The Risks of Paranormal Writing

The Risks of Paranormal Writing

Posted on April 23 by Rhonda Parrish in Non-fiction, Recent Releases
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None of it would have happened if I hadn’t taken a risk.

I’d long wanted to write a book about the haunted hospital near my house, but I didn’t know where to start or how to balance things or… well, anything. I just felt like it had a story I wanted to tell, something about the history and the rumours about ghosts and hauntings.

Then I went to a convention where Mark Leslie was talking. Mark Leslie who wrote books about haunted locations across Canada. Mark Leslie who would, I thought after doing some research and watching him interact with other people, probably make a pretty good co-author for a project like the one I wanted to do.

So I sat down beside him and said, “I live near a haunted hospital.” That eventually lead to Mark suggesting we work on a book together (my nefarious plan came together!) which, in turn, lead to me meeting Rona Anderson.

I was looking for people who had stories about the haunted hospital and Rona answered the call. We talked for several hours. Not just about her experiences at the “haunted” Charles Camsell hospital but also at other locations around the city. She and her partner Ben had so many stories, many of which weren’t appropriate to share in a book specifically about haunted hospitals, but would be an awesome fit for something with a slightly wider theme. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. The possibilities.

Finally, I couldn’t resist any longer. I took another risk and dropped Rona an email, “Hey, do you want to meet for lunch?” I asked. “I’ve got something I want to talk to you about.”
While we devoured some amazing sushi, I pitched her on my idea—I’ll bring my writing ability and you bring your stories. We’ll meet in the middle and make something cool. She agreed.
Over the course of more than a year we met up about once a month for her to share her stories with me, or to visit locations together. Then there was historical research and a handful of additional interviews to gather more stories — a whole book’s worth.

And thus, eventually, Eerie Edmonton came to be.

But it wouldn’t have happened if any one of a number of people hadn’t been willing to take a risk, starting with me talking to Mark. 

There are smart risks and not-so-smart risks, of course, and knowing the difference between the two is the subject for a novel (which I’m not qualified to write) more than a blog post, but when the greatest thing you’re risking is someone saying no… well, sometimes if you screw your courage up and take a chance good things can happen.

And good books too.




Rhonda Parrish

Posted by Kendra on June 7, 2016
Rhonda Parrish photo

Rhonda Parrish

Rhonda Parrish is the co-author of Haunted Hospitals. She has also been published in Tesseracts 17: Speculating Canada from Coast to Coast and Imaginarium: The Best Canadian Speculative Writing. She lives in Edmonton.