Special THANK YOU going out to my dear friend Krista Krueger for the amazing interview she had with me and Mr. Bohns. Mr. Bohns doesn't take his top hat and black gloves off for many but Krista made him feel right at home. Soon he sat back and answered her questions with ease. He even laughed a few times!
I hope you all will enjoy this interview as much as Mr. Bohns and I enjoyed being a part of it.
The Surpirse Interview: Carrie Filetti & Mr. Bohns
I was lucky enough to get a chance to interview Carrie Filetti and Mr. Bohns recently and ask them about the process of a living woman writing for a dead man. I have to say they are an awesome team. Carrie is an amazing storyteller and Mr. Bohns has a great story to tell. I hope that you all get as much enjoyment out of these ten questions as I did because I smiled the whole time, which is rare. J If you’d like to learn more about Mr. Bohns’ daily life you can follow him at https://www.facebook.com/BenjaminBohnsFactory.
So, Carrie, Mr. Bohns, how did you two meet and what made Carrie the one living person you felt you could tell your story. her talent, acceptance and love of the slightly macabre? All of those things?
Carrie: I was going about my days as a normal living housewife when out of the blue I was awoken by the oddest dream.
Mr. Bohns: Ms. Carrie might think she was ‘normal’ but I have known her for some time. She has never been normal. When you’re dead you have a gift. You kind of know everything about the living. I’ve been watching and waiting for the perfect time to open up to her. She had to almost die herself before it could happen.
Mr. Bohns, losing Carrie is a frightening thought, but let’s move on.
Since you confided in Carrie for her to be able to write this book, has she been able to take a tour of the factory? For documentation purposes, of course.
Mr. Bohns: Carrie is the only one who knows my factory better than me. When writing this story she pointed out a few nooks and crannies I didn’t know of. She is always welcome at my factory.
What exactly does your factory specialize in and Carrie what do you think of Mr. Bohns’ products?
Mr. Bohns: My factory is known for its spooky treats and gloomy dolls and toys. Some of my best sellers are my Black-Licorice Spiders w/ Candied Webs, Goblin Gumball Eyes and my Dog-Bite Joey Dolls. The doll is an inspiration from Carrie as she was almost eaten by a beast. I was able to reach her after that incident.
Carrie: Mr. Bohn’s products have opened my eyes to a whole new world! Candy is dandy but Mr. Bohns’s is so much more fun! When I suck on a lollipop, it’s now on a mummy’s head. When I chew gum, I now add candy to give it a little ‘boney’ crunch.
Carrie, what do you think of Mr. Bohns’ “life”?
Carrie: He will always be a loner. He has a problem accepting the fact that he’s dead. He still has a lot to live for. He still runs into trials. They don’t stop in death; we keep learning and growing after this life, folks.
I’d imagine he has a lot more stories to tell that we could learn from.
I’ve heard of a girl named Maryanne that works there, how important of a role does she play at the factory and in the book?
Mr Bohns: Maryanne plays a HUGE part in both. Most people are captured by me because of what I am but Maryanne is the real hero.
Carrie: (Smiling over at her friend) Mr. Bohns is the hero too. You can’t help but love characters that grow and overcome their weaknesses.
Carrie, I imagine Mr. Bohns is an interesting gentleman, how was the experience of writing about him?
Carrie: Mr Bohns is dapper and a fine gentlemen. He is prideful but it’s because he knows a lot. It makes him very angry to see the living throwing their lives away. He has taught me to live my life to the fullest because we only have one life to live and we must be careful and obey the laws.
Mr. Bohns: Always drink your milk and wear your seat belts!
I have to tell you, Mr. Bohns that I love my milk and my father instilled that you should
Always wear your seatbelt.
Okay Carrie. You have a little hideaway to do your writing, what kind of things do you keep nearby to keep yourself inspired?
Carrie: Oh, boy! Do you have all day? I have so much! Some of my favorites are my childhood toys. Fisher Price little people and my stuffed toy, Ziggy the Zebra. I love vintage so I have some fun pieces from the 40’s & 50’s. I have spooky things galore, like my vintage Halloween collection and my spooky/odd Valentines. I have little button-eyed dollies, Monster Legos, skeleton keys; my daddy’s old circus books (because he and I have always shared the same secret, to join the circus). I have such wonderful friends who have sent me little treasures and all those are in my room too. I have artwork from friends, stuffed monsters, a coffin key, figurines and I even have a set of silver spoons a friend made skull faces in. Oh, and I must not forget…the skeletons. I love my boney friends.
That sounds like a lot to keep you on track. I have my own coffin key as well. J
How did your family feel about you spending so much time with Mr. Bohns? Were they jealous of the time it takes to write a book, supportive?
