Author of American Ghost and The Beekeeper’s Lament


11.18.15 | Seriously, this happened


A few weeks ago, I flew down to Santa Fe for
a party at La Posada. The hosts had rented out the house, and for the final night of the event, the planners moved all of the furniture out of the bedrooms upstairs and the downstairs parlors and bar, and moved dining tables into the rooms so the guests could eat there. Including in Julia’s room. | READ MORE

11.10.15 | NM-AZ and Seven Sisters Book Awards

The NM-AZ and Seven Sisters Book Awards lists of finalists have been announced, and American Ghost is a finalist for both–in the history category for the New Mexico awards and nonfiction for the Seven Sisters. Winners for the NM-AZ awards will be announced Nov 20 in Albuquerque. The Seven Sisters prize, which is a brand new awards program honoring women authors, will be announced January 31, 2016.

10.31.15 | Crowdsourcing Julia Staab     

CH25_julie staab

Since American Ghost came out, I’ve received emails from a number of readers sharing their own memories of Julia Staab, her family, La Posada Hotel, her ghost, and ghosts in general. Distant cousins have sent me family photos of Julia’s siblings and nieces and nephews; hotel guests and Santa Fe visitors have sent me stories of their own ghost encounters.

I had always hoped that when the book came out, I’d gather more information about Julia’s life and family — tidbits that were hidden in family keepsake books or photo albums. I also was curious whether people continued to have encounters with the ghost of La Posada. Now I am beginning to hear some of those stories, and I’ve created a new blog on my website to share them as they come in.

You can read those stories here. If you have stories you’d like to share, feel free to send me an email and I’ll do my best to get them posted on the blog. | READ MORE

9.22.15 | Buzzfeed Ghost Books

Ghosts Among Us: True Stories of Spirit Encounters, by Leslie RuleHere comes Halloween: Buzzfeed gets spooky. I  wish I had this list of ghost books when I started research on American Ghost — read some of them, but missed a number.

8.29.15 | Paperback Cover

AmericanGhost_PB_c_P3Coming in March to a bookstore near you, the American Ghost paperback!

Same book (minus a couple of embarrassing typos), same cover, nice little “National Bestseller” stripe across the top, new subtitle: “A Family’s Extraordinary History on the Desert Frontier.”

The idea being to emphasize that this is a history book, not a paranormal potboiler. Fun as those are to read, some people get really pissed when they find out they’ve been duped into reading a history book instead….

6.16.15 | Smithsonian/Zócalo Public Square

The SmithsStaab House on Palace Ave. SFonian/Zócalo Public Square asked me to write an essay about Julia Staab for their “What It Means to Be American Project.” I wrote about how Julia Staab became American in the unforgiving desert of New Mexico–whether she wished for that life of not, she had no choice.

“To become American is to accept a staggering loss of self—of the people we once were, in the places we once came from. It may take a generation, perhaps two. But inevitably, it transpires. The surge of conquering culture sweeps down through the generations, much as the spring floods scour the desert arroyos. Washed away, we must lay down new roots.”  | READ MORE

6.15.15 | Washington Independent Review of Books 

The poet Grace Cavalieri wrote an appreciation of American Ghost in the Washington Independent Review of Books, a wonderful independent book review site based in Washington D.C. “Hannah Nordhaus writes a detective story, although it’s not fiction, and a ghost story, although it’s not a chiller,” she writes. “It’s biography and history and the product of investigative research, yet everything of power, even scholarly process, must come from the heart, and so does this story.” You can read the essay here. | READ MORE

6.11.15 | Colorado Public Radio 

Last week, I sat down with Ryan Warner, host of Colorado Matters, to discuss American Ghost, Julia Staab, the Santa Fe Trail, 19th-century gynecological care, and the fine line between history and lore. You can listen to the interview here.

5.31.15 | Writing the Unwritten – Boulder Weekly

A few weeks ago, I sat down for coffee with Elizabeth Miller of Boulder Weekly, to talk about American Ghost. The story ran this week – I think she did a fantastic job of getting at the heart of the ideas and sentiments that I hoped to convey by writing the book. You can read the article here.   | READ MORE

5.1.15 | Jezebel Interview    

A few weeks ago, Jezebel called me to talk about Julia Staab and American Ghost. It was a fun and wide-ranging conversation, which you can read here.  | READ MORE

4.9.15 | What I’m Reading    

BookPage asked me recently to share with them what I’ve been reading lately. I can’t say there’s any rhyme or reason to my book selection these days: a little nonfiction, a lot of fiction. A little American West, a little Spanish Inquisition. And a lot of new work by friends like Bill Gifford, James Hannaham, Jonny Waldman and Gretchen Rubin, who all had books come out within a week of my own. But for BookPage, I decided to stick with the theme of the American West and wanderers along frontiers real and imagined. Here’s what I came up with.  | READ MORE

3.11.15 | “Habits Interview” with Gretchen Rubin   

Gretchen Rubin is author of The Happiness Project and the upcoming Better than Before, and is an authority on all things habits and happiness. I spoke with her last month about my own habits: good, bad, and ugly. Now the entire world knows that I crack my knuckles and am a cheap drunk. And also, how much my great-grandmother Julia Staab affected how I try to live my life. | READ MORE

3.2.15 | Forgive Yourself  

The American Scholar asked me to write an essay recalling one piece of advice that was most helpful to my writing career. I wrote about Mrs. Bluitt, my fifth-grade gifted-and-talented teacher. She died two decades ago, but she towered huge over my development as a writer, and as a person. Here’s what I wrote. | READ MORE

2.3.15 | American Ghost Sneak Peak on Scribd 

What? You can’t wait until March 10 to see what American Ghost is all about? Lucky for you! My publisher, HarperCollins, has posted the book’s first chapter on Scribd. You can read it here.