Mar Romansco-Moore is joining us today to talk about their novel, I Am the Ghost in Your House. Here’s the publisher’s description:
From the author of Some Kind of Animal comes a wildly unique story about an invisible girl struggling to see herself in a world obsessed with appearances.
Pie is the ghost in your house.
She is not dead, she is invisible.
The way she looks changes depending on what is behind her. A girl of glass. A girl who is a window. If she stands in front of floral wallpaper she is full of roses.
For Pie’s entire life it’s been Pie and her mother. Just the two of them, traveling across America. They have slept in trains, in mattress stores, and on the bare ground. They have probably slept in your house.
But Pie is lonely. And now, at seventeen, her mother’s given her a gift. The choice of the next city they will go to. And Pie knows exactly where she wants to go. Pittsburgh—where she fell in love with a girl who she plans to find once again. And this time she will reveal herself.
Only how can anyone love an invisible girl?
A magnificent story of love, and friendship, and learning to see yourself in a world based on appearances, I Am the Ghost in Your House is a brilliant reflection on the importance of how much more there is to our world than what meets the eye.
What’s Mar’s favorite bit?
A few years ago I lived in a fairly crummy apartment that was one block away from a bunch of big gorgeous Victorian houses. When I went on walks around the neighborhood, I’d always admire these houses and imagine what they looked like inside, maybe crane my neck for a quick glimpse through a window. A hint of crown molding or immaculate vintage furniture or fancy framed art (I was still sticking magazine pages to my walls and sourcing furniture from curbs and alleyways).
In my book, the main character Pieta (Pie for short) can do a whole lot more than peek through windows. She can walk into any house she wants to. She can see all the things people keep hidden, see the interiors of their lives. But no one can see her.
Pie is invisible. She has spent most of her life roaming around the country with her mother (also invisible). They ride trains, take what they need, and live in other people’s houses like ghosts.
Which allowed me to live out some serious wish fulfillment as I wrote about the many places they’ve stayed over the years! As part of the drafting process, I even fulfilled a lifelong dream of mine by booking a sleeper car and taking a little Amtrak tour of the country, staying with various friends along the way (although not stealing any of their stuff, of course, unlike Pie and her mother).
I’ve always loved seeing people’s living spaces, noting the ways their surroundings reflect their personalities. And I don’t think I’m alone in that. Pie and her mother frequently choose the houses of the rich, where there is way too much wasted space but also plenty of interesting and weird things to look at. It’s the same sort of diet voyeurism provided by home design magazines or zillow listings, but better – in the case of Pie – because she doesn’t see people’s homes neatened up for company or staged perfectly by a realtor. She sees them as they truly are.
The main action of the story is about Pie finally reaching out to other humans, letting herself be seen, both literally and metaphorically, and falling in love with a photographer named Denise along the way. She finds a place she feels comfortable sticking around for a while – but that wouldn’t have meant anything if I hadn’t been able to explore her loneliness first. The loneliness of empty houses, empty rooms, of walking through someone else’s world and wondering what it must be like to belong there.
Mar Romasco-Moore is the author of the novels I Am the Ghost in Your House, Some Kind of Animal, and Krazyland (forthcoming fall 2022) as well as the multimedia flash fiction collection Ghostographs, which was nominated for a Shirley Jackson award. They teach writing at Columbus College of Art and Design.