Susan Kronick’s background is the perfect backdrop leading up to her latest paranormal novel, Sarah, They’re Coming for You. She has a Master of Science in Psychology from Nova Southeastern University and a Ph.D. in Paranormal Studies/Psychology from Union Institute and Graduate School, as well as being an adjunct psychology professor at Barry University and Palm Beach State College. A psychic and a medium, she has the gift of seeing the dead since she was a child. She also has taught parapsychology classes through the Palm Beach County School Board, as well as at Palm Beach State College. Susan has extensive experience in the area of investigations of haunting and the paranormal. She lives with her husband and her four spoiled rescue dogs in south Florida. You can visit her website at www.susankronick.webs.com. “Like” her page at Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/susan-kronick/156870670886.
Q: Thank you for this interview, Susan. Can you tell us what your latest book, “Sarah, They’re Coming for You”, is all about?
Hauntings are not all about the Exorcist and the Catholic Church. My book is a hair-raising ghost story whose main character has been tormented by nasty spirits throughout her life. Her great great grandfather has always interceded on her behalf reaching out from the other side, to protect her from the evil ghosts, who wish to claim her soul for eternity. The only way she can end her haunting is to travel to her family’s ancestral castle in the tiny Alpine town of Meiningen, Austria .With the help of a mysterious stranger along with the discovery of her great great great great grandfather’s diary, she heads to the old country to face her ghostly tormenters head on.
Sarah, the main character is your everyday middle aged suburbanite with the not so average ability to see spirits. As Sarah’s torment by the evil spirits escalates, life has become a daily struggle. She fights through debilitating anxiety co-existing between the worlds of the living and the dead. She is obsessed with her family history of mental Illness fearing she is one step away from psychosis. Her job as a no nonsense college professor, and her marriage to a caring, but non-spiritual husband keep her grounded The major supporting character is Dinah, a mysterious stranger who appears out of nowhere with the declaration that Sarah’s torment by rogue ghosts will only cease when she ventures to her ancestral home. Dinah accompanies Sarah to the castle in Austria, an accomplice in her confrontation with the vengeful spirits. Another supporting character is Mort. Sarah’s old acquaintance from years ago, he runs a charter plane company which is flying Sarah’s twelve evil cousins to Austria in an attempt to block Sarah’s entrance to the castle. The cousins are hell bent that her haunting continues indefinitely, as they want to deliver Sarah’s soul to the dark side of the after-life. Finally there is Richard, Sarah’s long suffering husband. He does his level best to understand his wife’s unusual gift of communicating with the dead. He is the spark of sanity for Sarah, truly her stable rock as she navigates her life among the dead.
Q: Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?
“Sarah” is me! The events in the book are inspired by my own life. In reality, I am a married, middle aged psychology professor. From early childhood, I have had the gift of seeing spirits, with more than my share of encounters with malignant ghosts. I had the opportunity some years ago to travel with my mother to Austria, her family’s country of origin. We took the same exact route that Sarah travels in the book. Although, mom’s ancestral home was just a modest cottage, not a castle, a s depicted in the book!
Q: Are you consciously aware of the plot before you begin a novel, or do you discover it as you write?
Since “Sarah” is my debut novel, I will refer to that particular book. I had a general idea of the story line before I begin to write. The plot would most definitely be a ghost story, which was non-fiction as I speak from experience. It was not my initial intention that the protagonist be a mirror copy of me. By the time I had written the first couple of chapters, I recognized Sarah as my double! Throw into the mix a couple of unfinished manuscripts lying around collecting dust I had started years earlier. One documented my painstaking genealogy search which, like Sarah did originate at the Church of Latter Day Saints, and included traveling to Austria with my mother The other unfinished book was a non-fiction text on the paranormal, which I utilized as class notes when I taught parapsychology some years ago.
Q: Your book is set in Meiningen, Austria. Can you tell us why you chose this city in particular?
My ancestral home going all the way back to my great great great great grandfather was indeed the tiny Alpine town of Meiningen, Austria. The book parallels so much of my life story, it was the logical setting for the final location of the book.
