Another BMR debut today! I have a weakness for haunted house stories, and dual timelines make them even more irresistible – and just look at that eerie cover below. This author shares the spookiest ghost story he’s ever heard – but it happened to him. Welcome Steven Rigolosi!
Which Stephen King novel unsettled you the most?
Firestarter. For me, it fired on all cylinders (pardon the pun). There is something so elementally terrifying about fire and how quickly it gets out of control. I re-learned this lesson not too long ago when my mother’s kitchen burned down in the space of about 3 minutes. Something in the oven ignited, and before she knew it, the kitchen was engulfed in flames. Fortunately, she survived unharmed. But it was such a terrifying experience for everyone that I can’t imagine myself re-reading Firestarter any time soon.
Would you buy a doll that you knew was haunted?
I don’t believe in tempting fate, so the answer is a big No. Also, several years ago I wrote a short story, “Locked in the Basement with Bebe,” about a haunted doll. The doll (Bebe) ended up disturbing me so much that I’ve sworn off haunted dolls forever.
What is the spookiest ghost story you’ve ever heard?
I think this one is the spookiest because it happened to me. When I was in college, I went to Barbados on Spring Break. One night during the vacation, I had a dream about my father’s oldest brother. In the dream we were just sitting at my kitchen table and talking. He kept saying, “You’re a good boy” and “You march to the beat of your own drummer.” The dream was very odd because I was not close to that uncle at all. In fact, he and my father didn’t get along and had almost nothing to do with each other. When I got home, I got a phone call from my mother telling me that my uncle had died—during the night on which I had the dream.
Have you ever traveled as research for any of your books?
Yes, for The Haunting of Kinnawe House, I traveled many times to York County, Maine, visiting towns such as York, Cape Neddick, and Ogunquit. Part of the story takes place in Northampton, Massachusetts, so I went there, too, to soak up the sense of history. Images from all of these places burned themselves into my brain and made their way into the book. Now I’m a big fan of traveling to research my books, though I hadn’t done much of it in the past. For fun, I am also attaching a photo of the real house (now demolished) that inspired Kinnawe House.
What is your kryptonite as a writer?
I can’t write in present tense, so if someone said to me, “You must write a novel in present tense, or you will die,” then I would die.
What books did you grow up reading?
At first I was going to answer this question by mentioning specific writers and books, but then another thought occurred to me. I don’t come from a wealthy family, so money was tight as I was growing up. Of course I made frequent use of the library, but as we all know, there’s nothing quite like buying books. Hardcover books were beyond my budget, and then I discovered the book clubs of that era: The Literary Guild, The Doubleday Book Club, The Mystery Guild, and Book-of-the-Month Club. They made hardcovers affordable, and they helped to form my reading tastes, in that I discovered a lot of writers through them. While I don’t remember them offering a lot of horror selections, there were always a few, and I still have my book-club editions of the classic haunted house stories that inspired my book, including Stephen King’s The Shining, Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House, and Anne Rivers Siddons’ The House Next Door. I also love mysteries, and the book clubs helped me discover a lot of the greats, including Agatha Christie, John D. MacDonald, Andrew Garve, Michael Gilbert, and Dorothy L. Sayers.
The Haunting of Kinnawe House is a ghost story that spans two eras in U.S. history: the American colonial period and the present. Matthew Rollins, an aspiring singer/songwriter, takes a job as caretaker of Kinnawe House in Agamenticus, Maine. The haunting begins immediately upon Matthew’s arrival. Threatening, ghostly strangers stalk the property. The cellar is filled with mysterious, foul-smelling barrels. And with each day, Matthew’s insomnia gets worse. The story alternates between past and present, as Matthew struggles with increasingly violent hallucinations, and the 1740s, as a dark preacher populates his town with a community willing to sell their souls for a comfortable life. Past and present come together as Matthew learns, little by little, of his family’s ties to Kinnawe House—and why the house will not rest until Matthew has taken his own life.
Author Bio and Social Media
Steven Rigolosi is the editor-in-chief of Cambria & Calibri, an editorial services firm, where he specializes in editing psychology, economics, and business books. His other published fiction includes four mysteries, including Who Gets the Apartment? and The Outsmarting of Criminals. Both received the David Award for Best Mystery of the Year, andOprah’s editors selected The Outsmarting of Criminals as one of the best mysteries of its publication year. He lives in Northern New Jersey, where he plays classical flute with the Ramsey Wind Symphony. His other books are Circle of Assassins and Androgynous Murder House Party.
Social Media Links:
Email: stevenrigolosi AT gmail.com