During the Civil War, a lot of lives were put in danger. Children who became orphans and wives who became widows are not unusual. This story leads us to a different side of the war filled with folklore, ghosts, and magic. This is a truly compelling narrative of faith and perseverance filled with fast-paced and heart-gripping action that will let you travel in the dangerous life of the past. Each page is so intense that you might forget you’re breathing. Ghost Lips from the Trickster is a work of art that you must read in your lifetime.
Dennis Boisvert started his interest in Civil War books when he met his uncle, whose father is a union soldier. By that time, he began writing stories set in the Civil War, and he also took an interest in how these people lived and read folklore, ghost stories, mediums, strange beasts, and magic shows.
Can you tell me how you begin your idea of this book?
I remember reading a true account of Union soldiers who escaped from a Rebel prison. By chance, he ran up a deep wooded mountain and came to a campsite of Confederate deserters. They took him in and help him get back to his lines. I thought what luck that soldier had. Then one day, years ago I was sitting in my car looking at an old abandon house than an idea popped into my head about a group of union soldiers escaping from a prison train. They ran to an abandoned mansion and took refuge inside to hide. Unknown to them, evil witch controls the house. One by one a soldier would disappear. Outside witches made him dance with them. Now I had to read about witchcraft and what they did. Then I went into folklore, ghost sightings, and magic. Now I found an endless list of books on these subjects and spent hours at book stores and the library. I discovered a new history of the people of the Civil War time.
What is your inspiration in creating a character like Sergeant Victor Peters?
I first wrote the story in the first person. I felt I had actually lived during the Civil War. I felt I was writing my memoir of being in the Union army. I started the story with me escaping from a Rebel prison train being shot at. I could see myself running in the woods as bullets, hitting trees. I could feel that need to reach the Union line for I had a pass to get home. Then I saw my boyhood friend Hardy catching up to me. I mean I saw him like I did all the other characters in the story. I felt I was Victor Peters a man who had skills and was a leader of men. I wanted to be like him. Then I rewrote the story in third person which I feel was best. Strange how that came about. To me, it was the fun of writing.
Do you see some resemblance of the characters to your own? How?
I feel I wanted to be like him. I don’t know what you call it. Escape from myself? Belong to a different world. I wasn’t writing for anyone but just for me. I wasn’t under a deadline to produce a story. When I attended a lot of writing groups other writers expressed the same feelings. Then I saw a film on Ann Frank and film said it said she had the need to write and sadly, that was taking away from her. Her story gave me courage and I felt her need to write. I have that freedom.
Do you have any experience that you can describe as an extreme effort you made for a loved one?
I raised three children and I know if I was in a situation such as Victor Peters was going through I would rush home and do whatever it takes to get there.
Why were there a lot of literary and biblical references mentioned throughout the story?
When it comes to religion or the spirit world, the most powerful words in any Language is ‘I believe.’ Just like in the song, I believe in every rain drop that falls, a flower grows. That song has a lot of meaning to it. And now you have a Christian Nation split in half to fight each other because there was no common ground the two sides could not agree upon. Each side had what they believed was right.
It was important for the reader to see these Christian men who had to face an ‘un-Christian’ force they lack the power to fight. They stand mute not knowing what they were facing. Was it good or evil? In fact, Ghost Lips from the Trickster is about good and evil. Now let’s look at Tamar who has the power.
Tamar was born into an evil system of slavery. She was not an evil person but to defend herself. She needed power… and that power was evil. Sadly Tamar managed to get a hold of dangerous scrolls that gave her that power.
Now take the young soldier Rob who had said ‘One doesn’t control evil. It controls you’. Then he wanted to know more about the evil scrolls and died trying to steal them. He was an important character who believed in the Bible but then wanted the evil scrolls. Why? A question that was put in the story and not answered. Then you have Victor who wants to know about Tamar’s healing powers to save his child. Was he right in wanting to heal his child? Yes, but then the saying goes, “Power corrupts”.
What is the most difficult part about writing for you?
