Paula Morris' latest novel, Ruined: A Ghost Story, is a mystery for young adults set in New Orleans and the first of what Morris hopes will become her "haunted cities series." An assistant professor of English at Tulane, Morris says that ghosts offer intriguing possibilities for stories.
And old cities, such as nearly 300-year-old New Orleans, have throngs of ghosts within them. Old cities possess layers of history, rich in stories.
In Morris's imaginary spirit world portrayed in the new book, published by Scholastic Press, ghosts are doomed to roam the streets forever, unable to rest in peace, until their deaths are avenged at last.
In Ruined, Rebecca, a 16-year-old girl, is plopped down, unexpectedly, into New Orleans. Going to a new school midyear is trying enough, but she also has to learn the ins and outs of Mardi Gras krewes and aboveground cemeteries. Along the way, she makes friends with a ghost whose hand she can hold to become invisible.
Listen and watch a video of Paula Morris reading a passage from Ruined about a ghost walk through the city of New Orleans.