Interview with Paranormal Genealogist, Shannon Bradley Byers

Today I’m welcoming Paranormal Genealogist, Shannon Bradley Byers. Thank you, Shannon for stopping by!

 

 

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

This is always difficult for me because I never know what people would really like to know! I was born in South Carolina, but my daddy worked for the pipeline, so we moved around a lot the first eight years of my life. In 1976, we finally settled right outside of Atlanta and I have been here ever since. In 1993, I had daughter, who is my only child, and in 2003 I met my 2nd husband, David. We married in 2005 and we spend our time on some amazing adventures. I have a passion for good old-fashioned bodice ripping romance books, especially ones by Victoria Holt. In 2006 I was introduced to the time travel romance worlds penned by author Lynn Kurland and each year I look forward to her newest book. A big guilty pleasure of mine is the supernatural romance books by Sherrilyn Kenyon (Team Ash!).

I was given a project in school in 1981, when I was 13 that introduced me to the addicting world of genealogy. I was supposed to write about a “family story” that had been handed down, and interview family member to see what kind of facts I could find about it (remember, this was before the internet!). On my daddy’s side, there was a bare bones story about a civil war soldier that had had enough of the war and decided to quit and walk home, from Virginia to mountains of North Carolina. When he was just a mile or so from home, he was shot and killed by the home guard. That was the beginning of my passion for genealogy. I love it so much, I have spent the last 36 years working on family research for just about anyone that asks me for help. As a side note, if that story sounds familiar to anyone, it would be because my cousin wrote a book in the 90s called Cold Mountain, which was later turned into an award-winning movie where Jude Law played my 3rd great uncle. The book and movie are complete fiction, with almost no resemblance to what really happened. Anyone interested in knowing the real story can visit my website and read all about.

Genealogy aside, I am also on the preservation board and historian for the Wynne-Russell house, a local historic home in our city. I work very closely with our local police as a board member for the citizens police academy and I am a member of our county’s archaeological society.

In what little spare time I have between all of the above and my paranormal pursuits, I work with other people like me who need help understanding their gifts and haunt antique markets looking for old medical equipment.

 

 

How did you become a paranormal investigator? 

When I was 8 years old, we had a book fair at school and it was then that I first laid eyes on the book Haunted Houses by Larry Kettelkamp. I decided right then and there I wanted to find a ghost on my own. Now keep in mind this was 1976 and my exposure to looking for ghosts was limited to the television show In Search of.., things written by Hans Holzer and books like the Time Life series.

My parents were big on our summer vacation spots being “historical” in some way. I spent a lot of time on St. Simons Island taking pictures at Christ Church Cemetery and the Bloody Marsh battlefield. All in the pursuit of that holy grail of paranormal evidence… a picture of an apparition, only to be disappointed weeks later when the film was developed to find out I had not. In a way, I miss film cameras, but I definitely do not miss the “wait” time of film developing.

When David and I met, we found out quickly that we both had a huge interest in the paranormal, so it was only natural that we start looking for ghosts together. This was 2003 and there was a lot more out there in the way of paranormal research, but it was still before the multitude of television shows. We went to as many historical places, cemeteries and spooky places as we could and conducted our own experiments.

In 2010, I started trying to join other groups of likeminded people, thinking that a historical researcher would be an asset, but no one would ever get back with me. In 2013 we spent a couple of months with a friend that was forming a group, but para-drama got in the way and David and I decided that we would just keep doing our own thing like we always had. The problem was, because groups of “ghost hunters” were misbehaving, historical places did not want to let us in without a resume. That was when we decided to “organize.” We came up with a name, joined the wonderful world of social media and I spent all my time sending out letters practically begging places to let us investigate and filling in the gaps with private residential and business clients around the southeast. Now, with the references we have, it is much easier to get into places that most cannot, so we just keep doing what we love as a husband and wife team.

 

 

You’re the “Paranormal Genealogist”. Tell us about that?

