Scott M. Sandridge

A Work in Progress

SpecMusicMuse—Interview with RJ Sullivan

HauntingBlue_CoverI had the honor of getting to interview RJ Sullivan, the best ghost story writer of all time. (Okay, I had to say that. The ghosts that follow him around threatened to haunt me if I didn’t).  Enjoy!

Introduce yourself to the readers.

I’m best known for my paranormal thrillers, currently a trilogy–two of those are ghost stories and all three are loosely connected. Between the three books, I introduce my two series characters, punk girl Fiona “Blue” Shaefer and Rebecca Burton, paranormal investigator, woman of mystery/, and not-so-secret druid. My first novel came out in 2010 (more on that below). Seventh Star put out books two and three.

I grew up in Indiana. A lifelong Trekker, SF fan, particularly of the literary sort (Asimov, Heinlein, Clarke, and the usual etceteras). Star Wars, comic books (strong preference for Marvel/Spider-man, though I am also an avid Wonder Woman reader). Oddly enough, horror and paranormal fiction third and fourth after the rest. I grew up imagining myself an author of a decidedly sci-fi slant. You just never know. I guess this is where I plug my Red Lotus ebook novellas, where I let my space opera inclinations run wild. It’s the story of the trials and tribulations of the crew of an antiquated asteroid mining ship. The third story in the series comes out this fall. You can learn about all of this at


What is Haunting Blue about?

Haunting Blue was my first novel, which was first published in 2010 and which went out of print earlier this year (on purpose when the contract rights expired). This new edition by Seventh Star puts the trilogy out by the same publishing home for the firstInterior1_FINAL_WEB time. It features new art by Bonnie Wasson, the artist for Haunting Obsession and Virtual Blue (the direct sequel to Haunting Blue) so the series now has a unified look, and some tweaks and corrections. “Blue” is a high school punk girl from Indianapolis who is “forcibly relocated” when her mother’s law firm moves to a quaint small town. She’s an angry child, who resists having anything to do with her new environment, so of course, before too long, she gets entangled in the center of things. She and her boyfriend unwittingly end up freeing a ghost relevant to the town’s history, and setting things right again may prove very tricky.


How did you come up with the character, “Blue” Shaefer?

Haunting Blue started as an homage to the old Hardy Boys series. Around age 10 I read some of the “old blue hardbacks” which always had an adventurous premise but overall were light reads that rarely delivered on their promise. I wanted to write a similar tale that took a dark twist that raised the stakes.

So I started off with two boy heroes and it just wasn’t clicking. Computer nerd “Chip” was pretty much already developed. In a few early ideas he had an angsty artsy best friend, but they weren’t interesting enough to make me want to work on it. Then I thought about making the best friend a girl and introducing sexual tension. I took the angst personality and threw it forward to full punk, gave her the nickname “Blue” for her spiky hair. By asking the logical questions, the answers built a profile. Why a punk girl? (She grew up in a college suburb.) Why would she be best friends with a nerd? (She’s an outsider and he was the first person to offer a sympathetic ear). Pretty soon “Blue” took over the idea and it became more about her, with Chip taking a supporting role. But for me, it was also far more interesting and something I wanted to spend time to develop.


What do you think it is that makes ghost stories so cool to read about, and to write about?

Beyond the obvious answer that ghost stories explore the age old question of life after death, they also offer an opportunity for closure and conclusion that real life “hauntings” rarely give us. Think of the typical stories we hear of haunted houses or or real encounters. It’s usually an incident, a repeated action, sightings and appearances, but that’s all. Or just check out any episode of any Ghost Hunter reality shows. Does anyone ever really get to the bottom of things? Do the heroes every really exercise the ghost, put it to rest, help it find peace? Yet in the majority of fictionalized ghost stories, that’s exactly what happens.
What’s your favorite type of music?

