Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Interview with Tina Lynn Sandoval

Halloween is over, but that doesn't mean ghost stories are out of vogue. Quite the opposite!

To that end, I have a special treat for you today: an interview with Tina Lynn Sandoval. Tina Lynn is a darling of a blogger. She writes YA and is currently revising her novel. If you read her blog regularly, then you know she also sees dead people.

This fascinates me to no end. I've never seen ghosts, but Tina, who until recently even worked in a very haunted hotel, is very sensitive to them. For Halloween, she posted a really chilling short story on her blog. She agreed to talk to me about her experiences. All of my questions below were fueled by an unrepentant curiosity about this because I've NEVER been sensitive to this stuff.

Sierra: I am endlessly fascinated by your real life ghost stories and it seems like I have a lot of questions that you don't always answer. So, here goes: have you always had the ability to see dead people?

Tina Lynn: I'm not sure, but I've had experiences for as long as I can remember. The house I grew up in was very "active".

Sierra: Did it scare you always?

Tina Lynn: Yes.

Sierra: Have you ever found a way to confront them and make them stop? In your story for the Halloween blogfest you describe the act of blinking to make them go away.

Tina Lynn: That works when I'm seeing things, but the noises and the feeling that someone is with you still stays with you. I guess I should correct the above statement. I'm not always scared. But it's never comfortable.

Sierra: That's understandable. I'm a big scaredy cat when it comes to things like that, so I definitely wouldn't be either. What's the worst thing that's ever happened?

Tina Lynn: That's a hard question to answer. I remember when I was very young my playroom was a scary place. Things moved.

Sierra: Ooh, that is scary.

Tina Lynn: But recently, I experienced my first full figure ghost. I thought I was going to have a coronary.

Sierra: What! I would have.

Tina Lynn: I actually did post that story on my blog.

Sierra: How did I miss that one?!?

Tina Lynn: I don't think you did. You never miss my scary stories.

Sierra: I know, I'm terrible, I'm an awful sucker for your scary stories--as long as I'm not the one actually experiencing them. That's what makes them so fascinating, probably. So where did you see the full figure ghost?

Tina Lynn: It was at the hotel. A friend of mine and I have been discussing the possibility that I brought something back with me.

Sierra (getting chills on back of neck): What do you mean, "with you"? When you were born?

Tina Lynn: The house I live in has become "active". It didn't used to be.

Sierra: Ahh. Like you're drawing them to you, almost.

Tina Lynn: Exactly.

Sierra: Maybe they're like the ones in The Sixth Sense, they know you can see and hear them, so they flock to you. What do you think about that movie? (I'm sitting here making comparisons between you and that movie which might not be fair, so feel free to scoff.)

Tina Lynn: LOL. That child was much more sensitive than me. Children tend to be more sensitive. And cats. Our cat knows.

Sierra: Definitely. I think you mentioned before that your kids have the ability to see as well?

Tina Lynn: My oldest has been having many experiences over the course of the last few weeks.

Sierra: Out of the blue?

Tina Lynn: Yes.

Sierra: How does she handle it?

Tina Lynn: She had experiences at our old house (which was a terrible place), but here it's new. She's terrified. But she knows she can come to me. So, that's good for her.

Sierra: Have you ever looked into finding someone who can help you through it?

Tina Lynn: No. I've always just dealt with it.

Sierra: If you could choose, would you have it stop?

Tina Lynn: That's a good question. I think short answer is: yes. Long answer is: If I can't ever make it amount to anything, I'd prefer for it to stop. But if I could help someone, I wish I could. Dead or alive.

Sierra: Have you ever tried to help anyone, or maybe a better way to ask that is, have you ever felt like you had the opportunity to do so (dead or alive)?

Tina Lynn: I've asked before. One night at the hotel, I begged the entity to let me help it if that's why it was bothering me, but perhaps I am not sensitive enough for it to communicate with me. I never heard anything from it.

Sierra: That's interesting and kind of leads to my next question: do you think they are conscious? Do you think they think?'

Tina Lynn: I think it varies. I think some are fully conscious. Not in the way we are, but I disturbed one once, and she made no secret that she was pissed. Others I think just carry out the same motions.

Sierra: So they have emotions.

Tina Lynn: Oh, yes.

