It was a dark, wet, and cold Wednesday night. The sun had long ago said its goodbyes, leaving the slickened streets to be illuminated by nothing but orange and purple string lights. Front lawns were home to eerie ghouls and rattling skeletons and grimacing jack-o-lanterns that matched the chill seeping into your bones. Bethlehem was hushed but ready. It was Halloween Eve, the perfect night for an open house and book signing to celebrate Kate Racculia’s Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts.
The Bethlehem Area Public Library (BAPL)’s brand new Cohen Room was transformed for the event. Along the far wall, a sprawling table held every Halloween treat you could possibly need. With Edgar-Allan-Poe-themed cookies, classic popcorn balls, homemade Cheez-Its, and tempting assortment of classic Halloween candy (who isn’t a sucker for chocolate?), it was the best trick-or-treating experience I’d ever had. Decorative ravens and floating skeleton hands and a spindly tree were thrown into the snack mix. Silhouettes of witches and bats danced across the blackened windows. As your eyes followed them through the space, you were also met by people wearing costumes, milling about the room. If the snack table wasn’t enough proof, the karaoke machine was all that you needed to see in order to know that this was not just another book signing.
The event was put on in conjunction with Let’s Play Books, an independent bookstore that serves the entire Lehigh Valley. Racculia has been involved with and a featured author at the store since its opening in 2012. Owner Kirsten Hess introduced Racculia to the excited crowd of individuals gathered to commemorate her work. Hess spoke to the gravity of Racculia’s involvement with the store and congratulated her on a beautifully designed and written third novel.
Racculia offered thanks to Hess, Let’s Play Books, BAPL, and everyone who dressed up and came out to support her. She reminisced on the eleven years that she lived in Boston before she moved to Bethlehem and said she wrote Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts during a time when she found herself missing the spirit of Boston and wanting to relive all its old haunts. The book follows the loner Tuesday Mooney, an odd young girl that no one one can quite figure out. She towers above her peers, dresses exclusively in all black, and socializes only when absolutely necessary. To some, she’s Wednesday Addams’ long lost sister, coming just one day earlier in the week, but just as strange.
Her world is turned upside down when Vincent Pryce, Boston’s only cape-wearing and utterly offbeat billionaire, dies and passes on a city wide scavenger hunt in his wake. Pryce proudly boasted one of the world’s largest amateur Edgan Allan Poe collections, which he used as his inspiration for the entirety of the extraordinary puzzle and all its clues. Tuesday, a puzzle lover at heart, can’t resist embarking on an epic journey and finds herself joined by a motley group of individuals in the competition against other teams in Boston. The prize? A share in Pryce’s wealth and the glory of solving the final clue. While facing ghosts from their pasts and questions of the present, Tuesday and her gang explore their dreams for the future.
Racculia chose to read a short passage from one of the characters’ forays in a karaoke bar (a favorite hangout spot), and we were immediately put into the freeing moment of letting yourself become immersed in a song. The karaoke machine in the corner began to make a lot more sense after that, and Racculia challenged us to step out of our comfort zones and find our songs. She also reminded us that “the heart and the head dream, but the body writes.” Embark on your next adventure with Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts and you’ll find your head and heart dreaming in ways you never imagined.
*Feature photo credit: Susie Poore*