Many years ago, I saw an episode of one of the paranormal shows that highlighted a true crime that I had studied since I was a child, the Pearl Bryan murder (I have always had a morbid fascination with Victorian murders). Well imagine my shock and surprise when they started presenting “facts” that I knew to be untrue. Before that time, I had not realized that we were being fed a line of untruths on these shows in the way of the history they presented. That was when I really started looking into the real stories of places like Bobby Mackey’s Music World, the Old Charleston Jail, the Exorcist House, Waverly Hills Sanitarium, Sloss Furnace, etc. I used all my genealogy research skills to tract down information on the people, town, and structures that could be backed up with documented facts. I had been doing that kind of research on my own cases anyway because I am a FIRM believer that you cannot conduct an effective investigation without knowing the history. I quickly found out that most of the information we were being fed on television shows and movies was misappropriated or just plain made up so, in the interest of getting the real information out there, the Paranormal Genealogist was born. Now, I spend my time giving lectures and seminars on the real histories of these places and how you go about tracking down the information. It is my opinion that giving false history on the people that died (or did not die) at these places shows a level of disrespect that is unconscionable.

 

 

Being an empath, have you always known that you had this ability? And would you consider it a gift or a curse, or maybe even a little bit of both?

No, I have not always known, but looking back, I should have. Metaphysical things were not taught in my household when I was growing up so I had absolutely no understanding of what an empath was. As a young child and into my teen years I was described as “tender hearted” or having the ability to relate to others in a weird way, but that did not really do a whole lot in teaching me that being an empath was a “thing.” I am a southern girl, and during the time I was growing up, we still brought the dead home and laid them out in the living room so being around death never bothered or affected me other than being sad that person was no longer physically in my life. Several years ago, I lost a close friend and it was the first time I had felt complete and utter devastation by a loss. It was at that time I sought out help to understand things I had always “known” but did not understand. This was when I learned about being both an empath and a deadseer. My mentor made me realize that many things I had never understood as a child made perfect sense. For some unknown reason, I had a very hard time with my 47th birthday. As a birthday gift, my mother wrote me a long letter that detailed our lives together. That letter meant a lot to me on different levels, but there is a portion where she talks about when I was around 18 months old and she would get up every night and find me sitting up in bed talking to the “angels in the corner of my room.” It was like a flood light had been turned on for me and where maybe before that I had looked on my abilities as both a gift AND a curse, I realized what a precious gift it is IF I work with it as it was intended to be. Since that time, I have never referred to it as a “curse.”

 

 

What was the inspiration behind writing your book, “How Not To Be A Ghost Hunter”?

In 2016, a colleague and I were lamenting for the hundredth time about all the groups out there posting on Facebook and the web about their “ghost hunts” and “evidence” they had captured. A few things have bothered me for years about groups that have popped up since the television shows became so prominent. First is the fact that they think they can watch these shows and know exactly how a paranormal investigation should be conducted. Another problem is getting them to realize that their “evidence” is nothing but normal occurrences (again, thanks to television). They simply do not realize the damage they can cause and the dangers for themselves, their clients, and the spirits they may encounter. One of my biggest gripes are the people that go to a location to experiment and then just leave with no follow through for either the client or the spirit(s) who many times, are just wanting help.

My husband and I are on the preservation board for a historic home in our city, and we have been investigating there for years. To raise money for the never-ending things that have to be repaired, we hold history/paranormal tours and in the fall people can donate to investigate with us, (100% of their donation goes to the preservation fund). During the summer of 2016, we decided to hold a workshop fundraiser for the house, similar to the talks we give at DragonCon, a kind of “normal paranormal” class. Because I loathe being called a “ghost hunter,” I came up with the class name of “How NOT to be a Ghost Hunter” and wrote a 60-page book to give to the participants. I shared the book with some other colleagues and the feedback was incredible. The consensus was that I should write it as an actual book and publish it. I spent the fall rewriting, tweaking, and having it edited so I could release it in January of 2017. It does not included anything “metaphysical” because the focus was for people to understand just what it is to be a paranormal researcher and how different it is from television.

 

 

Where can readers get their very own copy of your book?

It can be purchased as a paperback or kindle version on Amazon or in e-format on iTunes.

 

 

What’s next for Shannon Bradley Byers?

