Twelve-year-old Alex may have lost his ability to play sports, but he gained the ability to see ghosts. Now he must figure out how to put an evil spirit to rest–or die trying. Once an athlete and popular kid, Alex is in a terrible car accident that severely injures his hip and leaves him with a rare power: he can hear and see ghosts. All Alex wants is to be normal. But when a malevolent spirit begins haunting him, Alex must accept his unwanted psychic powers and work with his best friend, his paranormal investigator cousin, and two friendly spirits to solve the mystery of the bones in the wall and put the vicious ghost to rest. If he fails, he’ll lose his family and friends to a gruesome fate.
Susan is an award winning author of paranormal, fantasy, and horror for adults, young adults, and middle grade readers. She first fell in love with the paranormal when she was three years old and scared witless on Disney’s Haunted Mansion ride, but begged her parents to ride again and again! Susan has lived on all three coasts of the United States, as well as having spent a few years in the U.K. She loves to travel, scuba dive, practice taekwondo (she’s not a black belt – yet!), read, see movies, and go to the theatre. She’s also passionate about animals and has a special place in her heart for cats. YEM was able to speak with Susan about her writing process, her inspirations, and what she loves about writing.
Young Entertainment Mag: When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer?
Susan McCauley: I first started writing for fun when I was eight. I knew I wanted to be a writer as part of my career when I was 20.
YEM: Is there a part of the writing process that you prefer over others?
Susan: Absolutely! I enjoy the final tweaks to a last draft the best as well as when I get on a writing jag in a first draft and a scene just flows.
YEM: What was the first book to inspire you?
Susan: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis.
YEM: Who are some of your favorite authors?
Susan: I don’t have a single favorite, but I really enjoy works by Mary Downing Hahn, John Flannagan, Jonathan Stroud, Joseph Delaney, J.K. Rowling, and Suzanne Collins.
YEM: Do you have any advice for anyone who might also want to become an author?
Susan: Read a lot – especially in the genre in which you want to write – and take good writing classes. You also need to have a quality critique group or critique partner or someone who is knowledgeable and experienced with the genre in which you’re writing.
YEM: Who is the first person that you let read your work?
Susan: My mom – even now. (Then my editor).
YEM: Is there something that you hope your readers can take away or learn from reading your books?
Susan: It depends on the book, but I definitely work-in themes that are important to me and that I think are important to my readers.
YEM: What is something new that you learned about yourself as a writer during your most recent writing process?
Susan: I learned how much I drag my feet in the preparation process. LOL. It’s taking me way longer than it should to do the prep-work for Book 4 in the Ghost Hunters series. I just need to get it done so I can get on with writing!
YEM: What do you love the most about writing? What do you struggle with the most?
Susan: I love it when the characters, scene, or atmosphere just flows from my brain to the page (and then I go back and read it and it doesn’t need a ton of revision). I struggle most with the planning, but I see how much it helps me in the process.
YEM: Do you remember the first character you ever created?
Susan: I honestly don’t remember.
YEM: Where do you get most of your inspiration to write from?
Susan: I get inspiration from the world around me. It could be from something my son is interested in; it could be a story I hear on a ghost tour or a clip I read in a magazine. One time I was struggling with a villain and I got the inspiration I needed from an aviary exhibit at the zoo. One of the birds personified the villain in his looks and actions; that helped a lot.
YEM: What genre do you prefer to write the most?
Susan: I love writing middle grade and young adult paranormal and fantasy. So far, those are my favorites to write, but I also enjoy writing horror for all ages.