Carrie: I have to be one of the luckiest mommy’s ever! My kids LOVE Mr. Bohns. They quote him at the dinner table, they pray for his story to find the right publisher. Some have even surrendered their birthday wishes over to him in hopes the world will know how amazing he is. They bug me constantly (even the teenagers) to read his and Maryanne’s story. My family will not let me give up when I get discouraged. They literally get angry when I let doubt in.
You’re a lucky woman Carrie with a family that obviously loves you and believes in you very much; as Mr. Bohns must to have waited for you to be ready for his story.
Mr. Bohns, did the factory run smoothly while you and Carrie worked together or were there mishaps?
(They both laugh) Mr. Bohns: Oh, there were mishaps! Plenty of mishaps! You’re bound to have mishaps when you work with the living.
Not all of the living are so bad, Mr. Bohns. Carrie seems to have done very well by you.
And finally I have to ask, will there be or are you working on another book about our favorite dapper dressed living skeleton?
Carrie: My Dreadville books will be stand-alones but if you read them all, you will find clues and mysteries of old characters. My new book is about a different monster but you can bet you’ll run into Mr Bohns.
I love the idea of a place called Dreadville and that the stories will intermingle. And I’m glad we’ll run into Mr. Bohns again. I’ve grown quite found of you, sir. I can’t wait to see what Carrie has in store for us.
"An invisible red
thread connects those destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or
circumstances. The thread may stretch or tangle, but never break." -
Ancient Chinese Proverb
For years I didn't believe in soul mates. I never had one. I
never believed there was another girl in this entire world like me. But the
moment Dana and I connected, we were finishing each other’s sentences. Out of
all the hours in a day, we’d pick the exact moments to send emails. We would
find images online to share only to discover the other was saving that same
image with the same plan. The list goes on and on. We seemed more like twins
than new friends.
Dana has been very ill for a long time and she recently
found herself in the hospital hanging on hope for survival. Her communication
to me was very limited as it was too painful to even type. Her jaw was so
swollen she couldn't talk or even eat. Dana’s
father read her my messages and I waited patiently for her father’s updates.
Miles and miles separate us but that invisible thread was
never cut. Somehow our bond grew. Somehow we continued to know about the other
with little contact.
For her birthday, I went online in hopes to find that
perfect image. I wanted something she could hang in her room and at her weakest
moments in her illness, she could remember us and all our future plans. It had
to be extra special. I wanted an image of hope.
The moment I visited Mab
Graves’s site her piece ‘Best Friends’ spoke to me. It was me and Dana. Mab had captured us
perfectly. Tears welled up in my eyes when my husband nodded yes. I believe he
felt it too.
I contacted the artist with my desire to purchase this
limited image. In our communication, I shared with her a brief history of Dana.
Being the darling Mab is, she took the time to find out a little more about
Dana. She visited her blog and she too was touched by this amazing little
It wasn't long before Mab contacted me. She shared how she
was drawn to Dana and how alike the two of them were. In her discovery
something awoke and to help Dana in her healing, she wanted to do something
special too. Along with ‘Best Friends’ (and a few extra little pieces), Mab
took the time to illustrate Dana and sent it with a special note of healing and
When the pieces arrived, my heart sang. There was so much
love in this gift. I took them to be framed, making them perfect so all Dana
had to do was find the spots on the wall. Those who helped me in the different
shops were drawn to the images and the story. Power was there. Strangers were
I wish I could have been there when she opened both gifts. I
wish I could have seen her face. I still tear up knowing I felt it when she did
open them. I could feel joy and gratitude hundreds of miles away. It didn't take long before Dana, being so sick, found the energy to contact me.
It is nice to know there are dear souls in this world. While it may seem bleak at times there are
still good people in it. There are people who take the time to reach out and
truly feel the spirit of another. Thank
you, Mab Graves for what you have done for my friend. Thank you for somehow
connecting to mine and Dana’s red thread and drawing ‘Best Friends’. And thank
you Mab for going the extra mile, for extending yourself even further and
painting Dana perfectly. It will forever be a treasured masterpiece. I am one of your biggest fans, not only because
of your amazing talent but because of what you have done. I consider you a
friend. One of the dearest, and so does Dana.
Every year when Edward Gorey’s birthday passes, I reflect on
how badly I wish he was still around. How I wish I could save my pennies so he
might create a piece of art for only me. How badly I wish I could hang out in
his home town in hopes of a glimpse. How badly I’d wish for a kitten from one
of his many cats. How I wish I could have been his friend.