Sierra: Maybe like us living, some are more engaged than others.

Tina Lynn: Perhaps. This particular girl stays in a stall in the women's bathroom in the hotel lobby. I can see her shape in the mirror. I always check the actual stall to make sure she isn't really there. She didn't bother me. She is just present. Which is scary.

Sierra: Yes. Especially when your pants are down.

Tina Lynn: LOL! Yes.But one time, I couldn't check the stall because the door was closed. I opened it to check to make sure, like always.

Sierra: What do you mean? The door was closed already, before you came in?

Tina Lynn: The door to the stall is usually open.While I was ahem doing my thing, she started banging.

Sierra: Did you yell at her? "Hey, I"m trying to PEE here!!"

Tina Lynn: No. I sort of finished and booked it out of there. Not sure if I had my pants completely on either.

Sierra: Have you ever shouted at them out of frustration?

Tina Lynn: Once. Only once.

Sierra (getting chills again!): What happened?

Tina Lynn: Sorry. I'm a bit distracted.My oldest has a "baby". And she's crying.

Sierra (thinking Tina means a ghost baby): WHAT! HOLY COW! Right now?? Maybe I shouldn't make you talk about this. I see that now. !!!

Tina Lynn: For sex ed, they now hand out simulation babies to discourage teenage pregnancy.She's plenty discouraged right now.

Sierra: Oh. PHEW. I thought you meant a GHOST! Is the sim baby programmed to cry at intervals? Hopefully it doesn't do that during the night. THAT would be realistic.

Tina Lynn: It just cries all the time.

Sierra: Modern sex ed: "We teach you how much it SUCKS."

Tina Lynn: That's why my daughter is crying now. She's frustrated and tired.

Sierra: Yes, well. I hope you reminded her that this is how YOU felt.

Tina Lynn: She asked me how in the world I did it. THREE TIMES. I think it's a bit different when you love them though.

Sierra: Did you say, "But for the grace of God!" Also, they're warm and you know they will grow out of babyhood. Of course real babies take massive dumps, too.

Tina Lynn: yes!

Sierra: That's not so good. And they puke everywhere. Nothing like projectile milk vomit all over you, your chair, the carpet, and your books.

Tina Lynn: Yeah, and my daughter was a spitter. Blech.

Sierra: Oh yes, my son was as well. OK, back to my hard-hitting ghost investigative journalism.

Tina Lynn: LOL

Sierra: By the way, right now I am eating a grape flavored Tootsie pop, and I must say it is entirely pleasant.

Tina Lynn: Yes, I had one yesterday.

Sierra: Although I would normally murder for chocolate, I do not prefer the chocolate ones. I like grape and strawberry and especially cherry.

Tina Lynn: Oh, we are so so alike.

Sierra: We are, Tina, we are indeed. Ok so: Do you ever get the sense of how they died, or why they linger?

Tina Lynn: No. Never. That's why it sucks so bad to be me. I'm sensitive enough to know they are there, to sense them, to see them, but I can't do anything about it. I've been encouraged to try and strengthen my sensitivity, but I really don't want to.

Sierra: Strengthen it! Why, so you can play bridge with them? Holy cow, what would you strengthen it for?

Tina Lynn: So that I could help them.Or get them to leave.

Sierra: Yes but then you'd be running all over town to solve their problems.

Tina Lynn: LOL. Yeah, maybe.

Sierra: And you have a family to worry about! And a plastic crying baby!

Tina Lynn: Oh, boy. Poor girl. She's going to have a loooooong night.

Sierra: Yes, but she'll think twice now about unprotected sex.

Tina Lynn: Yeah, right.

Sierra: Just whatever you do, don't tell her that its actually easier the younger you are, cause you have more stamina for the all-night sleep deprivation.

(Then followed a long tangent about labor, babies, and pregnancy, NaNo, writing, and the Bay Area, with the following comment mixed in somewhere: "Applesauce with steroids, now THAT is good.")

Thanks, Tina! It was fantastic to talk to you about this stuff. Anyone have any questions for her and her amazing ghost-seeing ability?


Teri Anne Stanley said...

I'm sitting here thinking, "Yeah, right, ghosts. Now way. What it PROBABLY is, is a tangle in the space time continuum. That makes WAY more sense."