I am constantly working on research to debunk the haunted fakelore of locations featured on TV, but along with that, I have two more nonfiction books in the works as well as a fiction one that I have been working on for years. Unfortunately, with a full time job and my non-work related schedule, finding time to write is extremely difficult… OR when I do have time to work on them, I get hit with a case of writers block! The next few months are going to be busy between private investigations, an archaeology dig, and teaching another paranormal class as a fundraiser. As of right now, my next big “event” is The ScareFest in Lexington, KY this fall since I have decided to forego speaking at the 2017 Dragon Con. If all goes according to plan, my next book will be out in September 2017.

 

 

Any advice for future paranormal investigators?

Before you get your first piece of equipment, come up with a catchy name, or buy your t-shirts, the first thing you need to ask yourself is “why do I want to do this?” The answer to this question will determine many things. If it is just for thrill seeking, you might want to rethink your decision. As in all things, thrill seeking can have detrimental effects on yourself and others. People have been trying to use science to prove the existence of the afterlife for centuries and you are going to have to be comfortable with the fact that it will never be a recognized “science.” There is just no way to come up with a hypothesis and test your theories because you cannot get the same results every single time you do an investigation, and consistent verifiable results is the basis of science. There will always be roadblocks along the way. People will tell you that you are wasting your time, or that you are nuts or that you are going to hell for talking to dead people. Just remember why you decided on doing it in the first place. I hope that your reason is to help.

 

 

 

 

“Interview with Adrian Lee”

Today I’m welcoming psychic, paranormal investigator and author, Adrian Lee! Thank you, Adrian for stopping by!

 

 

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I am the founder of The International Paranormal Society and a member of the Luton Paranormal Society in England. I have comprehensively investigated ghosts and paranormal activity all over the globe. I first became interested in the paranormal after experiencing several events in my childhood home. In adult life the idea progressively intrigued me that I could interface with the dead from a historical perspective. I first came to Minnesota early in 2008 to work on several paranormal video productions, and I spent two years working in Minneapolis as the national and international news correspondent for a live paranormal talk radio show on 100.3 KTLK. I currently host the only weekly paranormal news quiz show, More Questions than Answers.
My paranormal investigations are informed by my clairvoyance. I see detailed pictures in my third eye presented to me by the deceased. This allows me to have a very precise communication with the spirits. I also have the skill of remote viewing and clairsentience. In my youth my psychic sensitivities were dormant for some time. It was only through my work with other sensitives and through being exposed to various kinds of paranormal contact–coupled with my own personal psychic development, that I developed to where I can now utilize those skills freely. Like any other ability my clairvoyance continues to evolve and is becoming stronger through the implementing of structures surrounding my design for life, critical introspection, and practice.
I have also written the books Mysterious Minnesota: Digging up the Ghostly Past at 13 Haunted Sites and How to be Christian Psychic, What the Bible says about Mediums, Healers and Paranormal Investigators. I currently lecture on all aspects of the paranormal including ghosts, UFOs, psychic development, and angels.

 

 

At what age did you discover that you were psychic? And how have you lived with this ability, do you consider it a gift or a curse?

It is definitely a gift. I have trouble understanding those that complain about it being a curse when we have been given the unique ability to help, heal, and save others—whoever saves one life saves the world entire.
I saw entities in my bedroom when I was a small child growing up in east London—I believed one of them to be my great-grandmother. I described these phenomena to my parents and my father replied by saying, if it was my great-grandmother, then she would not want to hurt me, as she loved me. This is true and I have taken this concept through into my life of investigating the paranormal. Ghosts just reflect the society in which they were born and lived, and people (despite what the media would have us believe) are generally friendly and loving. If you fell over on the sidewalk, or broke down in your car, most people would stop and help.
The only issues I’ve had with ghosts and spirits is when they did not want me on their property, or I was considered the enemy (especially when investigating places like Fort Snelling in Minnesota, which was constructed to stop the British from coming back down from Canada). If individuals were mean and miserable when they were alive, then they are mean and miserable when they are dead—and who doesn’t know people like that now in their own lives. You keep the same humanity and personality when you die, you just lose your physical self.
I have gained the ability through meditation and a design for life to be able to turn my psychic skills on and off when I choose. So I am not bothered by spirits when I am walking through the grocery store or when I am in the shower.

 

 

You’re also a healer, tell us about that.

