March 24, 2011

Children and the Supernatural

The fabulous Laura Kaye has taken control of my keyboard today. That's okay, though, I've always been very good at sharing.

Don't forget to check out Laura's WEBSITE for more information on her and her books. Laura did ask me to let you know that her website is under construction right now. She invites you to join her at her Twitter Website Launch Party, 3/31, 9-11:30 pm EST (#launchlaura)

When I was ten, I had a sleepover one summer night with my twelve-year-old cousin Christine. In the middle of the night, she woke me up because she “felt weird.” It was cold in the room—and there was no air conditioning—and then a dim light moved up the stairs towards her bedroom door. The light came in the room, moved through it while elongating into the height of a person, and disappeared into the door that led to the attic. Her parents much later told her a woman had hung herself in the attic.

When I was sixteen, I went for a walk and passed my neighbor, Miss Betty, in her backyard. I said hello to her and she smiled at me, and I was happy to see her because she’d been sick in the hospital for a week. When I returned, I told my mother that Miss Betty was home again. She looked at me and said, “She can’t be home, Laur. Her sister just called to tell me she died at the hospital this morning.”

These are but a few of my childhood ghost stories. My whole family believed, and maybe that’s why I was so open to the idea of it. We regularly got together for family dinners on Friday nights and listened as my grandmother regaled us with ghost stories and family lure about evil-eyed curses. Weekend entertainment often involved searching around my grandmother’s house to see where “the ghost” had hidden her rings and necklaces (her crucifixes were what most disappeared, and then reappeared weeks later in obvious or, alternately, totally impossible places).

So, my childhood left me a believer. And, as a writer, it’s also left me fascinated with the idea that children are more open to the supernatural. Think about it. Children are less likely to know or care what’s socially acceptable. Children are less likely to know or care what’s possible or believable. And children are remarkably observant and in tune with their environment. I like to think all of this makes them more susceptible to realities adults might refuse to acknowledge.

My imagination is therefore totally energized by the idea of putting a child in the room with a supernatural creature of some sort. In fact, my upcoming novel, Forever Freed, was born by asking the question: What would happen if a vampire ended up having to take care of a human child? The story ended up straying a good deal from that question, but the interaction between my vampire hero, Lucien Demarco, and Olivia “Ollie” Sutton, the five-year-old daughter of the heroine, is one of my favorite parts of this book. And, while she knows there’s something different or off about Lucien, her innocent propensity to find the good in others leads her to conclude he’s something miraculously good. Despite the fact that I wrote it, the moment she tells him what she thinks he is slays me every time…

When my now six-year-old daughter was about sixteen months old, we moved into a new house and pulled out some photos we hadn’t had room for in our old house. I’d just gotten a big wall of shelves all set up in our basement with two-dozen framed photographs, and I carried her downstairs to see them. We walked up to the wall, and she pointed her pudgy little finger and said, “Gamma” [Grandma]. “Where?” I asked her. “Gamma,” she said again, shaking her finger in the direction of a photo of my mother, who had died when my daughter was just eight months old. I don’t know how she knew that was my mom, but I like to think maybe my mom comes to visit her. And my daughter is open enough to receive the company.

So, how about you? Any interesting childhood encounters with the supernatural in your family? *pulls up to circle time with tub of popcorn* Do tell!

Thanks to Sarah for having me over! And thanks for stopping by,

Laura Kaye

Laura Kay

available May 20, 2011
The Wild Rose Press

I stalk my new neighbors, a single mother and her child, drawn by the irresistible scent of their joy and love. I crave their blood, starved for some healing respite from my ancient grief. Now to lure them into my grasp.

But they surprise me. Little Olivia accepts me without fear or reservation—talking, smiling, offering innocent affection that tugs at my long-lost humanity. Her mother, Samantha, seeks me out when she should stay away, offering sweet friendship, and calling to the forgotten man within me. They lure me instead.

Ah, Dio, Lucien, run and spare them while you can…

Find Laura Online:

Twitter:  @laurakayeauthor


Sarah Grimm said...


Thanks for visiting with me today. I can't wait to see what everyone has to say about their own supernatural encounters.

Me, well, nothing as interesting as yours, but we grew up in a Victorian home in a neighborhood that had been used during the Underground Railroad. There were tunnels beneath all the houses, that all connected. These tunnels were closed off, but quite often we heard voices coming from them.

We also had a player piano that played the same note every night at the same time. When we moved to Michigan, we brought the piano, and it never did it in our new home.

My sister toured a home once where she said she felt uneasy the moment she stepped foot in the house. They were coming down the stairs and she clearly felt a hand on her back right before she was shoved down the stairs -- no one was behind her.

So, yeah, I believe.

Jennifer Jakes said...

I don't have any good ghost stories, but I loved reading yours!
And I've been hooked to read your story ever since I first read about about the interaction between the daughter and the vampire Hero. I think that will be fantastic. So I'm counting down to your release!
Great post, ladies:)

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

I was nine when my paternal grandfather passed away. My cousins and I were kept by a neighbor at my grandparent's house while the adults attended the funeral. We were playing hide and seek. I was hunting for my cousin and opened the door to my grandparent's bedroom. Grandpa was standing in front of his chest of drawers, rummaging through the contents of the top drawer. It was clearly him, although his body had a sense of transparancy, for lack of a better word. He glanced over at me and smiled. When my parents returned, and I told them, I was disciplined for trying to be the focus of attention on such a terrible day. Children are such delightful beings still open to wonders and not yet jaded by adults.

Much success to you. Looking forward to the release of your book.

Emma Lai said...

I definitely believe children have the ability to see things adults can't--whether it's because they haven't learned the social strictures against believing in things that can't be seen or because their brains are still developing or whatever. I still have encounters of the unusual kind and try to be careful what I ask for spiritually because your requests aren't always interpreted the way you intend.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful stories and so spot on about children and their openness to what adults call supernatural. Adults can become so jaded about so much.
Joy Held
Writer Wellness, A Writer's Path to Health and Wellness

Laura Kaye said...

First, thanks to Sarah for having me here. Your story about your sister getting shoved down the steps totally raised the hair on my arms!

Jennifer--your comment made me squee!

Vonnie--what a powerful moment for you to have, and your parents' reaction so represents my thinking.

Emma--interesting thought about whether maybe children's openness could stem from brain development. We know so little about how the brain works--I'm totally open to that as another explanation

Joy--Yes, exactly, and thanks for stopping by!

I SO love talking to peeps on blogs!

Sarah Grimm said...

Finally back from work. Whew!

Such wonderful stories everyone is posting! Keep them coming.


P.L. Parker said...

I don't know that I've actually seen a ghost but I did have an out of body experience when I was 17, I floated up over my body and I could see my mother down below me ironing and my body was lying on the couch. Was truly a weird experience.

Laura Kaye said...

@P.L. Parker Wow! That is weird. Any idea what caused it? I love creepy weird things! Thanks for stopping by!