Monday, September 14, 2015

WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY: Jaqueline Kyle, Author and Dickens Fan

Jaqueliine Kyle, Author and Dickens Fan
Jaqueline Kyle appreciates Charles Dickens so much that she expanded his classic tale into EBENEZER SCROOGE: GHOST HUNTER. She delved into 1840s London language to extend the story consistently with the original A Christmas Carol. She adds supernatural elements, but finds it more “hilarious” than scary.

Kyle’s personal life reads like a true action hero – she stood on top of a nuclear reactor, flew a plane solo on her 16th birthday, ran a marathon, and always bungee-jumps first. She is currently working on a “database of knowledge” for writers and marketers of writers called 

Don’t miss the opportunity to enter the giveaway at the end of the interview. And she has provided an excerpt for us to enjoy.

Q: So how did the idea occur to you to embellish Mr. Dickens’ Scrooge in EBENEZER SCROOGE: GHOST HUNTER? Did you tire of the annual
Charles Dickens, Author
A Christmas Carol
surfacing of the story during the holidays and want to improve on it? Are you a fan of Dickens? 

Jaqueline Kyle: I love Dickens. I read most of his work outside of a school setting, just for the enjoyment of it. I came up with the idea for EBENEZER SCROOGE: GHOST HUNTER while I was at a Dickens Fair. I saw a woman get startled by the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come and scream her head off. I thought, “This is still relevant.”

Q: In what genre would you place EBENEZER SCROOGE: GHOST HUNTER? Why?

Jaqueline Kyle: This is a fantastic question because it is a book that defies traditional boundaries. Technically the genre is Mashup or Parody but not every retailer has those categories. It draws heavily from A Christmas Carol, but it’s not a Classic. I added supernatural elements, but it isn’t set in space or some mythical land. There are horrific moments, but I find the book more hilarious than scary. It’s been a real battle trying to find the right category to shelve this book under.

Q: Given that your character Scrooge has already been developed, how did you engage your readers to want to get to know him again in your story? How do you develop a character that has already been created and is well known? Is it easier or more difficult than to develop a character from scratch?

Jaqueline Kyle:  Scrooge is incredibly well known, so I kept his personality the same and changed his motivations. That was something that I knew I wanted to do upfront and was fairly easy to accomplish. There are many reasons why someone would be so heartless and removed from the world. In my version, Scrooge has lost his partner Marley in a ghost hunting expedition. He’s withdrawn because he’s lost his only friend and resents the world for being indifferent to the loss.

Q: Did you need to do research for the time period to assure your back story is consistent? Could you draw on the original story to provide the setting and backstory?

Jaqueline Kyle: EBENEZER SCROOGE: GHOST HUNTER draws strongly on A Christmas Carol. It is supposed to sound like Dickens from start to finish. I did have to do a lot of reading and research to ensure I knew what was going on in the language and scenes to keep the new elements consistent in tone. It worked amazingly well. The feedback I’ve received is that it is difficult to spot where Dickens stops and Scrooge the Ghost Hunter takes over.

Q:  Do you use humor to tell your story? Suspense? Horror?

Jaqueline Kyle:  The language of 1840’s London is so formal, that it is humorous to introduce these supernatural elements. It is such a straight-faced joke that I still giggle reading it. As the story progresses, the novelty of that wears off, so there’s a bit of suspense, a bit of horror. Scrooge has to hit his bottom before he can be redeemed.

Q:  Does the concept of hero versus villain apply to EBENEZER SCROOGE: GHOST HUNTER? Is Scrooge a hero or a villain?

Jaqueline Kyle:  Another fantastic question! Scrooge believes he is a martyr and a hero. I don’t want to spoil too much, but he does have to face the possibility that he might be the villain. Ultimately EBENEZER SCROOGE: GHOST HUNTER has the same foundation as A Christmas Carol – it is a tale of redemption. So Scrooge is maybe not a traditional villain, but he needs to go on a journey of self-discovery so that he can become the hero.

Q: Did you write EBENEZER SCROOGE: GHOST HUNTER strictly to entertain your readers? Or did you want to deliver a message? Or just have fun?!

Jaqueline Kyle:  I originally drafted EBENEZER SCROOGE: GHOST HUNTER for the challenge and entertainment of it. I was going through a personal rough period and the distraction was marvelous. The first draft sat in a dusty file on my computer for two years before I pulled it back out and decided there was something there for readers, too.

Q: How important is credibility or believability to your story? If not, what enables the reader to put aside a sense of reality? What will pull us into the story and make us care what happens?