Many years ago I was the guest at a paranormal investigation being held in a disused Victorian School House in Derbyshire, England. The event was run by the respected British psychic and healer, Annette Moss. She told me during the event that I was a natural healer and that she would teach me to be a Reiki healer. I embraced the chance and studied Reiki and healing energy.
Over the course of my healing practice I have witnessed the most incredible transformations and healing taking place in the individuals I have worked with—in many cases baffling the medical profession by removing or curing disease and illness. Science is always playing catch-up to man’s wisdom. During the modernity of the scientific age of discovery we threw out much of our wisdom and knowledge in favor of what science could prove was right or wrong. Only recently has science discovered and recorded energy and auras being emitted from living creatures and plant-life. It has now recognized that energy can be transmitted from one person to another—so science is slowly catching up. Up until 1992 science said there were only nine planets, today we have found thousands. That is not to say they did not exist before 1992, just that science could not prove they existed.
Last year I had the privilege of healing a horse back from near death with pneumonia, so I am looking forward to working more with more animals in the future—that was a very touching and profound experience for me.

 

 

Being a paranormal investigator and founder of The International Paranormal Society, how do you incorporate your abilities into an investigation? And what has been your most challenging case thus far?

My psychic abilities are used on investigations just like any other piece of equipment. In an ideal world I would want to spend the beginning of an investigation annotating the psychic information I am receiving from the ghosts and spirits in the property. We investigate historically important sites and I am looking to bring history back from the lips of the dead—adding to the canon of American history by unwrapping information that has long since been lost to the knowledge of man.
Having created a large document of names, dates, and events psychically, we would then use the equipment to cross collaborate my findings—so we have empirical evidence backing up my psychic skills. After the investigation I would then find the individuals and the events the spirits spoke of within secondary source materials, like: newspaper archives, books, obituaries, banking details and censors records. I then find historically the individuals that I had not previously been aware of. This is a very powerful tool in proving that an afterlife exists and it is difficult to argue with from a skeptic’s perspective.
The most challenging aspect of investigating comes from the weather conditions or the state of the property I am investigating in. Ghosts and spirits in general don’t give me any issues and they want to be recognized and written about—these individuals are other people’s great-grandparents and great great-grandparents.
I investigated in the town of Long Prairie in Todd County, Minnesota, and it was so cold in the disused opera house that the ink froze in my pen. I have been in the bottom of several historic cargo freighters on a frozen Lake Superior up to my knees in lake water, oil, peeling paint, and other detritus. I guess I am learning that in the Midwest there is no such thing as the wrong weather, just the wrong clothing.
I am asked to remove darkness and Biblically evil entities from locations and properties but I have progressively found that they have removed themselves before I arrive—who is going to stick around to be banished if they know we are coming. The key is to stop them coming back into the property once we have departed, by anointing doorframes and windows, by blessings and using prayers, positive intensions, and clearing ceremonies. The use of salt is very effective and is found in Holy water, as well as many other religious beliefs.

 

 

You’re the author of several books such as How To Be A Christian Psychic: what the Bible says about Mediums, Healers, and Paranormal Investigators…. Mysterious Minnesota: Digging up the Ghostly Past at 13 Haunted Sites….. Tales From A Pioneer Town: the Earliest Stories of Sauk Centre, Minnesota….. and The Haunting & History Of The Christie House.
What was your inspiration to write them and where can readers go to purchase their very own copies?

I am a historian by trade and I lectured history all over Europe. As a historian you are solely dealing with secondary source materials as described above. We do not have a time machine and we were not there. So we collate all the information and present it how we think it may been have been back in that time period. As a psychic and paranormal investigator I can interview someone that was living in 1863 and actually ask them what it was like—just like asking your living granddad what he did during the war. This is now primary source material and I am uncovering history that has been lost and never seen before, this is very exciting and I feel like a cross between Indiana Jones and Sherlock Holmes. It is also unique and no one else is writing books in this manner.
My books can be found in every online bookstore and can be ordered by the well-known multinational book stores found around the US and the rest of the world (if they do not have a copy on their shelves). Please remember when you have read any book that you have enjoyed to leave a positive comment on Amazon. Ninety percent of all book sales are now sold through Amazon and any comments you leave allow the publisher, the author, and the distributor to keep promoting that author’s work—and will allow the writer to publish more in the future.

