Story Inspiration: Kindred Spirits

Kindred Spirits by Jean Marie BauhausSPOILER WARNING: This post contains minor spoilers for Restless Spirits.

Part of the reason why it took me so long to write a sequel to Restless Spirits despite the many requests is that I simply didn’t have any more story to tell in that setting. I knew that Chris would buy the Baird house and live there with Ron and Joe and they would help her in the course of her ghost whispering duties, but that knowledge was enough to satisfy me. I didn’t feel a pressing need to know exactly what it looked like, and whenever I thought hard about it, anything resembling plot details eluded me.

It wasn’t until a few years ago that inspiration finally struck. I was sitting on the floor of my craft room, watching some streaming haunted reality show on Amazon Prime while I cut out scraps of material for a fall decoration. It was actually a couple of different paranormal shows and documentaries that provided the inspiration. But the point is that suddenly I had the elements of a story that would move the spotlight from Ron to her sister Chris and continue her story.

But ironically the inspiration that struck then didn’t end up getting used in Kindred Spirits. One part of that original idea–the part involving a “residual haunting” in which a new spirit found its way into the house because it was attached to an object that was brought in–formed the basis of the mini-sequel Love Letter. The other part, which revolves around Springfield, MO’s Pythian Castle, has been shelved for a later book.

The important thing was that I had begun to have a vision for exactly what a continuation of Restless Spirits looked like. I had a direction for Chris’s life and for Ron’s afterlife and I had an idea of what needed to happen to get there.

As for the exact plot of Kindred Spirits, there was no “Aha!” moment of inspiration. It came together gradually, through a lot of trial and error. The only thing I knew for certain when I started was that Ron’s little sister needed to be elevated from supporting role to primary protagonist–although really, she’s more of a co-protagonist, because Ron’s not willing to give up the spotlight so easily. And I knew that this book would be weighted a little more heavily toward romance, and that it would center around a murder mystery–and let me tell you, figuring out how to write a murder mystery was one of the hardest things about writing this book. Other things I thought were meant for this book turned out to be for further down the line, and I realized on about the third attempt to write it that I needed to  slow the pace. So this book sets the stage for a grander story–one I expect it will take about three more books to tell–putting certain key pieces in place.

The other thing I knew from early on was the theme of this book. Whereas Restless Spirits was ultimately about the lasting nature of love and it’s ability to overcome evil, this book examines the darker side of love and the less than savory things it sometimes drives people to do.

If you’re a fan of strong, snarky heroines, murder mysteries, sweet & spicy romance, romantic banter, sisterly banter, creepy horror elements and supernatural comeuppance, I think you’ll enjoy this book, and I can’t wait for you to read it. And if you’re one of the kind folks who have been waiting six years for a continuation of Restless Spirits, your wish is just a few more weeks away from coming true.

Kindred Spirits comes out June 30th from Vinspire Publishing. Here’s where to pre-order your copy! And when you do, be sure to send a copy of your order confirmation to jean @, and I’ll send you a downloadable thank you gift pack that includes printable bookmarks, coloring pages, and more!

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