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Please welcome Anjali Banerjee, author of the new novel, Haunting Jasmine!

Real Places as Inspiration for Haunting Jasmine, by Anjali Banerjee

In my current novel, Haunting Jasmine, Jasmine Mistry – a bitter, newly divorced and harried L.A. businesswoman – returns to a rainy Pacific Northwest island to run her aunt’s dusty old bookstore for a month while her aunt is in India. Her aunt conveniently fails to mention the ghosts of dead authors haunting the bookstore. These literary spirits become mentors to Jasmine, helping her to slow down, remake her life and fall in love with a mysterious stranger.

[amazonify]0425238717[/amazonify]I began writing the book with a spark of an idea: what if dead authors could come to life and urge people to read their books? I pictured mischievous phantoms flitting around in a haunted Victorian mansion like the Walker-Ames house in Port Gamble, WA (pictured at top left). Recognized as a Rural Historic Town, the quaint village of Port Gamble sits at the north end of the Olympic Peninsula, about forty minutes’ drive from my home in Port Orchard. Entering the town is like stepping back in time. Lined with preserved and restored Victorian mansions, Port Gamble is reportedly one of the most haunted places in our state. Many paranormal investigators have documented unusual phenomena there, from cold spots to EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomena) and actual ghost sightings.

The Walker-Ames house is apparently the site of much of the town’s paranormal activity. Built in 1888-1889, the Walker-Ames mansion’s ornate front entrance faces the bay, as most important visitors arrived by sea in the late 1800s. Cyrus Walker, superintendant of the Puget Sound Mill Company, built the house from local lumber and most likely shipped in the stained glass and other furnishings from Boston and St. Louis. When Walker retired, the home went to his son-in-law Edwin Ames – thus giving the house its hyphenated name.

I was lucky enough to tour the mansion as research for Haunting Jasmine. Although the house is now empty,I pictured the rooms cleaned up and full of antiques and book shelves. In my mind, I added Kashmiri wall hangings, Tiffany lamps, a tea room, office, and apartment in the attic.

I imagined the interior as a bit like The Dauntless Bookstore, also in a haunted Victorian mansion and situated right next door to the Walker-Ames house. Lyn Playle, the owner, sells new as well as used and rare books and has a wonderful bookstore cat named Katie (thus I created Jasmine’s two cats, Monet and Mary). Is Lyn’s bookstore haunted? You might have to visit and find out! Thank you for stopping by!

Giveaway

One lucky winner will receive a copy of Haunting Jasmine, courtesy of Penguin Group!

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This giveaway is open to US and Canada residents only. Deadline to enter is midnight on March 4, 2011.

Giveaway copy is provided free of any obligation by Penguin Group USA. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.