Monday

GUEST POST: Laura Whitcomb

Why I Love
By Laura Whitcomb

Ever since I can remember, I’ve been in love with Halloween. Maybe you’d think it was the treats. When I was a kid we didn’t have candy very often at our house – only on holidays or vacations – so it was deeply appealing to end up with a full bag of Hershey’s chocolate and pixie stix. Maybe you’d think it was the costumes – I loved dressing up and we had trunks full of old gowns, hats, and props in the cellar. Maybe you’d think it was the celebration – the last school day before the 31st was always fabulous: story time with the lights turned down, special songs in minor keys, and on your desk after last recess a collection of orange and black cup cakes, cookies, and pop corn balls secreted in by stealthy moms.

But I think my love of the holiday was more about that magical combination of light and dark.  My earliest Halloween memory, the October I was three, I remember stepping out our front door after dark, dressed as a princess in a flower girl gown and fake crown, flanked by my sisters who were 9 and 11. It was wonderful. I was entering a world of shadows and mystery (and I’ll admit I was a bit of a scaredy-cat) but with my protectors beside me, I was safe. Children darted by on the sidewalks dressed as skeletons and monsters, but underneath I knew they were just children like us. People’s yards were thick with cardboard tombstones and pipe cleaner spiders, but when we knocked and the doors opened, faces beamed at us as sweet as those of our own aunts and uncles.

I liked the light – the laughter and sweets and playfulness of it all. But honestly, I found I preferred the darkness between streetlights. I liked not knowing precisely who was behind each mask. I liked the corny taped sound effects of moaning spirits and even the neighbors who opened their doors with wolfman masks on and made me hide my face. I loved how even the kids in the lightest, easiest to see costumes--white sheets and pale fairy dresses--would fade like ghosts as they moved down the block. I loved the glow of jagged toothed jack-o-lanterns in the blackness and the smell of burning pumpkins and wax, of rotting dead leaves in the gutters and cinnamon cider. I loved the dizzying tracks of flashlights dancing like sprites, leading us through the night.

So, I guess it’s not surprising that I grew up to write about ghosts and Fetches or that on the 31st I’ll be hosting another Supernatural Tea Party. Can’t help myself; every October I become a kid again. And I so look forward to introducing my son to his first Halloween.
I have to say that I read A Certain Slant of Light last year and it immediately became my favorite ghost story.  Via conversation with Ms. Whitcomb I was delighted to learn that she is in the process of writing a sequel!  Hooray!  UNDER THE LIGHT will be released late 2012.  Which means it will be a while before we get our little hands on it, but that just makes us anticipate it even more.  Ms. Whitcomb's second novel, The Fetch, a supernatural love story set in Imperial Russia, will be out in paperback soon.  The movie option for A Certain Slant of Light was also recently sold to Kristin Hahn who produced The Departed with Leonardo DiCaprio - so if you're a big fan, like I am, I'm sure you will also be one of the first in line to see it on the big screen.   




GIVEAWAY:  I have 2 copies up for grabs! 

As always, leave a comment for one entry. If you'd like extra entries just say so in your comment or separate comments (extra entries for followers, Twitter, sidebars, Facebook, my spiffy All About {n} button, etc.) Make sure to leave an e-mail address, especially if you are leaving a comment under Anonymous.

Rules: This contest is open internationally! Winners will be drawn Saturday, October 9.

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