Q: Does the setting play a major part in the development of your story?
The setting most definitely is an instrumental part of the plot. Sarah’s frustrating attempt to arrive at the family castle in Meiningen before her evil cousins is thwarted at almost every turn. She finds herself cris crossing the country traveling to Austrian cities which take her further from her ultimate destination of Meiningen.
Q: Open the book to page 69. What is happening?
A paranoid Sarah obsessed with beating her evil cousins to the castle in Meiningen, along with Dinah, her companion ride the train from Vienna to Salzburg. Upon their arrival, they are greeted with blizzard-like conditions, frustrated that the bad weather has put a crimp in their travel plans. Informed that no trains would be heading west towards Meiningen for at least twenty four hours, the travelers must plot their next move.
Q: Can you give us one of your best excerpts?
“ERRRRRR,” the noxious sound pierced the fragile veil existing between the living and the dead. Without exception, the psychic warning startled Sarah from her deep slumber. Habit forced her to turn and look at the digital clock on the nightstand beside her bed. She knew without question even before she cast her eyes on the hideous red numbers staring back at her the time would indicate the witching hour’s height, malevolent ghost activity was at its peak. A morbid curiosity fed her appetite;, she glanced at the clock’s face, having her suspicions confirmed. Each time the psychic buzzer sounded, she hoped the numbers indicating the time on the clock would be different, anything but the dreaded 3:33 a.m.
Sarah knew the sound existed exclusively within her own head, unheard by all others. Still, she looked over at Richard in the same way she had long ago glanced at her sister Nancy. “Why can’t anyone else hear it, too?” She silently begged for an answer. Weary from her repugnant routine, Sarah prayed for protection from the inevitable parade of lost souls. Slowly creeping closer and closer, any moment they would begin their morbid ascent into her bedroom. The intense dread accompanying the gathered spirits had not dissipated at all throughout the years. Drenched in the cold sweat that signified primeval fear, tense muscles throbbed in her neck, joined by an accomplice of terror so strong the blood in her veins ran cold and threatened to congeal in its tracks. Her heart palpitated with such force thoughts of an imminent heart attack lingered in her mind. Sarah knew what it meant to be scared to death. The air was sucked from the room, and she struggled to breathe. Heaviness paralyzed her limbs, rendering her unable to move.
The morbid chant assaulted her auditory sense. “Sarah, they’re coming for you.” “Sarah, they’re coming for YOU.” “Sarah, they’re COMING FOR YOU.”
The pathetic dead figures ascended toward the bedroom. She sensed their arrival some minutes before the ghouls entered the bedroom, in a sadistic attempt to torment her. Although no audible footsteps could be discerned, she damn well recognized the slow, monotonous lumbering headed toward her. Their deliberately slow movements mentally tortured her, prolonging their inevitable entrance. The unclean spirits would first be visible light orbs Their appearance gradually morphed into shapeless ethereal forms. Once they surrounded Sarah’s bed, the ghouls materialized into their once human form, presenting themselves as they appeared while walking the earth as living people. Their deadpan eyes stared blankly in front
Their clothing provided a clue to the historical time-period the ghosts walked the earth as live beings. Sometimes she would see the same lost souls. Other times, a spirit would appear just once and never again. The tormented victim stared with morbid curiosity at them. Although the ominous ‘ritual’ had occurred many times to Sarah throughout her life, for her the ceremony still held a macabre fascination. She no longer hid under the covers the way she did in childhood. The medium focused intently on their marching with mechanical precision, taking their places around the bed. Sarah’s rational mind remained frozen with a primitive fear striking at the deepest human level. She observed the marching wretched creatures, frozen in a limbo state not at peace for all eternity. These beasts were the ‘lost souls.’
Q: Thank you so much for this interview, Susan. We wish you much success!
Thank you so much. Readers can go to my website at www.susankronick.webs.com. My book may be purchased at amazon.com, wildchildpublishing.com, omnilit.com, bookstrand.com and mobipocket.com.