Saturday, October 18, 2008

Guest Blogger: Laurie Stolarz

Hi, Enchanting Reviews! Thanks so much for inviting me to guest-blog here!

Okay, so my spooky entry involves my first novel, BLUE IS FOR NIGHTMARES. As some may already know, I grew up in Salem, MA. When I mention this to people, they automatically assume that the city itself had a lot of influence on my work. But actually, it didn’t – at least not in the way that one might think.

I mean, yes, Salem definitely had its influence on me. It was no big deal, for example, if a Witch (a male or female who practices Wicca as their religion) was in my class or on my sports team. Salem has many Witches, so the religion is accepted and people take it seriously. But, aside from that, I saw Salem as being a pretty regular place with regular stores, regular people, and normal places to eat.

True, Salem is abundant in history, but at first glance – at least for me – it appears to be even more abundant in tourism, particularly around Halloween. Just walk by the Salem Witch Museum with its humungous gift shop full of flaming eyeballs and cackling witch dolls; the Pirate Museum with its employee-turned-actors ordering passersby to walk the plank and pretending to steal your loot; and see the Salem Wax Museum, which boasts a lab in which to see the horrors of Frankenstein and his evil creature. Even last weekend, I thought I’d give Salem another chance by taking my son to see the Salem Witch Village, the first museum in the country to clear up the misconceptions of the Wiccan religion by teaching the history, practices, and beliefs of modern Witches today. But I was discouraged to learn that they’d turned their once educational village into a haunted one.

All this in mind, it shouldn’t come as a big surprise that growing up I didn’t really think much of Laurie Cabot’s, Salem’s official Witch’s, claims of having psychic abilities. I merely saw these claims as an extension of her commercial potential.

Laurie Cabot is famous in the city, as well as around the world, having written books on Witchcraft, appeared on television, and given lectures all over the country. To me, she was a business-savvy woman, someone who capitalized on Salem’s commercialism, what with her long black dress and jet black hair. But psychic ability? I had my doubts.

Growing up, I’d see her around the city, shopping at the grocery store where I worked, and doing business at the local bank. She owned a magick supplies shop in Salem – and still does – and so I assumed her long-black-dress-wearing-psychic-ability-claiming way of life helped to fuel her sales, not to mention supporting the rights of Witches by showing the world that they do indeed exist as every day people. One Halloween, for example, I remember there being a two-hour wait to even step foot inside her store.

I didn’t begrudge her for any of this, mind you. A marketing major in college, and an entrepreneur to the core, I simply thought what she was doing made good business sense – right along with those flaming eyeballs.

Years later, in graduate school for creative writing, I wrote BLUE IS FOR NIGHTMARES. My impulse for writing the novel stemmed from a couple things. First, I wanted to write a novel that would have appealed to me as a teen, namely one that had a blending of suspense, romance, and drama. Secondly, I thought it might be interesting to have my main character dabble in folk magic and herbal remedies as a means of self empowerment. My grandmother, who had some experience with the sixth sense, used these herbal remedies in her day-to-day life. And so my main character, Stacey Brown, ended up practicing folk magic. She uses it as a way of dealing with recurring nightmares that turn out to be premonitions warning her that her roommate is going to be killed in four days.

So, long story short, the first draft of my novel was complete. It was two days before I was to defend it in front of my thesis committee, and I was shopping at TJMaxx. I was standing in the “home goods” department, scooting down to check out a water fountain thingamigjig, when I felt someone grab my arm from behind, and shove something into my palm. I turned around, only to find Laurie Cabot – long black dress and all.

Though I’d seen her many times before, we’d never formally met, nor had I ever spoken to her. She was physically trembling when she saw me. I looked down to see what she’d placed in my hand. It was a crystal. She told me then that she’d had a nightmare about me the evening before – and that in that nightmare, I was killed.

She went on to describe the killer, giving specific details about his age, personality, what he looked like, and how he spent his time. Then she warned me not to be alone for the next four days – not to drive by myself, or do anything out-of-the-ordinary.

All the while she was telling me this, I just kept thinking – this is my novel, right down to the four-day timeframe, right down to the crystal, the description of the killer, and the motivational pull.

A friend of hers came down the aisle a few moments later. Laurie turned to her and said, “This is the girl I told you about –the one from my dream.” If it was a lie, the friend played along, not showing even a speck of confusion.

Laurie told me that it was meant to be that we’d met and that she’d keep me in her thoughts until the fourth day passed.

It’s been eight years since that happened, and I’ve still never told her about my novel. Maybe someday I will. Maybe I’ll even forward her this link. It’s probably about time she knew she predicted the plot of a novel that’s now sold over 150,000 copies and spawned a series that’s sold over half a million books, worldwide.

I guess you could call it a coincidence. And before you ask, no, there was no way she could have read my novel beforehand. Only my thesis committee and a handful of classmates had read the book in its entirety at that point. And, remember, we had never even met before.

But I suppose it’s all up for debate. What isn’t debatable: I won’t be making anymore assumptions, nor will I be doubting Laurie Cabot’s psychic abilities ever again.

For more information on me and my work, including the BLUE IS FOR NIGHTMARES series, my newest spooky title, PROJECT 17, or the forthcoming chiller DEADLY LITTLE SECRET, go here:

Also, check out some of the book trailers below.


PROJECT 17: ( and


No comments:

Post a Comment