If you’ve read any of my Luke and Jenny books you’ll notice that one of my principal characters is always a ghost. Since my books are about two modern day youngsters traveling back in time I needed some sort of a catalyst, and a ghost character fit the bill nicely. And because my first Luke and Jenny book was about Tombstone, a town known to be a hot spot for paranormal activity, how could I not include a ghost?
When I wrote Gunfight at the O.K. Corral I decided to use one of the real town ghosts, the Swamper, as one of my lead characters. The Swamper was a handyman at the Grand Hotel back in the 1880s. There isn’t a whole lot known about him. You must remember that during the 1880s Tombstone was a booming mining town, and people came and went seeking their fortune. What is known about the Swamper is that he was a good worker, and his salary included room and board in the hotel basement. And that’s where his story gets interesting. Sometime later, I’m not sure exactly when, it was discovered that the Swamper had dug a tunnel into the floor of his basement room that lead into one of the silver mines. Legend has it he “appropriated” and stashed away a fortune in silver somewhere in that basement that has never been found, and that is why he haunts Tombstone.
I made the Swamper a very benevolent character in my book, sort of like an uncle who takes the two youngsters under his wing and teaches them about history as well as lessons about life in general. And if he really is one of the town spirits I hope he approves.
My books are written for young readers ages 8 to 12, but I’ve had wonderful feedback from teenagers and adults who have also read and enjoyed them.