Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Welcome to Author Brandy Herr

On Weird Wednesday today, I welcome Brandy Herr, an author I met recently while visiting Granbury, Texas. This lovely, quaint town southwest of Fort Worth teems with history and ghost legends. (See my previous post on the ghost tour I took in Granbury on another visit).

The town was hosting an arts and crafts festival. My friend and I stopped by Brandy's booth, and I purchased her book. (Authors must support each other) Besides, the book tells of many strange happenings in Brandy's hometown.

I asked Brandy if I could interview her today, and she accepted. First something about Brandy for those who have not made her acquaintance.

Brandy Herr is the co-founder of the Granbury Ghosts and Legends Tour and the annual Granbury Paranormal Expo.  In February 2014, her book, "Haunted Granbury," was released by The History Press as part of their Haunted America series.  She is a member of Research and Investigation of the Paranormal and has participated in several ghost hunt investigations in the Granbury area.  Born in the Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas area, Brandy attended the Pennsylvania State University where she received her Bachelor's degree in public relations.  She currently lives in Granbury with her husband, their rescued dog, and two rescued cats.

Now, to my questions for Brandy:

  1. Do you believe in ghosts? Have you ever had a ghost experience? If so, tell us about it.

  1. I absolutely believe in ghosts.  Growing up, my family always had ghostly experiences occur to them, especially my grandmother.  She would see my granddaddy and other past relatives, she would get feelings about things that would turn out to be true, things like that.  I never started having experiences until I started getting older, which is unusual, since it's often more common for children to be susceptible to spirits.  I guess I just started noticing it more.  

The first real encounter I can think of was a few years back.  I was walking into a pizza restaurant while my mother waited in the car at the curb just a few feet away.  The restaurant was in a deserted strip mall, so no one was around.  The front wall was entirely made up of windows, and as I walked up to the door, I saw in the reflection behind me a woman about my age with her hair pulled back in a messy pony tail.  She was carrying a little girl with pig tails, around two years old, who was passed out asleep on her shoulder.  They were walking right behind me, obviously intending to enter the same restaurant I was.  So I reached the door, opened it, and stepped back to let them through first... only to find not a single person behind me.  I looked all around, but everything was empty.  For good measure, I went back to the car and asked my mother if she had seen the two walking behind me.  She said, "There is no one in this strip mall at all!"  

That was my first notable contact with a ghost.  Of course, since then I have had tons of experiences with my work on the Granbury Ghosts and Legends Tour and with my ghost hunt investigations as a member of the team Research and Investigation of the Paranormal.
  • What caused you to write your book, Haunted Granbury?
My mother and I started the Granbury Ghosts and Legends Tour in 2010.  We were working at a restaurant together located on Granbury's historic square.  We had numerous experiences with the ghost there, and people would come in asking to hear our stories.  One time, we were chatting with a couple of ladies, and they asked, "Does Granbury have a ghost tour here?"  That gave us the idea to start researching.  