Interor2_FINAL_WEBPop music of various eras. Currently I dig Pink, Florence & the Machine, Paramore, and I have a love-hate relationship with Katy Perry. I grew up listening to Elvis, Peter Paul & Mary, The Mamas and the Papas on my parents’ reel to reel tape deck. My brother was a KISS fan, along with other metal bands, so that grew on me, plus Led Zepplin, The Beatle, Heart, the more hard rocking 70s. And of course, I have a huge love for the M-TV era 80s music. I’m infamous on Facebook for my Cyndi Lauper fanboy posts, born from a true fannish appreciation of the person and her music. That in and of itself is a blog post, which I have written about in full here.

[link to ]


Has music played any role in your writing process or inspired a scene or story?

An early short story, “Fade,” published in the Indiana Science Fiction Anthology 2011, was directly inspired by an obscure song of the same title by a band called Blue Angel, notable not for any hits but because Ms. Lauper was their lead singer before she went solo. The song is about a girl trying to use telekinesis to make her boyfriend disappear, and I sure as heck wasn’t going to let a prompt like that slip away. I also drew upon my experience going from concert to concert and backstage meetings, which I will do on occasion, to inspire parts of the time travel Rebecca Burton e-book short story “Backstage Pass,” available through Seventh Star Press.

I like to compose to music, and have a handful of favorite drafting discs: Til Tuesday, Everything’s Different Now; Cyndi Lauper, Sisters of Avalon; Journey, Infinity. Also, various Star Trek and Star Wars soundtracks.


Last but not least, who’s the best ghost sleuth? Scooby Doo or the Ghost Whisperer?

Rut Ro, Raggy! You got me, I don’t know this Ghost Whisperer person.


Virtual Tour
Author: RJ Sullivan
Featured Book: Haunting Blue


RJSullivanPhotoAbout RJ Sullivan: Haunting Blue is the first book of the adventures of punk girl Fiona “Blue” Shaefer. This is the 2014 revised edition by Seventh Star Press. Seventh Star also released Haunting Obsession, a Rebecca Burton Novella, and Virtual Blue, the second book in Fiona’s tale. R.J.’s short stories have been featured in such acclaimed collections as Dark Faith: Invocations by Apex Books and Vampires Don’t Sparkle. His newest project is the Red Lotus series of science fiction novelettes.

R.J. resides in Heartland Crossing, Indiana. He drinks coffee from a Little Mermaid mug and is man enough to admit it.

HauntingBlue_CoverHaunting Blue Book Synopsis: Punk, blue-haired “Blue” Shaefer, is at odds with her workaholic single mother. Raised as a city girl in a suburb of Indianapolis, Blue must abandon the life she knows when her unfeeling mother moves them to a dreadful small town. Blue befriends the only student willing to talk to her: computer nerd “Chip” Farren.

Chip knows the connection between the rickety pirate boat ride at the local amusement park and the missing money from an infamous bank heist the townspeople still talk about. When Blue helps him recover the treasure, they awaken a vengeful ghost who’ll stop at nothing–not even murder–to prevent them from exposing the truth behind his evil deeds.
Haunting Blue is Book One of the Adventures of Blue Shaefer

Author Links:

Tour Schedule and Activities
7/14     Jess Resides Here       Interview
7/14      Beauty in Ruins             Guest Post
7/14      fuonlyknew ~ Laura’s ramblins and reviews   Top Tens List
7/15       Deal Sharing Aunt         Top Ten’s List
7/15      John F. Allen Writer        Character Post
7/15       Armand Rosamilia, Horror Author            Guest Post
7/16       The Rage Circus Vs. The Soulless Void         Review
7/16       SpecMusicMuse              Interview
7/16       Workaday Reads             Post on Artwork of Haunting Blue
7/16       I Smell Sheep                  Character Post
7/17       Bee’s Knees Review           Review
7/17       Library Girl Reads & Reviews   Guest Post
7/17      Come Selahway With Me                Guest Post
7/18      A Haunted Head               Author Interview
7/19      Nerd With A View                   Top Tens Post
7/19      Coffintree Hill                     Guest Post
7/20      Willow’s Author Love        Review

Tour Page URL:

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Amazon Links for Haunting Blue:
Kindle Version:

Print Version:

July 16, 2014 - Posted by | SpecMusicMuse | , , , , , , ,


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