Monday, July 27, 2009

Ghost for Rent by Penny Lockwood

This middle grade, paranormal, ghost story is aimed at youth in grades four to six. It is approximately 13,280 words, 10 chapters, and 65 pages long. The story begins when eleven year old Wendy Wiles learns her parents are planning to get divorced. Forced to leave her beloved city home for a cheaper country place, Wendy, her mother, and her twelve year old brother move to rural Warren, Oregon.

On move-in day, Wendy meets a neighbor girl who tells her their quaint country home is haunted. Events proceed quickly as Wendy, her new friend, Jennifer, and Wendy’s brother, Mike, see ghostly figures dancing in the woods. Despite Mom’s claims that “there’s no such thing as ghosts,” paranormal events continue to occur in the Wiles’ home. Meanwhile her brother Mike, arch-tease, continues to torment Wendy, claiming he’s causing the unusual happenings.

Wendy searches through library records to get to the bottom of the mystery. Finally with Jennifer’s help, Wendy begins to unravel the truth. At last even Mike can no longer disbelieve and decides to aid Wendy in her search. By the end of the story, the three young sleuths have uncovered an accidental death, a suicide and a murder.



Interview with Penny Lockwood:

1. Why did you write this book?

I actually wrote it as a challenge to myself. Previously, all my material was in the form of non-fiction articles and adult short stories for magazines. My daughter,who was still in middle school when I wrote it, had insisted I wasn't an author because I didn't have a book published. Of course, I had to write a book. I wrote this particular book because I have wanted to write children's stories for a long time. There are a lot of ghost sightings in our area and one of the scenes in the story had been described to me by a friend who experienced the incident. It seemed like a natural story to write. The odd thing is when I was a child, one of my first written stories was "Patty and the Country Ghost." :-)

2. What was hardest to write about this book?

Writing a book was hard for me in general. I am used to writing short stories which are quick, to the point, and don't have a lot of "extra" meat in them. Filling up
a whole novel with description, action, extra characters, etc. took a lot of effort.

3. What did you enjoy writing the most?

I loved coming up with the different ways the ghosts communicated with Wendy, my main character. I one of those people who believe in ghosts. I think that spirits can be "stuck" between planes of existence when something is left unsettled in
the "real" world. I also liked making Wendy a strong female character who won't give in even when the adults in her life are telling her ghosts aren't real.

4. What do you hope folks will get from this book?

Mostly, I hope that children will be entertained. That said, I also would like them to realize that families have problems, but they can be worked through.
Big brothers can be a pain, but they are also there for their siblings when they need to be. Finally, moving from someplace you love isn't always a bad thing. Sometimes you can make new friends and have great adventures.

5. What's next for you?

I am working on a sequel to Ghost for Rent. I hope to have it finished within the year. I've also got a picture book which is in a rewrite stage. Finally, I do a lot of article writing - primarily writing tips, parenting tips, and teen self-help. Lately, I've also done some short stories and articles for children.

Read Penny's blog at


Penny Ehrenkranz said...

Hi Karina,
I was out of town when you posted this. I'm so sorry I missed it. Thanks for your support.

Katie Hines said...

This sounds like a great story! I'm glad you're finally "a writer"!

storylady said...

I have loved ghost stories since I was a kid. I'm sure kids will love it.

Karina Fabian said...

Thanks for commenting guys!

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

Nice review and interview, Karina. Ghost for Rent is a great story. I enjoyed reading it and think most kids will too.