I’m excited to announce that The Ghost Post is now doing interviews with paranormal authors and paranormal investigators. My first paranormal author interview is with Jane Helen Croft. Jane recently published an intriguing ghost story novel with Vanguard Press called The Orb Within. To find out more about Jane or to purchase her book, go to Jane Helen Croft – Author.
Thank you for interviewing with The Ghost Post, Jane!
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I was born in Hitchen, Hertfordshire, UK, in 1963. As a newly published author, I’m extremely proud to say that my ancestry dates to Sir Thomas More – 07/02/1478 – 06/06/1535, later venerated as Saint Thomas More. Not only was this amazing man the author of Utopia, he was also councillor to Henry VIII and former Lord High Chancellor of England. I spent my early childhood in Handsworth, Birmingham UK, and the remainder of my youth, and early adult years, in Lincolnshire, England. In 1989, my family and I emigrated to Sydney Australia.
After working in retail and customer service for many years (alongside raising my five children), in 2004 I moved to the idyllic island of Tasmania. Up until this point, I’d never even contemplated becoming an author, but after a huge life path change, I began using writing as a type of self- therapy, and after sharing my work with close friends, as well as a few unbiased people, I made the decision to submit my manuscript of The Orb Within to Pegasus Publishing House, UK. To my amazement, my novel was accepted first time, the team at Pegasus then offered me a shared contract, and have asked for first refusal on my next two works. These are currently being written.
What made you decide to become a writer?
I’d dreamt of becoming an author for many years, however, being busy raising my five children, it wasn’t until I was in my late forties that I found both the time to start writing, and a hidden ability to create a fictional novel that could instantly capture a reader’s imagination.
Who are your literary influences?
Do you have a favorite book or author?
To be honest, I have no literary influences as such. I do however adore a rather mixed bunch of authors, Maeve Binchy, Bryce Courtney, Matthew Reilly, Virginia Andrews and Tom Sharpe, and have recently been introduced to the works of Jodi Picoult.
Do you have any quirky writing rituals?
Yes, I do have a few routines and rituals I instigate prior to writing. I only write during the night hours. No, I have no vampires in my heritage, I just prefer the quieter hours. There are less distractions, less noise interruptions, and a more relaxing atmosphere. Being English, I must have a constant supply of tea at hand, plus a few biscuits for midnight snacking purposes, my beloved cat Binky needs to be close by, and I like gentle background music playing.
Do you view writing as a spiritual act or practice?
I view my writing as a spiritual practice. The reasons for this are as follows: Whereas a part of me wishes I’d found my writing talent when a lot younger, another part is grateful that the universe enabled me to truly experience life, and death, before I began my literary career. Not only did my past mould me into a more empathetic person, it also expanded my imagination and opened my mind to all possibilities in this world, and the next.
When and how did you become interested in the paranormal?
I was only quite young when I had my first paranormal experience. In fact, it is the vivid memory of this particular incident that was the inspiration behind my first novel, The Orb Within, and is included in the story itself. At the age of five years, I tripped and fell down a flight of stairs, rather than reaching the bottom of the steps in an injured heap though, a spirit woman appeared before me and broke my fall, she then lifted me up, as a mother would a child, placed me gently on my feet in the hallway, stroked my cheek softly, and then disappeared into thin air. This wasn’t my only visit from this sweet-scented entity. I found that at times when I felt sad or lonely, if I sat on the exact stair on which the spirit stopped my tumble, and thought about her, more often than not she’d appear.
Many years after leaving this house, I found out the tragic history of my childhood home. Back in the early 1960’s, on the 24th December (Christmas eve), the father of the family who owned the three-bedroom, semi-detached residence, finished a long night shift and headed home. Rather than following his normal routine of sleeping though, he instead packed his wife and two young children into the family car, filled the boot with luggage and an assortment of presents, and set out on a three-hour drive to visit relatives for the Christmas holidays. An hour into the journey, unable to stop himself drifting off to sleep, the father lost control of the car and steered into an oncoming fuel tanker, the family were all killed instantly.
I am totally convinced that the gentle natured, loving, female entity who was my semi-transparent childhood friend, had been the mother. I feel she was a lost soul, that somehow, she’d became separated from her loved ones upon death, and in search of her beloved children and husband, she’d returned to the place that was familiar to her, the family home.