Jaqueline Kyle:  I think readers start this book trying to spot where A Christmas Carol ends and the new story begins. What pulls the reader in is the new mystery of how Marley died, why Scrooge despises Bob Cratchit (one of the most likeable characters of all time), and the life and death stakes when you are a ghost hunter about to be visited by three ghosts.

Q: What’s next?

Jaqueline Kyle:  I spent the last few months creating a database of knowledge for aspiring writers, self-publishers, and book marketers. It’s called I expect that a lot of my time in the next few months will be used there as well, to add more wisdom to collection.

Q: Tell us something about Jaqueline Kyle. You seem to be a thrill-seeker! What do you like to do these days when you’re not writing?

Jaqueline Kyle:  I tend to put a stamp in my passport to countries I’ve never been to before. While I’m there I eat food I would never other wise consider, gleefully throw money away in tourist traps, and engage in some death defying antic to scare my mother with in the retelling.

About Jacqueline Kyle

Jaqueline Kyle once stood on top of an active nuclear reactor. It glowed. She dove the Great Barrier Reef and the fish swarmed to check HER out. On her 16th birthday she flew a plane solo – just to enjoy the view. She once ran a marathon - because it was faster than walking. When she bungee jumps, she always goes first, so her friends can jump off the bridge after her. Jaqueline Kyle is not the most interesting man in the world – because she’s a woman.

About Charles Dickens!
Charles Dickens lived from 1812 to 1870 and originally wrote A Christmas Carol as a political pamphlet to bring attention to the plight of childhood ignorance and the cycle of poverty. Also, Dickens loved coffee so much that they still put his picture on coffee mugs. True Fact.

EBENEZER SCROOGE: GHOST HUNTER expands the original text of Charles Dickens’ classic with all-new scenes of malicious ghosts, soul-devouring wraiths, deadly doppelgangers and other terrors from the netherworld. Our story opens seven years after Marley’s violent death. Ebenezer Scrooge has given up ghost hunting and embraced an inevitable slow death by alcohol poisoning. When the spectre of his deceased partner appears to him on Christmas Eve, Scrooge learns that he must face three Ghosts – one who will try to help him, one who will try to harm him and one that cannot be killed. 

In a story that spans a lifetime of torment, Scrooge must face the demons of his past and his failures in the present in order to prevent the horror that is his future. The stakes for Scrooge’s soul have never been higher than in this wicked retelling of the classic, A Christmas Carol. 


The key, being primarily iron and ornamented with scrolled silver, fit the lock of the store room around back of the counting house. It was to here that Scrooge retired, shoving the key into the equally ornamented lock and turning it home. He did not light a lamp immediately but stood much like a ghoul himself in the gloom of the store room.

There in the shadows lay the real tools of Scrooge and Marley’s trade. Iron implements inlaid with silver runes, lanterns attached to mirrors designed to cast the brightest possible light, black powders that could ignite in an instant, herbs and salts to smudge and disperse the spirits. And darker still, vials of blood to draw the energies in and trap the worst of the ghouls that walked the earth.

“With a sigh of a man who had done the same for years gone by, Scrooge moved a few ancient logs from a dusty woodpile and onto the small hearth. He threw a handful of black powder on the pyre and struck it alight with a practiced swipe at the flint stone. The flames lit the room with a bright, hot heat and then died down to a small flicker as the mummified logs struggled to catch. Scrooge knew he could have easily struck the logs alight without the powder, but the resulting smell of burning sulfur suited his melancholy mood.

Pulling a small flask from his deep pockets, Scrooge set about his task. As he had done every year on the anniversary of Marley’s death, Scrooge inspected the store room. With a practiced hand, he examined the protection wards on the doors and windows, feeling for weaknesses and looking for signs of molestation. Satisfied that the room was undisturbed, he drew up a hard stool, much like it’s twin in the counting house, and taking another long swig from his flask, proceeded to pull every weapon, tool and instrument of his defunct craft to his lap where he inspected, polished and cared for each one in turn. Not for the first time, Scrooge wondered about his old trade, ghoul hunting, and how the counting house had started as a front for this passion. With the passage of time and one death too many, the two professions had switched roles with the counting house taking prominence and ghoul hunting being regulated to a hobby mostly forgotten. Scrooge hadn’t taken a case since Marley’s demise.

Once Scrooge had satisfied himself as to the quality of the tools of his former trade, with the flames guttering in the hearth, he pulled out an old fob watch of his former partner. “For you, you sorry bastard,” Scrooge toasted before tilting back his flask and finding nothing but air, as he had drank the contents during the “dischargement of his annual duties. He shrugged and stood, having to check his balance against the dusty doorjamb and leaving the final flickers of fire to burn themselves out, locked up the store room and stumbled out into the cold and foggy night.


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