As told to author G G Collins
1. Returning the dead? Really, what were you thinking? “I admit that my judgment was impaired on that occasion. My father died in a car accident a few months earlier, but I thought there was more to it. The Santa Fe PD couldn’t find proof. Then I remember the Hopi ceremony to return the dead. A kindly shaman, Joseph, told me about the ritual in an interview about his people. Things went badly, even though I followed the steps carefully. Maybe it was because I have only a small amount of Native American heritage in my family. You know, kind of a built-in fail-safe for people who have no business performing it. At any rate, my father didn’t come back, but someone did, and he was evil.”
The lobby of La Fonda Hotel in Santa Fe.
The famous and the infamous have walked these Saltillo tiles. Rachel & Chloe try to have quiet meetings here. Copyright G G Collins
2. Why did you become a reporter? “My father was an award-winning journalist for the Albuquerque Journal. He died working on a story. It turned out my father’s story was related to the evil spirit. I guess reporting is in the family blood, although my brother, the mayor of Santa Fe, must have had a transfusion.”
The Shed restaurant bar, where Rachel & Chloe do their best plotting and drinking. Copyright G G Collins
3. You and your friend, Chloe, seem like opposites. How does your friendship work? “Well you got me! She likes boots with high heels and I always wear shoes I can run in. Never know when you might need to make a quick exit. Chloe drinks the most gawd-awful herbal teas and vegetarian meals. I love green-chile-cheese-burritos. (This is New Mexico, green chile is king!) Chloe sells real estate. She’s a multi-million-dollar agent. She co-owns the hottest agency in town. Me, I make terrible money, but even she admits my job is more fun. Chloe’s always ready for a journalistic stakeout. And no matter what you’ve heard, we don’t smoke all that much pot. So are we yin and yang? I think we’re more about tolerance and knowing when not to go there. Somehow we manage to work in quite a lot of fun.”
The Palace of the Governors.
Rachel meets a man here who tells her about astral travel in Lemurian Medium. Copyright G G Collins
4. What’s this about you having a spirit animal? “With the botched ceremony, a sea change occurred. I was chasing an evil presence. Next thing I know, other apparitions appeared. They included a wolf. At first, I thought it was a living wolf (And well, I support the New Mexico Lobos!), but this was something different. It was white and sometimes it glowed. I was afraid at first, but it always seemed to appear when I needed a heads-up. Native Americans believe that animals are endowed with powers. The wolf is considered a pathfinder and is represented by Sirius, the Dog Star, home to ancient teachers. The wolf finally got a name in Lemurian Medium.”
St. Francis Cathedral.
Rachel finds the first clue here in the disappearance of her brother, Santa Fe’s mayor, in Reluctant Medium. Copyright G G Collins
5. Why are you a reluctant medium? “Oh good heavens, that’s been blown all out of proportion. Have you been talking to Chloe? She buys into all things New Age. You see a couple ghosts, and people start calling you a medium. There were some odors I picked up on. That depraved spirit had all kinds of disgusting smells. But I’m a journalist, and we are a fact-based crowd. Just because things happen we don’t understand, doesn’t mean there isn’t an explanation. Unfortunately, I haven’t found it yet, so I’m proceeding with caution and a healthy dose of skepticism.”
The mercado has a prairie dog farm where Rachel finds another clue in the “treasure hunt” to find her brother. Copyright G G Collins
6. What’s the secret to mixing humor with horror? “You’ve heard of black comedy? That’s not quite me, but in real life we all have events that trigger fear, despair and shock. Sometimes in a horrific moment, even if it’s wildly inappropriate, a little humor can sneak in and lighten up a bad situation. But mostly, I’m unconventional and so things that are sacrosanct to others, are fair game to me. Regrettably, I’ve found myself in a few hairy circumstances for which there was no other reaction than all out terror.”
La Fonda, exterior of the Inn at the End of the Old Santa Fe Trail. Copyright G G Collins
7. Tell us about Lemurian Medium. What’s this about a dragon? “First, a friend Stella Dallas—yes, her mother liked actress Barbara Stanwyck—disappeared into a painting at a stylish Santa Fe gallery opening. Next thing I knew, I had to go rescue her via the astral plane. (No, I’m not kidding. G G stays up nights coming up with the strangest ideas possible. But she only has to write them, I have to do all this mind-boggling stuff.) No rest for weary me. There are no maps of the astral plane, it’s all hunt and peck. I didn’t know how to tell who was wearing the white hats. And yes, the rescue plan included a dragon! I’m still sore from that wild ride (Or maybe it was the tree climbing?). One mistake and I could have been forever lost in the cosmos.”
Tent Rocks, New Mexico.
The location of the climatic scene as Rachel faces off with the evil spirit in Reluctant Medium. Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons.
8. What is your author cooking up for your next adventure? “Atomic Medium (Pub date: January 2015, Amazon), is a mix of space aliens and Nazis. I will be traveling to 1945 during The Manhattan Project. This time, Chloe is goes with me. I can just see her now; sans smart phone (She carries four phones!). Evil has once again slipped into Santa Fe using a time warp in the building where The Manhattan Project office was located. Two men are using the portal to give the Nazis one last chance of gaining the upper hand during WWII. Only one person has witnessed the entry of these dangerous men through the doorway to the past. Yup, that’s me. If we can’t stop them, history could be forever changed. It’s no small chore: just save the world.
“Did you say there were scones?”
Author of Reluctant Medium & Lemurian Medium, the Rachel Blackstone Paranormal Mystery Series