Marva, thank you for hosting me on your blog today. I know you write fantastic books for the tween audience yourself, so I’m doubly thrilled to be your guest. In April, 2016, I released my two middle grade novels for grades four, five and six, Ghost for Rent and Ghost for Lunch, in a two-for-one edition Ghostly Visions, published by 4RV Publishing LLC.
My main character, Wendy Wiles, attracts ghosts, first in Ghost for Rent, when her parents separate and she, her brother, and mother move into a haunted house. The story begins in Portland, Oregon and quickly moves to small town, Scappoose, Oregon. Miserable at leaving her friends and beloved Portland behind, Wendy meets her neighbor Jennifer who tells her the house Wendy’s mom rented is haunted. After two of the ghosts appear to Wendy, the girls find themselves tracking down the mystery of who the ghosts are and why they "live" in the Wiles' home.
The idea for Ghost for Rent came from a neighbor. She mentioned hearing piano music playing in her rental home although no one was near the piano. It was easy for me to find a house to use as inspiration since there are many older farm homes in need of repair in the area. Wendy’s school, Otto Petersen, is the elementary school my children attended. I have fond memories of bringing my children to what was at the time, one of the smallest libraries I had ever seen. It was tucked into a back room of the fire station, but it had plenty of books for kids and access to research materials. I loved being able to include this small-town library in my books.
In Ghost for Lunch, Wendy’s friend, Jennifer, moves away, leaving Wendy sad until new neighbors and their restaurant in St. Helens bring ghosts back into Wendy's life. She, her brother, and their new friend discover the two cases are connected. Once again, the young sleuths use clues and lots of brainstorming to figure out who is haunting the restaurant.
The inspiration for this story came from a news article about one of the local restaurants that is reported to be haunted. Since I worked around the corner from this restaurant and have eaten there numerous times, it made sense to have Wendy’s adventures take place there.
Set in the early1990s, both books take the reader back to simpler times when kids researched information at the local library instead of searching on Google or looking it up on Wikipedia. While both books center on the mystery of the ghosts haunting Wendy, they are also stories about the importance of family and friends.
- Ghostly Visions is available direct from the publisher 4RV Publishing LLC for $15.99 including shipping and handling: http://www.4rvpublishingcatalog.com/penny-lockwood.php. It can also be ordered from your local bookstore with the following ISBN numbers: ISBN-10: 0982642326, ISBN-13: 978-0982642320, or through Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/dp/0982642326/
Penny Lockwood (Ehrenkranz) has published over 100 articles, 75 stories, a chapbook, and her stories have been included in two anthologies. She writes for both adults and children. Her fiction has appeared in numerous genre and children’s publications, and non fiction work has appeared in a variety of writing, parenting, and young adult print magazines and on line publications. She is a former editor for MuseItUp Publishing, 4RV Publishing, and Damnation Books. Visit her web site at http://pennylockwoodehrenkranz.yolasite.com and her writing blog at http://pennylockwoodehrenkranz.blogspot.com.