Spirits from the Fire, Spirits from the Sea
Posted by World Weaver Press
It’s always fascinating to find out how writers go about researching what it’s like to do something they’ve never done before — like walk through a house wearing full firefighter’s gear — or what it was like to live all the way on the other side of the content several hundred years ago. Kristina Wojtaszek and Kou K. Nelson have done the research and written beautiful, convincing stories which are featured in Specter Spectacular: 13 Ghostly Tales.
Kristina Wojtaszek’s protagonist in “Cinder” is Edan, is a firefighter who opens the story inside a burning house. Kou K. Nelson’s “Safe Upon the Shore” locates itself in historical Newfoundland in the port town of Harbour Deep, a town which loses lives and loves to the sea.
Kou K. Nelson was recently interviewed on Twice Upon a Time. In this interview, find out what turned the real Harbour Deep into a ghost town, how music influenced the writing of “Safe Upon the Shore,” and what the heck it means to “run the goat.”
The story takes place in Harbour Deep, Newfoundland, which provides a unique seashore setting that I loved. Have you ever been there? What made you choose Newfoundland as the location for you story?
KKN: While I have been to Newfoundland, unfortunately, I’ve not been to Harbour Deep. I chose Newfoundland as my setting for a few reasons: Firstly, I wanted someplace that seemed vaguely familiar. While many people have heard of Newfoundland (mostly because of the dog breed), they really don’t know anything about it, except perhaps that Newfoundlanders are extremely generous and kind as displayed when planes were diverted to Gander during 9/11. Historically, Newfoundland was settled primarily by displaced Irish and there is a strong Irish influence (still heard in their accent and music), and most people would recognize that part of the story, but what makes Newfoundlanders different is their strength, perseverance, and optimism which comes from a people who dared to leave the comfort and familiarity of their homeland to look for something better in a harsh, isolated territory. As with many seafaring communities, Newfoundland is rich with tales of people lost at sea returning to their loved ones. Dale Jarvis offers FABULOUS walking tours in St. John’s, Newfoundland, including a ghost tour, where he tells fabulous stories about various locations. Finally, I’m a fan of folk music and of the Newfoundland band Great Big Sea. As a wink to some of my friends, I wanted to write a story that incorporated characters from some of the band’s song lyrics as well as scrambled versions of the band members’ names. My title, Safe Upon the Shore, is the title of their most recent album. And here is their version of Safe Upon the Shore.
How did you come up with the ship’s name, the Teresa Maria?
KKN: I usually listen to music while I write, so I was listening to a compilation album of Newfoundland bands singing sea chanties. Teresa Maria is a song about a boat that is sung by Fine Crowd, so I threw that in as another nod to Newfoundland. Read more of the interview…
Kristina Wojtaszek’s interview can be read on Kou K. Nelson’s site (which has one of the most awesome pieces of banner art/self-portraiture out there). Find out how she went about researching what it’s like to be a firefighter, hear her spookiest of real life experiences, and watch her squirm as she’s put on the spot and asked to just one fairy tale to call her favorite.
What was your inspiration for “Cinder?”
KW: Cinder is a conglomeration of several ideas. My little boys were enthralled with the movie Firehouse Dog, so I guess firefighting scenes and dogs were floating around in my head at the time that I saw the call for ghoulish tales from World Weaver Press. I’d always been fascinated with great ghost stories, so I knew I had to give it a try. Add in my obsession with retelling fairy tales, and Cinder began to emerge from all those sparks of inspiration.
The opening scene of the fire is both frightening and fascinating. How were you able to capture what to me seemed like a very real description of what it’s like to be in a burning building?
KW: After meshing out my idea for “Cinder,” I decided I needed to do a bit of research on firefighting. Read more…
Read the interviews of Kou K. Nelson and of Kristina Wojtaszek in full, pick up their great stories in Specter Spectacular: 13 Ghostly Tales, or check out other tour stops from our Haunted October celebration!
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Posted on October 11, 2012, in from the authors of WWP, ghosts, Haunted October, World Weaver Press and tagged fairy tales, ghost story, Haunted October, inspiration, Kou K. Nelson, Kristina Wojtaszek, Newfoundland, Specter Spectacular, World Weaver Press. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a Comment.