Time for more coffee. And to slam the plastic baby against the wall.

Tina Laurel Lee said...

Fun interview.

What great fodder for writing! Well, I guess that would be my question for Tina, is it fodder?

Roni Loren said...

I've always been fascinated by the whole ghost thing. As a kid, I told my parents I was going to Duke to study parapsychology, lol. That was after I became convinced my room was haunted. I slept in the guest room for a year (seriously) because I was freaked out. Looking back, I don't think I was psychically sensitive, I think it was just a glaring sign I was meant to be a writer. :)

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

Whoa. So freaky. Not you, Tina, but your ability. I think I would go mad. The slightest bump in the night, and I can't sleep. But man, how fascinating. And I thought you were cool have now been elevated to the status of Supremo. Yes, Tina, you are Supremo. Capitalized. That is way cool--but not because you can see them, but because you are just so cool about it.

Awesome interview, by the way. I feel like I've just eavesdropped on your conversation. Always fun ;)

Sierra, love that you posted this! You're Supremo, too.

Tina Lynn said...

Sierra ~ You are an absolute doll for thinkin me interesting enough to interview. *squishy hugs*

Teri ~ Ha ha! Maybe. You never know. *arches eyebrow*

Tina ~ Oh, yes. My NaNo has tons of this stuff in it. I was going to do a full-on ghosty YA, but seems that agents are being inundated with it right now.

Roni ~ *snort* Yeah, um, I've thought that same thing sometimes. Overactive imagination. But once I started having things totally unexplainable happen to me, it was time to face the truth.

Carolina ~ *blushes* I feel special:)

Sierra Godfrey said...

It was my pleasure, Tina. I find you and your ability endlessly fascinating.

Teri Anne- it's possible, but after reading Tina's experiences and talking with her, I don't know.

Tina Laurel, it totally would be fodder for me. I've tried to convince Tina to do a whole blog based on her experiences...she used to have one about the haunted hotel.

Roni, I like that tidbit about you. How funny that you wouldn't sleep in your room.

Carolina, one of the funnest things about this was the conversation. I like the format, and although it's long, it zips by!

Amalia T. said...

I had a friend growing up who was really sensitive to this stuff too, and it really freaked her out when she had those experiences. Her older sister was really supportive though-- I can't imagine going through that without having someone who could understand.

We don't see ghosts in my family, but there is some crazy psychic stuff going on sometimes with my great aunt and my sister and my mom.

Amber Tidd Murphy said...

Dude. She is SUCH a freak!! ;) I love Tina Lynn Sandoval, and when I die I will hang around her all the time, too. Howevs, I won't scare her. I'll just do line edits for her for all of eternity. Heavenly!

Natalie Murphy said...

*snorting at Amber's comment still*

Ahem, but no really. Cat's notice because they're evil. Ghosties would just be another sect of their minions ;)

Like everyone else has said, you're ability has always been interesting to me =)

Melissa said...

*shudders* I don't know how you do it, Tina. I'd be a blubbering mess if I saw ghosts.

Great interview ladies:)

Roni Loren said...

FTR, Tina, I wasn't discounting your ability, only mine. ;)

Tina Lynn said...

Amalia ~ Now *that* is some interesting stuff!

Amber ~ Bitemespice! *blows kisses*

Nat ~ I knew it! Louis really is evil!

Mel ~ I don't know how I do it either.

Roni ~ Dude, I know. I tried to discount it. And got shut down.

Meghan Ward said...

I'm going to have nightmares tonight! Great interview, both of you!

DL Hammons said...

This didn't read like an interview...more like I was eavesdropping on a conversation...and I loved it! Tina is one of my favorite bloggers but I never knew that about her. Such fascinating stuff!!

Sierra Godfrey said...

I like that you all liked the conversational format. Re-reading the interview, I wish I'd asked Tina to describe in detail some of the super creepy happenings that she's witnessed. I think I erroneously assumed you all would have read that before. Some of Tina's stories about the kitchen in the hotel where she worked are truly hair raising. Also, she worked night shifts at the hotel, which is bad enough in itself, but made worse when no one else was around and the ghosts could freely make a ruckus.

And she never did answer my question about what happened when she shouted at them.

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