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  • Writer's pictureVeronica Cline Barton

Veronica's #WritersDiary: Like You’ve Seen a Ghost: The Rising Popularity of the Supernatural


“Actually, I do have doubts, all the time. Any thinking person does. There are so many sides to every question.”

Edgar Allan Poe


For this post, I wanted to discuss another Bouchercon panel I particularly enjoyed: exploring the rising popularity of the paranormal and supernatural in stories.

The unexplained, the spooky, the ghostly, the arcane–there are so many different types of added excitement that can be added to a story. These authors will discuss how they brought in their own special touch and why the paranormal/supernatural appeals to so many.


Sharing my panel notes...

The authors in this session gave some great examples of how they used elements of the supernatural in their books. From a character perspective, the use ranged from a MC who's a deceased detective, family members who came back to bring drama and closure, a witch who doesn't know she's a witch, and special powers bestowed upon a woman after a tragic train wreck... #Yikes



Why do you think paranormal has become more popular? Responses included:

  • Most of us have lost someone, you want to connect, you wonder what happened to them, are they watching over you, do they need to finish up that last thing?

  • Everyone who died had a plan... sometimes they come back to see them through. #EnquiringMindsWantToKnow

  • These are tough times; people want to believe there's more to life, and something else after death.

  • Interestingly, in Victorian times--spiritualists were dealing with similar issues of today. Has our open mindedness returned? Are we ready to learn about taboo topics?


How important is it to suspend disbelief in stories?

  • You write stuff that doesn't exist. It's grounded in the real world but expands imagination. Social issues, romance, interactions/relationships can work their way into the paranormal world. How the characters deal with them may be different in the story...

  • Writers are selling a fantasy to readers--in the stories, people/characters admit what happens to them, much of which they wouldn't normally reveal IRL.

  • Readers are granted permission to think differently, outside their normal bounds. People (readers) feel free to be themselves w/o fear of censorship.

  • Historical research reveals loads of local legends, wife's tales, and lore that gives witches, ghosts, vampires, psychics, zombies, near-death experiences, and the afterlife a new lease in tales, particularly when exposed to the perils of modern life.


Apparently, Bouchercon wasn't the only place where popular, other-worldly topics are being discussed and brought to market...


Films and TV shows are getting into the supernatural act these days too... Agatha Christie's A Haunting in Venice is filled with ghostly, seance drama that will chill even the most skeptical, Hercule Poirot.


Imagine my surprise (and delight) tuning into the Hallmark Channel recently and catching the first in their new Haunted Harmony Mysteries starring Tamara Mowry-Housley. She plays a musician who relocates to Ireland and finds she shares her new abode with a ghostly songwriter who has a few murders to solve before he goes into the light...


For fans of The Walking Dead who are following the latest Daryl Dixon saga set in France, there is a hint of the supernatural with the destiny of the character, Laurent. Is he the anointed savior the zombified world desperately needs to rebuild mankind? (BTW, I am LOVING this spinoff series, talk about a scary tale--zombies, Paris, and the French countryside, ooh-la-la!)


Paranormal and supernatural topics have been trending on X lately as the countdown to Halloween looms. I reached out to two of my fav Ghost Girl and Creepy Girl authors I follow to get their expert, haunting perspectives:


Author Bibiana Krall, @Bibiana1Krall

"I think the popularity is rising because the younger generations are more open-minded about everything., including the mysteries. When the lockdown happened, so many people had strange, and haunting experiences. Is it because they were afraid or perhaps, they’d been so busy that they didn’t notice things before? I’m Gen-X and was raised in a traditional midwestern family. We were told that the paranormal and supernatural were fiction. I came to realize that it’s all around us and it’s there, but these phenomena don’t need our approval or acceptance to exist."


Author Cathleen Maza, @CathleenMaza

"Personally, I think the popularity of the paranormal genre is in direct response to the increasing sense of craziness we've seen in the world over the past few years. There has been this constant barrage of bad news in social media and headlines that have left us feeling more than a little uneasy. What better way to put it in perspective than to pick up a good paranormal book where things are supposed to be beyond our understanding or rational science? Yes, world politics are running amok but, let's face it, a full-blown zombie apocalypse is always going to feel much worse."


Bibiana and Cathy bring up some interesting points to consider--especially the influence of age, upbringing, and current events. I've got to admit, with some of the bizarro events happening in this world of ours today, I can't even imagine how things can get much more twisted, LOL--but I'm sure we'll find out!

😲

Thank you, Bibiana and Cathy--keep those imaginative, haunting tales coming, please!

Pssst, to learn more about their spooktacular books, click on their pics and follow them on X! 🎃


I've been having a blast reading a variety of haunting stories these past few weeks, delighting in their use of supernatural elements that surprise, scare, and keep you pondering. I'll be interested to see how this genre expands and grows, weaving its elements into other genres as well.


The rising popularity of the supernatural/paranormal is an intriguing, writer/reader discussion topic for sure, and certainly timely as we take in the spooktacular books and films crafted to raise a few goosebumps in this season of scary. Do you think we'll see a plethora of books/stories/films popping up in this genre in the future? What are your favorite spooky tales to read and/or watch--I'm dying to know!


