Horror, dark fantasy, film and contemporary lit fans will all find something resonant in the pages of Ghostwriter, says speculative fiction writer Ravid Harnell about his new ebook.
Equally influenced by atmospheric Asian horror cinema, the gritty absurdity of blackly comic scribes such as Warren Ellis, and the crisp, timely dialogue of screenwriters like Joss Whedon and Amy Sherman-Palladino, Ghostwriter is a unique update of the classic haunted house tale. The story unfolds over the course of a single month, and centers on the St. Petersburg apartment where the very real Mary Hardy Reeser met her end in 1951, sparking the first-ever investigation by the FBI into a possible case of spontaneous human combustion.
“It’s only peripherally concerned with the Mary Hardy Reeser case,” says Harnell. “I just think her story is an amazing piece of local color, and it made a great jumping-off point.”
In Ghostwriter, the Reeser apartment is also the site of other, equally inexplicable deaths. Its history attracts the attention of aspiring screenwriter/hipster layabout Chris Skinner, who moves into the place as a squatter to research a script. As his interest becomes obsession, his unique imagination intertwines with whatever persists within the walls, poisoning him and his relationships and building to a gripping, graphic climax in which the nature of the apartment’s true occupant is revealed.
“In my favorite haunted house stories, like The Shining and The Haunting of Hill House, it’s as much about the personalities of the characters as the ghost, or manifestation, or whatever,” the author says. “I definitely wanted to pay tribute to that.”
Ravis Harnell first achieved notoriety writing for and editing long-deceased Tampa Bay music ‘zine Focus. Regional fans were introduced to his fiction when the darkly playful “Midnight In The Garden of Goods & Eatin'” appeared in a populist anthology of local art published by underground comics figure Josh Sullivan, and Central Florida ebook imprint Pandora Project Publishers released his short story “The Terrible Twos” last fall.
Ghostwriter is available now at innovative DIY publishing site and ebook community Smashwords.com, and will be distributed through the site’s Premium Catalog service to Amazon.com and iBooks, as well as the online storefronts for Borders and Barnes & Noble.
You can order from Smashwords here: Ghostwriter