I never set out to be a flawless literary beauty. I wrote the Goshena series primarily to entertain. I write what I hear and see, meaning I listen to and observe my characters as they speak, think, act, behave, misbehave, interact with each other, and direct and criticize me. I diligently record their actions as they occur, which explains why the stories are written in the present tense.
I didn’t write the Goshena series because I am deeply committed to providing readers with an understanding of death and an afterlife, because I do not claim to be an authority on death and an afterlife. But I am committed to challenging a reader’s thinking so that while being entertained they are also being coaxed to think independently. I am convinced that a lack of independent thought can be a form of death.
My interest in writing about death and an afterlife was strongly influenced by some unexpected experiences with the dead. I’ve seen objects float through the air. I have been visited three times by the spirit of the man who built the house my partner and I recently purchased. And I nearly collided with the glowing spirit of my newly deceased mother standing in the hallway of our home just hours before her funeral. She dropped by to give me a message designed to help me cope with her death, and being her inimitable self she showed up at the exact time of my birth. Who but a recently departed mother would do that?
Having one grandmother who was a medium and another who was part Native American greatly shapes my understanding of spirit guides. I believe we each receive at least one spirit guide at birth and that these guides are with us until we die. I also believe our guides are assigned to us for specific reasons. Mine, for example, guides me to write and participated in the creation of the Goshena series, which could not have sprung on its own out of a writer’s imagination, no matter how vivid and relentless that imagination may be.
Although I could have ignored the strong, intuitive thoughts and feelings I was experiencing, I chose to follow them. My overwhelming awareness of their presence, coupled with an equally strong belief that we continue on after we die, made it seem as if Death herself had tapped me on the shoulder and offered me Goshena. Receptivity to my spirit guides may also explain why cemeteries are among my favorite hangouts. I have received some of my best writing assistance in cemeteries, particularly during the times I got stuck while writing Goshena: Queen of the Big In-Betweena.
The entire Goshena series was, in essence, an assignment. I knew I wanted to write, but I didn’t know what I wanted to write about. So when Death dropped by and offered me Goshena, what could I say? I knew I’d meet her again one day, and I wanted to stay on good terms.