interview by Joe Vaz

From Issue 17 (Jan 2012)

Where is home?
The People’s Republic of Boulder, Colorado. We have mountains, hippies, and local organic goat brie. It’s pretty awesome.

Do you write full time?
No, but I’m working towards it!

What inspired this story?
A beautiful song of the same name by the Hush Sound. It’s a ballad about ghosts and a lighthouse, but the similarities end there. The ghost in the rain was inspired by the ghost in the song. My initial vision for this story involved a lot more about secrets and regrets and extended metaphors for what the protagonist had in common with the ghost in the rain, but then it went the way of most of my stories and decided to skip off along a completely different path.

What is it about lighthouses that we find so evocative?
The lonely, silent sentinels against the dark and the storm? So few of them are still in operation. We don’t need them anymore, so they rust and rot along our coastlines. I love abandoned places: crumbling, lonely and filled with secrets. And abandoned or not, lighthouses have their own romance as the guards who watch over the seas, day and night, and warn ships away from their doom.

Do you believe in ghosts?
I want to believe in ghosts, but I want to believe in almost everything. Any god, story or supernatural being, no matter how obscure, I probably will want to believe in it. I work in a hotel that’s supposed to be haunted – there have been multiple suicides – and my co-worker swears that our office is haunted by the ghost of a former manager. I love the possibility and I love ghost stories in general, and I maintain a paranoia of doorways and mirrors in dark rooms on account of ghosts. I want to one day see a ghost or a fairy, to bolster my faith in the mysteries of the world, but I’m really more interested in ghost stories and haunted places than the ghosts themselves.

Is the setting real? Where did it come from and how did you find it? (i.e. are these places you’ve been/lived in?)
My father comes from back east. The setting for this is very firmly New England, especially the Maine coastline. Some of the places in the story are set in my mind, but not the ones you’d expect. The town of Prospect that they go visit, including the hardware store where they stop for directions, is based off of a town in Colorado where I once went on a ghost tour, and the town with Barbara’s shop is based on a little town on the Maine coastline where I once stayed in a bed and breakfast. But all of the central places that are important to the story (the shop, the lighthouse, Barbara’s old house) are either made up or amalgamations. I don’t think I’ve ever actually been in a lighthouse. I’m not even sure I’ve seen one outside of pictures (although I did spend hours researching lighthouses for this story, especially for the question “where do you get keys to old lighthouses?”).

Are you working on anything right now?
I’ve just finished a story called The Kissing Ghost, because apparently I like ghost stories, and I’m trying to write a proper beginning for a superhero novel that has loads of plot and no actual story. I usually avoid stories with superpowers or magical abilities, but this one snuck up on me and begged.

Where might we find more of your work?
I have a blog at, and a wee novella available on Amazon about a bisexual prince in Ancient Crete. I have stories coming out within the next two months in One Buck Horror and Penumbra.

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Joe Vaz

Joe Vaz is the founder and editor of Something Wicked, which occasionally affords him the honour and good fortune to hang out with really cool people.
In his other life he is a film and television actor who gets small parts in big movies, most recently in Dredd 3D, due to be released in September 2012.

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