Harold Ramis’s daughter Violet Ramis Stiel has a new book in the works. Tentatively titled Ghostbuster’s Daughter, the book will feature photos and a look back at her childhood: “It’s not just my story – it’s the story of my childhood and our relationship, and also him and his work and his philosophies,” Stiel said on the project. “He was a really larger-than-life person, but also really grounded and down-to-earth. He was a very curious mind, but also very generous. It’s the story of our relationship and the weird circus that I grew up in on locations and in that world, but also the home life and the behind-the-family stories.” Blue Rider Press will publish the book, which is currently slated for a release around Father’s Day 2018. Ahead of the news, we spoke with Stiel about how the book idea originated and how the response has been to her wonderful piece from July “On My Dad Harold Ramis and Passing the Ghostbusters Torch to a New Generation of Fans”:
The response to your piece about the new Ghostbusters movie seemed pretty overwhelmingly positive. How did it feel from your perspective?
Definitely also overwhelming. There was so much drama around the movie, and at the last minute I just felt like I had to say something because my dad was being invoked, and that’s just so not him. I didn’t know that anybody would really read or care about it, but people who love my dad are just so happy to hear more about him or more from him, so I think that in addition to trying to calm feelings about the movie, they just really appreciated hearing what I felt his perspective would be. It was really nice – people writing “I never thought I’d get to hear more about your dad! I want more stories!” It was really nice.
Did that give you the idea to write the book, or was that an idea you had before?
No. My dad and I actually had the idea to write a book together before he got sick about parenting. He had teenage boys, I had small children at the time, and we just thought it would be interesting to write about all the different approaches we were taking. So we had the idea to do that together, and he got sick, and it didn’t happen. But I started to think about my own childhood and what a huge and wonderful influence he’d been, and after he passed away, I knew I had to do something to not let all that go to waste.
I love how when you reached out to us about the book, you mentioned your dad would probably give a great post-election “mini-lecture on the Defenestration of Prague or transfer of power between Ur and the Akkadian Empire.”
I definitely am missing his wisdom and perspective now more than ever, because he had a great way of taking a long view of things. He knew a lot about history, he was very balanced in his thinking, and he definitely would’ve had a lot to say about all of this. But also, he was reassuring, and that’s what I’m looking for right now. I would like to hear someone tell me everything’s gonna be okay, this has happened before, we’ll make it through. But also, he could make you laugh when you were worried about stuff, and so I think it’s not to distract us from what’s important but to be able to help us think about things not in a straightforward way but with humor, with faith, with all of those things.
Are you enjoying the writing process?
Yeah. It’s been a great way to think about him and be with him, not in a sad way but a very productive, creative way, which I think he would’ve really appreciated. I mean, he’s my favorite person, so whenever I get to be with him like that it’s always wonderful.