About the Author: S.E. Schlosser
Sandy is the webmaster and writer of an award-winning, internationally-known web site called American Folklore (http://www.americanfolklore.net) that features retellings of folktales from each state. This site was created as part of a graduate study at Rutgers the State University of New Jersey in October 1997 and is used daily by teachers throughout the world in lesson plans for students of all levels. Stories from the site have also been used in college text books and in Masters level programs.
Sandy travels extensively, researching supernatural folklore all over the United States. She also spends many hours answering questions from visitors to the American Folklore web site. Her favorite e-mails come from other folklore enthusiasts who delight in practicing the old tradition of who can tell the tallest tale.
Along with frequent media appearances, Sandy gives lectures and does storytelling programs for schools of all levels, professional conferences, storytelling events, and around the campfire. Sandy has more than a dozen available lectures and storytelling programs -- ranging from spooky stories to holiday season programs to lectures on historical folklore which she customizes for each of her audiences.
TRANSCRIPT OF AN INTERVIEW WITH S.E. SCHLOSSERQuestion: Why “Spooky?”
Answer: I love the term “spooky” because it is a broader term than “scary” or “haunted”. Spooky stories range from terrifying to humorous. Within the Spooky series, there are scary tales like the White Lady in Rochester who hates men; the vampire hermit of the Adirondack Mountains; the Hairy Man who stalks a young man in the South; and a Colorado miner who keeps courting the ladies of the town long after he is dead. The books also contain funny stories like Pecos Bill and the Haunted House; Tug-of-War, in which a ghost and an unbeliever fight it out in a haunted house near Albany, New York; and the fighting Frogs of Windham who created havoc one night in a New England town. There are even a few miraculous stories in the series; tales like that of the sainted Lady in Blue who appeared to Native American tribes in the seventeenth century Southwest and that of Mary’s Flowers, in which the Virgin Mary helps a poor woman in Massachusetts. For me, anything that gives me goose-bumps or deals with the supernatural fits under the “spooky” label.
Question: How do you find the stories in your Spooky books? How do you do your research?
Answer: I have a Masters in Library Services, so by profession I am a researcher. I have used many sources for the Spooky books. Some of my major resources include out-of-print folklore collections dating back to the early 1800s, present day books about ghosts and spooks, interviews with people local to a state or region, online sites featuring ghost stories and urban legends, UseNet’s, forums, blogs, and research contacts within state and federal libraries.
Question: How long does it take you to write a book?
Answer: I wrote my first book, Spooky New England in four weeks in order to make a September 2003 publication date. That pace is a little faster than I enjoy. The other spooky books have taken about 2 months to research and 3 months to write. This is a fairly leisurely pace for me, which is essential since I work full-time during the day and have to write the Spooky books at night.
Question: Do you believe in ghosts?
Answer: I very much believe in the supernatural, but have not personally met a ghost. I have friends and relatives – very credible people – who have personally encountered apparitions, and I myself have had one supernatural experience that was down-right scary!
Question: What is your favorite “spooky” story?
Answer: There are many spooky stories that I like and I can name one or two favorites from each state or region about which I have written. But my all-time favorite spooky story – and I have no idea why I like it so much, except perhaps because when I read it aloud it scares the dickens out of people – is “Tailypo”. Tailypo is one of the 30 folktales published in Spooky South and it features a terrifying but tiny creature that comes out of the swamp to seek vengeance against a trapper. In a high-pitched, squeaky voice, it chants over and over: “Tailypo, Tailypo. All I want’s my Tailypo,” thus sealing the doom of the old man.