January 8, 2003.
By Tamara Thorne
Publisher: Pinnacle Books (November 2002)
Pages: 352 – Price: $5.99
The following is a transcript from Tamara Thorne's Ghostvillage.com Ghost Chat.
Jeff_Belanger: Welcome to a special Ghostvillage.com Ghost Chat with author Tamara Thorne. Tonight Tamara will be discussing her new book, The Forgotten, as well as her "supernatural" roots.
Tamara Thorne: Hello everyone -- happy to be here!
Jeff_Belanger: Tamara, can you tell us about how you first became interested in the supernatural and ghosts as a subject?
Tamara Thorne: I don't remember a time I wasn't interested. My mother read to me from infancy on and that included all the great fantasies. Later, Nancy Drew disgusted me because there were never any unexplained ghosts. I always told tales as a kid. I just don't remember another subject that gripped me like this one does -- a lifelong passion.
Jeff_Belanger: How old were you when you wrote your first book and what was your inspiration?
Tamara Thorne: I think it was fifth grade. That would have been just before I found Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House -- so it was science fiction. Once I found ghostly fiction I was hooked. Which is pretty good for editorial purposes...
OldBrujita: I have a confession -- I haven't read the book.
Tamara Thorne: I wrote my first real novel, intending to sell it in my late 20's or early 30's. That was a bit over a decade ago.
OldBrujita: I was asked by a friend to visit this site, because of my own experiences.
Tamara Thorne: What kind of experiences?
OldBrujita: I’ve been experiencing things of the other side since age nine. Only recently at the age of 38 have I made an effort to understand it -- hence my handle, Old Brujita
Jeff_Belanger: Tamara, would you consider yourself a ghost hunter?
Tamara Thorne: Yes. I've done it for years, but it's become more serious lately.
Dees_Shadow: Did any one particular experience make you more serious?
secretsign: Are any books based on any of your hunts?
Tamara Thorne: Yes. One early experience -- I was 21 or so and a newlywed -- a nice house. I saw poltergeist activity and it didn't scare me. There were little things -- toothbrushes popping up, etc. I thought it was a glitch in gravity -- it went on and on. One day my husband saw it with me -- I'd never mentioned it. Not scary, not ghostly. A full trashcan lifted about 3 inches, hovered, and dropped. We did the classic double take.
hurdingcatsGuest: Did you meet a lot of opposition when you started ghosthunting?
Dees_Shadow: Yes, how do you handle skeptics?
Tamara Thorne: I've only been in one scary haunt. Moving out of a house activated it -- noises, mainly footsteps -- some touching. My husband got it too -- nasty. It turned out a family had left an abusive father there once. No opposition. I'm fortunate in that I write fiction. People see me as a story-teller and don't label me so much.. little do they know...
OldBrujita: I'm sure skeptics are everywhere, Tamara but I've experienced, "the skeptic" that requires proof, have you?
Tamara Thorne: Skeptics? Easy: I am one. Read The Forgotten for the full explanation, but let's just say that The Amazing Randi is not a skeptic. He's a debunker -- a disbeliever. That's the opposite of believer.
Tamara Thorne: Skeptics don't believe or disbelieve -- this is the classic definition before people like Randi abused the word. It means open-mindedness. I know I've seen unexplainable things. A number of them are things I can't begin to guess at a rationale (to science) explanation for. I don't pretend to know what they are. My leaning is toward ghosts generally being reruns and poltergeists or ghosts that seem intelligent being subconsciously used by living humans -- that, I've seen. I'd love for an actual spirit to come up and have a chat. I won't rule it out. I'm not a debunker like certain magicians who think that if they can recreate something that appears paranormal, that it is always an illusion. Somebody really has messed up thinking processes there!
Jeff_Belanger: Tamara, do you consider yourself psychic or sensitive in any way?
Tamara Thorne: I know you have a lot of debate about it here. I wanted to explain my definition. I'm a Fortean.
hurdingcatsGuest: That's true, they have a way of trying to make you feel foolish -- not Forteans... skeptics... always trying to burst your bubble.
