Thank you for having me on Mama Knows Books!
I love great story telling! Of course I have always dabbled in writing and did it as a “hobby” for a long time. I didn’t decided to make writing my career until I was four months pregnant and put on bed rest for the duration of my son’s gestation period... five months. There is only so much you can do in bed. Writing saved my mentally heath and became my life. In the early days I took on odd jobs ghostwriting, and then screenwriting and finally, after two years I decided to get my MFA in Creative Writing.
I began the story of American Specter in April of 2013. I always begin a new writing venture with three questions. The first question I ask is: What haven’t I already read or seen? If it’s already been done, there is no need to redo it, even if I think I can do it better. So, with my blank sheet of paper in front of me I eliminated, zombies, vampires, witches and werewolves. I was left with ghosts. So, I decided that I wanted to write a ghost story.
The second question I asked myself was: What kind of ghost story hasn’t already been told? I zeroed in on something that Charlaine Harris did with Dead Until Dark, making vampires a part of the community. I thought that it would be quite interesting to explore the same kind of thing with ghosts. In order to keep it different I did have to deliberately change several aspects of the story. The main character is a female of color (mixed black and white), instead of being born in a small town she comes to the small town from a big city, so she is an outsider. Instead of the ghosts being mysterious strangers to the town, they are the friends and family of the living. The main character is a professional in law enforcement, and she is extremely suspicious of specters.
The last question I ask myself after it’s written is: If I were to pick up this book, would I actually read it? This is the most difficult question to ask because as a writer I put a lot of hours and thought into the stories I create. The answer to this question is not always yes. But, with American Specter I had goose bumps when it was all said and done. Then I gave it to my Beta Readers and they were excited. Then several months later my family read it and they were all pretty surprised that I wrote the story. I never really know how I should take their level of surprise…
The best response I got was that it was just as good as a “traditional” publication. Which is of course the goal, to show that Indie Writers are just as good.
So, I invite you all to get into this new mysterious paranormal world. I am working on the sequel, American Specter: The Winter Solstice and hope to release it Summer 2015. You can keep up with my writing at www.rasheedahprioleau.com.
Genre: Paranormal Mystery
Date of Publication: Feb, 2014
Number of pages: 248
Word Count: 72,000
Cover Artist: Roger Raymond
FBI Agent Audra Wheeler has been haunted for the last thirteen years by a paranormal attack that left her sister, Kendra, in a coma. Mentored by FBI Assistant Director Jonathan Cordero to investigate crimes committed by specters, Audra believes she is on the trail of a ‘serial killer’ specter with a MO very similar to her sister’s attacker.
The investigation takes her to a small town of Specter, Georgia; a haven for ghosts who exist among the living.
Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/i6m6vTxw-Yg
Available at Amazon
It was half past noon on Monday when Special Agent Audra Wheeler of the FBI stepped into the apartment of Gwyneth Miller. She’d been in Savannah the prior week but, as a native New Yorker, she was sure that she would never get used to the stifling Georgia heat. She noted that the air conditioner was not on as she walked across the living room, listening to the muffled sounds of country cops inevitably messing up Gwyneth’s room that was now an official FBI crime scene.
Gwyneth Miller was the fifth victim of a suspected serial killer of the specter variety, who had a thing for dark haired, dark eyed women sleeping alone. As she stepped into the crime scene, Audra activated the specter shield she wore around her left wrist to block any specters from getting within five feet of her.
She’d spent nearly four years on special assignments with the FBI investigating specter crimes and bringing them to justice. The biggest problem with catching a criminal specter was that they never left any physical evidence, no DNA, no fingerprints, no calling card, no expository note, and no obvious motive.
In this particular case, all of the hunches that Audra had to go off of were of a personal nature that she was still not entirely comfortable sharing. To her knowledge, this would be the first and only specter that had crossed the line into murder and then into serial killing. This particular specter had taken her from Boston to New Jersey, then Charlotte, Savannah, and finally the small town of Specter, Georgia.
