Will, what was the spark that ignited this book?
This is a sequel, so it shares igniting sparks with A Properly Unhaunted Place. Both come from the playful suspicion that history itself is a haunted house. Whatever happened there—whatever happened here—is still happening.
American ghost stories usually treat this as a problem to be fixed, but maybe it isn’t a problem at all. Hauntings are the memory of a place. Memory shouldn’t be wiped clean.
I also wanted to write more swashbuckling adventures set in a haunted Renaissance Festival.
What nugget of craft advice has been especially helpful to you?
Kelly Link said, “Trust your weird,” and I usually do.
I’ve also treasured the last piece of advice that Ursula Le Guin gave me: “Don’t let them rush you.”
I don’t often share that one with my students, though. I need them to keep their deadlines.
Do you write in silence? If not, what’s your soundtrack?
Lately I’ve been borrowing momentum from The Hamilton Instrumentals, which is the entire Broadway musical sans lyrics. Perfect for karaoke. It also makes a decent writing soundtrack.
How has teaching at VCFA affected your writing life?
Teaching here has utterly transformed my writing life. We all come to this place by different routes, and pick up very different skills along the way; the whole community is a thriving ecosystem rather than a monoculture. I depend on that community for insight, support, challenge, and critique.