 

 

More Questions than Answers is your paranormal news radio show. Mind telling everyone about your broadcast and where can listeners tune in?

More Questions than Answers is the only paranormal news quiz show on the planet. We search the world for stories of the paranormal, strange and bizarre, and we test each other’s knowledge. It is a witty and comedic show with a guest panel. It is listened to by over 100,000 people a week in over 190 countries.
The fan mail I receive from all over the world is truly remarkable and humbling—it makes you realize that whether you live in Brazil, Serbia, Vietnam, the Philippines or Egypt, we can all laugh and get on together in the common love of the oddly intriguing and morbidly fascinating.
We broadcast every Friday central time at 8pm of the Dark Matter Digital Network http://www.darkmatterdigitalnetwork.com or you can listened to all of our archives from the last four years anytime visiting http://www.soundcloud.com/mqtaradio. You can also find us on Stitcher, I-Tunes and Tunein Radio.

 

 

What’s next for Adrian Lee, any upcoming projects?

As always I have about five books on the go all at once. I am working on several titles that I hope to have published this year including: Ghosts and UFOs, are they the same? and More Mysterious Midwest. I have expos and events solidly booked for every weekend throughout spring, where I will be a keynote speaker and psychic reader. I am also touring and signing my latest book: Mysterious Midwest, Unwrapping Urban Legends and Ghostly Tales from the Dead. Recent Grammy winner David Ellefson of Megadeth has written the forward to this book. I am filming a paranormal show with him in April with several other celebrities.
Due to its success I am also publishing a second edition of my first book Mysterious Minnesota with a forward written by the author Antonia Felix. I am always busy but I love being active and squeezing every minute out of every day.

 

 

Where can fans follow you and your work?

I have several websites where people can access my events or book a reading or healing:
http://www.IntParanormal.net
www.AdrianLeePsychic.com
You can find my books at: https://www.amazon.com/Adrian-Lee/e/B0089NMD4Q/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1
On Twitter I am: @Adrian_Lee_TIPS
Or search for More Questions than Answers with Adrian Lee on Facebook. You can write to me at AdrianLee.Author@yahoo.com

 

 

Any advice you’d care to share?

Two things that I consider to be very important. Firstly, learn to meditate, this is the quickest way to improve any psychic abilities and to develop your own sensitivities. There are some great guided meditations you can find on YouTube, search for the ones that suit you best and get started.

Secondly, show no fear. If you write a book or place yourself in the public eye then people will try and shoot you down and write negative things about you—it is an unfortunate part of the human condition. But for every negative comment that is written, another twenty people will say that you have given them life changing healing, valuable advice, or connected them to a loved one that has turned their life around.
Do not let fear stop you from being successful, or let people judging you stop you from achieving your potential, your dreams, your hopes. Go onto Amazon now and look at the negative reviews written for some of my books, when those individuals have never even read them—the lies, the vitriol, the hatred. Then look at the many positive, remarkable, and amazing reviews. I am not concerned in the slightest by those negative comments, if I am not upsetting someone then I am doing something wrong—it is a sign of gaining success and a reflection of where those people are in their own journeys. Not a single negative comment will ever stop me from fulfilling my dreams, writing my books, broadcasting my shows, healing, or investigating. Working with the dead all day has made me realize what it is to be alive…so show no fear!

 

 

Intelligent & Residual Hauntings: What Are They?

(Originally published on August 3, 2014)

 

Ok, everyone’s heard of Casper the Friendly Ghost, right? You know, the cute transparent guy who floats around through walls? If all the hauntings were as adorable as him, then that would be pretty amazing and all the little kiddies wouldn’t be so afraid of the things that go bump in the night.

