Title: Wear White to Your Funeral
Author: Lisa Acerbo
Genre: Mystery, Romance, Young Adult
Release Date: October 28, 2016
Rory is your average high school senior. Or she was, until her mother banishes her to hell, also known as Trumbull, Connecticut. The small suburb with only a mall and movie theater, sure feels like the netherworld until Rory’s first day at her new school. That’s the day she meets Bowen, who begs her to join him on a class project. But when Bowen drags her to a graveyard after dark for research purposes, Rory wants to fly back home to Atlanta, or at least return to her aunt’s house unharmed and unmolested.
Nothing could go wrong, right? They talk, they laugh, and they wander among the tombstones looking for information on the local ghostly legend known as the White Lady. Then they have to run, but they cannot outrun a ghost. In addition to the ghostly woman, a half buried dead body leads Rory and Bowen into a deadly game of cat and mouse, but who is the killer? Is it human or something long dead and otherworldly?
The police are of little help, Rory’s aunt just wants her to remain safe, and Bowen, who she can’t stay away from, keeps finding ways to get her into more trouble than she has ever known. Whether breaking into a suspected killer’s house, being followed by a menacing ghost, or being stalked at school, Rory hopes finding the killer will put an end to the supernatural haunting. Before Rory can discover the identity of the killer, she is drawn into the mystery of the White Lady, which opens the door for some very real danger.
I love the supernatural and how it relates to history. After writing about another local legend, the Old Leather Man, I came across the story of the White Lady, a ghost who haunts the Union Cemetery in Easton, Connecticut. Some say she is Harriet B. Seeley, who had a son die in childhood. Now, Seeley’s ghost walks through the graves endlessly searching for him.
There are other interesting story about the White Lady. Local lore suggests that the White Lady could be Ellen Smathers, a woman who was murdered in the cemetery in the 1800s. Smathers was stalked by Richard Dean Jason. Jason murdered Smather’s husband and dumped his body near the cemetery. Jason hoped this act of murder would demonstrate his deep emotions. When Ellen Smathers didn’t return Jason’s feelings, he murdered her and dumped her body next to her husband. Now Ellen Smathers wanders the cemetery.
The White Lady makes an interesting ghostly figure in my upcoming YA novel.
2. When writing a book, what is your favorite part of the creative process (outline, plot, character names, editing, etc)?
My favorite part of the creative process is writing the tagline and blurb. It’s like a puzzle. I have to condense a 70,000 word book into a single sentence or a few paragraphs. I love the idea of distilling the book into its essence. It’s not easy and takes a lot of revision, but I find it fun.
3. When reading a book, what genre do you find most interesting/intriguing?
I like to try and read a little bit of everything. I grew up reading novels by Judy Blume, Johanna Lindsey, Dean Koontz, and Stephen King, among others. While entirely different genres, these authors inspired me to want to read more and write fiction. Authors who can construct vivid conflicts and life-like characters in relationships, romantic or otherwise create great stories. These days, as a teacher, I am inspired by the books my high school students read like Harry Potter, the Chicagoland Vampire Series, and The Hunger Games, as well as authors such as John Green. I enjoy reading romances with action and adventure, and I hope to create a book with those elements.
4. If you could co-author with any author, past or present, who would you choose?
Stephen King. I love Stephen King and recently reread The Green Mile. King is such a great story teller, and his novels remind me why I enjoy teaching others about literature and practicing the craft myself. Even though I could never come close to King’s level of mastery, reading great stories makes me want to become a better writer. I would love to co-author a book with him, but it would be incredibly intimidating.
5. Have you always wanted to write or did it come to you "later in life"?
I majored in English during college, thinking that I wanted to become a journalist, but instead became a high school English teacher. While a full-time teacher now, I have also continued to write and publish. Before turning to fiction, my articles appeared in the Connecticut Post, Trumbull Patch and Hollywood Scriptwriter. Writing a novel was on my bucket list, but I started the process late in life and made LOTS of mistakes. Now that I have completed the goal of writing a book, I am changing my bucket list entry to writing a series of books. Who knows, maybe this will be the first of many adventures for my main characters, Rory and Bowen.
Lisa Acerbo is a high school teacher and holds an EdD in Educational Leadership. She lives in Connecticut with her husband, daughters, three cats, and horse. She is the author of Apocalipstick and has contributed to local newspapers, news and travel blogs including The Patch and Hollywood Scriptwriter.