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Friday, August 16, 2013

The gothic novel

When growing up, after reading lots and lots of adventure novels, I discovered the gothic novel. One of my first reads was Mistress of Mellyn by Victoria Holt. Another one was Lord of Blacktower by the recently deceased Barbara Michaels (aka Elizabeth Peters).

Those novels were very popular in those days (I was a teenager in the late 1960s-early 1970s). Once having read one book by either Victoria Holt or Barbara Michaels, I read dozens more. They always had a rather threathening atmosphere, a romance (very decent, they never got much further than kissing, although there were hints to hidden passions), and most of the time one or more murders.
A pity this kind of novel is out of fashion now. I loved those authors, along with others who wrote purely romance, like Laurie McBain and Kathleen Woodiwiss.

I know of a couple of modern authors who write gothic romance - Eve Silver being one of my today's favorites in this genre. I'm also attempting to write a gothic romance, for a change. I'm working on a WIP which has the working title of 'The Black Coach'.

Some years ago, I wrote a collection of short stories for Halloween and one of them was also titled The Black Coach. It was about a bunch of  young people in an English village, where superstition still exists. The villagers tell about a black coach, driven by Lucifer himself, and of course the youngsters don't believe one word of it. Now, I'm not going to spoil the ending of the story. If you are interested, just read Face in the Mirror and Other Stories (on sale on Amazon) and you'll know how it goes.

But looking back years later, I thought the short story had the seeds of a entire novel. Why not tell the story behind the legend of the black coach and its devlish passenger? I'm well into the story and it also includes murder (vile murder, by someone inspired by the Ripper), a romance, dark atmosphere and suspicions - and a mystery. I hope to finish this novel by the end of the year, so it can be published in 2014.

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