Behind the Scenes Don't Date the Haunted

Behind the Scenes of “Don’t Date the Haunted,” Chapter 20


I’m freaking out for so many reasons right now.

First of all, “Don’t Marry the Cursed” is released TODAY! You can order the ebook or paperback on Amazon!

The second reason I’m freaking out is this is the LAST CHAPTER of Behind the Scenes for “Don’t Date the Haunted!” Squee!
It should go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway, just in case. If you haven’t read “Don’t Date the Haunted,” please-please-please go finish it before reading this post of Behind the Scenes! If you don’t have it yet, you can get it from Amazon! Then, I highly suggest you start with the beginning Behind the Scenes posts of the Cover and Prologue.

Okay. You’ve read it, right? You’ve finished the WHOLE thing?
And you left a rating/review on Goodreads and/or Amazon?

Thank you.

Now, breathe.

The poltergeist is killed. Oz and Sean are there. Theo’s saved.

“This was the weirdest Haunting I’ve ever had.”
“This was a fearsome Adventure,” Theo agreed.
“Indeed, a most peculiar Case,” Mr. E added.
“Most definitely,” Heather concluded, “a haunted Romance.”

– “Don’t Date the Haunted,” pg. 236-237

And there’s the name of the Haunted Romance Trilogy. You may recall in my Behind the Scenes of the Cover that “Haunted Romance” was the original title of this first book. I changed it because it was terribly vague and didn’t portray the comedy aspect. Shaela (my book cover creator and writing friend) suggested keeping it as the name for the trilogy. I agreed because I didn’t want it to be known as the “don’t” trilogy. That’s just negative.


An interesting thought that I didn’t realize until recently, is that many of my stories have a common theme; an older brother with a strong relationship with his younger sister. Pansy has Oz. You’ll see it again in “Don’t Marry the Cursed.” In my first finished novel, a boy regrets leaving his younger sister in a militaristic bunker. In a series that I hope is published serially (even if it’s written by a friend), the main character is a soul who lives the last couple weeks of people’s lives–dying over and over–as his sister watches over his comatose body.
As the youngest of four (and the oldest is only five years older than I am) I’m kind of close to my siblings. We constantly fought as kids, but they’re my best friends now. I’m not surprised that this subconsciously showed in my stories.

A Plot Hole on Purpose?

While I did my best to resolve every question and issue, I’m sure there are little mistakes here and there. (Even JK Rowling and Stephen King have mistakes). My second editor actually encouraged me to have a plot hole, because plot holes are common tropes to horror stories. (Seriously, how did “The Ring” girl have access to a phone and why “Seven days?”) My editor also suggested that I highlight the plot hole because the unique satirical tone of this book allows it. So, we get the question:

Mr. E spoke first. “I’ve never heard of a teleporting liquid before. How did it get here and where did it go?”
I scoffed. “We just battled a fusion of a poltergeist with fire and angels. You honestly expect to understand the science of it all?”
“I suppose not,” he grunted.

– “Don’t Date the Haunted” pg. 236

Other Questions Left Unanswered

  • What’s next for Pansy, Theo, and their friends?
  • What did Sean do to save Theo’s life?
  • What do the lengths of Theo’s auras mean?
  • What is really in Mr. E’s notebook?

Those first three will be answered in the sequel, “Don’t Marry the Cursed.” The last one isn’t plot twisting, so it’s added as a fun note in book 3.

The Mystery of Mr. E’s Name

I love researching names. My own first name means “Follower of Christ,” so I try to live up to that. I use frequently when naming and researching my characters. Sometimes, I get inspiration from work, where I’ve been trained to use a machine that engraves names/words/dates onto books. I’ve seen some…interesting…names to engrave on scriptures and journals.

This is what our engraving letters look like.

When putting the individual letters away, sometimes I have fun jumbling them together to create “fantasy” names like Dayson, Iradel, and Jamend. Playing with the similarity of “nathan” between Jonathan and Nathaniel, I combined them to make Jonathaniel (emphasis on JON-ath-AN-iel). The name technically comes up in Behind The Name, but it has no references.
You can look forward to spotting Mr. E in all of my novels based in Novel (under one name or another).

First of Many Kisses

The pace of Pansy and Theo’s romance is both contemporary and regency in style. While they don’t have their first kiss until the last chapter (like most regency/proper romance books), they’ve also only known each other for two months. Sure, I know people who’ve married sooner than that, and Theo would have asked her to marry him if Pansy experienced “Love at first sight” with him. But, he respects her need to wait and figure things out on her own.

At the funeral, Pansy steps away from the grieving families and Theo follows. I love their adorable awkwardness.

[Theo] stroked a strand of my hair behind my ear. It wasn’t long enough to stay, and I smirked as it slipped in front of my face again. He fingered it back and held it there, cupping my cheek.

– Don’t Date the Haunted, pg. 239

Short hair. Hah.
Then, Theo’s quote of “Smiling because of you” was an actual text I received from a boy I once hoped to date. I’d asked him “How are you?” and that was his reply. Yeah, my lonely heart melted with so much gushy happiness that I wanted to include it in a book.

The main reason Theo’s smile has so much influence is because I crushed on guys for their smiles. It would have been too easy to make Pansy into bulky muscles (who could take care of themselves in Hauntings and “protect her”), but…I’m not personally into body builders, so it would have come off as superficial. Besides, many “bulky men” in horror novels are either the Hauntings or too much into themselves. Theo’s physically fit (and don’t worry, you swooners, there’s a shirtless scene in “Don’t Marry the Cursed”), but Pansy’s biggest physical draw to him is his ready smile and blue-green eyes.
Funny how those are the features I based off my husband. ❤

The story doesn’t end here

Oz promised Pansy that her Hauntings are over, but that doesn’t mean life is dull and droll. Over the next summer, she helps Heather with a stalker Romance (a short story that I hope to someday publish), and her life takes a big turn for Adventures after graduation.
Follow Pansy and Theo’s next Adventure/Haunted Romance in “Don’t Marry the Cursed,” released TODAY!
You can read the first chapter here, then buy the paperback or ebook on Amazon!

Thank you!

Whooh. And that’s the end! Thank you so much for reading “Don’t Date the Haunted” and joining me for these Behind the Scenes posts! If you enjoyed reading “Don’t Date the Haunted,” I’d really appreciate a rating/review on Goodreads and/or Amazon! Seriously, the best way to thank an author is to leave a positive review!
Again, thanks for taking this journey with me to explore Behind the Scenes of “Don’t Date the Haunted!” It’s been enlightening for me to review the first drafts of this book that I wrote back in 2016. I’ve learned so much about writing, crafting the art, cultivating it/editing, publishing, and marketing since then. I’m no pro, but going over these first drafts helps me see how far I’ve come.

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