I have never been the kind of person who dotes on others and
collects autographs but his would be one I’d treasure. Once, I watched one of his ‘Little Red Riding
Hood’ pieces climb and climb out of my price range on eBay. How I wished
I was very rich at that moment.
Edward Gorey’s works move me. They are full of despair which
triggers so much emotion. When I look upon art, I want to feel something; I
want to see a story. His works do this for me. There is a twist of Gothic flare
mixed with everyday occurrences. Some are
a bit bizarre but aren't our lives all unusual at times. Don’t the unbelievable
things happen? Sometimes we are smothered under rugs. Sometimes bears do eat
us. Sometimes we find ourselves face to face with the bad guy, and sometimes
that bad guy wins. Edward Gorey takes us to the edge and lets our minds play
out the story.
Oh, the despair! Oh, the tragedy! I would have been a
perfect character in one of his books. I sometimes wonder what tragic end he
would have given me as child and I do hope it would have been disastrous. I
think he would have liked doing that for his friend.
At a young age my parents introduced me to a little tale. Ever since then Little Red Riding Hood has been my favorite. I had books and stuffed dolls. One doll was a topsy turvy. On one end was Little Red, she was perfect with her red cape, braids and dainty face. When you turned her upside down the doll transformed into the loving Grandmother with her spectacles and bed cap. When you lifted grandmother's cap up and over her face, the wolf was there. He was gray and had yellow eyes with sharp pointed teeth. I spent hours playing with that doll. In the woods outside our home, I was Little Red and I was taking a basket to my Grandma Hasek. The tale of Little Red has such an important lesson. Girls, watch out for the wolves because they are out there. They will hurt you and those you love. Stay on the path and don't ever leave it. Listen to your parents and loved ones. Be cautious and wise to what is around you. And if you find yourself in trouble after falling to temptation, (because flowers are so lovely) there is hope. But while wolves are out there, hope is also out there. Heroes still exist. Let them lift you out of the belly of sadness and hopelessness. And always, always, always wear red. Be who you are, but be smart.
My son Forrest is that good character in a book. The
character everyone loves and roots for. You can’t help but like him because of
his goodness. It radiates from him. He’s not loud. He’s humble, quiet and observant. When he became smarter than me, in the
sciences and math, I knew I had to let him go. This last fall he skipped a
grade, left my home school classroom and started high school as the youngest
This was all new to him.
Such a big step in the quiet life he lived at home. To help Forrest come
out of his shell, Mike (Forrest’s dad) and I thought it good for him to go out
for a sport. Forrest had never played an organized sport except when he got his
family together to play some backyard baseball.
Because of mine and Mike’s great love for wrestling, we
suggested to Forrest that he go out for his high school team. I don’t think it
was his first choice but he was willing to give it a try for his parents. He trusted us. We (and he) knew going in he wasn't going to be as experienced and strong as many on the team. Some of the
other boys had been wrestling since they were little kids. Still, he gave it
his all. He worked hard; harder than he had ever physically worked before. He became stronger and confident. He became
part of a brotherhood as those on the team welcomed him in. Because of his lack
of experience, he didn't make the varsity team but he wore his JR varsity place
Last Monday was the team’s first match. Because the teams
are small in our area, instead of one team to wrestle, sometimes there are
more. Monday there were a total of three teams and they would all be considered
varsity matches. Rarely are there enough guys for Jr. Varsity matches. Only the
best come out for the teams.
In hopes to give Forrest the chance to wrestle in a match,
his coach arranged for him to wrestle a varsity opponent from one of the other
schools. Cocke County happens to have very strong wrestlers. They are solid and
thick farm boys. As a mother, this worried me. My fear that Forrest would be up
against one of these boys had come true.
The meet starts with the middle weights, then goes to the
heavy weights and last are the light weights to wrestle. Forrest’s weight class
is 120 lbs but he is lighter than this, much lighter than his opponent. His match happens to be the very last match
with this school. To top it all off, the score is 42 Rebels (us) and 36 Gamecocks
(them). If Forrest’s opponent can pin him, their team will tie with ours and
not lose. I’m sure Forrest’s opponent was counseled to destroy my boy. When he stood up to Forrest, he was taller
and stronger. You could tell he was experienced andan upper underclassman But what he didn't know is
that my boy had more heart. What he didn't know is that my boy came in with a
mission too. He could not let his team down.
Forrest didn't win the match but what he did win was that as
many pinning combinations as his opponent put him in, Forrest fought out. As
hard as he squeezed my boy, Forrest fought back. Never once, did Forrest give
up. He fought and fought and fought. When the crowd, his team, his coach,
thought the match over, he didn't He fought on. By the second period, the
crowd, his team, the other team who were only watching and waiting for their
time to wrestling, were cheering and chanting my son’s name. His coach was
weeping. What was once just me and Mike turned into a gym full of support for
one little underdog.