Well, let’s take a step back and face reality here. Some hauntings can be pretty frightening and down right mind-numbing. Did you know that there are actually two known types of hauntings? Yes, intelligent and residual…

An intelligent haunting is when the spirits can interact with the living, a type of energy that DOES have consciousness. These spirits may find ways of communication much like the ways discussed in my previous blog titled, The Afterlife ~ A Corporeal’s Transition, or the spirits can often communicate through the use of a voice box; a tool that is used to collect electronic voice phenomena (EVPs). Spirits of intelligent hauntings are known to interact with the living by attempting physical contact as well. For instance, spirits can be playful in nature and a person may feel their hair being pulled or a gentle touch when no one else is to blame for the action. However, other spirits of intelligent hauntings may not be as friendly and the living can experience a sense of malevolence and often these types of spirits are more negative with their contact and might even try to inflict harm upon the living. Many people do try to provoke this type of haunting and I strongly recommend using extreme caution because one never knows what can happen. So, be wise and be careful.

The second type of haunting is known as a residual haunting. It’s more like a supernatural experience that resembles a recording of past energy. For instance, like hearing footsteps walking down an empty hallway when no one is there. It’s believed that in a location where someone has released a large amount of energy or heightened emotions were experienced and the energy attaches or “imprints” itself. As a result of the abiding energy, individuals in the future may get to experience seeing a type of “recording” of these events. Some signs of a residual haunting may be the absence of interaction from the spirit. As if the spirit doesn’t acknowledge the presence of the living person. The spirit will almost seem totally oblivious to anything that’s occurring in it’s presence.

Another sign of a residual haunting is the energy that is felt can often be quite intense for the individual experiencing it, but this isn’t anything that should be feared. The energy can also be the result of the interruptions to electricity and electrical appliances. It’s also very possible for things in the immediate area to change. For example, doors opening and shutting. Once again, this is simply energy. The spirit is completely not applying any conscious effort to these activities.

Throughout the years, I have experienced both types of hauntings. They were very mild in nature and I never felt threatened. I’ve heard footsteps jaunting down an empty hallway and creaking down an old set of stairs. I’ve seen electrical disturbances when there was no accountable reasoning for anything else. I have even experienced the gentle touches from spirits on several occasions.

So, now you know there are two kinds of hauntings. If you’ve had any experiences, please feel free to comment and share! 🙂

 

 

Get a copy of my novel, The Spirit Within on Amazon!

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Twitter: @sheilarparker.

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Facebook: Sheila Renee Parker – Author

 

 

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“The Spirit Within” (Painting by Sheila Renee Parker)

“They say that eyes are windows to the soul. But when the eyes are looking back, what do you think they see, truth or mystery?

Explore where the awakening begins and discover The Spirit Within.”

 

 

 

Get a copy of my novel, The Spirit Within on Amazon!

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Twitter: @sheilarparker.

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Facebook: Sheila Renee Parker – Author

 

 

“The Spirit Within” ~ Painting by Sheila Renee Parker. Prints available at: http://fineartamerica.com/featured/the-spirit-within-sheila-renee-parker.html

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YouTube, Radio & Facebook… Oh My!!!

Hello all you beautiful people! Hope everyone’s doing well. For me, the week has been off to another fabulous start. I’ve been pretty busy lately and wanted to share some exciting things with you!

 

Firstly, a very dear friend of mine created this YouTube video for my novel, The Spirit Within. I’m so ecstatic, it was put together quite beautifully!

 

 

Secondly…. Recently, I was the guest on Spaced Out Radio with host, Dave Scott. We had a lot of fun discussing the paranormal, my novel: The Spirit Within and even talked about the ability of being an empath, which I openly discuss that I am. We also had a great time answering questions from the listeners. For those of you who weren’t able to tune in at the time of broadcasting, here is the link……

 

 

And thirdly….  In the near future, here on my site, a few changes will be made. For instance, a brand new banner has been beautifully designed that I’m extremely happy about. Also, a lot of people have been asking if my artwork is available for purchase. The answer is yes. So, as part of the upcoming changes, I will be adding a place here on my site where my artwork can be purchased. I’ve even went live on Facebook discussing my site’s changes. If you would like to check out my “Go Live” video, here it is…. Changes to my site, sheilarparker.wordpress.com

Be sure to connect with me on Facebook as I “Go Live” with upcoming news!

Facebook: Sheila Renee Parker

 

Thanks everyone!!! Remember to always…. Be Original. Be True. Be YOU!!!

Love & Light,

~ Sheila

 

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Twitter: @sheilarparker.

