to write. I have written short stories that required a lot more of me. This book kind of rushed off the pages, and I guess the trick was that I enjoyed the characters so much. The hardest trouble was going back and taking out some of the characters that had no part in the flow of the story. I didn't want to get rid of them.

Tell your readers about your book.

A Ghost too many is about a woman who found out her husband was cheating on her, and then he died. She works for a campus police department, as a sort of secretary, but she's from a coastal community in Georgia. She's asked to return as police chief, and she does so very reluctantly because she doesn't feel qualified and because she had some family issues she doesn't want to face. Then her dead husband shows up an irritating ghost, and a murdered woman is found on the beach. Another ghost to contend with.

Who is your target audience, and why?

I didn't have a real target audience in mind. I know that's probably not professional.

What do you consider your greatest success in life?

I suppose it's living this long. grin. No, seriously. My great success is my two grandchildren.

Now if you're talking about the future, then if one of my stores ever shows up on the Hallmark Channel, then my family would be thrilled.

What one unique thing sets you apart from other writers in your genre?

I think I have a pretty good sense of humor that shows in the writing and I think I have a lot of those life experiences that give me insights into character. And I admit I'm a bit of romantic, which helps.