Today we sit down for a chat with Annaleise, who happens to be a ghost in author Jessica Dale’s (aka mystery author Kassandra Lamb) The Unintended Consequences Romantic Suspense trilogy.
What was your life like before your author started pulling your strings?
Well for one thing, I was still alive! And it was a good life. I was happily married, and I had a tight group of good friends. My best friend, going way back to our college days, was and is James Fitzgerald.
We all lived in Washington, DC, but James also owns a house in the Virginia backwoods, which he inherited from his parents. It is, or rather was, the getaway haven for our group of friends.
Until one fateful autumn evening when my husband Charles and I got to the house before James. We’d left DC early so we could be the ones, for a change, to open up the house and get things set up for a relaxing Friday evening.
Only Ms. Dale had other plans. Someone was waiting in the house. I think they had planned to kill James, but we showed up first.
And that’s how I ended up being a ghost residing in James’s house.
What’s the one trait you like most about yourself?
That I can sense danger now and warn those who are in its path. I can spread out this sort of energy radar, if you will, and there’s like an energy shift in the air when evil is nearby.
What do you like least about yourself?
That it’s so hard for me to talk. I can move objects, although that takes some effort, too. So I can type out the answers to your questions for this interview.
But mostly I can only communicate through my laughter. Somehow, it’s easy for me to laugh, but to form words out loud, that’s a real strain.
James always said my laughter sounded like wind chimes in a gentle breeze. And that’s how I sound now when I’m just trying to say, “Hey, I’m here,” or if I’m amused by whatever’s going on.
But if I’m trying to warn people, I imagine a strong wind like in a storm, and then the wind chimes kind of clatter.
What is the strangest thing your author has had you do or had happen to you?
Well, I think making me dead and then turning me into a ghost was mighty strange.
But there was another thing that happened because of my death. Not really strange but ironic. You see, James and his next-door neighbor, Carrie, they had been dancing around each other for a while. It was obvious to me and all of our friends that they liked each other, but they both had a lot of baggage from the past.
But when this horrible thing happen—Charles’s and my murders—it broke down some of those barriers. James needed Carrie emotionally, and I think that she just couldn’t resist that.
Then later, when her abusive husband tracked her down (that’s why she was in the Virginia backwoods to begin with, to hide from him), James helped her deal with that situation.
Sometimes facing adversity together can become the glue in a relationship, and facing down killers together did that for them.
Do you argue with your author? If so, what do you argue about?
Well, if I’d had a clue what was coming, I would have definitely argued against being killed.
But with that as given, I’d say the only other time I really objected to what Jessica was doing was when she sicced a stalker/rapist on poor Mary, who’s a friend of mine and James.
I really objected to that idea! Mary’s so sweet and gentle that we all assumed she was fragile. But turns out she’s got more backbone than we gave her credit for. She’s a survivor, like James and Carrie.
What is your greatest fear?
That something will happen to James. I’ve loved him for decades; not the same way I loved Charles, of course. But he was the brother I never had.
I couldn’t stop what happened to Charles, and it’s haunted me ever since (no pun intended). I’ve been terrified that James might end up having a similar fate. But now that he has Carrie, and they are so strong together, I’m not as afraid for him.
What makes you happy?
Seeing James and Carrie together; they’ve been through so much. I mean, I know from my own marriage that love isn’t always easy, but I think they’ll make it for the long haul. I sure hope so.
And now Mary has found someone, or at least it looks promising—that is if it turns out that he’s not the guy who assaulted her and is now stalking her. Every time she thinks it’s not him, something else happens that makes her doubt again.
You don’t know if it was him?
No, I wasn’t there. It happened in DC, and I can only go about a half mile from James’s house. James is trying to help Mary figured it all out.
And I help when I can, when I sense the guy is nearby, but he’s always wearing a ski mask, so no, I can’t tell who it is. I don’t have superpowers, after all.
If you could rewrite a part of your story, what would it be? Why?
Ha! Maybe I’d give myself superpowers, so I would not just know when danger was near but who was behind it.
Of the other characters in your book, which one bugs you the most? Why?
Hmm, I guess I’d have to say the local sheriff. I mean, I have a lot of respect for him, too. He pretends he’s this good ol’ boy hick sheriff, but he’s actually quite bright.
However, he initially thought James was my killer, which was ridiculous. And then he thought Carrie had committed a horrible crime, when she hadn’t.
Of the other characters in your book, which one would you love to trade places with? Why?
I guess it would be Carrie. She’s a strong woman, and yet loving. I think if I’d lived, she and I would have become close friends.
Tell us a little something about your author. Where can readers find her website/blog?
Well, Jessica Dale is the alter ego of a mystery writer named Kassandra Lamb. She was first conceived when Kassandra woke up one morning and the entire story of my murder and James’s subsequent struggle to clear himself of it was laid out in her head.
And then a few months later, she woke up again with another entire story laid out in her head, this time a steamy romantic thriller. And that was the point when Kassandra knew she needed a pen name for these romantic suspense stories, because they were so different from the mysteries she usually writes.
All of Jessica’s books can be found on a special page on Kassandra’s website.
What's next for you?
Well, Jessica says the trilogy is finished, but we’ll see. She also says she’s not planning on writing any romantic suspense in the near future. She’s said that before, however.
There was supposed to be a second book in a duet with Bartered Innocence (currently a stand-alone thriller). I was looking over Jessica’s shoulder while she was writing the book, and I really loved it. So I hope she gets inspired someday soon to write that second story.
In the meantime, Kassandra has started a new police procedural mystery series called the C.o.P. on the Scene Mysteries. I love that series too, especially the main character, a female Chief of Police who likes to be hands-on at crime scenes. I guess I’m just a sucker for strong female characters!
Hey, thanks so much for having me on your blog to do this interview. It feels so good to have a “voice” again, other than just wind chimes!
An Unintended Consequences Romantic Suspense, Book 3
The road to hell is paved with good intentions. ~ Divorcée Mary Hanson’s first date in years culminates with a toe-curling kiss that fills her with hope...until the middle of the night when a masked rapist, smelling of her date’s aftershave, breaks into her apartment. Frantic, she flees to the home of friends in the Virginia woods, not realizing she’s putting them in harm’s way—for her stalker is intent on possessing her, no matter what it takes. And even her best friend’s ghost may not be able to stop him...