Happy release day to I Am The Ghost In Your House! This is a tender, melancholy story about an invisible girl who wants to have a normal teenage life. Taking place in Pittsburgh, Pie hopes to see the girl whose house she haunted a few years prior. It’s a read perfect for Halloween.
Join me in celebrating this release with this interview with the author, Mar Romasco-Moore. Find out more about the origin of this tale, how Romasco-Moore put together the flashbacks, and what they’re working on next.
Becoming The Ghost
What aspect of this story came to you first? The world-building? The rules around invisibility or something else entirely?
Once in college I wore a thick rubber mask to a Halloween house party. A drunk girl got upset because she didn’t know who I was, and she tried to pull my mask off.
I imagined what it would have been like if she’d found absolutely nothing beneath – no face, no head, just an empty space.
A lot of my story ideas start like that – with just an image. Sometimes these images stick around in the back of my head for a long time before I figure out how to build a story around them.
Friendship in all its beauty and mess takes center stage as this story goes on. How much did you know about the different characters Pie interacts with as she searches for her mother?
When I lived in Pittsburgh in my early twenties, I found myself often kind of hovering around the edges of the local punk scene, which was also basically the queer scene. The characters Pie meets in the novel aren’t directly based on specific people, but the crowd I hung out with then definitely provided the starting spark when I sat down to write. Her father, on the other hand, is (loosely) based on a real-life art thief.
What was your favorite scene or moment to write?
The place-based flashbacks, when Pie is recounting her years of roaming around the country, riding trains and living like a ghost in various rich people’s houses, were absolutely my favorite. While drafting, I fulfilled a lifelong dream of mine and booked a sleeper car on a train to ride around the country in style. Of course, unlike Pie and her mom, I did have to pay for it.
Between rounds of revision, how much did the story change? Did anything surprise you during this process?
I think the biggest change was that two characters from the first draft got combined into one character for the second draft. I was mostly just surprised I hadn’t thought of combining them right away!
But that’s how it works for me – I’ve got to get a messy draft down on paper before things become clear.
It’s mentioned in the book that Pie stayed in some celebrity homes. Do you have any headcanons for whose houses those were?
I’ve heard Nic Cage owns some interesting properties…
Is I Am the Ghost In Your House your second book?
Technically, my third! My first book is a weird little collection of interconnected flash fiction stories inspired by vintage photos I’d collected over the years. It’s called Ghostographs and was put out by a small press.
Is there anything you know now that you would want to tell past!Mar?
My goodness, where to start? I guess one thing I’d emphasize is that publishing is a very slow process so I should stop rushing and stop pushing myself so hard to publish NOW or be successful IMMEDIATELY and then feeling bad when that doesn’t happen.
Compared to Some Kind of Animal, how has the experience of IATGIYH been different? The same?
Some Kind of Animal started as my MFA thesis, and went through many stumbling years of revisions and rewrites before I finally sent it out and got an agent, and then he sent it to publishers – and then there were many more rounds of revision!
I Am the Ghost, on the other hand, was sold based on a sample and a synopsis. So I wrote the first draft on a deadline of about 9 months, and then it went through only one truly major revision before it was ready. It was, admittedly, a lot more fun for me to write. Maybe just because I knew it would end up as a real book ahead of time. Or maybe because of the subject matter – I was excited to write a weird, gay book with trains and ghostly photographs and punk rock in it.
What are you working on now?
I just finished a pitch for a YA horror novel about a ghost who haunts the internet. I’m also plugging away on a novella about a girl on the run who discovers that Greyhound bus bathrooms are all portals to another world.
Which books are releasing or out now that you’re excited to read?
Mar Romasco Moore is the author of the novels I Am the Ghost in Your House, Krazyland, and Some Kind of Animal, as well as the multimedia flash fiction collection Ghostographs. They teach writing at Columbus College of Art and Design.