The underdog became the winner and the perfect ending to the
story. Sometimes you don’t have to win the match. Sometimes you just have to do
your best. Our team one by one point because of a boy, my boy; the boy who
refused to be pinned.
I wish Halloween could stick around for a few more weeks. Every year it seems to come faster than the last. All year I’m on the hunt for spooky vintage finds. Every year my collection grows. I love every single piece but I do have favorites.
One of my favorites is my 1980’s Beistle jointed scarecrow. He is as tall as me and in mint shape. I found him hanging in a little lady’s garage. She had bought him for her son’s Halloween party and had never bothered to take him back down. I was thrilled with my find and she was happy to tell her story. He was given to me, free of charge.
Another priceless find was discovered at the local flea market. I was drawn like a magnet to a certain table. Standing behind the table was a toothless man. It was rather funny when I picked up a 1950’s dentist chart that was full of real human teeth! When the man saw the light in my eyes, he then showed me an old lab coat and all kinds of beakers and cylinders. That beautiful discovery cost me $10.
I have saved the best for last. One Saturday my husband and
I saw a moving sale. We had $5 cash and decided to stop. Into the house we went
and there on the living room floor was an osteology map from the 1920’s. Those who know me know I love skeletons so you can imagine the excitement I
felt when I saw what was at my feet! It was calling to me. I wouldn't leave the chart in fear someone else would grab it. Finally Mike got
the owner. When she started talking about antique dealers coming to look at it,
I knew it was out of my price range. She asked me to make an offer and I pulled
out my $5. She smiled and shook her head. Without any control, these words came from of my mouth, “But you don’t understand, I love skeletons. An antique dealer
will just sell it. I’ll treasure and love it!” Her smile never faded; instead
she held her hand out and took my five bucks.
Here is a tiny peek inside my haunted house, there is so much more. Most of these treasures hardly cost me anything. Halloween is over today but my Halloween never ends. I will hit the after Halloween sales tomorrow and never stop my hunt for that priceless vintage find.
A day before today, 16 years ago, my husband and I were
signing the final papers on our first home. We ran from here to there,
making sure all those important details were done; getting the power turned on and changing our address. This all happened in the eleventh hour. We were to be out
of my childhood farm house the very next day. My parents had sold it and the
new owners were moving in.
I was starting to feel a little discomfort in my ever-growing
belly and thought...‘this is going to be easy. I can do this. I'm strong and
healthy’. The last night I would ever sleep in my childhood home is the night
the rest of my life began. Childhood was
It started to storm and the pains in my belly increased. My
husband called our midwife and we timed my contraction. She suggested we stay
at home and do most of my laboring there. The storm continued as did the one
inside of me.
Early the next morning the contractions told us it was time
to go. The only easy part about Emma was raising her. But I would do that birth
all over again knowing I’d have the daughter I do today.
Not many of you know but she and I were very close to not
making it. It was a scary moment for all those who were assisting us. I only
remember a few things in that fog. I remember my midwife yelling to me, “Talk
to your baby! Talk to your baby!” They had taken her away and they were all
around her working on my new creation. I saw little pieces of her, an arm, a
leg. I called out to her, not understanding why but obeying. “Emma…Emma…Mommy
midwives were full of knowledge and got her little heart going and got her
breathing. Then one looked over at me. I remember fading. I can still see myself in a room, seeing it
all. Seeing me, my baby and my husband.
I remember seeing the midwives. I was there and I wasn’t. I was happy and calm.
There was some loving force surrounding me. Someone from somewhere was with me.
She/He was reminding me I was new a mom. That I had always dreamed of this
moment. The day had come. I was there living it. Everything seemed so innocent
I won’t go into details of what happened next because
sharing it might chase the peace away but know thatthrough it, I was calm. Someone was holding my hand. Someone was talking
to me. It might have been my husband but through him some other force was there
I think I would have been okay about leaving this world if
she would have come with me. It wasn’t our time though. I was released back
into the world because I was to be a mother on earth and my first born had a
mission to fulfill. I had to help her do it. Emma is living it. She is an
amazing young lady. More than I could ever be. Her soul is of a tortoise or
wise owl. It’s full of knowledge and perception. She will continue to lead and
bring light wherever she steps. She is my constant calming force.
The farm is sold, my childhood is over but with my daughter
my life began 16 years ago.
Happy Birthday my little Emma. You are now 16! I cannot
believe it! You have given me 16 years
of joy, laughter and proud moments. How my life would be empty without you.
And, no, you may not move to Europe. But you know you have my support if that
is where the winds carry you. I LOVE