The Shadows of Stormclyffe Hall (Sept 29 2014)
His Wicked Seduction(Nov. 11 2014)
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Lauren Smith is an up and coming force to be reckoned with as a romance novelist. I have read her books and blogged about them here and here on this site. I stayed up way too late reading her latest novel The Shadows of Stormclyffe Hall. It’s an amazing Gothic novel that weaves historical and contemporary romance with exceptional results. As I was reading it, I had so many questions floating in the back of my mind. How did she come up with this idea? Are gothic novels really filled with ghosts and boogeymen? How did she find inspiration to write this amazing story? So I contact Lauren and asked her if she would be willing to do a Q & A about this book and she said YES!!
So here’s what I learned about gothic novels and the writing process from the wonderful Lauren Smith:
Question 1. What was the inspiration to write a gothic novel?
A. Well I actually have always loved gothic stories and love stories, but it wasn’t until I got deep into romance writing that I realized I was drawn to writing gothic atmospheres in my books. I liked the dramatic settings and the spine-tingling suspense of the gothic styles. I wanted to write one of my own. I’m very interested in stories where there’s a forbidden love that ends tragically, or cursed places, or even cursed objects. It helps that my favorite holiday is Halloween. I can’t help but get interested in the spookiness of everything in a good gothic story.
Question 2. What type of research do you have to do?
A. That was one of the best parts. I got to read all sorts of ghost stories and histories of haunted places. It got pretty scary actually and a few times I had to leave a hallway light on when I went to bed because I was creeped out by the stories. There are some truly amazing ghost stories and descriptions of encounters that I want to incorporate into future books. Tales of murdered lovers sealed inside castle walls, dead princesses who drift through libraries in their whispy bejeweled gowns, and screaming skull aparaitions that chase people down hallways sending them running in terror. The list is nearly endless. One of the coolest parts was that I got to research using modern books as well as older materials from the 1800s.
Question 3. Have you read any gothic novels from the 1800s and if so which one did you like the most?
A. I’ve really only read The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe, but it’s the quintessential gothic romance from that era. It’s a wild and crazy tale, but perfect in the best way only gothics can be. The reason I read it was because I’d read Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey, by far my favorite of hers. I love that book because the heroine Catherine reads Radcliffe’s book and gets obsessed with it to that the point that it influences her apple pie perfect life and she sees villains and victims all around her in fantasy scenarios where her imagination exaggerates normal things. It’s really an amusing read.
Question 4. In your opinion, why were gothic novels so popular in the 1800s?
A. I think there are a few reasons. The first was the sensationalism of the stories. They involved ghosts, murders, suicides, rape, seduction etc, basically all of which were taboo subjections back then. Before the 1800s, novels or fiction existed, but in such rare forms and had such a bad reputation that no one read them. Even Austen made a wisecrack about reading novels and how it’s not considered intelligent (we know she was teasing, but she makes the jab at others in her time period who were serious when saying such things). But the gothics were almost like the first original genre fictions books where similar themes were used and the themes were designed to entertain rather than to teach or lecture. These were not political treatises or religious sermons. This was pure brain candy in the 1800s. People could read the books and gossip about their scandalous content and the lurid details in the stories. They made reading a fun pastime rather than a tedious chore.
I want to thank Lauren for taking the time to share her writing process and research. I plan on re-reading Stormclyffe as soon as possible as I feel that I have a deeper understanding of the book and the history behind it. Lauren is currently at work writing the next League of Rogues book and I know we are all excited for Cedric’s story. After so many years reading romance novels, its thrilling to find a new author that writes such enchanting stories. The Shadows of Stormclyffe Hall is on sale now and rapidly climbing the most purchased list as readers are finding out about this amazing book and author.