It's Wednesday, time for #DearDiary:


Book Giveaway SWAG Alert!

There are still two more chances to win some spooktacular swag for Shadow Reflection readers. Congratulations to our first drawing winner, Cynthia Raleigh--spooktacular Halloween goodies are on their way! Next 2 drawings will be on October, Friday the 13th (2 days), so let Bibiana or me know if you've read, or are reading our latest collection!


Mystery and mayhem this week from the writers of X...


Author Anthony Horowitz, A Line to Kill, 5

Ex-detective inspector, Daniel Hawthorne and his author sidekick, Anthony Horowitz are back in the third installment of the Hawthorne and Horowitz mysteries. In this tale, they're off to meet with fans at the literary festival on the island of Alderney. They'll be joined by fellow authors that included a celebrity chef turned cookbook author, a French poet, a children's book author, a war historian, and a blind psychic.


The island's local celebrity and host of the event, who also owns an online gambling company, is under fire for championing a controversial power line project. As the literary celebrations begin, all is not what it seems when a grisly murder is committed. Dark secrets emerge and the list of suspects grows--will Daniel and Anthony uncover who's behind the carnage before the killer strikes again?


Author Horowitz once again pens an intriguing whodunnit, sure to keep you guessing. The witty banter and thought-provoking exchanges between Hawthorne and Horowitz will keep you entertained as the clues come together. I am thoroughly enjoying this series--another must read for fans of cozy mystery!


Author Dorothy Sayers, Hangman's Holiday, 5

Author Sayers entertains readers of her Lord Peter Wimsey novels with this collection of whodunnit stories. The tales follow the witty, aristocratic detective as he solves puzzling occurrences throughout the English countryside.


As an added bonus, you'll also solve mysteries with a traveling wine salesman, Montague Egg. His uncanny ability to piece together baffling who, what, when, and where clues and solving quandaries will leave you shaking your head in admiration.


I enjoyed reading this quaint, mystery collection. As a side note, I found out about this book while reading the Miss Jane Marple story, Miss Marple's Christmas by author Ruth Ware, included in the MARPLE collection--a book recommendation inside a mystery by the divine Miss Jane herself, who knew? A clever read for fans of short story whodunnits!

Next up in the reading queue:



Coming up, a behind the scenes tour, Halloween style!

I am so excited to attend this next, spinoff event at the spooktacular Laguna Festival of the Arts! For a few days before Halloween, visitors will be able to get a behind the scenes peek at how these life-like art exhibits are created, this time depicting master artwork with ghoulie delights for the season, of course! I'll have pics coming up soon...


Welcome to my world. Until next time, have a good one!


Crowns and Kisses,

Veronica


P.S. I'm loving being back with Gemma, Rikkhe, Figgy and friends in Book 9. There just might be a few supernatural surprises in this latest tale... #BOO Gemma and Rikkhe approve...they think... 💖👑👻


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amreade
Oct 11, 2023

Awesome post, Veronica! Great to hear from Bibiana and Cathy, too, with their thoughtful insights on the rising popularity of paranormal and supernatural literature. It's amazing, isn't it, to go back through the notes from a conference to find all the gems you didn't have time to flesh out during the whirlwind of activities?


As always, I love your choices of books to spotlight. And speaking of books, I'm LOVING Shadow Reflections! I'm reading it slowly in order to savor every story. It's another incredible pairing of two great authors and women.


Looking forward to hearing about Pageant of the Monsters! 👻🎃


xoxo

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Veronica Cline Barton
Veronica Cline Barton
Oct 13, 2023
Replying to

Thank you, Amy--I'm enjoying going back through the Bouchercon notes--so much great material to learn from and be inspired by. Thanks so much for reading Shadow Reflection too, Bibiana and I very much appreciate it. Have a spooktacular weekend! 💀🌹

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cathyamaza
cathyamaza
Oct 11, 2023

Such an interesting topic...thanks for asking me to weigh in and for sharing your discussion notes. I've been immersing myself in all things scary for autumn (while trying to edit a holiday book!) and still find myself shaking my head at social media topics. So I fully embrace the creepy girl within as a means to help wade my way though. And many thanks for more wonderful reading selections...my TBR list is fat and happy! 😎

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Veronica Cline Barton
Veronica Cline Barton
Oct 13, 2023
Replying to

Thanks for the spooktacular insights, Cathy! Enjoy this season of scary (Can't wait for your holiday tale!). Have a great week! 💀🌹

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uberhappy
Oct 11, 2023

What an awesome post! Good luck to the entrants of the giveaway! We appreciate you!


Thank you so much for tapping into my “Ghost Girl” version of the spirit world. I 100% agree with Cathy that the “craziness in the world” may also give people permission to explore their feelings about the mysteries as we continue to try and understand what’s happening around us. Kudos to all the fabulous authors mentioned. Three cheers for spooky reading sessions and the things that go bump in the night! 👻🍁✨🧡

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Veronica Cline Barton
Veronica Cline Barton
Oct 11, 2023
Replying to

Lots to think about for sure, Uberhappy! Thank you so much for your insights this week, much appreciated! Can't wait for the giveaways coming up this Friday the 13th! Have a good one, xo 💀🌹

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