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–This must be Thursday. I never could get the hang of Thursdays. –Douglas Adams

This week my guest is Jill Bisker, author of the ghostly mystery, Finding the Way Back**

(**For a chance at this week’s prize, a signed copy of  Finding the Way Back, please play Lie-dar by leaving a comment with your guess about which is her truth

Somedays, I just need a good ghost story. Lucky for me! Author Jill Bisker knows just how I feel. She says, “From the time I was a little girl, I’ve always wanted to write a ghost story.” Jill joins me today to discuss her writing process and her new book. (Please see my review below)

  1. funny-pictures-star-trek-cat-wants-burgerStar Wars, Star Trek, or Firefly? That’s a hard question. The original Star Trek was my first foray into Science Fiction and I loved the stories and where they transported me to. But then I have to go to Next Generation. I loved the story solutions that were well thought out and I adore Picard. Voyager has Seven of Nine. Firefly has the best witty dialog. Overall, I’m going to pick Star Trek – Next Generation.
  2. What is the one thing you can’t live without? My photographs. I have them everywhere in my house. When I feel down, I can walk around and remember all the wonderful stories from my past. Family trips, people who have passed on, silly jokes – It’s all there just waiting for me.
  3. What is the best writing advice you’ve ever heard? Write the story you want to write and forget all the rules. Don’t try to guess what will be ‘in’, just tell your story. I love ghost stories so that is what I set out to write and I hope someone enjoys it.

Cover finding the way backFinding the Way Back is the story of Laney, a recently divorced woman who agrees to help her mother fix up her dead grandfather’s house. From the first night when she hears ghostly music to later physical attacks that seem targeted only at her, she soon discovers that a spirit in the house may have plans of its own. For her own well-being, she needs to find answers as the danger escalates and she learns to trust herself and others. With the help of her cousin Connie, an attractive ghosthunter named Emmett, and several other eccentric characters, Laney uncovers the dark secret of the house and a new path for her future.


 

gold starREVIEW: Four stars

Jill Bisker’s debut novel, Finding the Way Back, is a classic gothic tale. Updated. She’s taken a thoughtful look at the old gothic elements—orphaned young heroine, gloomy mansion complete with turrets, sinister servants, family members who’ve met with untimely deaths, mysteriously significant piece of jewelry, weather that mirrors the frightening series of events—and said…hmm… not so much.

Far from orphaned, almost-divorced Laney instead has agreed to help her very-much-alive mother, aunt, and cousin renovate her grandfather’s charming but dilapidated old house. With the divorce putting her plans for starting her own decorating business on hold, Laney reluctantly moves back into the old Craftsman style house, currently filled with the results of her grandfather’s decades of collecting/hoarding. Almost immediately, strange events begin to occur. And apparently whatever haunts the old house only gets more dangerous as the cousins uncover more family secrets among the boxes and junk they clear out. When Laney’s cousin (and new roommate) Connie suggests that they seek advice from old friends who are amateur ghost-hunters, Laney cautiously agrees. Soon Laney and the head of the ghost-hunters are drawn together by more than their shared interest in her family ghosts. But it’s Laney’s decidedly non-ghostly ex-husband, her grandfather’s very-ex-girlfriend, and a pair of matchmaking mamas who seem determined to keep them apart. And it starts to look like someone or something wants that separation to be permanent.

Finding the Way Back has so many elements that I enjoyed. Great supporting characters include Laney’s cousin Connie, and especially their human dynamo mamas. (For ghost-hunting, “Both wore green camouflage fatigue pants, which I recognized as belonging to my father, black turtlenecks and adorable, little combat boots.”). The ghost story had some creepy moments, but no blonde teens were turned into tomato soup. We get to see Laney grow as she takes on responsibility, reclaiming her old self after years of emotional abuse. For the most part, the plot was solidly paced, moving the story along as the human and ghostly threats escalate. At the same time, the fragile beginning of Laney’s new romance is strengthened as she starts to realize her own strength.  I do have a few disappointments with the story. For example, I could wish that Laney’s new love interest, Emmett, was a bit more three-dimensional. There are hints, but we really don’t find out much about who he is, why he has so much free time to devote to ghost hunting, and what his own emotional history might be. There are a few red herrings (no, I’m not going to spoiler-reveal them) which are unsatisfying in their lack of resolution. And I found myself unconvinced by the last scene in which two ghosts’ behavior doesn’t reflect what’s gone before.

I would give Finding the Way Back  a solid four stars. It’s a satisfying read that won’t keep you from sleeping at night, and there are just the right touches of romance and humor. I’d love to meet these characters again, and would certainly pick up a sequel that tells us Cousin Connie’s story.

**I received this book for free from the publisher or author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**

To buy Finding the Way Back


 

About the Author:

Jill Bisker lives in Stillwater, MN with her husband, son and a calico cat named Senora.  Her work includes paranormal mystery/romance, traditional high fantasy, and contemporary fantasy, as well as an everyday living blog. She believes in empowering women to be strong enough to protect themselves, while still soft enough to be loving and compassionate. 

Jill Bisker lives in Stillwater, MN with her husband, son and a calico cat named Senora. Her work includes paranormal mystery/romance, traditional high fantasy, and contemporary fantasy, as well as an everyday living blog. She believes in empowering women to be strong enough to protect themselves, while still soft enough to be loving and compassionate.

To contact Jill, click on links below:

 LIE-DAR CONTEST!

I asked Jill if she were to get a tattoo, what would it be.  For a $10 Kindle Gift Card and a copy of Finding the Way Back, what do you think is her correct answer?

  1. A ghost with Finding the Way Back written underneath.
  2. A heart-shaped lock with flowers.
  3. A skeletal hand as if someone was gripping my bicep.

Please add your guess to your comment below, and you will be entered to win a signed copy of Jill Bisker’s new ghost story, Finding the Way Back. Winner will be announced next Thursday, September 4.

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Winner!

Last week Sofia Grey challenged readers to spot which of the frankly peculiar food combinations is actually her favorite. I’m very sorry to report that Sofia actually eats peanut butter and mashed avocado on toast. On purpose…Congratulations (AGAIN!)  to winner Rosie Amber.

***Would you like to be a guest on Thursday Lie-dar? I’d love to feature you and your work here! (interview, contest, book review, guest post) For information, send email to barbtaub@gmail.com***

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