 

 

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Interview: Sheila Renee Parker

Hi everyone, last week I shared with you all a review of my novel, The Spirit Within that had been conducted by Kev Milsom of Ink Pantry. Kev also interviewed me for the site…. and here is that interview. Hope you enjoy! 🙂 http://www.inkpantry.com/inky-interview-author-sheila-renee-parker-by-kev-milsom/

 

 

Posted on 10th August 2016 by

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Hello Sheila! It’s great to meet you! I’d love to start the interview by learning about the foundations of your interest in literature. Who are/were your literary heroes, and what types of writing/authors inspired you as a younger reader?

As a young reader my love for scary stories and suspenseful tales began to emerge. I was quickly drawn to the masterful creations written by Stephen King and Anne Rice. Another author I became a huge fan of was V. C. Andrews. And my all-time favourite poet has always been Edgar Allan Poe.

Are the characters in The Spirit Within based on real people, and is there anything of Sheila Renee Parker in the main character, Cassy Blakemore? Additionally, what sparked your initial inspiration for planning and writing this novel?

The characters in my novel The Spirit Within are characters relatable to everyday life. I wanted to write a story that seemed realistic enough to pull the reader in, making them feel like they were a part of the story as well. I put all my heart into creating every character. So, is there anything of me in Cassy? The answer is yes, because even though Cassy Blakemore is a fictional character, she finds the strength to overcome life’s crazy obstacles by discovering the spirit within.

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Your book focuses strongly on aspects of parapsychology and the paranormal. Have you always been interested in these subjects and is this something that has been created by personal experiences? If so, then has this changed your life and outlook in any particular ways; spiritually, emotionally or mentally?

The paranormal has always been a part of my life, simply meaning not only have I been interested in the subject but because I’ve had paranormal experiences ever since I was a small child. I’ve had encounters with shadow people, a terrifying Ouija Board experience, been touched by spirits and have even heard them as well. I’m also an empath. I can easily detect the energies of both the living and the dead. Writing about and researching the paranormal helps me to find answers to my own questions regarding the unknown. It has definitely changed my life by opening my mind and expanding my perception of things in every way possible.

Could you give our readers an idea of how you prepare for writing, Sheila? Is there one specific area or location that you always use for creative writing, or are you more flexible and spontaneous in your approach? Also, are you one who writes via computer, notebook or bits of both?

Oh, I am definitely flexible about where I write. My process begins with paper and pen. I jot everything down in a notebook then I transfer it all onto my laptop. Why do I do it this way? Simply because I find it much easier to carry around my notebook and pen wherever I go. It doesn’t matter where I am, if I get the sudden urge of a great idea, that’s when I write it down. I even keep paper and pen on my nightstand by my bed just in case a spark of imagination ignites.

Outside of writing, what are your interests, and do these involve any other forms of creative expression?

I absolutely love art. My favourite artist is Leonardo Di Vinci. Aside from writing, art is another beautiful form of expression that I openly embrace. The mediums I use when creating a painting vary between acrylics and watercolours. Samples of my artwork can be found on my site https://sheilarparker.wordpress.com/art-poetry/.

Going back to literature, what are you reading at the moment and what types of book do you like to read as a form of relaxation? Does this include non-fiction as well as fiction?

I like to read uplifting stories as a form of relaxation. Something light-hearted with a positive message is always welcomed regardless if it’s fictional or non-fictional. A book that I often refer to from my shelf is Mike Dooley’s Notes from the Universe. I highly recommend it to anyone.

Huge thanks for sharing your thoughts with our readers, Sheila. It’s always a pleasure to learn new thoughts and perspectives from writers and authors. Finally, what’s on the drawing board for the remainder of 2016 and 2017? Are there any new projects in mind?

To continue with the writing of the sequel to my novel The Spirit Within. It’s been a work in progress, but I promise my readers that I am definitely getting it done! I am extremely excited about the continuation of Cassy Blakemore’s tale of self discovery as more secrets unfold with more intense supernatural detail. Also, compelling weekly articles posted on my website https://sheilarparker.wordpress.com/ that discuss the various topics regarding the paranormal, including my own personal ghostly encounters and interviews with some pretty amazing people like paranormal investigators, film directors, actors, TV show hosts and authors just to name a few. 2016 to 2017 are full of phenomenal plans, stay tuned!

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