Kimberly, thanks for joining me today on my blog! I’m excited to get to know more about you and your new release. Tell us about The Haunted Purse.
The Haunted Purse is a YA paranormal novel about fifteen-year-old Libby Dawson, who buys an old purse at the local thrift store. Almost immediately, strange things start happening. Her personal possessions disappear from the purse and later reappear. And unfamiliar items keep turning up inside, including an old photograph of a teenage girl carrying the same purse. Libby comes to realize that these items are clues to a cold-case mystery, and she sets out to solve it with help from her best friend, Toni. Unfortunately, digging up the past puts her own life in grave danger.
Who is Libby Dawson? What makes her tick?
Libby is a bright, pretty teenage girl who’s been living alone in the inner city ever since her mother abandoned her to move in with a boyfriend. Libby has been forced to grow up fast, because she’s essentially her own parent. She’s determined not to end up like her mother—a poverty-stricken, unwed teenage mom. She works hard at her studies and plans to go to college so that she can leave the ghetto behind for good. She also takes great pains to keep Child Protective Services from finding out about her living situation, knowing that she’ll be placed in foster care if the truth ever comes out.
How old were you when you wrote your first story?
I was six. My story was about a little girl whose Easter egg hatched into a baby chick, which her parents let her keep as a pet. The story was only a page or two long, but my mom typed it up and put it in a binder with the title on the cover, just like a real book. I was so proud of that thing!
What comes first, character or plot?
Definitely plot. Ideas for novels are constantly popping into my head—more than I can possibly write in my lifetime. Once I’ve solidified a plot, I figure out what kinds of characters will fit into the story. It’s sort of like holding auditions for a play.
Do you base your characters on real people or make them up from scratch?
Both. Some real-life people are so over the top, you just have to put them in a novel!
Do you ever get writer’s block, and if so, how do you overcome it?
Assuming I’ve already started the story in question, I’ll go back and polish an existing scene. That makes me feel as though I’ve made some progress, and it keeps me engaged in the story to the point where I often see where I need to go next. I also like to go power-walking. The increased circulation to my brain does wonders for my creative thinking ability. I’m continually amazed by how many new ideas I get and how many problems I solve while walking.
Are you closer to being a hoarder or a minimalist?
Minimalist! I hate having too much stuff. When my house is cluttered, my mind feels cluttered.
What’s the weirdest dream you ever had?
I once dreamed that I went back in time to warn President Johnson about the escalation of the Vietnam War. Somehow I was permitted an audience with him, and nobody questioned my claim that I was from the future. I got to say my piece, but the dream ended before I found out whether LBJ intended to act on my advice.
What’s your favorite guilty-pleasure TV show?
Can I have four? Gilmore Girls, Breaking Bad, The Office, and Friends, in no particular order. Each one offers a wonderful escape from the real world, with all its problems. I never get tired of watching them.
Thanks for a great interview! Best of luck with your new book.
Blurb from The Haunted Purse:
That old denim purse Libby Dawson bought at the thrift store isn’t your run-of-the-mill teenage tote. It’s a bag of secrets, imbued with supernatural powers. Strange items keep turning up inside, clues to a decades-old mystery only Libby can solve.
Filled with apprehension and yet intrigued by the mounting pile of evidence, Libby digs for the truth. And eventually finds it. But the story of the purse is darker than she imagined—and its next horrific chapter is going to be all about her.
Excerpt from The Haunted Purse:
Toni asked, “Do you think we should tell my mom about the purse?”
“No,” I said. I wasn’t ready to trust an adult. Not even Toni’s mom, nice as she was. “Your mom is like you,” I added. “Practical. It would take a long time to convince her there’s something supernatural going on.”
We went back to watching the purse. There was a moment when I thought I saw it twitch, but that might have been my imagination.
“You could always get rid of it,” Toni said. “You know, donate it back to the thrift store.”
I considered that. “I could. But I don’t want to. Not yet, anyway. This purse is the coolest thing I’ve ever owned. I want to find out more about it. I want to see what it does next.”
She took her eyes from the purse long enough to glance at me. “Aren’t you afraid it’ll crawl into your bed some night and strangle you with its straps?”
“No. I think it’s trying to get my attention. It’s trying to tell me something.”
I didn’t have a clue.
About the Author
Kimberly Baer is an author, professional editor, and mother of three. Her YA paranormal novel The Haunted Purse will be published by The Wild Rose Press on August 17, 2020.
Kim’s first story, written at age six, was about a baby chick that hatched out of a little girl’s Easter egg after somehow surviving the hard-boiling process. Thankfully, Kim’s story-plotting skills have improved since then. She especially enjoys writing middle-grade and young adult fiction.
Kim was born and raised in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, a town marginally famous for having experienced three major floods—and she lived there during one of them. She currently lives in Virginia.