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Story Behind the Story #20:
Something Upstairs

Something Upstairs

  1. I was living in Los Angeles, one of the USA’s newest cities. I moved to Providence, Rhode Island, one of the USA’s oldest cities. The city is like a museum of early American architecture. It was a rather like traveling back in time.
  2. I began to read about Providence history.
  3. I was visiting a school somewhere. A teacher took me aside and said, “I have a student who says it’s urgent that he talk to you alone. I don’t know what it’s about. But he’s very insistent. Could you spare a few moments?” My curiosity piqued I said “Sure.” I was led into a small office and there was a boy sitting there fiddling with a key chain. I sat down, introduced myself, and said, “I understand you want to talk to me.” He said. “I just wanted to say hello.” That was it. He had no more to say. But the moment becomes a key part of my book. It’s very believable because, in part, it is true.
  4. The Providence house (15 Sheldon Street) I moved into was a charming old one, built in 1835. If you go to Google Maps, and enter the address you can see it.
  5. The top floor was an attic that had been converted into an apartment. It had old wooden floors, and in the back was a small room. It had a stain on the floor.
  6. I began to read about Providence history.
  7. I began to wonder who had lived in my house a long time ago.
  8. I put all of this together and wrote a ghost story set in the house. See point 3.
  9. I had written the book, but had no title. On another school visit, I read the beginning of the book to a class. They liked it. Then I said, “But I have no title for it. Anybody have a suggestion?” A girl raised her hand. She said, “Why don’t you call it Something Upstairs?”
  10. Done.
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