Skip to content

Guest blogger: Rachael Johns

9 May 2021

My three ghosts

Do you believe in ghosts? I love reading about them in fiction and watching documentaries and movies about them. Sure, they can be scary, but mostly to me, ghosts are simply characters who still have a story to tell or something important to do. It’s probably no surprise then that so far, I’ve written three books that feature three very different ghosts, for three very different reasons.

It’s hard to talk about my ghosts without giving you spoilers, but I’d like to introduce you to them as best I can.

Ghost #1: Outback Ghost—my ghost in this book befriends a little girl and helps solve a twenty-year mystery. This ghost is a child herself and writing a young ghost was both heartbreaking and a lot of fun.

Ghost #2: Talk of the Town—this ghost lives alone in a very old building until another single woman moves in. Like the little girl in Outback Ghost, this ghost’s life was cut short long before time and she’s never recovered from the unjustness of her death. She’s a sad ghost who just wants someone to know the truth and thus welcomes the friendship of the heroine.

Ghost #3: How to Mend a Broken Heart—this ghost lives in an old house in the Garden District of New Orleans and, like all ghosts, its death was tragic and has had long-lasting effects on its loved ones. Zoe, one of my main characters, freaks out when she first interacts with it, but fairly quickly, she changes her tune, instead wanting to find out who exactly it is and if she can help them.

In all my novels, the ghosts are complete characters with their own backstory, goals and dreams, but they usually also help the main characters come to terms with unfinished business themselves. I like writing ghosts because we know so little about paranormal activity that you can really do what you want. If you want your ghost to appear to people, you can. If you want them to talk, you can. If you want them to be able to move things around and freak people out, go for it. While saying that, I do like my ghost stories to be within the realm of possibility, and I definitely keep that in mind when writing a ghost character.

I think sometimes ghosts get a bad rap—mine are all very good people, who died in tragic circumstances and want to help their loved ones in the current world before they can peacefully move on to whatever comes next.

For all my ghost stories, I’ve researched ghost-hunting and paranormal activity, but for this book specifically I went on a number of ghost tours when I visited New Orleans, and listened to intriguing stories about haunted buildings and interactions people have had with ghosts. Some of them are hilarious and highly unbelievable, others sound pretty realistic and some chill you to the bone.

On my first visit to New Orleans, I’m pretty sure I encountered a ghost myself at the Hotel Montelone, which is reportedly extremely haunted. I went into the lobby restrooms while my two friends waited right outside the door. When I went in, all the other cubicles were empty, and I was alone; when I emerged from my cubicle there was a middle-aged lady powdering her nose. She glanced at me and her expression chilled me—I can’t really even explain why. She was dressed in clothes that looked to be from the 1920s but then, costumes are not unheard of in New Orleans, so I didn’t think anything of it. I went out to my friends and said, ‘Did you see that woman who went in after me?’ And they both looked at me blankly, then told me that no one had gone through the door while they’d been waiting.

I have to believe that maybe I saw a ghost 🙂

Anyway, whether you’ve had your own ghost experience, whether you believe in ghosts or not, I hope you’ll enjoy the ghost in How to Mend a Broken Heart. If you’d like some more ghosts once you’re done with mine, I can highly recommend all Simone St James’ books and also the Inn Boonsboro series by Nora Roberts.

What about you? Have you got any ghost stories to recommend to me?

You can find Rachael here: Website | Facebook | Twitter

How to Mend a Broken Heart

Summer in New Orleans means hot days, long nights, spooky stories and surprising new beginnings.

Felicity Bell has struggled to move on after her marriage broke down. Her ex has found love again, her children have their own lives, and it’s beginning to feel like her only comfort comes from her dog and her job as a taxidermist. So when Flick gets an offer to work in New Orleans for a few months, she’s drawn to the chance to make a fresh start.

Zoe is ready to start a family with her husband, but when he betrays her, she’s left shattered and desperate for a change of scenery. Joining her mother on the other side of the world to drown her sorrows seems the perfect solution.

Although both mother and daughter are wary of risking their hearts to love again, Theo, a jazz bar owner, and Jack, a local ghost hunter, offer fun, friendship and distraction. But all is not as it seems in New Orleans…

A chance meeting with Aurelia, a reclusive artist who surprises them with lessons from her life, prompts Flick and Zoe to reassess what they want too. Can all three women learn from the past in order to embrace their future?


  1. 11 May 2021 7:15 am

    Fabulous post Rachel!

  2. 9 May 2021 12:03 pm

    What a great post.

    • Rachael Johns permalink
      10 May 2021 11:47 am

      So glad you liked it!

  3. 9 May 2021 12:01 pm

    Ghosts! One of my favourite topics! Your New Orleans experience gave me goosebumps. I had a spooky few nights in a New York hotel a number of years ago—inexplicable knocks, light anomalies, etc. The experience was so unnerving that I almost switched hotels.

    I recommend ‘Remember Me’ by Christopher Pike, which is a YA told in a ghost’s POV. I first read it decades ago and, indeed, I’ll always remember Shari the ghost!

    ‘How to Mend a Broken Heart’ sounds awesome, Rachael. Congrats!

    • Rachael Johns permalink
      10 May 2021 11:49 am

      Ooh thanks for the Remember Me recommendation. Off to look it up. And thanks re HEART. xx

Comments are closed.