Exploring A Ghost Town with Kat Martin

by Kat Martin

When I write a ghost story, I like to base it on actual historical events–or even personal experiences, as I did in The Silent Rose, an earlier Kensington novel.

The Ghost Illusion began when I discovered the photo of an abandoned orphan asylum on the internet, a dilapidated, decaying structure that compelled me to wonder about its past. As the story of the orphan boys who had lived in the asylum began to unfold, so did my need for information. 

In the novel, the hero, billionaire Ransom King, and the heroine, psychologist Eve St. Clair, set out to discover whether or not Eve’s house is haunted, and if so, who are the spirits, why are they there, and what do they want? 

Researching the setting led me to the terrible tragedy that became the focus of my story. It happened in the 1880s, during an afternoon theatrical performance. The magic show, put on by a renown magician and his assistant, involved the occult, an act titled The Great Ghost Illusion. 

From the beginning, I felt chosen to write this story. Every fact I uncovered pointed me toward the disaster that became the focal point of the book. That an occult performance led to such a terrible loss of life was stunning. Ghosts and the occult–spirits of the dead and violent tragedy. A story meant to be told.

After finishing The Ghost Illusion, I decided to write a second ghost story—Ghost Town, a novel set in what was once called the Wickedest Town in the West.

Because of its violent past, Jerome, Arizona is considered one of the state’s most haunted towns. The number of miners killed in accidents in the 88 miles of tunnels below what remains of the buildings clinging to the side of the mountain is astounding. 

Violence was an everyday occurrence, shootouts, murders in local brothels, sickness, and the four devastating fires that destroyed the city, killed thousands of people in Jerome.

Today, the town of only 450 residents is a tourist attraction, famous for its ghostly encounters. They say whoever dies in Jerome, stays in Jerome. After visiting the town and doing my research, I believe it. 

In the novel, Cain Barrett and Jenny Spencer are forced to deal with the spirits who make their home in Jerome. 

I hope you will watch for The Ghost Illusion and look for Ghost Town, out next year. Until then, all best and happy reading, Kat!

In a twisty page-turner for fans of Lisa Jewell and Melinda Leigh, New York Times bestselling author Kat Martin melds psychological thriller and ghost story as one woman’s daring search for the truth tests the dividing line between life and death.

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Eve St. Clair desperately needs help sorting reality from her fearful imaginings when ghostly voices seem to haunt the Victorian house in Sunderland, England, that she inherited from her uncle. Online research leads to a group that claims to offer just the aid she’s seeking. But can Ransom King’s handpicked team of investigators truly banish Eve’s night terrors?

Since the deaths of his wife and daughter, Seattle billionaire Ransom King has devoted himself to researching parapsychology and debunking the frauds who prey upon the bereaved. But Eve is a psychologist herself, clearly sane, and her sincerity is palpable. King senses a very real danger stalking the beautiful divorcée. As his interest in her case turns deeply personal, he will move heaven and earth to uncover the truth—no matter how shocking—and save the woman he loves.