Tamara Thorne: I don't consider myself anything -- when I want something to act up I usually try to take a reactive friend with me (fuel, you know). However, apparently, I've had some big successes with knowing. A real Fortean is a skeptic. Ignore the attitudes -- those are individuals -- skeptics investigate. Any that pretend they're better than you are full of merde... making themselves feel superior, like the Church Lady on the old "Saturday Night Live".
hurdingcatsGuest: I've told my stories, but no one believes me. That's ok... I know I'm on the level cause my 'bubble's' in the middle -- I sometimes wish I had a gift like that.
Tamara Thorne: Hurdingcats, you just have to tell the right people. I'm always looking for them. Someday, I'd like to do a collection of true stories. People who don't believe are usually either too stiff or too afraid to believe. It's kid stuff -- they deny the kid. The kid inside is what keeps us happy.
OldBrujita: Yes! Very true, Tamara.
ghstbster: I have tons of stories
Tamara Thorne: (Rubbing hands together...) I love stories. My email is on my Web site. Some of the stories in my books are based on things I've seen.
hurdingcatsGuest: That's true I keep up with hunting because I need to know.
Tamara Thorne: OldBrujita, you're too cool. Are you into El Dia de los Muertos?
OldBrujita: No, but I have heard of it.
Tamara Thorne: Needing to know, I think, is the reason we're here. We evolve this way. That need is a burning desire. People go cracked and brittle when they deny it -- they get "old" in a bad way.
hurdingcatsGuest: That's not for me.
OldBrujita: I don't hunt ghosts, they come to me...
Tamara Thorne: Mexican Day of the Dead -- best Halloween ever. There's quick coverage in Ray Bradbury's Halloween Tree. It's finally becoming a big deal in the southwestern states.
hurdingcatsGuest: I want to age like fine wine.
OldBrujita: A friend mentioned it to me years ago, she saw it celebrated first hand in Mexico.
Tamara Thorne: LOL. I'm trying to age like fine wine, but I think I'm turning to vinegar... Why do ghosts come to you?
hurdingcatsGuest: My house was very active for a while, now it's quiet. I think they left.
OldBrujita: I don't know, Tamara. I've been told by many seers that I was a born spiritualist.
Tamara Thorne: I was going to spend the weekend in San Diego, near the border -- they do it there.
Jeff_Belanger: Why does it seem that your book Haunted has such a different "style" to it than your other books?
Tamara Thorne: Haunted was the first book I wrote under my name (Tamara Thorne). I had been writing as Chris Curry before that -- gender hiding. Haunted was something I could afford to play with since I still had my other name going. So I did Haunted for the sheer love of the haunted house genre. I through in every cliché. I had such fun. It worked. Moonfall (witches) and Candle Bay (vampires) are like that.
secretsign: Was that made into a movie?
Tamara Thorne: Candle's very light. (Groan.) The Forgotten is serious, but probably has the highest laugh factor. It's also based in reality, big time. Movie?
secretsign: The Haunted.
Wayne: You’re thinking of Shirley Jackson's book.
Tamara Thorne: No. That excellent movie is based on James Herbert's Haunted, which is out of print. My publisher wanted the title -- I didn't -- but they were right -- it's brought many readers. Haunted is primarily an homage to Jackson's Hill House and Matheson's Hell House (also a movie). Hell was itself an homage to Hill.
Jeff_Belanger: Is there a particular favorite place that you draw your characters from? (i.e. your own life, historical or famous figures, etc.)
Tamara Thorne: Dreams. Sometimes a character will appear in a dream and I keep him around in my head for years, waiting for a story. Stories appear from snippets of dreams as well. I've noticed that most of my male heroes bear a striking resemblance to Gary Cooper/James Stewart -- and my mate. I haven't done any real characters -- from history -- except for Jack the Ripper in Eternity. I used reality there. But once, I had an erotic dream about Thomas Jefferson. When I got over being horrified, I decided he had great hands. And that appreciation of hands will make it to a character -- that's dream influence.
Dees_Shadow: Erotic? Thomas Jefferson? LOL
Tamara Thorne: Worse, he's some kind of ancestor of mine. Incest is best? LOL
Jeff_Belanger: Would you consider yourself a history buff?
Tamara Thorne: No. I know lots about small bits of history. I tend to study as necessary. I usually will use history in general -- or more often, folklore -- as a background for my books.
OldBrujita: you are a "character" yourself, Tamara... made me laugh out loud.
