Ghosts follows the story of Imogene, who, after the mysterious disappearance of her mother Marella, is left as the sole carer of her younger sister, Clementine.
Forced to give up her dreams of becoming a photographer, Imogene vows to support her sister's ambitions of becoming a professional dancer, taking a menial job at Johnny's Mega Market, in the girls' hometown of Miller Creek.
Discontented and unfulfilled, Imogene meets Henry by chance, and his sister Aggie, the embodiment of everything Imogene wishes she could be. However, when Aggie goes missing unexpectedly, Imogene and Henry come across her journal, which sheds light on Aggie's fragile state of mind in the months leading up to her disappearance. Imogene and Henry then embark on a perilous journey to find her, while beginning to uncover dark and frightening secrets hidden in the rugged outback, and also answers about what really happened to her mother on the day she disappeared.
Ghosts is a thrilling debut novel from Tess McLennan with wide appeal to fiction readers.
Tess McLennan is a musician and instrumental music teacher, living in a quaint country town south of Brisbane, Queensland. She is an avid reader and experienced traveller, and enjoys musical theatre and vintage artefacts. She has been writing since a young age, and Ghosts is her first novel.
Short Stop Press
Author: Tess McLennan
Interview with Tess McLennan
Question: What inspired the story of Ghosts?
Tess McLennan: The inspiration for Ghosts stemmed from my fascination with the enigma surrounding religious cults and sects. A cult or sect is not a place people would ordinarily find themselves, hence the shroud of mystery. After reading a book about a woman's escape from a cult, I was struck by the level of manipulation, by how people could be made to do anything, or believe anything if told in a convincing enough manner… particularly people in their darkest hour or times of need.
Question: What was the best part about creating the character of Imogene?
Tess McLennan: I think the best thing about Imogene is that she embodies a lot of my own qualities. This made the emotional aspect of her story very easy to write, because I knew how she would feel, I knew how she would react, and I knew what she would do to get through the hurdles of the story. I began to think about what my life would be like if I simply went to work everyday, and then went home, without anything else to sustain me in life. Imogene is an alter ego for the life I could have had, but outright refused.
Question: How much of your inspiration comes from real life and real people?
Tess McLennan: In a few instances throughout the novel, I have used my own experiences to shape certain characters, events or situations. On the other hand, there are also parts of Ghosts that were heavily researched to create an element of authenticity. I believe it's important for authors to draw from experience when writing, as I find it makes for a more captivating and compelling story. You want your reader to be truly convinced by what is happening to your characters.
Question: What advice do you have for aspiring writers or artists?
Tess McLennan: Don't be discouraged by rejection, it is part of the process. Being a musician and a writer, I know there can be a lot of heartache on the road to success. But perseverance is a beautiful thing. Practice makes perfect, so write, write, write… Treat it like a job, set aside a specific time each week, and write your novel.
Question: What's next, for you?
Tess McLennan: I already have another novel in the works, which ties into Ghosts in various ways… While the storyline is completely different, its set from the perspective of characters who may have faded into the background, and been long forgotten. Stay tuned.
Interview by Brooke Hunter