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9.20.11

Yay, Launch Day!

It's sort of surreal, really, because you spend weeks, months even, preparing for a book's release, and then the day hits, and you honestly feel like screaming if you ever hear your own name again. Gotta love PR.

It was a rather low-key day, actually. Finished ironing out the last few bits on the new Fan Page, worked on the top sekrit project, spent way too much time floating around Facebook and Twitter, did a couple of conference calls about another few projects, got my flu shot, put together the dinner menu - nothing terribly exciting. Tomorrow though, I'll go visit the book in the wild. And I have critique group, which means I'll get my head out of the clouds and back to work. They'll get chapters 2-3 of the sandwich book, and I hope they'll love it.

I have realized I have an inability to say no. Which isn't a good thing.

But today belongs to WHERE ALL THE DEAD LIE.

Rachel asked where I got the impetus to have a spooky sort of tale. She mentioned one of my favorite short stories, THE YELLOW WALLPAPER, by Charlotte Gilman. It is a creepy tale of a woman going mad, and surely played into my thought process on Taylor's descent to the bottom.

When I realized I was writing a Gothic, I went back to the classics. THE YELLOW WALLPAPER was just the beginning. I reread THE MONKEY'S PAW by W.W. Jacobs, plus a host of other stories and movies - Hitchcock's fabulous movie VERTIGO, Daphne du Maurier's REBECCA, both film and book, Diane Setterfield's THE THIRTEENTH TALE, Sarah Waters's THE LITTLE STRANGER, Wilkie Collins THE WOMAN IN WHITE, and Horace Walpole's THE CASTLE OF OTRANTO.  

I wanted to be sure I had the right feel - the right texture to the story. Gothics aren't just ghost stories, there are important elements that need to be included. All of these stories are classic Gothic tales - combining elements of both horror and romance with a specific setting to create a sort of melodramatic terror-inducing state. Think of the story of how Frankenstein was written - Mary Shelley was partying with her literary buds, got herself spooked, had a terrible nightmare, and wrote it all down. FRANKENSTEIN is of course one of the finest in modern literature, but the way it came about lends itself to the Gothic tradition.

Add to all of that literary goodness was the tale of the Grey Lady of Glamis Castle, which I found during my research for the book. Glamis itself has an entire inventory of ghosts, ghouls and things that go bump in the night - and as such, was certainly the model for Dulsie Castle.

And then we went to Scotland ourselves, and bumped into our own ghost.

We went to Tulloch because it was the ancestral home of Clan Bayne - (MacBean) - the fine plaid-covered loins of which spawned my husband. We went to have tea. This was the view as we drive up - stunning, because, austere. We went inside and every single hair on my body stood on end.

Tulloch Castle, near Inverness, Scotland

Tulloch Castle Ghosts Look Out Windows

See the vaporous shapes in the windows? Trust me, those windows were clear as a bell to the naked eye. Didn't see that until we loaded the pictures later that night. But the minute I got inside, all I wanted to do was leave. Run. Get the hell out of dodge. That place is so full of malevolent spirits .... what was so weird though, was the silence - silence so pervasive it felt like a scream.

So that went into the book as well - that horrible feeling of being watched when you can't see anything.

Where All The Dead Lie isn't designed to frighten. I don't particularly care for being frightened myself. But it came out that way - a spooky, eerie, Gothic tale that just might give you a chill down your spine.