Today’s guest is the author of a wonderful series of children’s books. Readers call them ‘delightful armchair travel’ and a ‘fantastic adventure’. As a bonus – they’re educational! Amanda in New Mexico touches on the supernatural, and that’s the book Darlene Foster shares with us today. She also tells a Ouija board story that will send tingles down your spine. Welcome Darlene!
You’re in a horror movie. Are you the final person, the first to die, the comic relief, the skeptic, the smart one, or the killer?
I would be the comic relief. I’m usually the first one to crack a joke when things are tense. This can be annoying to some people who think it is no laughing matter.
Have you ever played with a Ouija board?
My aunt and I played with one when we were children. I didn’t think anything of it at the time. I do recall that my grandfather thought it was interesting and asked if he could have ago. He asked the board how old he would be when he died. It spelled out 78. He seemed content with that. He died at age 78 many years later. I have always assumed it was a coincident but now I wonder.
If you were paid to spend the night in a haunted house, would you do it?
I don’t think so. I get spooked quite easy. It would have to be a lot of money and I would have to be able to bring my hubby along and maybe my dog. Mind you, the money would come in handy. I may be able to collect material for another book. Ummm, I may have to think about this.
How do you develop your plots and characters?
I start with a location, usually a place that I have visited and found intriguing. Once I have the setting, I decide on an issue that a young person may encounter and work from there. I am a panster so the story develops as I write. Amanda is the main character and her personality develops with each book. She stays pretty well the same age but matures a bit as she travels and learns more about the world and herself. In Amanda in New Mexico-Ghosts in the Wind, she finds her disbelief in the supernatural challenged. I visited New Mexico and loved it, but there was certainly an air of something other worldly about. In particular when we stopped in at The St. James Hotel in Cimarron which is well known to be haunted. I said to my travel companion, “I have to include this in an Amanda story.”
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
When I’m not writing I like to read, bake, walk on the beach, drive in the country, take my dog for walks, go for coffee with hubby and chat with friends. Of course I am always collecting ideas while doing these “non-writing” things.
What are you working on now?
The seventh novel in the Amanda Travels series, Amanda in Holland-Missing in Action, is completed, has been beta read and edited a number of times. It is now at the publishers and will be released in 2019 after a few more edits. While waiting for its release, I am, as we speak, working on Amanda in Malta, which is turning out to be a great adventure for my main character. Amanda has many more places to explore yet.
Amanda Ross is on a school trip to Taos, New Mexico with several of her fellow creative students. Join Amanda, Cleo and their funny friend, Caleb, as they visit an ancient and beautiful landscape where a traditional hacienda, an ancient pueblo, and a haunted and spooky hotel all hold secrets to a wild and violent past. Does Cleo really see ghosts? Can Amanda escape the eerie wind that follows her everywhere? Perhaps the Day of the Dead will reveal the mysteries of Taos in this latest adventure of Amanda’s travels.
She opened her mouth to scream. Her throat seized up and nothing came out. Amanda walked through the swinging doors into the restaurant. No one was there either. She went out a back door to the outside eating area and surveyed the empty tables and chairs. She stopped to listen. It felt like something was beside her. As she slowly turned to look, a huge bear leaned out a window holding a pie.
She opened her mouth to scream. Her throat seized up and nothing came out.
“What’s wrong with you, Amanda?” Cleo appeared from around a corner. “You look like you just had a run in with a ghost. Oh, that’s right, you don’t believe they exist.”
Amanda gave her head a shake. The window with the bear holding the pie was just a mural painted on the wall.
She laughed nervously. “For a minute I actually thought that bear was real. That’s a good painting.”
Cleo shrugged her shoulders up to her ears. “You thought the bear was real, but you don’t believe me when I tell you I see ghosts?”
“Where is everyone, anyway?” asked Amanda.
“They’re in the gambling room, listening to stories about the guys that have been shot here in this hotel. The boys think it’s cool but I think it’s depressing.”
“Did they talk about T. J. Wright, the cowboy from Room 18?”
“Oh, yes. Apparently, he harasses guests here all the time. But the ghost of Mary Lambert, who is called the protector, often chases him away. She doesn’t like her guests being upset. He sometimes goes into the room next to his and bothers whoever is in there. Room 19, I think it is. It used to be the room of Mary Lambert’s daughter.”
“Really?” Amanda paled. She remembered the rose scent in Room 19 and wondered if Mary Lambert had chased T.J. Wright away. That is if it was him, or rather his ghost, in the room with her.
Amanda flapped her hand. “No way! I don’t think so. It’s probably just a publicity stunt to increase business for the hotel.”
“Whatever,” mumbled Cleo.
The courtyard filled up with the other students.
“There’ve been some cool shootouts here.” Caleb walked over to the girls. “Have you two been ghost hunting? This would be the perfect place.”
Darlene Foster has dreamt of writing books, travelling the world and meeting interesting people for as long as she can remember. It’s no surprise that she’s now an award-winning author of the exciting Amanda Travels series featuring spunky Amanda Ross, a twelve-year-old Canadian girl who loves to travel. Readers of all ages enjoy following Amanda as she unravels one mystery after another in unique destinations. An avid traveler herself, Darlene divides her time between the west coast of Canada and the Spanish Costa Blanca with her husband and entertaining dog, Dot. She believes it is never too late to make your dreams come true.