Series: Haunting #1
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult
Joy’s new dress has a secret – one with a little supernatural history, one that’s a little more than she expected.
It all starts one ordinary afternoon, as seventeen-year-old Joy tries on some thrift-store clothes her grandmother gave her. The little white dress fits perfectly. Trouble is, now it won’t leave her alone. Soon Joy is swept up in an extraordinary journey to help a ghost complete some unfinished business. If only that didn’t involve Joy driving through dangerous intersections...or calling up her high-school crush, Nick...or getting stuck at a cemetery after dark.
Will Joy accept this ghostly challenge to be "more"? And just how far will she go to uncover the truth?
Lena Goldfinch (author of Language of Souls, Aire, and Songstone) is releasing a new novella just in time for Halloween called Haunting Joy. Here is the special edition cover of the paperback book:
There will be more about Haunting Joy in just a few weeks, but don’t forget about her latest novel, Songstone, which is out right now. Check below for an exclusive interview, and a giveaway for your choice of book by Lena Goldfinch.
Where did you get the idea for Songstone?
It all started on a family summer vacation. Pretty innocuous, right? We were staying on an island on Lake Winnipesaukee at the time, and being on a boat-access-only island did something wonky to me. I didn’t grow up with much experience with boats, so being somewhere where I couldn’t just jump in a car and go someplace threw me out of my comfort zone. Luckily being “out of my comfort zone” is fodder for the imagination. 😉 I imagined a girl having to cross a dangerous lake with the help of a young journeyman…
It grew from there, but that was the original seed of an idea.
When you wrote Songstone did you find the novel go in any unexpected directions?
The fantasy elements evolved sort of organically, over time. For instance, the concept of melding song into stone sprang from this idea I was exploring about different ways of communicating stories. This partly came about from online discussions about ebooks, when they were first becoming popular. It occurred to me that stories are stories are stories, no matter how we receive them.
My research into Maori folklore led me to a rather unique outcome for my villain. I can’t discuss the details without giving away spoilers. I’ll just say, it’s not exactly the end people might expect. It certainly wasn’t the end I would have planned without the Maori influence. And I LOVE that. I loved challenging myself and exploring a new worldview.
Who is your favorite character in Songstone?
Oh, that’s a tough one, like picking a favorite child. 😉 I will admit to being a little partial toward Pono….
So far you have not written sequels to any of your books. Do you think you will ever revisit the characters and worlds from The Language of Souls or Aire?
I won’t say never, but I have no plans as yet to do that. I did start one little story that’s set in the world of Aire, but it may be a long time before I can give it any proper attention. My next book, Haunting Joy, will be the first in a series though!
You have talents in software engineering and graphics. Did you design the covers for all of your novels?
Yes, I love designing covers! I designed all my covers myself, with the exception of Aire, which was co-designed with the lovely Lisa Amowitz, professional cover designer, YA author, and all-around dynamo (aka “Sensei”). She’s been my design mentor. She’s awesome and has been so generous with her time.).
You have a new book coming out in October called Haunting Joy. Can you talk a little about what the book is about?
It’s about a girl, Joy, who gets a box of clothes from her grandmother, with yard sale finds and thrift-store stuff. Inside, Joy discovers this dress, a dress that ends up being haunted. That’s what kicks off a mystery to solve who is Beth Light and how did she really die? Joy also joins forces with her high-school crush, Nick, so there’s a little romance in there too. (Of course, romance! No surprise to anyone who knows me or my work!)
Really, the story is about Joy, an ordinary, everyday kind of girl, who has this inward drive to be “more,” to do something meaningful with her life. And that’s what I love about Joy. She’s very real to me. She seventeen and just got her license, so she’s a bit nervous about driving through certain intersections, she’s super shy about talking to Nick, but on the flip side, she takes this haunting thing pretty much in stride, and just sets about doing what she sees as her job: to find out what Beth want. How can she help her resolve whatever unfinished business she has?
Can you talk about your writing process? Do you outline out your novels before you begin, and how often do you write each day?
I have a very messy process that tends to morph from book to book, or so it seems. I basically have to chase the story down any way I can. I usually start with a character in a tough spot, in scene. I’m not a big outliner, at least not as a place to start. I write along as far as I can, until I need to do research, or plot, brainstorm, explore character bios, etc…
I may use index cards, huge sheets of craft paper & colorful markers, and I always make lots of notes. I write freehand, on the computer, on the back of napkins…. whatever works!
I write in bursts. I may write in long binges or pick at something throughout the day. I may have to leave it alone for long stretches too, but every day has writing-related tasks, or publishing-related tasks, which include research, planning, cover design, revisions, book formatting, promotional efforts, and all sorts of other writing-related tasks. I also do freelance book-design work (book covers and print edition layout & formatting), so my world revolves around books these days, which is something I love. So I’m never really away from the writing world.
Writing new fiction doesn’t always occur every day though. I wish it did! I wish there were more me-s so I could do all the things I want to do! (Like in that movie Multiplicity, remember that one? Where Michael Keaton cloned himself, and then the clones cloned themselves? And they got dumber and dumber? Ha. So that would be great — except for the increasing stupidity part. ;))
You had a tough road trying to get The Language of Souls and Aire published. You turned to self publishing. Have you found self publishing to be successful and what would you recommend to aspiring authors?
I’d been at writing many years and pursued traditional publishing. I was agented. I was a finalist in several national writing contests, including the RWA Golden Heart. But I was hitting walls trying to get my work published. The Language of Souls was initially published through a small press, and when my contract term came up, I requested my rights back. I knew by then that I wanted to rewrite it and self-publish it. I loved the whole process (mostly ;)). I had a lot to learn — A LOT — but it was rewarding.
I had such a good experience that I then self-published Aire, which had been seriously considered by a couple of publishers (ending with “positive” rejections, one of which was a life-changing rejection from an editor who loved the story but didn’t get buy-in from her publisher.) After that, I had the self-publishing bug. With Songstone, I knew in my heart I’d be disappointed if I didn’t get to do everything myself (and when I say “everything myself,” I mean with the help of my wonderful freelance editors and with the continuing support of critique partners, beta readers, and my family and friends.
And so it continues… I didn’t even query Haunting Joy anywhere; I knew I wanted to self-publish it and the cover I designed. I’ve also designed a Special Edition cover for my blog tour, which is so much fun.
Would I recommend self-publishing for aspiring authors? Sure. It’s not suited to everyone though, and I’d say to find your own path. With self-publishing you need to develop a certain skill set and/or have the funds to hire out — in order to do it in a professional way. It also requires a big commitment of time and energy. Not everyone wants to invest that way. (Ex. Not everyone wants to learn how to format a book for Kindle!) Not everyone wants to go it alone without a traditional publisher. I can understand that, especially since my time and energy seem stretched to the utmost at times. (And writing requires a lot of time and energy in and of itself!)
Can you talk about any of your future plans after Haunting Joy is released? Are you working on a new book?
I have a second book in the Haunting series in the works called Haunting Melody. I also have a fantasy book in the works called Through the Spyglass (a gaslight fantasy/Steampunk sort of thing :)).
Your choice of one ebook copy of one of the following books: Language of Souls, Aire, or Songstone from Lena Goldfinch. Contest ends October 8.
Click a book for more info at Amazon: