Sunday, December 23, 2012

Interview: Author Beth Dolgner (Ghost of a Threat)

Author Beth Dolgner stops by TeamNerd today to chat with Annabell about her novel, Ghost of a Threat, which centers around a ghost hunting team. She opens about the fact that she use to race cars in her twenties, why she chose to create a story about ghosts and demons, and where she would like to go on a ghost hunting investigation. Check out the fun interview below!

Annabell: Tell us three things about yourself that people would find weird (We like weird at TeamNerd *wink*)

Beth Dolgner: Only three? Well, for starters, most people are surprised to learn that I used to race motorcycles. In my early- to mid-twenties, I road raced a Honda CBR600 and a Suzuki SV650. Yes, I crashed and yes, I got hurt a few times. These days, I’m a lot more sedate: I volunteer at a cemetery. I work in the gift shop (yes, a gift shop at a cemetery) and help with special events at Atlanta’s Historic Oakland Cemetery. The cemetery dates to 1850, and for special events I dress up in a Victorian widow’s costume that I made. Finally, although I usually focus on the paranormal, I had the chance to write a book about Voodoo several years ago. My research took me to New Orleans, where I participated in a Voodoo ritual with Priestess Claudia Williams and her husband Jan. It was an amazing experience, and I dedicated a chapter to it in the book, Everyday Voodoo.

Annabell: What sets your book apart of other paranormal romance books on the shelves that would make someone want to read it?

Beth Dolgner: Most people praise the book by saying, “Finally, a paranormal romance with no vampires!” As much as I love vampires, I wanted to do something different. Ghosts and demons wound up being my path of choice.

Annabell: Why did you decide to create a series centered around hunting down paranormal activity? Where did the inspiration for the series come from?

Beth Dolgner: While I was researching my first book, Georgia Spirits and Specters, I had the chance to go on a paranormal investigation with a team. I was hooked after that first experience! I have since worked with a number of teams, and I realized that ghost hunting would make a great premise for a series. I still investigate occasionally, and I’m a guide for the Roswell Ghost Tour, so I’m always gaining new inspiration!

Annabell: What do you think appeals to people about ghosts that as a society we tend to gravitate toward ghost stories?

Beth Dolgner: I think people love that mysterious, unknown aspect about ghosts. Are they real? If they are, then what are they? Do they prove that there is life after death? Was that whisper I just heard a ghost, or only my imagination?

Annabell: Maxwell is a demon and a gorgeous, dangerous one at that. Where did the inspiration for his character come from?

Beth Dolgner: Believe it or not, the inspiration for Maxwell came from a trip to Disney World. I had hatched the idea of a series based on a ghost hunter, but the idea stalled after that. One weekend, my mom and I drove to Florida to visit Pleasure Island, a nightclub complex at Disney. It was closing after about 20 years, and we have a lot of fond memories of that place, so we went for one last hurrah. One dance club, Mannequins, had a revolving dance floor. Disney Imagineers had created a backstory for it, saying the building was once a roundhouse for a locomotive called Maxwell’s Demon. As Mom and I talked about it, I suddenly saw a crisp white business card with “Maxwell, Demon” written on it. I knew I had found the missing element for my series!

Annabell: Georgia was the backdrop for Betty and the Savannah Spirit Seekers ghost hunting team. What is it about Savanah’s history that makes it so easy to get lost in, that draws people in?

Beth Dolnger: Savannah’s historic district has been so well restored that you feel like you’re in a different era. It has a European feel coupled with a Southern gothic vibe: oak trees dripping with Spanish moss, old townhouses that are still beautiful even with some grime, and, every now and then, a glimpse of a pirate.

Annabell: Who are some of your favorite paranormal authors?

Beth Dolgner: I enjoy Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse books, and more recently I’ve fallen in love with Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate Series. It’s billed as steampunk, but it’s filled with paranormal characters. In non-fiction, Margaret Wayt DeBolt is still my inspiration when it comes to telling ghost stories. Her book Savannah Specters is the reason I got into ghost stories in the first place.

Annabell: Why do you think suspense, particularly in paranormal fiction, is such a necessary quality to have within a story?

Beth Dolgner: Readers need a reason to keep turning the page, and writers need a reason to keep typing. I’ll get so wrapped up in a suspenseful scene that I’ll actually jump if my phone rings while I’m writing! I love that feeling, and I hope my readers feel the same way.
Annabell: If you could create your own paranormal team to go ghost hunting, what would be the name of your team? Would you guys have a cool uniform or jackets? Where’s a place you are just dying (no pun intended) to investigate?

Beth Dolgner: This is a hard question! I love The Seekers, which is shortened from The Savannah Spirit Seekers, the name of my heroine’s team in the Betty Boo, Ghost Hunter series. It’s short and simple! And yes, of course we would have a totally cool logo on our gear! As for the place I’m dying to investigate, Gettysburg has to be one of the top spots on my list. So many people tell me they experienced interesting paranormal activity there, plus I enjoy Civil War history.

Annabell: If you could speak to any author that’s long sense passed, who would you want to speak to and what would you ask?

Beth Dolgner: I would sit down to tea with Jane Austen. Pride and Prejudice is my favorite book, and I just love her wit and keen observation of human behavior. I would have plenty to ask her, probably beginning with, “Whatever happened with Colonel Fitzwilliam’s character, anyway?”

Annabell: Thank you to Author Beth Dolgner for stopping by and giving us an inside look to Ghost of a Threat!

Purchase on Barnes and Noble and Amazon.

About the Author: Beth Dolgner started writing short stories at a young age, and having a journalism teacher for a dad certainly set her on the right track. After she graduated from Florida Atlantic University with her degree in Communications, Beth began working as a freelance writer, journalist and public relations representative.Georgia Spirits and Specters, Beth’s first book, debuted in the spring of 2009 and was followed by Everyday Voodoo in 2010. She has a lifelong interest in the paranormal and is an active member of West Georgia Paranormal Investigations.

Beth's fiction debut came in October of 2011 with the publication of Ghost of a Threat, Book One of the Betty Boo, Ghost Hunter Series. Ghost of a Whisper continues the paranormal romance series, which combines Beth's love of ghost hunting and paranormal romance!

In her free time, Beth enjoys traveling, sewing and riding motorcycles. She and her husband Ed live in Atlanta, Georgia, with their five cats.

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