Today I'm super excited to share with you this awesome interview with the wonderful K.C. Tansley, author of The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts!
It’s a YA time travel murder mystery. In The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts,
prep school junior Kat Preston accidentally time travels to 1886
Connecticut, where she must share a body with a rebellious Victorian
lady, prevent a gruesome wedding night murder, disprove a deadly family
curse, and find a way back to her own time.
I adore stories that feature ghosts! What was it that inspired you to write a story about them?
too! I’ve always been a fan of gothic stories and ghosts stories. My
favorite book is Wuthering Heights. I believe in the
unbelievables—ghosts, spells, and time travel. I wanted to put my own
stamp on ghost lore and it was so fun to have them in the story.
laid down the story bones of the time travel murder mystery first. I
wanted Kat to have a cool secret that had to do with the paranormal.
Toria’s ghost came into the story later and I realized I wanted her to
have a bigger role earlier on. I also wanted to give Kat a really unique
inner conflict, knowing something exists, but having to convince
herself it doesn’t. She has to lie to herself to protect herself from
Have you ever had any ghostly experiences happen to you?
have. When I lived on Wall Street, there were several nights in that
haze between dreaming and fully awake where I saw ghosts at the end of
my bed. People dressed in clothes from another era and exuding an eerie
bluish light. It turns out there were some horrible fires that destroyed
buildings down there. I think when people die tragically something of
In my apartment in Washington, D.C., I used
to hear people walking in the living room at night. At the time, I
lived alone. It scared me so much I would throw the covers over my head.
Because as we all know that protects us from the supernatural. I never
went to investigate, but to this day, I think ghosts were moving around
in there at night.
You have a lot of history featured in
the story, especially with the time travel that occurs, how did you
research for writing those events?
It involved many trips
to the library and a ton of internet research. I read dozens of books
on Victorian fashion to make sure I got the clothes right. I researched
historic homes to make sure the decor fit the time. I couldn’t have a
chair that was made in 1895 sitting in a parlor in 1886. Even my word
choices, I checked the etymology of phrases to make sure my characters
weren’t saying slang that was invented after their era.
hard part is hunting down a single detail like the electrical features
of homes in that time. Knowing what was possible vs. what would exist in
the castle. Sometimes I had to make a choice to stay a little further
in the past with technology because it wasn’t widespread or they
wouldn’t have done that type of work to an old castle yet.
Did you relate to any of your characters at all?
relate to all of them in some way. I get why they do what they do. I
have to feel what they feel and understand their motives and what’s at
stake for them to write them. That’s part of my writing process. I slip
into my character’s skin.
My friends tell me they see a
lot of me in Kat. She’s the first character I ever created so I poured
many of my experiences into her.
What was your favorite part of the writing process, and what did you find the most difficult?
really enjoy the first draft. I have an outline, but there’s still so
much discovery going on as I write. I love figuring out where the story
will go and going there. Sometimes I hide a seed for a future subplot
without realizing it. Then as I revise I realize I planted something
that I can nurture in revision. It feels like future me went back in
time and put something in the story to help me along.
hardest part is probably revisions with the editor. When she points out
something that isn’t working, I can’t see it. If I did, I’d have
already fixed it. So I have to change my perspective and see my work the
way she does. That’s the only way I can fix the issue. It’s incredibly
hard to do, especially on a deadline. I had 8 weeks to do editorial
revisions, which included a rewrite of the first 100 pages. That 8 week
deadline includes the time I spent reading the editorial letter and
processing the feedback too.
'The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts' is the first book in 'The Unbelievables' series. How is book two coming along?
better than I expected. I’ve written most of the first draft already.
I’ve been writing 2,000 words a day since June 9th. It’s a rigorous
writing schedule, but it worked really well with this story. I still
have to do a round of edits in August and then I’ve got to switch off to
my other series.
I’m really excited with where we go in Book 2. I can tell you I’ve been doing a ton of research on 1831 Vienna.
Finally, if you could travel back in time and witness any historical event, what would it be and why?
that is a tough one. There’s so many things worth going back to see.
Right now, I’m immersed in Vienna and I’d love to go to 1831 Vienna to
see what the hotels and streets were like so I could write them with an
If I had to pick a historic event, it would probably be the Congress of Vienna in 1815. I’d love to see
all those powers coming together in Vienna to settle things after the
Napoleonic Wars. It seems like there was a clash of personalities and a
ton of parties.
Thank you for stopping by The Queen of
Teen Fiction! Also, thanks for writing a kick-ass female character with
glasses – there aren't enough of them in YA fiction!
Thanks! I feel the same way. As a girl with glasses, I always longed to see more of them on book covers.
lives with her warrior lapdog, Emerson, on a hill somewhere in
Connecticut. She tends to believe in the unbelievables—spells, ghosts,
time travel—and writes about them.
Never one to say no
to a road trip, she’s climbed the Great Wall twice, hopped on the Sound
of Music tour in Salzburg, and danced the night away in the dunes of
Cape Hatteras. She loves the ocean and hates the sun, which makes for
interesting beach days. The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts is the first book in
her YA time-travel murder mystery series.
As Kourtney Heintz, she also writes award winning cross-genre fiction for adults.