05 November 2018

Q & A with Aletta Thorne!

Hello Aletta!  Thank you so much for visiting Written Butterfly with me today!  It’s such a pleasure to chat with you.  So tell me…

Q) How did you dream up the dynamics of your characters?

This book was very much a labor of love.  I wanted to write a romance with characters in their sixties—and ghosts.  This generation of what a good friend calls Junior Seniors are baby boomers, most of us old hippies.  We’re too old to care about being respectable anymore.  Also: my main characters are church employees. As someone who has worked for churches herself, I can tell you that such people are among the funniest, most open-minded, and (yes!) cynical folks you’ll meet. 

Q) Is this book part of a series?  If so, can you tell us about it?

Not exactly. The Ghost of Her Ex is part of the ghost stories I write as Aletta Thorne.  The next one will be another ghost story.  My books always have ghosts, and they are always funny. By the way, I think this book is much funnier than The Chef and the Ghost of Bartholomew Addison Jenkins, my first ghost romance.

Q) Can you give a fun or interesting fact about your book?

My main character plays the pipe organ and is a serious classical musician.  I’m not.  I sing in a choir and struggle to sight read.  I had to learn the basics of how to register (set up stops for different sounds) a pipe organ to write this thing.  I was constantly reading the musical parts back to my organist husband to make sure I got them right.

 Q) What do you think is your strongest asset as a writer? 

I’m funny.  I keep hearing that.  I like to make people laugh, and I like being able to switch from a sad scene or an emotional or sexy one to a really funny one.

 …what is your weakest factor as a writer?  

I worry about being wordy.  Fortunately, I have great editing at Evernight Publishing and The Ghost of Her Ex is pretty darn slick.  A fast read.

 Q) Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want? 

I can’t read minds.  I think the books that are the most successful are original.  There never was Hogwarts before Harry Potter, after all.

 Q) Do you plan all your characters out before you start a story or do they develop as you write? 

They grow as I write them.  Emily Rauch, the main character in The Ghost of Her Ex,  matures and heals throughout the book.  And the other main character--whom I won’t name because it would actually be kind of a spoiler—he develops depth and courage. 

 Q) Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

They are stand-alones.  Although Aletta Thorne ghosts are…well, kind of wacky.

 Q) What are your upcoming projects?

I write poetry and young adult fiction under another name, and I’m busy with working on projects in those spheres right now.  I have in the back of my head a ghost romance about the people who actually do ghost investigations.  A really guilty pleasure of mine is watching the ghost hunter shows on TV.  I think I could apply my Topper-on-acid technique to a story like that with good effect!


Just because she’s sixty-three, cynical, and a church musician, Emily Rauch is hardly done with life—or love. Now that she’s traded in her old barn of a place for a tiny house in the hills, Emily’s ready for a new start. Throw in one enormous pipe organ, two ghosts, a pot dealer named Santa Claus, the reappearance of Emily’s bad-boy college squeeze, and a blizzard...what could possibly go wrong?

Author Bio: 

Aletta Thorne believes in ghosts.  When she’s not making up ghost stories for grownups, she is a choral singer, a poet, and a DJ.  But she’s happiest in front of a glowing screen, giving voice to whatever it was that got her two cats all riled up at three AM.  Her house is quite seriously haunted—even scared the ghost investigator who came to check it out!   After all, she lives just across the Hudson River from Sleepy Hollow. Aletta Thorne is also the author of The Chef and the Ghost of Bartholomew Addison Jenkins.

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No! You’re not old, Mrs. R! You look like you always did!”

Oh, great. So I’ve always looked like this? Without thinking about it, Emily ran her practice-weary fingers through her hair and shook her head to fluff it out a bit. “So—what’s a membership cost these days?”

She’d just finished signing the paperwork and was stowing her reading glasses in her purse when the door to the locker rooms opened. There, red-faced from steam, sauna, and a shower, wearing a black motorcycle jacket and a pair of jeans that he certainly hadn’t distressed that much himself, was none other than Brad Yates, gym bag in hand. The sparse remains of his Harpo-mop hung in wet, limp ringlets over his eyebrows.

Oh, fuck! Oh, fuckity fuck fuck fuck.

Emily!” He slid his locker-key-on-a-rubber-band at Clara and leaned against the booth’s oak woodwork. “It’s been far too long! I kept trying to call!”

Clara’s eyebrows shot up.

Hi, Brad,” said Emily.

I saw that piece about your new place in The Record. Looks wonderful!” His wolfish blue eyes sparkled.

Oh, fabulous. “Um, yeah…” Emily fumbled in her purse for her wallet and slid her credit card back into it.

Mrs. Hartley, do you want to have a look at the facility? I mean, I should have asked you that before, but I’m just learning this job, I guess, and…”

My daughter learned to swim in this pool, Clara. I know what I’m getting into. I do understand there’s a lovely new hot tub…”

There sure is!” That was Brad.

I’ve been practicing all afternoon, though, and my back’s killing me. Right now, I have to get home. I’ll be back soon with my swimsuit!” Emily was careful not to say just how soon.

Allow me to walk you out,” said Brad.

And then he was beside her, smelling quite chlorine-y indeed, pink and steaming in the winter air. Emily’s car was parked a block away, up a street lined with big old houses.

I remember your senior recital. Mendelssohn’s Sonata One! You rocked it! Played with some real guts.” Brad marched along next to her, gym bag slung over his shoulder.

Mendelssohn Sonata One. Emily mainly remembered terror. Had it gone well? Everyone had said so…

There’s an AGO recital down at St. Thomas Fifth Avenue in about a month. Come downtown with me,” said Brad. “C’mon, we haven’t been at an organ thing together since school. It’ll be a hoot. We can…”

An organ thing. Not even going there.

They were standing in front of her car now.

Oh, Emily, you truly haven’t changed! You still look so lovely. What luck running into you again!” Brad flung his arms open.

Why the fuck do people keep telling me I haven’t changed? Oh, great. Now he wants a hug. Bet that mean old leather jacket’d be mighty dangerous with all those big, ferocious zippers! I’m certainly not giving Brad Yates a…

But then she looked up at her old boyfriend—and was instantly caught in the patented Yates death ray. His eyes, still an icy blue, a little curious, focused intently on hers—and a major wave of not-entirely-unexpected heat washed through her. Well. Maybe just a quick little hug. I’ll avoid the zippers.

Oh, Em,” he rumbled, and she felt his breath on her face. He put his arms around her and pulled her close—and suddenly, maddeningly, that was just fine with her. Her breath quickened and she closed her eyes. Then he was kissing her. His tongue was soft and familiar in her mouth and she was kissing him back. His hand slid down to catch the small of her back. He massaged it with strong, keyboard-player fingers, exactly where it had been hurting, and that felt—amazing. More than amazing. It pushed the ache away … and started a different, sharper ache.

Actually, it’s … kind of like the sex dreams.

That made Emily pull away, shocked that her crotch was burning. Brad Yates? What am I thinking? I’m not thinking, that’s what I’m thinking. This is ridiculous…

Does this mean you’re going to the organ recital with me? Or should we just go back to my place?” The street lamp above them picked out a little hollow at the side of his nose where something or other had been removed. The moto jacket did nothing to disguise the fact that he was a little paunchy (now that she thought about it, he’d always been just a little round in the tummy, even in his prime boating days). His face was still flushed from the steam room—but his eyes were laser-focused on her, which made her whole body feel kind of … carbonated. It just wasn’t fair.

Cripes. What’s wrong with me? Oh hell. Why not? “How about my place?” Emily hoped she didn’t sound as breathless as she felt. “Let’s go there.”

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