This Is a Coming-Of-Age Story

Joseph Stone Author Interview

A Perfect Night follows a young girl who witnesses her mother’s death and discovers that her family has paranormal abilities and dark secrets. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

Over cocktails, a dear friend of mine named Fran once revealed how she and several of her family members have been haunted all their lives. Some siblings are more attuned to the spirits than others, but all have had multiple encounters with them. Growing up in her aunt’s home, several angry spirits caused so much havoc that Fran won’t return to the house even for a visit to this day.

What struck me most about Fran’s stories was her insistence that her mother’s spirit has been with her ever since the woman died. She plays pranks on Fran, hiding trinkets for days or weeks, only to return them somewhere unmistakable, like on Fran’s pillow before she goes to bed. I’ve always been interested in ghosts and the occult, but the idea of a parent remaining on earth to guard over their child struck a unique chord with me.

Frances is traumatized at a young age and as she grows learns more about herself and her family’s past. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

This is a coming-of-age story, and if the challenges of puberty aren’t a great set-up for a horror novel, I don’t know what is. Frances must learn to become a successful adult while shouldering heavy baggage. She’s lost her mother, her father has abandoned her, and she finds herself planted in her aunt’s house with other children and zero privacy for the first time. Further, she’s dealing with a ghost who does terrible things to discipline her, all of which Frances condones because she believes they are her mother’s loving and deserved punishments.

This story focuses on how someone in these unique situations finds her voice in the chaos. My ultimate goal for Frances is to overcome her fears and take charge of the legacy she’s about to be handed by the other haunted women in her family.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

I wanted to approach themes of misogyny and women’s rights in the early 1970s. Aunt Laura gives Frances quite an education about women’s sexual identity and the mores of the times they live it. There’s an entire chapter where she schools her niece on the word ‘slut.’ Laura insists Frances understand what it truly means when she calls another girl (or woman) a slut, and how she will not tolerate its use by a member of her household.

Several young readers have pointed out to me how strange they found that conversation. To modern youths, that stigma feels like it belongs to a different universe. Much of Generation Z has not only embraced the term, but they’ve also turned it into an honorific title. They feel ‘slut’ now represents feminine empowerment from the patriarchal dogma the word once harbored for their grandmothers.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I am presently writing the third werewolf book in my Lykanos Chronicles for early next year. After that, I will head back into Frances’ mind to write the second Haunted Women novel.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Some family secrets must be kept hidden for generations.

Frances Tarantino has felt her mother’s spirit by her side ever since the woman’s tragic death. Fran’s mother sends beautiful ladybugs to land on her dress whenever she feels lonely or afraid. The little red and orange jewels always bring a smile to the girl’s face. And on those rare occasions when Fran misbehaves, her mother disciplines her. As Fran falls in love for the first time, she learns how dangerous a parent’s discipline can be.

Fran’s grand aunt, Aurora Ciconne, vowed never to take another husband when she became widowed at twenty-two. To a chorus of would-be suitors, she insisted her heart could never belong to another. And now, at fifty-eight, Aurora insists she does not need a man. But in secret, she has always been a bride.

When Fran develops their family’s gift of sight, Aurora searches for a way to free them both from the diabolical enslavement they can speak of to no one else.

The first book of The Haunted Women series follows the lives of two extraordinary women capable of seeing the spectral world—and all they must sacrifice to free themselves from it.

**WARNING: Contains scenes of sexual violence and abuse.**

Posted on May 27, 2022, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.


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