Interview & Review: #Hauntings, #Spirits, & Eats #Michigan by Kathy Conder

Today, I’m chatting with Kathy Conder about her debut book, Hauntings, Spirits, & Eats Michigan.

Seasoned paranormal investigator, Kathy Conder draws on her experience with the paranormal to highlight different locations throughout Michigan that are reportedly haunted.  She includes restaurants, pubs, and hotels for those travelers who want to add a little paranormal spice to their trips.  Each establishment is listed by its location in the state and offers readers the history and hauntings connected to each.  For those who are interested in exploring the mysterious world of the paranormal, this book is a great starting point for planning your next Michigan trip.

Q & A

CHRISTINA: Thanks for joining me today. Share a bit of your background before we delve more into your book.

KATHY: I was a Zoology major in college. I wrote for my university paper and have written articles on the paranormal for other publications. This is the first time I have written a book.

CHRISTINA: Tell us about your new book.

KATHY: As director for a paranormal group, I am often asked where the haunted places are in Michigan. I decided that by writing a book, I could list places that I knew in an organized format that was user-friendly. I would also be able to include some history on each location and my personal experiences if there were any. While I loved the idea of basing the book on Michigan’s “haunted hot spots,” I didn’t want it to read like a road atlas. People love a good story – especially a scary one and I had lots to share!

CHRISTINA: What inspired you to write this book?

KATHY: For some reason, I felt the timing was right. I was still somewhat reluctant to begin and even more so, admit to friends and family that I had. That meant I was accountable. It was official. Once I made that commitment, the rest was easier. I had days where the words flowed and others where I stalled and sat on the floor assembling Lego sets for the grandkids. The most important thing to me was to complete the book. I did and for me it will always be a symbol of my accomplishment.

CHRISTINA: What kind of research did you do?

KATHY: Most of my research is done on the job. I admit that I find myself in more than my share of reportedly haunted places, studying and exploring. What I have learned over the years has been through my experiences. Evidence of paranormal activity is often anecdotal. There is, as of now, no scientific evidence to prove its existence. I do extensive research on the history of different locations since hauntings can often be related to what occurred there in the past. For that information, I have found the local historical societies are a valuable resource. Local libraries and on-line sources have a wealth of information as well.

CHRISTINA: What is the most surprising thing you discovered while writing your book?

KATHY: Writing is hard!

CHRISTINA: How long did you take to write the book?

KATHY: I think it was a year-long process.

CHRISTINA: Describe your writing space.

KATHY: I write at my husband’s grandmother’s desk. I have surrounded myself with things that make me happy. I tried hard to make it my own. I find that once I sit in that space, my mind seems to switch to writing-mode.

CHRISTINA: What is the most difficult part of writing for you?

KATHY: Disciplining myself. Doubting myself. I tend to second-guess a lot!

CHRISTINA: What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

KATHY: I don’t think it is interesting, but I have found music to be extremely grounding. From day to day, the music varies with my moods. I thought it might be distracting but it is the opposite. It helps me to focus.

CHRISTINA: Does writing energize or exhaust you?

KATHY: Both, equally!

CHRISTINA: What advice would you give to new writers – someone just starting out?

KATHY: Don’t be too hard on yourself. Writing is a learning process. Set up a writing schedule and stick to it, even you don’t get much written.

CHRISTINA: Where can we learn more about you and your book?

KATHY: You can find my book, Hauntings, Spirits, & Eats Michigan on Amazon and Goodreads, and you can find me on Michigan Paranormal Encounters on Facebook.

MY REVIEW

Kathy has done a great job researching over eighty haunted places in Michigan—lighthouses, inns, pubs, museums and more. I enjoyed reading the history of the sites as well as Kathy’s personal accounts as a paranormal investigator with thirty-eight years of experience. The perfect road trip book for all things spooky and historical in Michigan.

The 8th Annual One Acts Festival

I submitted my one act play back in December. Last week, the Allegan Community Players announced the lineup for the festival:

Purple Roses by Christina Thompson

Potential by Scott Mullen

The Band Currently Known as the Apaches by Les Abromovitz

I’m in! A first for me. I’m honored. What’s even crazier is that those characters are from my Chemical Attraction Series, which is set in a town based on Allegan.

The play was originally a short story. The scene takes place at Sylvia’s Bed & Breakfast, modeled after the Delano Mansion Inn in Allegan’s downtown area. The scene is a prequel to Chemical Attraction—before my main characters Joe Roberts and Madeline Pierce actually meet and fall in love. While mourning the death of her husband, Madeline’s Aunt Sylvia focuses on getting Joe and Madeline in the same room at the same time. The conversations of loneliness between Joe and Sylvia and then between Madeline and Sylvia break my heart.

Sylvia has become one of my favorite secondary characters in my series. In fact, I’m in the process of writing a new novel where she’s the main character trying to navigate in a world without her husband.

My head knows these characters are a figment of my imagination, but my heart knows their emotions are real. It’ll be strange to see these people, who have been in my life for so many years, become tangible on stage at the Griswold Auditorium, which I have also referenced in my series.

In Chemical Attraction, a fundraiser is held in the lower level of the Griswold. (I call it the Hartford though.) Then, in Chemical Reaction, a couple characters hide in the backstage area.

What a surreal experience this will be! I may cry. No, I guarantee I will cry. I’m aware the director may change the props and dialogue; this is a collaborative project after all, but I believe the emotions of the scenes will stay true.

If you’ve enjoyed my Chemical Attraction Series, this is a must see. Please, join me. I’ll be the one sobbing before the festival even starts.

Friday, April 22nd at 7 pm

Saturday, April 23rd at 7 pm

Sunday, April 24th at 2 pm

Griswold Auditorium

401 Hubbard Street

Allegan, MI 49010

All tickets are $5 at the door.

For more information, visit the Allegan Community Players.

For more information on my series, visit The Chemical Attraction Series on Amazon.