Lynette: You write inspirational paranormal stories. That is fascinating to me because Tami and I got a little bit of flack for our series in the same genre. Do you find that some readers who prefer “inspirational” are uncomfortable with “paranormal”? What would you say to show them that the two can coexist?
Danielle: I feel strongly that what we call paranormal is actually an aspect of spirituality. Whether we call our spirits angels, ghosts, or even just souls, Christianity is based on an understanding that our mortal bodies are merely shells. I enjoy writing about spirits finished with this life and spirits, who I believe, have not or will not experience mortality. An experience as simple as feeling a loved one’s presence is a paranormal event. These things do not have to necessarily be negative or evil experiences. We can be inspired by those around us not dwelling in this sphere.
Lynette: How did this story come into being? What was the trigger for writing this particular story?
Danielle: Cheated is based on the idea that some people are more tuned into the veil that separates heaven from earth. My heroine, Athena Gray, can sense and sometimes see spirits. She has a gift that enables her to talk to those who’ve passed over to help them feel peace and to move on.
This story was inspired by a visit I made to prehistoric Indian burial mounds in West Tennessee. It was a sacred, peaceful place that inspired me to think about people who can see and sense things most of the living cannot. Cheated is set in a fictional town based on that actual location, and in my first paranormal, Death Cheater, I worked in those beautiful Indian mounds.
Lynette: I have been to beautiful places, where my thought was that I was on sacred ground. How wonderful that you based two books on this holy site. Tell us about your newest release, Cheated.
Athena Gray is determined to finish her senior year without any paranormal interruptions. She’s certain it’s best to ignore her ability to help spirits cross over, but a new phantom in the backwoods of Omega is watching her every move. Determined to protect her sister and best friend, Dan, Athena pays no attention to strange events at school until they follow her home. She finds she must come to grips with an angry and jealous ghost who wants her dead because somewhere between this life and another, Athena’s adversary thinks she cheated. It will take the power of family and friendship to survive her own personal haunting and reclaim her life before supernatural forces extinguish it forever.
I bit my bottom lip and tried to breathe normally. When I turned around, the surprise of seeing a small, pale girl standing at the clearing’s edge almost made me fall back onto the rock again.
“You,” I said, like we were in some kind of detective novel.
She said nothing but continued staring with large, gray eyes. I watched the atmosphere around her blur in and out like a wormhole and realized this was the ghost from my cell phone picture. She was the same girl I’d noticed watching me from the woods at the season’s first ball game. Except she wasn’t really a ghost. Or was she?
“Who are you?” I asked. I really needed to know, and for the first time despite my Poppy’s former warnings to not issue invitations to supernatural visitors, I wanted to know.
“Athena,” she answered in a quiet whisper.
I didn’t know if she was answering me or addressing me. “Who?”
Her mouth twitched slightly at the corners of her mouth, but her eyes remained dead and cold, sparking off and on with a strange light.
“What do you want?”
Her expression flickered for a quick second before she caught herself. This ghost was playing it cool.
“I don’t know who you are, and I don’t care,” I lied. “Go away and leave me alone.”
She laughed, and it was in a creepy, low tone. To make things feel worse, she still hadn’t smiled or stopped glaring at me with those dead eyes.
“You cheated,” she said, after I decided not to say another word.
A wary tremor ran down my backbone. I’d heard this before. She shimmered like a desert mirage. The power of her glittering appearance waned.
I caught myself biting my lip again, hard. I fought to not feel afraid, fought not to speak.
“Cheated,” she repeated in an angry whisper, and her blue life light flickered once more and then went out, like someone had blown across a candle’s burning flame.
Danielle Thorne writes from south of Atlanta, Georgia. She is the author of sweet romantic adventure books and a former editor for Solstice and Desert Breeze Publishing. Her popular blog, The Balanced Writer, focuses on life and the pursuit of peace and happiness. Currently, she is a freelance copywriter in-between working on her next book and pursuing a Communications degree.
More books by Danielle Thorne
By Heart and Compass