Author Interview – Tamera Lawrence

Tamera Lawrence

Author Tamera Lawrence with Ben Hanson of Fact or Fiction, in one of the nights in the Pennhurst Haunt.

With a passion for writing, Award winning author Tamera Lawrence likes to entertain readers with edgy thrillers and mysteries. As a mother of six, Tamera draws on personal experiences to bring to life interesting characters set in today’s complex world. She loves meeting fans and writes book reviews upon request. Tamera also likes to play softball and clang out a tune or two on the piano.


What made you decide to write Ghosts of Mayflower?

This is a book that I never intended on writing. I had taken a job to work for the Pennhurst Haunt in 2011 purely for some extra income and found myself being offered the position of an orderly in the Mayflower Hall building. When touring the building with the handlers of the haunt, we were warned that something would mess with us in the building, something unseen. We were also told we might quit because of it. I had thought at the time that we were being prepared for the Halloween season and to set the stage for the Ghost Hunt. The Ghost Hunt is a self guided tour through the first and second floors of the Mayflower building, using one flashlight per group. But from night one the paranormal activity simmered and only grew worse. The writer in me was fascinated and couldn’t help but write it all down. Ghosts of Mayflower is my accounting of what I observed in the building and how I learned to work with the ghosts of the past.


What were you hoping to accomplish in writing your book? Is there a message that you were trying to convey to the reader?

Pennhurst State School and Hospital has a fascinating, but sad history dating from 1908 to 1987. This state school and hospital was originally created to separate the mentally handicapped and epileptic from what was considered normal society. But it wasn’t long when orphans were added to the mix.

Children of varying ages lived in the massive buildings and cottages. But Pennhurst was severely underfunded, over populated, and understaffed. This led to patient abuse by some staff and other residents. The children of Pennhurst failed to thrive and most have regressed.

Today, parts of Pennhurst have been turned into a Halloween attraction. Although it remains controversial, Pennhurst has a huge draw of curious onlookers, including me. This book is intended to explore a bit of Mayflower’s past as well as give a glimpse into what its like to work in a haunted building.

Working in Mayflower was and still is a fascinating experience.


How did you go about researching and organizing your book? Are there any tips you would give to other authors writing a similar book?

This book began as a question to myself, “Was the Mayflower Building truly haunted?” Approaching this query as if writing a diary, I began nightly to keep a detailed record of the paranormal activities that I had witnessed in the Mayflower building over the Halloween season. I would write down questions asked by Pennhurst customers and also added my own. I then set about trying to answer them. I began researching the history of Pennhurst and added my findings to the pages. And soon it all evolved into the Ghosts of Mayflower.

My suggestion to another writer is to take the time to write down their experiences everyday – make the time. Details are and will be forgotten if you don’t. Take pictures to help you remember and carry a notepad for references.


Are you working on another book? Can you tell us about it?

I am currently working on a Ghosts of Mayflower II book, hoping to include more of my coworkers experiences as well as explore a bit more of Mayflower’s past. I am currently still working at the Pennhurst Haunt in the Mayflower building and its just as haunted as ever.


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