Today’s culture is obsessed with the paranormal. The truth is, it’s not just “today’s culture” that’s fascinated with the supernatural. All cultures throughout time have been drawn to the unseen world. It’s all around us. I’m particularly intrigued with the Civil War era, and I have been for as long as I can remember. I’ve grown up in the South and can’t stay away from the old cotton plantations and antebellum mansions. Stepping across the threshold of a historic home for me is crossing into another world. I guess with my wild imagination, I feel such a connection with the people who lived and died right there. I get lost in the stories of their lives and long to travel back in time and experience life as they experienced (just for a day or two, mind you).
It’s no wonder that Crossing Into the Mystic, the first book in the The Crossings Trilogy by D.L. Koontz, drew me in like a magnet. For the record, before you think that I’ve gone off the paranormal deep-end, this book is a Christian novel. It’s captivating, intriguing, and it will surprise you!
I needed some answers from Grace MacKenna, the protagonist of The Crossings Trilogy, and she graciously took the time to share some of her fascinating motives and insights with me:
Grace, you seemed to have had two choices: stay at the abandoned mountain estate and live with a ghost, or move back to Boston to live with your abusive aunt. Was it a hard decision to choose the ghost?
Yes! Well, no…it just sorta’ happened. At first, I think my body shut down in shock at encountering him. And then, he saved me from horrible home invaders, and from somewhere—and I don’t know where—a chilling understanding spread through me that I was meant to be there with him. I realized I would never again be the person I was before. That appealed to me. It was like my brain had been imprinted with a new truth, a new reality.
What is the mystic and why did you cross into it?
It’s that unknown world. That world we all heretofore have wondered about. That gray area outside the black and white where inexplicable things happen. It’s not controlled by logic, proof or science. It’s around us everywhere! I developed “subtle vision” and could step into it. Why did I cross? It’s enticing and draws you like a magnet, and I thought I would find answers and understanding there. When you’re desperate for miracles and answers and insights, that gray area becomes an alternative.
What answers did you want?
I wanted answers about my parents’ deaths, and the life they’re living now that they’re dead. I was only thirteen when I lost them. No chance to say goodbye. And here was this ghost, in my new estate…I figured if I could communicate with him, maybe I could communicate with my parents. Then things changed and I…well…I admit, I began to fall in love with him. His name is William and he is so gallant and so handsome. He lived during the 1800s, the Civil War. He embodies chivalry, or at least I thought he did…
But you also fell in love with a living man, didn’t you?
Yes, Clay Baxter. He lives in the little town near Crossings (my estate). But there’s nothing little about Clay! He’s tall and strong and his essence fills any space he’s in! He has tried to pull me from that mystic. He’s afraid that Will is a cunning and charming demon in disguise. I guess he has a right to believe that since he was almost killed by a different maniacal ghost. But I better not say anymore because I’d ruin the rest of my story for your readers.
Some people are drawing similarities between your story and that of Bella in Twilight. How are you alike? Different?
Well, vampires and ghosts are both dead beings. Both can be charming and seem as real as you and me…to an extent. Bella wanted to become a vampire to be with the man she loved, and, okay, I admit, at times I wanted to die to spend forever with Will. But then, there’s Clay! And he pulls me back. Our stories are both presented in a series, too, but honestly that’s where the similarities end! At the end of the first book, I encounter another ghost that rocks my world and my view of Will alters—whereas Bella’s view of Edward never changed. I better not say more or my author will be annoyed.
Where and how do you fit into the Christian viewpoint?
Some critics are wondering that too! Apparently you can murder in Christian fiction, but not swear. How realistic is that?! And, you can write about vampires, but not ghosts. But as I just said, they’re both dead beings.
My author did some research: According to Gallup polls, nine of out ten Americans believe in God, yet a Harris poll says that fifty-one percent believe in ghosts. And, nearly one in five Americans claims to have encountered an apparition/ghost. So clearly there is overlap there. My author began to explore that notion and discovered my story. What does a Christian do when they “feel” a presence or “see” something they don’t understand? And, Christ continually cast out demons, so why do people today believe that demons (who can appear to us as humans who once lived) don’t exist?
What’s next for Grace?
Oh dear, my life gets even more sinister and dark and frightening through the series. I lose one of my best friends, my cousin becomes possessed, Seth changes in radical ways, and Clay…well, again, I better not say more because my author might get obstinate about telling my story! And it’s got to be told. It’s rather inspirational and enlightening. It may rattle them a little too, but they will think about the story for quite a while. My author is really into world-building, intrigue, twists and turns. She’s kind of odd in that way.
I can’t wait for book two in the series! Experience Grace’s world in Crossing Into the Mystic, which debuted a few months ago and is available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and wherever fine books are sold. Read my Review of Crossing Into the Mystic here.
Meet D.L. Koontz: D. L. Koontz (aka Debra Koontz Roberson) was born in Pennsylvania, but with her husband Joe, now splits her time between mountainous West Virginia and their cattle ranch in coastal plains Georgia. She has one son, Matthew, and one step-daughter, Megan. She is a member of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) and ASJA (American Society of Journalists and Authors), and is a former journalist, business owner, and college instructor. She has been writing since she penned an award-winning poem in fifth grade. In an earlier career, she wrote non-fiction books, but that work came to a screeching halt on September 11, 2001, whereupon she gave up writing. Turns out, it never gave up on her, so a couple years ago, she listened to her heart and began writing The Crossings Trilogy. Her first novel is Crossing Into the Mystic. She writes about what she knows: muddled lives, nail-biting unknowns and eternal hope. Find her at: www.dlkoontz.com.