I want to thank author, Anjali Banerjee for being a guest on my blog.
What’s with all the ghosts?
Before I knew it, they’d slipped into three of my novels. In my children’s book, LOOKING FOR BAPU, a boy named Anu seeks the spirit of his grandfather, Bapu, who died suddenly while the two were bird watching together. Bapu’s ghost visits Anu in his dreams and in the woods. In my novel for adults, IMAGINARY MEN, the ghost of a young woman’s ex-boyfriend appears to help her discover true love. And in my new release, HAUNTING JASMINE, a young divorcee, still reeling from her ex-husband’s infidelity, receives gentle guidance from the spirits of dead authors who reside in her aunt’s haunted bookstore on a rainy Pacific Northwest island.
Why do I find ghosts so attractive? I believe I write them for some of the same reasons people like to read about them. I’ve formulated a few ideas.
To escape from the ordinary…
In real life, we deal with mind-numbing jobs, long commutes, family problems, unpaid bills, health challenges – the list is endless. Or maybe we’re just… bored. A good ghost story transports us, if not to another world, then into enchantment. When I write ghosts, I get the same thrill of departure from the ordinary. I’m not bound to writing about what is concrete and real around me – I can venture into entirely unknown territory. Sometimes, the ghosts surprise me.
You’re scared but safe
We love a thrill, a rush, the stomach-dropping sensation of adrenaline from a roller coaster or a horror movie. A ghost story allows us to be scared, in suspense, but to know that in reality, we’re safe.
In my books, ghosts aren’t necessarily scary. They can be helper spirits, adding texture to a love story that is primarily set in the real world. In HAUNTING JASMINE, the ghost of Jane Austen appears to tell Jasmine, “We love, we lose, but we can love again…” When I write ghosts, they appear to me and give me a thrill – but I’m still safe, here at my computer, typing away.
Continuity – a sense of history
Ghosts can bring the past to life and give history a voice. Edgar Allan Poe can tell us what he really meant to say in The Raven, Jane Austen reveal the truth about her love for Tom LeFroy. Your great grandmother might reveal the location of her lost love letters, and a pirate can direct you to hidden treasure. In HAUNTING JASMINE, the ghost of Rudyard Kipling sets the record straight for Jasmine when he says, “They misquoted me. I never said that to know a place is to smell it.” When ghosts come to life, they bring history to life as well.
Transcendence – a sense of possibility
The arrival of ghosts signals endless possibilities. Anything can happen. In some ways, ghost stories reassure us that there is another existence beyond ours – a possible realm of life that begins after death.
The writer can be inventive, having ghosts walk through portals between worlds, knock objects around, influence people in the living world, appear as wisps of smoke or a suggestion in a character’s mind. The reader gets a delicious sense of the impossible becoming possible, a feeling that a surprise is around every corner. Same for the writer.
In Haunting Jasmine, ghosts give Jasmine, the heroine, a new sense of possibility, so that she redefines the boundaries of her life. She can fall in love in a way that transcends the ordinary and ends unexpectedly… But I can’t give away what happens. You’ll have to read the book to find out!
Comment on this blog TODAY ONLY and I’ll enter you to win a free signed copy of HAUNTING JASMINE.
Anjali Banerjee was born in India, raised in Canada and California and received degrees from the University of California, Berkeley. She has written five novels for youngsters and three for grownups, and she’s at work on her next novel for adults to be published by Berkley/Penguin. Her books have received accolades in many review journals and newspapers. The Philadelphia Inquirer called her young adult novel, Maya Running (Wendy Lamb Books/Random House) “beautiful and complex” and “pleasingly accessible.” The Seattle Times praised Anjali’s novel for adults, Imaginary Men (Downtown Press/Pocket Books) as “a romantic comedy equal to Bend it Like Beckham.”
Anjali has always loved to write. When she was seven, she penned her first story about an abandoned puppy on a beach in Bengal. Then, inspired by her maternal grandmother—an English writer who lived in India—she wrote a mystery, The Green Secret, at the age of nine. She illustrated the book, stapled the pages together and pasted a copyright notice inside the front cover. After that she churned out a series of mysteries and adventure novels with preposterous premises and impossible plots.
Growing up in a small town in Manitoba, Canada, Anjali’s favorite family event was the weekly drive to the garbage dump to watch for bears. She also loved jaunts to the library, where she checked out the same Curious George books dozens of times. She adored a picture book called The Bear Who Couldn’t Sleep, starring a baby bear who refused to hibernate in winter. Her favorite authors were Enid Blyton, Agatha Christie, Alexander Key, C.S. Lewis and others. Every night her father read to her from C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia or Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
After she grew up and finished university, Anjali tried on jobs like new sets of clothes — veterinary assistant, office manager and law student—before rediscovering her love for writing. Since then, Anjali’s Pushcart Prize-nominated short fiction has appeared in several literary journals and in the anthology New to North America. She was a contributing writer for three regional history books and local newspapers before she began writing novels. An alumnus of Hedgebrook, an esteemed retreat for women writers on Whidbey Island, Anjali has been a speaker at the South Asian Literary and Theater Arts Festival (SALTAF®) at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., at many schools, libraries and writers’ conferences, and she has led workshops for Field’s End and the Whidbey Island Writers’ Association MFA program.
Anjali loves hiking, reading, watching movies, supporting local animal welfare organizations, feeding birds, and playing piano. She lives in the Pacific Northwest, in a cottage in the woods, with her husband and five rescued cats.
After ditching her cheating ex-husband, Rob, Jasmine Mistry is heading to Shelter Island. Jasmine’s Aunt has to head back to India for a little while and needs Jasmine to come run her bookstore, while she is gone. Jasmine figures some time way is just what she needs.
When Jasmine fist meets the sexy, Connor Hunt, she thinks he is a bit egotistical and wants nothing to do with him. Jasmine has more important things to deal with than Connor. Things like…books rearranging themselves, deceased authors speaking to Jasmine and one real Diva author to contend with. When Jasmine learns the truth about Connor, how will she cope?
Haunting Jasmine is the first book I have read by author, Anjali Banerjee. I can guarantee you that I will be keeping an eye on Mrs. Banerjee. I thought Jasmine was nice and she brought some variety to the story. Though nothing like Connor did. Connor was mysterious and had a great personality. He grew on you as Jasmine discovered. The chemistry between Connor and Jasmine was like something form an old, classic romance novel. Haunting Jasmine is a magical, entertaining novel that will have you wanting to read it over and over again!