Brainerd & Fraser: We’re excited to have one of our favorite author friends here for a guest post. Please welcome J.Q. Rose – writer, retired florist, and an undertaker’s daughter. Does that last one surprise you? Read on for more!
Do Childhood Experiences Impact a Writer’s Storytelling?
By J.Q. Rose
I always thought of writers as eccentric, peculiar people. But my perception changed when a ghost story sprang from my own mind. Deadly Undertaking, my latest romantic suspense e-book, includes a shadow man, Henry. He’s a ghost or a spirit from another world and shows up in Lauren Staab’s life when she least expects him.
Please don’t jump to conclusions about me as a writer, because even if I am a storyteller who thinks up fun romances, murders, and spirits, I am not an eccentric, peculiar person. I’m just a regular woman who is a wife, mother, grandmother. I like eating a burger at McDonalds, shopping at Walmart, and reading mystery novels. But, perhaps some would think my childhood was unconventional. You see, my father was an embalmer and funeral director. I was reared in a funeral home.
For most of my growing up years, a dead body was laid out in a casket several days in a row in our living room which converted to the funeral chapel. In fact, sometimes we’d have more than one body in our home. The embalming room was in the back of the house, and yes, I wore lots of perfume and soap to cover the pungent odor of formaldehyde on my clothes and hair.
We had knee caps for ashtrays in the private area of our home…not in the public area because that may upset some folks. But Dad was a heavy smoker, so he appreciated having the convenience of an ashtray nearby at all times.
In our kitchen, boxes of ashes of the departed sat in the pantry shelves next to the canned green beans and corn. Some families squabbled over who was going to pay the funeral expenses for their dearly departed, so they never showed up to claim the ashes for fear of being left with the debt. In one case the family of Ida Mayberry never claimed their sweet aunt. So Aunt Ida took up residence in the cupboard next to the pork and beans.
Life as an undertaker’s daughter did not seem to be any big deal. My friends, well, most of them, were happy to come over and play hide and seek in the casket room or to swipe flowers out of the funeral arrangements to put in our hair for dress up.
My girlfriends did get upset when one of the spirits who regularly hung out in the funeral home flew by. The whoosh of air was the only indicator of their presence. Yes, I lost a couple of friends that way because they were scared to death…well, not literally. They just were creeped out especially when one of the spirits would knock over the Barbie doll house or send the family of Barbies swirling around the room.
Needless to say, I enjoyed going to my friend’s house. It was a treat to open their pantry door to get a can of pineapple and not see the boxed ashes of poor Aunt Ida. I could never shake the sadness I felt for her because no one cared enough to bury her ashes or at least sprinkle them on their garden.
So, yes, some may believe it was an unusual childhood compared to the experiences of others. But I felt loved, secure, and safe at all times. And that’s what counts for a kid.
The growing up years certainly shape the adult one becomes. I don’t know if my childhood affected my personality or writing talent, but I can assure you I am a normal, well-rounded person, not eccentric or peculiar at all. In fact I got rid of the knee cap ash trays just last week. I do have Aunt Ida in the cupboard. Her family never claimed her and I have grown attached to her company.
Brainerd & Fraser: Spooky, J.Q.! We love it! Now let’s hear more about your latest book…
Deadly Undertaking by J.Q. Rose
A handsome detective, a shadow man, and a murder victim kill Lauren’s plan for a simple life.
Back of the Book:
Lauren Staab knew there would be dead bodies around when she returned home. After all, her family is in the funeral business, Staab and Blood Funeral Home. Still, finding an extra body on the floor of the garage between the hearse and the flower car shocked her. Lauren’s plan to return to her hometown to help care for her mother and keep the books for the funeral home suddenly turns upside down in a struggle to prove she and her family are not guilty of murdering the man. But will the real killer return for her, her dad, her brother? Her mother’s secrets, a killer, a handsome policeman, and a shadow man muddle up her intention to have a simple life. Welcome home, Lauren!
Find the book on Amazon, Amazon UK, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo.
Author J.Q. Rose
After writing feature articles in magazines, newspapers, and online magazines for over fifteen years, J.Q. Rose entered the world of fiction. Her published mysteries are Sunshine Boulevard, Coda to Murder, and Deadly Undertaking. Blogging, photography, Pegs and Jokers board games, and travel are the things that keep her out of trouble. She and her husband, Gardener Ted, spend winters in Florida and summers up north camping and hunting toads, frogs, and salamanders with her four grandsons and granddaughter.
Connect with J.Q. Rose online at J.Q. Rose blog, Facebook, Google+, Amazon Author Page, Goodreads, and Pinterest.