Cries In The Night
A Lowcountry Ghost Story
by Lori Roberts
Today, we have Lori Roberts on BTB to talk about herself and her amazing book, Cries In The
Night. I got the opportunity to meet Lori in Bowling Green Kentucky during the 2016 Southern Kentucky Book Fest. Hers was one of the books I actually sought out before I even got there. I love researching the authors before I go and when I saw this book, I knew I had to meet her and grab this book up. Before this, I had never heard of her or her books. Now, I can’t imagine not knowing about her.
Booth Talks Books: First of all, I am so excited to get to talk with you about your book and life. I have been stalking your pages and have to say that you live a fascinating life. Tell me what you do in your spare time and what’s up with all the period costumes I always see you wearing.
Lori Roberts: When I’m not teaching 8th graders, I spend a good deal of time with my grandchildren. My husband and I love camping in our RV. We love traveling, and those travels often involve a trip to the south. I love getting in research time when we are on a trip. I have dragged him along on several adventures, and if I can experience or see something, it makes the books all the more believable.
In addition to writing, I’m a speaker and reenactor. I portray Mrs. Anna Morrison Jackson, widow of General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, Ann Jennings, wife of Indiana’s first Governor, and Corrie Ten Boom, Dutch Concentration Camp survivor. The dresses I wear are part of those personas. Between book events and speaking events, I enjoy squeezing in time with family and friends. We also have two Golden Retrievers that we are pretty crazy about, Gracie and Maggie, and our cat, Jerry Lee.
BTB: Let’s talk about Cries In The Night. Without giving too much away, this is a haunted house story that takes place in Charleston South Carolina. Is there is there a particular reason for the story to take place here?
LR: I’ve spent many years traveling to South Carolina…first, the beach, Myrtle Beach. My sister/brother-in-law moved to Charleston 4 years ago. The idea for Cries in the Night came during the walks while there. I took pictures of houses, and the one that I used for the setting and cover drew me to it. The story came to me before we left the city. I have since made three other trips, spending time with sources and new friends, researching and taking pictures. I have even shadowed my friend, Dr. Suzanne Abel, forensic anthropologist, who was the real Dr. Brooke Armstrong in the book.
BTB: The authenticity of this book and the hunt for these ghosts echo so closely the true stories of those who have had issues with paranormal activity in true life in their homes. Have you or do you know of someone who has had unexplained phenomenon in their home they attributed to spirits?
LR: Yes. I have experienced things as well as friends/family.
BTB: There is a huge amount of history, research and time spent by the character exploring libraries and government offices. Is this something you have done or do on a regular basis?
LR: When I write a novel, the research takes more time than the actual writing. I want my work to be factual, albeit fiction. A writer is able to take artistic license when doing a story, however the history teacher comes out and I immerse myself in whatever the story is about. Family history (genealogy) is a love of mine, so I tend to bring out family and family history in all of my books.
BTB: There is one object, an antique toy which is dominant in the story. Did a real object inspire this piece?
LR: Yes, a family member had a child’s ball sail through the air as they stood at the top of the stairs. They had other sounds and unexplained things happen.
BTB: What plans to you have for this family or Carly and Austin Tabor or their friend, Delaney Warrick? Will we ever see them again?
LR: Oh yes. I love these girls! Carly is the protagonist in the book I’m writing at the moment, Where the Sweetgrass Grows. Delaney will be there to lend a hand too. Carly will use her gift in this book to help with a string of cold cases.
BTB: What are you currently working on? Anything else you would like to tell your readers?
LR: At the moment, I’m working on two books. Where the Sweetgrass Grows takes place in Charleston/Johns Island, and Carly and Delaney will be back to try and solve a string of cold case abductions. The second is my first attempt at a YA historical fiction titled This Dark and Bloody Ground. As a Kentuckian, you’ll appreciate the synopsis. It takes place in 1775 with a young girl and her family from Maryland who travel on the Daniel Boone trail into Kentucky. This is the first of a two book series.
I will admit, I am a haunted house and paranormal show junky. As in, I watch them, I follow them on social media and I even love visiting the locations. I have discovered that there is so much more going on around us than meets the eye and ear.
Imagine my delight when I am researching the authors coming to the Southern Kentucky Book Fest (SOKY) in my hometown of Bowling Green Kentucky earlier this year and I find a promising book about a haunted house. The description read more like an actual event than fiction. So, I put it on my list and prepared myself to meet this Lori Roberts and give her my $16.
Fast forward three months later and I am finally able to read “Cries In The Night” and I have absorbed even more episodes of Ghost Hunters, Ghost Adventures and Kindred Spirits. I might have even done some EVP work and talked to a small girl spirit at a local Civil War home. Think what you want, but they are for real!
We meet Carly and Austin Tabor and they have purchased a Civil War era home in Charleston South Carolina. So far, your run of the mill set up for a ghost story, right? Well, the creep factor starts off right at the beginning and doesn’t let up until the end. We usually have slow portions through paranormal stories so the reader isn’t “over ghosted” as I call it but not this book. You are on that roller-coaster, roaming the halls, investigating and fearing for the next occurrence right with the residences. Lori does not give up, nor do the spirits of their home. These spirits are talking, walking and freaking everyone out trying to get their message across. This is so true to real life manifestations. When a spirit wants your attention and you’re in their space, they will keep going until you do something.
Lori goes one step further as though this is a secret guide on how to investigate a haunting in your home hidden as a work of fiction (I’m on to ya). She takes her characters on a historical search for the past owners of the house, researches the antiques and even hires paranormal investigators. We go with Carly and her “sensitive” friend, Delaney as they explore courthouse documents, old newspapers and land deeds to finally solve an ancient murder that occurred in their home.
I was chilled, I was inspired and I was sobbing throughout the book. Like a wondering spirit, I attached myself to the characters and fell in love with the Tabors, Delaney and the Pettigrew family. There was no stone unturned in this book when it came to getting to the bottom of the mystery. The determination of the Tabors to stay together, support each other and choose the path they did really spoke to their relationship.
I only hope that if I ever move into a haunted residence, that I can be as awesome as this fictional couple. How on earth did a fictional couple just inspire me? Well, they did. I guess couples that ghost hunt together, stay together.
About The Author
Cries in the Night, a paranormal suspense novel, is her first novel with Canterbury House Publishing. She and her husband, Doug, have three children and five grandchildren. They make their home in rural southern Indiana. She has published two Civil War era novels: Lost Letters and Willow.
Lori Roberts is an author, educator, historian and presenter for historical events and workshops. Lori as a living historian, often portrays Mrs. Mary Anna Morrison Jackson, wife of General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson. She has spoken at Civil War events in Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee and Virginia. Lori has been an educator for more than twenty years, currently teaching United States History at the Middle School level.
Lori has been presenting Anna Jackson to the public since 2009. Some of the groups that have spent “An Afternoon With Anna” include : The Living History Fellowship workshop, Princeton Civil War Days, Princeton, IN; Civil War Living History, Owensboro, KY; Lawrence County Living History Festival, Bedford, IN.; Living History Fellowship Grant Workshop, Huntingburg, IN; Journey Through Hallowed Ground Conference, George Mason University, Manassas, VA.