When it comes to reading, I love romance–romance with a kick. This can encompass many different elements, time travel, suspense, paranormal, even sci-fi. But there has to be something more than just the romance. I used to consider myself a true romantic, but considering my choice of reading material and the stories I choose to write, maybe I’m not.
If I’m out driving and spy an abandoned cabin in the woods or I hear about a haunted house or location, I want to investigate and the wheels in my head begin to spin with stories and characters. Here where I live, there are many such places and stories to go with them. We have people who have mysteriously disappeared and never been seen again, haunted houses and graveyards, as well as unsolved murders. All great fodder for the mind of a writer like myself who thrives on such things.
My love of the paranormal probably began as a child when for a time, my family lived in a haunted house. This huge, old house built some time in the early 1800’s sat on large piece of land in South Florida. A black panther lived in the woods behind the house and many times while playing in these woods myself and my siblings would look up and see him stretched across a branch watching us. We weren’t afraid of him and he never did us any harm, so I assume at one time he’d been a pet.
Nothing unusual ever occured in the house while my parents were home. That wasn’t the case whenever they were absent, especially if they happened to be gone after dark. My older sister was always left in charge of us younger children, but the first time it sounded as though someone was dragging a log chain down the open, winding staircase, she’d lock herself in her room. We got used to this horrible noise and soon paid no attention. But the grand parties that took place were another thing all together. I remember one night, I could hear glasses clinking together, loud laughter and music. Those spirits were having a good old time.
I went to my sister’s room and knocked. Of course she ignored me, so I pounded harder. When she asked what I wanted, I asked if she could hear the sounds coming from the lower floor. Her answer was yes, she heard them and then she ordered me to go away and leave her alone. I decided I’d go downstairs and see what was happening, but when I made it halfway down the stairs, all sound stopped. When I’d get back up the stairs, it would start again. I even tried sneaking down on my tiptoes, but it was all the same. I remember becoming angry that I wasn’t allowed to see the party. As a child, I felt they were having a lot of fun and I wasn’t included.
I believe this experience instilled in me a love of books with elements of the unknown and all things that go bump in the night. I’m not as brave as I was as a child, but as long as it’s fiction or a good nonfiction ghost story, I’m all for it.
Elizabeth Melton Parsons