How do you feel about spirits?
Having encountered many spirits in my time, two of those being my parents who visited me after they’d passed, I accept the afterlife as part of my life, if that makes sense? I have been lucky enough to have been shown that it is only our physical body, our ‘skin suit,’ that dies, not our souls, and that our essence, our very being, is preserved.
What is your view of the afterlife?
From what I’ve studied, observed, photographed, and been told by those who have passed over, is that the afterlife is a place of love, understanding, and constant learning. It is certainly not a place of judgement or punishment.
Do you believe in reincarnation and past lives?
Why or why not?
I do believe in reincarnation and past lives. I’ve read of many instances where reincarnation is impossible to disprove, and I would love to meet someone with a vivid awareness of a past life. I myself seem to have a pull towards the Victorian era for some unknown reason, and because of this strange attraction to the past, I recently made the decision to be regressed to find out more. I’ll update the results once I’ve experienced this process, hopefully with audio tapes.
Tell us about a memorable paranormal experience that you had.
I’ve already ‘spoken’ of my experience with a female spirit in my younger years, but this wasn’t the only encounter I’ve had. After leaving my childhood residence when I was seven years old, we moved into a rental property in the Lincolnshire countryside. Now whereas the bungalow (single level home) itself was built in the 1970’s, the land upon which the estate was erected, happened to be close to the ruins of a Premonstratensian monastery which was founded in 1154. Evidently, in 1537, the abbey became involved in an uprising of some kind, six of the resident canons were executed, the others cruelly evicted, and the whole place was closed down.
For the first few months following the move, all appeared well, however, I suddenly began having horrific nightmares. I couldn’t remember what they were about, but I’d awake absolutely terrified. One night, I was too scared to drop off to sleep, and so my mother had allowed me to keep my bedside lamp on. I was lying on my side, facing the doorway that led out to a long hallway, when a freezing cold blast of air hit my face. An ominous feeling of doom filled my bedroom and I saw a dark shadow appear in the doorway.
Petrified, I tried yelling out for my parents, yet my voice was muted, not a sound would emerge. I attempted to leave my bed, but I couldn’t move, staring in terror at the large black shadow before me. The form suddenly manifested into a monk. He was wearing a cowled robe, which totally masked his face, and his arms were folded across his chest. He stood in the doorway for only a few seconds, before floating off down the hallway and disappearing into the wall. Night after night the hooded monk visited my room. I never did see his face though, neither did he speak, but the feeling of evil that emanated from the spectre was almost palpable. Thankfully, once the legalities of buying our own property were finalized, we left the bungalow.
You recently published your debut novel, The Orb Within, with Vanguard Press.
What is it about?
What was your inspiration for the book?
My debut novel, The Orb Within, tells the story of renowned psychic, Gemma Underwood. Following her marriage to the suave, Robert Langton, Gemma realizes there’s something very amiss about her new husband, having no other option than to delve into Robert’s sordid past to get the answers she seeks. When tragedy suddenly strikes, Gemma has to rely on both her earthbound friends and those in the afterlife to help assist in her quest. The book not only follows Gemma’s experiences as a spiritual medium, the storyline also draws the reader into a world filled with debauchery, witch craft, incest, and a string of evil betrayals.
Is there anything else that you would like to share about your writing or the paranormal?
Due to my avid interest in the paranormal and especially the afterlife, over the years, my photographs and experiences have come under the scrutiny of many skeptics. Now whereas I openly encourage skepticism, as this allows a doorway for discussion, I am averse to cynics, those whose blinkered attitudes veer more towards criticism than to open mindedness and possible understanding. However, as in life, and death, with the good comes the bad, and I think as long as those of us who remain loyal to our beliefs, rise above the negativity, then our research into the realms of the paranormal will continue regardless.
How can readers contact you and where can they find your work?
Readers can contact me via the following – Facebook Page Jane Croft- Author, and my work (one book to date) can be viewed on my webpage: www.jane-helen-croft.pegasuspublishers.com.
Click here to see a teaser book trailer for The Orb Within!
If you are a paranormal author or investigator who is interested in doing either a phone or written interview with The Ghost Post, send a message to Tara Theresa Hill – Author via Facebook.