Tamara Thorne: I'm more of a folklore buff. But I have a terrible memory and tend to embroider the truth, which means it's good I write fiction, not non-fiction.
hurdingcatsGuest: I have some ideas for stories based locally, where would be a good place to start?
Tamara Thorne: Thank you Bru. I keep trying to type Burr -- my favorite historical novel by Gore Vidal. About Jefferson's nemesis. He claimed he could smell when women were on the rag. Of course, back then, it probably wasn't too difficult.
Dees_Shadow: Ewwwwwww again. LOL
hurdingcatsGuest: good one!
Mstik: More info than I needed to know. LOL
Tamara Thorne: Stories: research and plot. Know where you're going. Have a beginning, a middle, and an end. And read a book like Christopher Vogler's The Writer's Journey. Excellent stuff and yet not sleep-inducing.
hurdingcatsGuest: Ok I will, thanks.
secretsign: Have you had any movie offers?
OldBrujita: No, don't do it! Don't make a movie out of it! Those folks ruin everything.
Tamara Thorne: OB, okay. Cats, eventually I'll have a writer page on my site. There's lots of info out there. A quickie way to pick up is to use that book I mentioned and watch movies to identify what it's talking about -- all that beginning, middle, and end stuff. People who don't write love it. It's based entirely in Joseph Campbell's study of myth and lore. Let your imagination run free. Learning to lucid dream is very useful too.
Jeff_Belanger: When you go on a ghost hunt today do you intend to bring the experience into one of your books? Or would you consider your ghost investigations to be a sideline study?
Tamara Thorne: My joy is ghost hunting so vacations are planned around it. My work is my life. I write about what I love and I play in what I love -- my sideline study is probably cats and ragtime music. There's a cemetery on top of a piney mountain in Cambria CA (the real Caledonia in The Forgotten) with many graves without names. Several say "Unknown Child" -- one of those is covered with change, some of it very old. No one touches it. Absolutely inspiring.
Jeff_Belanger: Can you tell us a little about your new book, The Forgotten?
Tamara Thorne: It's a story about a man and his cats. He's haunted by his past. He's a psychologist and his patients are suddenly getting much worse. Then he's afflicted -- with ghosts. He's a skeptic -- but a bad one, tends to disbelieve. The ghosts are tied to some government mind control experiments -- this is the real stuff, all researched, all things they can do today.
hurdingcatsGuest: Did your cats serve as an inspiration?
Tamara Thorne: The question is whether the ghosts are created by the imagination prompted by the experiments or whether they were there all along and the experimenting has enabled more people to see them. Some shrinks feel that some schizophrenics who hear voices, see things, etc., may really be experiencing something. That's where I'm coming from. Our hero has to unbend his thinking, get the girl, and deal with his brothers (one alive, one dead). It's a pet book. (Yet no pets are harmed, just some birds). I'm proud of it. Also, if you say many of the characters' names aloud, you'll find horrible puns aplenty. Like The Tiltons. Doris and Wallis...
hurdingcatsGuest: lol, I get it.
hurdingcatsGuest: You say your book is based on a government experiment, how did you research that?
Tamara Thorne: Government: I love conspiracy books. Didn't believe much -- but I don't believe much in the newspaper either. Everything is spun. Several years ago I read about mind control and got hooked because you can find legitimate stuff on the subject. For the book, I turned to consumer publications on cell phones, and all things emitting microwaves. I found out the conspiracy books aren't so nutty after all. Jim Keith is my favorite conspiracy author. Any other questions? My books are available here or via your local bookstore. They can order if they're not on the shelves. My next books will be out this summer -- a trilogy called The Sorority.
secretsign: I truly believe in the disinformation tactic the gov uses.
Dees_Shadow: Can't wait to read The Forgotten, Tamara. And look forward to the new one.
Tamara Thorne: Disinformation is pretty much all we get, I think. The Sorority pokes Skull & Bones -- the ultimate college conspiracy. The Bushes and other presidents belonged to it. Of course, mine's sexier.
Jeff_Belanger: Well folks, that’s all the time we have. Tamara, thank you very much for joining us tonight.
Tamara Thorne: Thank you! I have a newsletter via my Web site or drop me a line if you like. Always love to hear ghost stories!