Since we started doing the tour, I had toyed with the idea of making it into a book, but it kept fading to the back of my mind.  Then, I saw an ad from a publishing company saying they were looking for people to write books about local ghost stories.  Excitedly, I sent them an email, sure they were going to accept my idea.  Their response was, "Ehh... we don't think Granbury is a very good market for the book."  I wrote back and explained, "Granbury may be a small town, but it's a great tourist destination!  We are only about an hour from the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, and we have people coming from all over the country and joining us on our tour!"  The email replied, "Well, you can go ahead and write up a proposal and I will pitch it, but they are probably going to say no."  
So I got a bit discouraged.  Then, not even a month later, I got an email out of the blue from The History Press (a completely different publisher) saying, "Hello!  Would you like to write a book about the ghosts of Granbury?"  I said, "Well, as a matter of fact, I would!"  It turns out that a friend of the scout had joined us on a tour one evening, and she had suggested to her friend that she contact us.  I still had to draw up a formal proposal and get it approved, but luckily they said yes!  I am very happy with The History Press; they turned my book into a beautiful product and have been wonderful to work with, so it was quite the blessing that the first publisher turned me down!
  • Oh, I think all we authors understand about rejection, and you're right, sometimes it's a gift from God. Is this your first book? 
I have a children's book out, but am working on getting the rights back from the publisher, so I am not really pushing that one right now.
  •  I understand you run a tour for tourists in GranburyTexas. Tell us about it.
The Granbury Ghosts and Legends Tour was started by my mother and me in April of 2010.  It's an hour-long walking tour around Granbury's historic downtown square.  We tell you the ghost stories, legends, and history of the different buildings.  Tours are Friday and Saturday evenings at 7:00 and at 9:15, or we can do private tours as available.  Tickets are $10 per adult and $7 for children 12 and under.  So far we have been featured on FOX 4's "Lone Star Adventures" and on NBC 5.  You can visit for more information.
  •  How did you research the history of your area?
  • When my mother and I got the idea from those ladies at the restaurant to start our tour, we immediately started researching, first by going door to door along the square asking the employees and business owners about their experiences.  We were amazed at what we found!  A common question I get when I promote the tour or the book is, "What buildings on the square are haunted?"  I reply, "Pretty much all of them!"  I then did supplemental research by looking in old newspaper and magazine articles as well as historical books of the area.  That's where I got the historical background, along with some added ghost stories as well!
  •  Do you plan on writing another book? If not, what lies ahead for you?
I have other books in the works, though so far not another ghost book.  Once I get the rights back to the one children's book, I hope to get that re-published, and I have several more in the series already written.  I have another children's book series started, and I'm hoping to get that one published soon.  There is another idea bouncing around in my head for a narrative non-fiction book, I just need to buckle down and start researching it.  So I really hope to further my writing career while continuing to build up the Granbury Ghosts and Legends Tour.  I have also had numerous speaking engagements at various venues and conventions, so I'm hoping to increase my exposure in that manner as well.
  • Wow, another children's book writer that has a penchant for ghosts. I love it.
  •  What other career interests or hobbies do you enjoy?
As far as hobbies go, reading of course tops the list.  I also love anything nerdy; my husband and I collect old video game consoles and memorabilia, we love going to museums, and really just exploring anything we find unusual.  My other passion is animal rescue, and I am a huge supporter of the local rescues here in Granbury.  That's actually what the new children's book series is about.  For careers, I am quite happy doing what I am already doing.
  •  If your life was a song, what would be the song title
If you are looking for an existing song, my choice would be "Daydream Believer" by The Monkees.  For one thing, it's my absolute favorite song of all time (and favorite band!).  The title is perfect for me, though, since I come up with my best ideas during daydreams.  That's how I write most of my books, by laying in bed trying to fall asleep, and the words start coming.  Plus, I have always been encouraged to follow my dreams and pursue what I love.  I graduated with a public relations degree from Penn State.  The logical path I should have taken would be to get a job with a PR firm and hold down a steady paycheck with a 401k.  Who would have thought I would wind up running a ghost tour and writing books?  Life takes you on some random twists and turns, and the important thing is to believe in your daydreams to ultimately do what is right for you.
  •  Anything else you’d like to share?
Thank you so much for inviting me to be a part of your blog!  I really enjoyed answering your questions.

To find out more information about what I do, check out the following links:

Granbury Ghosts and Legends Tour
Twitter: @GranburyGhosts

Haunted Granbury

Granbury Paranormal Expo (an annual event hosted by the Granbury Ghosts and Legends Tour)

Research and Investigation of the Paranormal (my ghost hunting team)
And now, about your book . . .
Established after the Civil War, the small town of Granbury has had time to stock its streets and historic buildings with ghastly tales and haunting stories. Legend has it that the notorious John Wilkes Booth escaped to Granbury after assassinating President Lincoln and that his spirit now haunts the Opera House, living out his dastardly crime day after day. On Houston Street, passersby may encounter the little faceless girl who met her maker after falling from a window watching a traveling circus. In Granbury’s old jailhouse, past inmates haunt their cells and leave messages for unwitting intruders. Author Brandy Herr delves into the devilish history of Granbury’s most haunted locations and delivers a healthy dose of a frightening and mysterious past.

Thank you for telling us about your experiences. I know some of you that frequent Writing with God's Hope blog don't believe in ghosts. Any comments?

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