Stillwater author Jill Bisker recently published her first novel, “Finding the Way Back,” a paranormal mystery-romance.
“Finding the Way Back” tells the story of a recently divorced woman who moves into her dead grandfather’s house to help fix it up. She soon discovers that a ghostly presence may have ideas of its own.
Brisker described the book as a mix of spooky ghosts, humor and a little romance.
The Gazette recently asked Bisker some questions about herself and the book. Here are her responses:
Q: How did you get interested in writing?
A: As long as I can remember I’ve been making up stories in my head. It has probably made me seem distracted at times. I wrote the first real story that I finished when I was in seventh grade. It would be called fan fiction now, as it was a story set in the Star Wars universe. I went on to take classes on newspaper writing and creative writing as I grew up. For a long while life made me too busy to devote much time for my writing but it was always on my mind. I wrote some short stories and a novel and I kept trying to learn more about the craft until the time was right.
Q: How would you summarize the plot of this book?
A: “Finding 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.
Q: What gave you the idea to write this story?
A: When my husband and I became empty nesters it seemed like a great time to focus on my writing. I started to put together all the things I loved in a story and it seemed to come together. A ghost from beyond, a mystery needing to be solved, quirky characters and vintage finds hidden in an old house. I dream of these things.
Q: Why did you choose to write a book focused on the paranormal?
A: I’ve always loved a good supernatural story — from “Dark Shadows” to “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir,” I couldn’t get enough of them. I collected old Gothic stories and wouldn’t come out of my room until I needed to find another.
When I was 15 my parents bought an old craftsman house that they began remodeling. When some walls were taken down we found things that had been stuck in them – pennies, old newspapers, a pair of sunglasses. It was a fun pastime to make up a history for the items and ghosts always seemed to find a way into the story.
Q: What are the major themes in the story?
A: One of the most important themes was for the main character, Laney. She’s just gotten out of a marriage that was filled with lies and deception. She had put all her old relationships on a back burner to her husband and she lost a big part of who she was by doing so.
Now, she is determined to become true to the person she really is and not let anyone else define her. In the larger context of the story, my themes are redemption and forgiveness. I like to write stories with positive themes.
Q: Who is the primary audience of the book?
A: I’m sure the primary audience would be women from 18 to 80 but I think men might actually enjoy the story as well. There are a few strong words but it doesn’t have anything more than a kiss or two. It’s more of a sweet romance.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
A: I’m grateful to have this chance for my story to be read, and Valley Bookseller in downtown Stillwater is carrying it. It’s a dream come true, as trite as the saying may be. Being published is one of my life’s goals that I wasn’t sure would ever come to fruition. I hope that in some small way I can be an inspiration to someone else who has dreams and goals. None of us knows how long we have, so if there’s something you want to do and achieve, the time to do it is now.
Learn more about Jill Bisker and her book at jillbisker.com.