The first thing I do when an idea for a story comes to mind is I write it on a notepad and write the story like a kid’s book. It was important to get the story down on paper then type it and rewrite it until I felt it was the best I could make it. For a long time I had a title and an ending for Ghost Lips story I didn’t like. I put it aside and read books to find a better title and ending. To me, it was fun to write and reread the story. It’s all part of writing.
Do you believe in a parallel universe? If so, why?
I read an article about a parallel universe and I liked the idea. I am not sure if there is one but then there are the words ‘I believe.’ It is possible but most likely not. What I liked about the parallel universe is that Tamar the wizard tells her band of followers there is one. Her cult tribe believes in what she tells them. She has power over her group and the group firmly believes she can see the ghost of their lost loved ones and read their lips. These women wanted to connect with their lost loved ones so much. She has total control over her cult and she wants to make a family with their help.
Now I like to point out that I have friends who believe in UFOs. If there is a parallel universe and there is a planet like ours, they should be far advance when they visit our planet to see how their grant grandparents lived. Maybe, the reason they do not want to show themselves (if they actually exist), is that they could just film us and put it on their advanced TV. This is fuel for the thought. And I like how Tamar claims there are dead souls on it. No matter what the idea, if a parallel universe is an eye-opener and if a sequel is written, it could be helpful. I have a lot of wild ideas.
Are there any folklores you believe in? Can you tell us about it?
I like the folklore of Paul Bunyan. I remember it was a Disney cartoon and I loved it. When I was reading about French-Canadian Folklore I can across their version about Paul Bunyan. They claim a man named Bon Jean was Paul Bunyan. Bon Jean rebelled against the British rule over French lumberjacks. When the police came to the lumber camps looking for Bon Jean, the lumberjacks would say he went north to the mountains with his ax and his blew ox. Soon the name changed to Bunyan.
According to American folklore, the story is different and there are six American cities that claim Paul Bunyan from their towns. It is the old story what do you believe. What I learned from this Paul Bunyan myth is that there appears to be some sort of truth behind it. LumberJacks like sailors on ships tell stories. These stories grow. It appears Paul was a tall man and was good with the ax. Like the fisherman story of his catch, his fish gets bigger at each tail. Loggers were known to travel and tell stories and Paul Bunyan’s name traveled. It puts meaning behind legends. We’ve been fascinated with superheroes such as Homer’s Odysseys. We want to hear it and it is us who make a choice whether to believe it or not.
Is there going to be a sequel to this story? If so, can you talk a bit about it?
Yes, there can be a sequel to the story. I left something out in the story that gives a hint. Tamar the Trickster can leave her body and enter a bird or another animal like the beast and take control. How? I came across in my reading in a World War Two book the Germans when invading Russia. They came across a field of kok-saghyz a dandelion from central Asia whose root and juice contained latex and rubber could be made from it. Now the Germans made rubber from it. Well, that gave me an idea. Tamar has a very rare plant and she boils it to extract its juice. She can rub it on her body and drink some of it so she can enter a bird or the beast’s body. Tamar used herbs and plants as she has a one-of-a-kind plant. She did not die in Ghost Lips, but another bird flew by and she traveled with it. Her human body is dead but she still exists. Next, she needs to enter a human that has no soul. Is there such a being? I wait to see how the story unfolds right now. I have ideas on how it can happen.
What do you hope your readers take away from this book?
I think that Ghost Lips from the Trickster is a historical fiction book that brings more to life to the people of the Civil War times. For once, I did a ton of reading of pre-Civil War books and bought a book about séance in the 1850s. I discovered séance though the medium was very big for those days for people who could afford it. Then I’ve learned about Mary Todd Lincoln who had a séance in the White House after her son Willy Lincoln died. That séance was reported in the newspapers and that had to bring on a big influence for sorcery.
As a footnote, I had talked about believing in ghosts. I had a big surprise for a number of people who either said they saw one or knew people who did. Most commonly, I heard a lot of people say ‘When I visited my mother in a nursing she told me she had a visit from my father who is deceased.’ or something like that.
Tell me about a visit or a sight from a deceased love. If it happens today then it had happened in the 1850s. This is a subject anyone can explore. Don’t have to rely on books. And it all comes down to what do you believe.
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