She walked into Gwyneth Miller’s bedroom and immediately noted the scent of candles and perfume. Audra suspected that maybe this woman had, in fact, had a visitor the night before and, perhaps, this would not fit the profile of her four previous cases.
She quickly scanned the room and made note of the cheap, feminine décor. Audra cringed, turning her attention to the body of the victim. Gwyneth was lying in bed, on her side with her hands near her throat, which was singed with strange burn marks. Her fingernails had scratched at her throat as well, peeling away some of the skin. These were the telltale signs of the specter that she was following but, most disturbingly, this victim, like all the others, looked a lot like her sister.
“Shit,” Audra said. She looked over at the side table and took in a large purple candle. “What is this?” She leaned in close.
“A candle from the Daylight Candle Shop.”
Hearing his voice, Audra took a shallow breath before quickly letting it out. She turned as he strolled through Gwyneth Miller’s bedroom door and walked towards her. He wore laid back local Southern clothes; faded jeans with a slightly tattered t-shirt and baseball cap, but there was no mistaking the city attitude in his walk.
When Audra had received the initial fax of a possible fifth victim, she’d read Ethan Cole’s name on top of the report file with disbelief. Now, in front of her, she was wary. His New York City swagger was enough to make a nun forget her vows just long enough to break them four or five times. Audra quickly contemplated the precious few times she’d crossed the line with her ex-partner before he’d been transferred to the American South.
He was six-foot two and maybe two hundred pounds of muscle. Audra remembered the feel of his baby-smooth chocolate skin and the taste of his beautifully full lips. He was six years older than her twenty-seven, but it looked good on him.
She turned her attention away from his large hazel eyes back to the candle and examined the tiny instruction card next to it.
“May love’s embrace meet me at dawn’s face.” She snorted as she became painfully aware of how close Ethan was standing next to her. She had to mentally and physically resist the draw of his cologne as it invited her to lean into him. “The Daylight Candle Shop,” she confirmed.
She had already known there would be no evidence of the killer at the scene, but she’d asked for nothing to be touched, not even the body, before she arrived and took a look around. Audra listened to the coroner’s report; the victim had died of asphyxiation from a suspected crushed esophagus, somewhere near dawn of the previous day, Sunday. She said a prayer for Gwyneth and then left without another word to anyone.
Ethan followed her out of the apartment building.
“Hey, Audra. Wait up.”
She turned as she stepped outside, and he closed the space between them. She ignored the oppressive heat for a moment to address him.
“I’m going to go over to the library and question the people she worked with.”
“I already did that,” he said.
“Well, I’m going to do it as well,” she said, making it clear that the investigation was now hers to control.
“Okay, but listen. This town is full of – ”
“Specters? Yeah, I know.” Audra rolled her eyes at the thought of an entire town, in southern America of all places, which was home to people who had passed away. Ethan placed a hand on her shoulder. She turned to walk to her car, pulling away from his touch in the process, shutting out the wave of feelings that screamed for her attention.
“Don’t worry, I won’t go around zapping your ghostly citizens.” Her specter zapper was safely tucked away in her gun belt, just to the rear of her handgun. “But, you might want to warn the Daylight Candle Shop that they’re next on my list.”
About the Author:
Rasheedah Prioleau is a southern African American writer with an eclectic range of writing and ghostwriting credits. After a few years in the corporate world she started over from the bottom as an unpaid intern for a literary manager and never looked back.
"I love to write because there are no limits. All it takes is a finite space of time and I can create a story from infinite possibilities."
Writers who have influenced her include: Judy Bloom, Jude Deveraux, V.C. Andrews, Octavia Butler, Stephanie Meyer, Charlaine Harris, Joss Whedon, William Nicholson, Shonda Rhimes, Quentin Tarantino, Tyler Perry, Mike Kelley, and J.J. Abrams... just to name a few.