I’ve always been fascinated by the unknown.

I’m intrigued by the shadowy things that shouldn’t exist, but do. The thrill of fear that comes from knowing something more exists out there. Something awesome and frightening. And I can pinpoint the exact moment I knew that we as human beings weren’t alone in the world.

As a young girl, I was completely unprepared to see the ghost of a beautiful woman in the back hallway of our house. In broad daylight. She was dressed as a showgirl, wearing an ornate headdress, dancing in a slow pirouette, and didn’t noticed me at all as I stood frozen, my mouth hanging open. I was shocked to my toes, and scared, but I was also elated. Now there would never be another question in my mind, ever, as to whether paranormal beings and happenings were possible. They were a reality, and I was a witness.

My path was set. Throughout the ensuing years, I experienced many more encounters with ghostly entities, and my love of all things paranormal took root and flourished. As a child I watched every classic scary movie and devoured both fiction and non-fiction books by the armloads, eventually moving on to adult horror starting with the amazing Stephen King.

And of course, my favorite holiday was Halloween (it still is!). Nothing gave me a bigger thrill than dressing up and hitting the street in my cool costume, and it wasn’t about the candy. Well, mostly! The really awesome part was prowling the streets, searching the darkness for the spirits I knew were there when so many others merely hoped. Or didn’t honestly believe. It was my delicious little secret, and I hugged it to me closely, only sharing with two trusted friends.

For so many, the magic of Halloween fades as they grow older. Adults sometimes forget the wide-eyed wonder of experiencing the fantastic for the first time, whatever that might be. They forget the childlike hope, the tingle, the electric anticipation of the supernatural unknown—What if? Will I see a ghost? Is it real?—and relegate those memories to a soft, fond place that’s brought out only once a year when their own children don their costumes.

For me, the magic simply grew and became a fact of everyday life. My love of ghosts branched into other creatures—werewolves, vampires, gargoyles, demons, and shifters. I started reading romance in high school, and it was no surprise that stories with hot vampire, shifter, and magical heroes eventually made their way into my “To Be Read” pile. After all, being a paranormal sensitive I had an open mind, and the idea of a brave hero with special abilities was just too yummy to resist! A whole new world of reading was revealed to me, and I couldn’t have been happier… unless I was to write those stories myself!

After several years of writing romance, that’s exactly what I did. I created the Alpha Pack, a team of former Navy SEALs who are black ops wolf shifters and protect the human population from all paranormal evil. Primal Law was the launching point of the series that gave me so much creative freedom as an author, and took home the National Reader’s Choice Award for Paranormal. Whether my heroes are wolf shifters (Primal Law & Savage Awakening) or a panther shifter/sorcerer (Black Moon, December 2012) I know that success comes from being completely happy in my element, writing stories that stretch the boundaries of my imagination. And that imagination has a foundation in personal experience that is very real, enriching my stories with a love of the fantastic, with the seemingly impossible, that has never faded.

I love the chill that creeps down my spine, not knowing what might be lurking just around the corner. And trust me, there is something waiting in the shadows.

As for the beautiful dancing ghost in our hallway? I never saw her again. Yet in some form, she lives on in every paranormal story I write, because she’s every fear and hope we’ve ever had that there is something more sharing our world. She’s the answer to the question, “Do you believe?”

And if your answer is “yes,” then maybe you have more than a bit of the magic in you, too.

Happy Halloween,

J.D. Tyler