ABSENT BLOG TOUR: Guest Post + Giveaway

Today I have the pleasure of kicking off the ABSENT Blog Tour. ABSENT by Katie Williams is a thrilling ghost story that will keep you intrigued until the very end. I am happy that Katie has decided to visit Tales of the Ravenous Reader and I hope you stay and get to know this amazing author a bit more and read about supernatural storytelling. As an added treat I have a giveaway of ABSENT for one lucky reader. So, make sure to enter the contest at then end of the post.

Katie Williams was born and raised in the small town of Okemos, Michigan, though a town is only as small as its library, and Katie “visited” many other places through reading. Like Evie, she was an awkward and sometimes lonely teenager. Unlike Evie, she wouldn’t lie to you. Or would she?

After high school, Katie studied English at University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and figured out that she liked writing stories almost as much as she liked reading them. This led her to earn an MFA in creative writing from the generous Michener Center for Writers at University of Texas in Austin.

Katie currently lives in San Francisco, California, where she works as a writing instructor at Academy of Art University. She loves Buffy the Vampire Slayer reruns, cinnamon ice cream, orange cats, and her husband, Ulysses Loken.teaches writing at the Academy of Art University and is the author of the acclaimed The Space Between Trees. She lives in Berkeley, California


Thanks to Tales of a Ravenous Reader for inviting me to visit their blog for a day! Since you all favor supernatural stories and since, hey, I happen to have written one, I thought I'd spend today's post looking at a sub-category of supernatural storytelling: ghost stories. My new novel, ABSENT, is a ghost story told from the other side of the veil, i.e., from the ghosts' perspective. While writing it, I gave a good bit of thought to why ghost stories are an enduring genre, the type of story people tell over and over again.

I suppose the first thing to say is that ghosts represent our fear of death, or maybe more specifically our fear of after death, the uncomfortable truth that no one knows what happens after we die. The figure of the ghost gives us a possible answer to this uncertainty—maybe we stick around for a bit—while also simultaneously upsetting that answer—generally the ghost's lot isn't considered a natural or pleasant one; it pesters or threatens the living and is urged to "move on" from its now-ended life. Perhaps in this way ghost stories don't just frighten us about our own mortality, but also contain a lesson for how to deal with our fears around mortality: to strive to move on from our preoccupations with death because they will only lead to an unsettled, half-lived existence. In short, to exorcise our own fear of death. (Or so says the chick who has spent the past six years preoccupied with writing books about death. Ahem.)

In many ghost stories, the specter haunts the living because something about its life or death remains unresolved. The ghost is a howl of regret about the unfairness of death. The ghosts in ABSENT howl loudly, and understandably so. They are the ghosts of teenagers, and the unfairness of death is especially keen because life was snatched away when they felt they were on the brink of actually living it: striking out from their childhood homes, making their own choices, discovering the adults they would become.

If you were anything like me, regular old high school existence felt a little bit like being a ghost: You were bound by the invisible chains of law and propriety to the site of your unrest, the school building. You slogged through the same rotation of classes like limbo. You were haunted by a reputation sprung from the grades you earned or the uneven way your mother cut your bangs or some idea people had gotten about you from…somewhere in the ether. You often felt simultaneously invisible and conspicuously unnatural.

You writers out there may recognize one more thing about the figure of the ghost: it is, in itself, an element of classic story structure. Most stories begin with conflict and move to resolution. The figure of the ghost is conflict embodied (or, er, disembodied); a ghost story's resolution is often the dissolution of the ghost. The ghost itself is a knot in the rules of mortality that the denouement unties. Do the ghosts in ABSENT find resolution? Well, you'll have to read the book, but a hint: Don't we all eventually move on from high school?

Follow the ABSENT blog tour tomorrow to a guest post on Bananas for Books where Katie talks about how to write ghosts.

ABSENT by Katie Williams
May 2013

Ages 14 and Up
ISBN 9780811871501
ISBN10 0811871509

Read excerpt HERE

When seventeen-year-old Paige dies in a freak fall from the roof during Physics class, her spirit is bound to the grounds of her high school. At least she has company: her fellow ghosts Evan and Brooke, who also died there. But when Paige hears the rumor that her death wasn’t an accident—that she supposedly jumped on purpose—she can’t bear it. Then Paige discovers something amazing. She can possess living people when they think of her, and she can make them do almost anything. Maybe, just maybe, she can get to the most popular girl in school and stop the rumors once and for all.

“Sharp, poignant narration will keep readers engaged and entertained.”—Publishers Weekly
"A thriller... which leads to an unexpectedly transcendent and moving finale.” —Kirkus Reviews
"Readers will be engrossed until the very end"—School Library Journal
“Compelling combination of ghost story, mystery, and unconventional romance.” —The Horn Book Magazine
"A suspenseful mystery that sneaks up on you." —Booklist Online

Also by Katie Williams:


“Darkly beautiful.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review


"A nail-biter.”Kirkus Reviews

“Darkly and suspenseful.” —School Library Journal
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  1. Interesting that the story is being told from the point of view of the Ghost. I do now wonder if the ghosts will find resolution... Thanks for the chance to win.

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