Thanks to everyone who stopped by to keep Marie company at the Tiki Hut!
This week's guest is Marie Treanor. Marie was born and bred in Scotland, but for some years moved around the UK working and studying. Now she's back home and happily married with three young children.
Having grown bored with city life, her family lives in a picturesque village by the sea where, instead of working for a living, Marie is lucky enough to be able to enjoy herself writing stories of romance and fantasy.
She draws the inspiration for her books mainly from the people around her and from Scotland's rich history and culture - with, of course, large helpings of fun and imagination!
**A CHANCE TO WIN** One person from all who leave Marie a comment will win a free download from Marie's backlist (anything except her two new releases).
Putting the gothic in Gothic Dragon
This week, I’ve been celebrating two releases: my quirky but passionate ghost story, Requiem for Rab, and, perhaps even more excitingly, my first print release at Samhain Publishing - Gothic Dragon.
Finally seeing this book in print, and holding it in my awed little hands, got me thinking about why I wrote that particular story at that particular time.
I couldn't remember :)
Well, the old memory's not what it was! I did recall getting up at five every morning during one summer and dementedly writing until the kids woke up, so I knew I was desperate to write it.
Then I re-read the blurb, and Samhain's humorous warning which says:
"As well as explicit and delicious sex, this book contains the secret of ultimate escapism which could be highly dangerous in the wrong hands. The reader experiments at her/his own risk."
And the metaphorical light bulb snapped on in my head. Escapism!
Admittedly most of my reading and writing is to achieve and provide escapism, but Gothic Dragon is all about it. Probably because I wrote it during a difficult phase of my life. Nothing very tragic, just frustrating - the bankruptcy of one of my publishers which effectively froze several of my books in legal limbo.
So books and escapism were on my mind...
Perhaps I should say at this point that Gothic Dragon is about a young, bored woman who falls into the pages of a book and lives among the characters in this Renaissance-like world which was created by a nineteenth century gothic romance writer. And naturally, my heroine falls in love with the sexy villain of the piece. (Well, who wouldn't? Have you seen his picture on the cover?)
Gothic Dragon has lots of the elements that made gothic romances so popular, particularly with women, in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries: a dangerous medieval setting, foreign location, sorcery, an insane and brooding villain and a Byronic hero (who are, in my story the same man!) And my helpless heroine, flung into this terrifying world with no control over her life.
Of course, my modern-day heroine learns to control as much as she can. She chooses to re-enter the world of the book and she discovers the truth behind its existence. She takes control of her "real" life, in which she has been passively drifting, and makes her own choice as to where and with whom to spend her life. Early gothic heroines didn't usually have such luxuries.
It's a little bit of a paradox that gothic romances were written largely to provide escapism for educated, middle class women trapped in the inferior role society had prescribed for them. They had very little control over their own destinies and were largely restricted to looking after home and children. Through gothic literature, they could identify with the heroine and be swept away to wildly exciting worlds of terror and romance. It must have been liberating and exhilarating. And yet, to be socially acceptable and therefore popular, the heroines of these books had to behave impeccably and keep their social place under the superiority of men. Which is where our readers started out!
So the heroines of these romances didn't cry out for independence or recognition as the intellectual equal of men. In fact, they were often stupid, and any hankerings after romance were shown to be a Bad Thing leading to disaster. Supernatural happenings were explained rationally, and the heroines found happiness by conforming. Like the readers.
But the excitement remained. And gothic novels retained huge popularity for decades, from Walpole's "original" and critically condemned "Castle of Otranto" published in 1764, through Anne Radcliffe's more "acceptable" creations and all the immitations which followed her. These ideas burgeoned in romantic poetry, including some by Keats and Coleridge, and even in architecture where it became fashionable to build neo-gothic piles with fake medieval ruins in the grounds.
Even when its popularity faded, the genre lingered on in other, changing forms, like the still much loved Bronte novels, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, the stories of Edgar Allan Poe, HP Lovecraft... I grew up devouring the gothic novels of Daphne du Maurier, Victoria Holt, Mary Stewart and others, which come from similar roots. I loved the dark, brooding heroes with their mysterious and/or tragic pasts, and the whole delicious atmosphere of danger.
Gothic Dragon is my humble tribute to all of these great authors, and if you read it, I hope it gives you all the escape you want :)
Just be careful what you do with your books. And be doubly careful what you imagine...
Gothic Dragon by Marie Treanor is now available in print from Samhain Publishing: http://www.mybookstoreandmore.com/shop/product.da/p-gothic-dragon .
It is also still available in ebook formats: http://www.mybookstoreandmore.com/shop/product.da/gothic-dragon.