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Donna Fletcher Crow

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Donna Fletcher Crow (US) is the author of forty-some books, mostly novels dealing with the history of British Christianity. She is the author of The Monastery Murders series; The Lord Danvers Victorian True-Crime series; The Elizabeth & Richard literary mysteries, GLASTONBURY,A Novel of the Holy Grail and more. www.donnafletchercrow.com

Fay Sampson

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Fay Sampson (UK) is a writer of adult and children's fiction and non-fiction, including A MALIGNANT HOUSE, #2 in the Susie Fewings series, a British Crime Club Pick. http://www.faysampson.co.uk

Writing the Modern Gothic Novel

By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ September 9, 2012

I'd like to welcome Vicki Delaney, one of my fellow authors from the brand new e-book 25 Years in the Rearview Mirror, 52 Authors Look Back. We’re doing a blog exchange today, so I’m guesting on Vicki’s blog at: http://ning.it/Olv8Hr

If you enjoy magazine columns and Chicken Soup for the Soul books, then we're sure to enjoy our collection of essays, designed to warm your heart, raise your spirits and compel you to examine your own life. Read about school days, quirky jobs, romance, raising a family, hard times, the writing journey, and find out what makes your favorite characters tick.

Get a full listing of authors, essay titles and retailers here: http://ning.it/OknwVR

Follow the 25 Years in the Rearview Mirror Blog and Radio Tour schedule here: http://ning.it/NZpHrP And don't miss the chance to join the 25 Years in the Rearview Mirror Yahoo Group, a fun and inspirational group that discusses the past and will help you to stay on track for the future. Http://ning.it/O6vWdG

And now, to Vicki.

I love the picture at the top of this blog. It gives a lovely sense of history, with a bit of menace and something vaguely foreboding, doesn't it? Well, it would if you took the modern woman in the white coat out!

A sense of history, with a bit of menace and something vaguely foreboding is what I have tried to achieve in my newest novel, MORE THAN SORROW.

I'm best known as the writer of the Constable Molly Smith series, published by Poisoned Pen Press, a contemporary police procedural/village mystery that I call Hamish Macbeth meets Cindy Decker. But I've always loved gothic suspense, so after five Molly Smith books, I thought I'd go back and write a new standalone.

I fondly remember the books of my teenage and young adult years, books by Mary Stewart and Victoria Holt. Think crumbling Scottish castles, a penniless but determined governess, and a handsome brooding aristocrat. And a secret. Always a dark secret at the heart of the family and the story.

But the gothic novel now has a modern face. The protagonist is not a penniless, family- less governess (she might not even be a woman - but usually is), probably not set in a crumbling castle, and lacks initially irritating aristocrats (today's women know a façade when they see one.) But the heart of the Gothic novel remains.

 

A place with a dark secret from the past that threatens the characters today. Two lives that were lived years apart but intersect over the course of the novel. A creaky staircase.

The modern Gothic novel doesn't have to have a paranormal element - many of them don't. Often even if there is a suggestion of the paranormal, it turns out to have a rational explanation in the end. It doesn't have to have a romance. These books, remember, are about very modern women and modern women can experience events without having a man around to make it all right.

In fact, the modern gothic doesn't even have to have a heroine, as in So Cold the River by Michael Koryta (which he specifically calls a Gothic).

In MORE THAN SORROW, the protagonist is suffering from a severe brain injury she got while a journalist in Afghanistan (can't get more modern than that!) and is recovering on her sister's organic vegetable farm. As well as the modern mystery element which concerns an Afghan refugee living on the neighbouring farm, the book's protagonist, Hannah Manning, is having visions of a woman in a long dress in the root cellar beneath the original 18th century farmhouse.

Hannah thinks:Is the woman real? Or the product of a severely damaged brain? Which would be worse?

A Loyalist refugee, a disfigured Afghan woman. They lived two hundred years apart, but they have one thing in common: Hannah Manning, once an internationally-renowned journalist and war correspondent, victim of an IED explosion. In MORE THAN SORROW, a modern Gothic novel of heart-wrenching suspense, past and present merge into a terrifying threat to the only thing Hannah still holds dear - her ten-year-old niece, Lily.

Vicki Delany is one of Canada's most varied and prolific crime writers. Her popular Constable Molly Smith series (including In the Shadow of the Glacier and Among the Departed) have been optioned for TV by Brightlight Pictures. She also writes standalone novels of psychological suspense, as well as a light-hearted historical series, (Gold Digger, Gold Mountain), set in the raucous heyday of the Klondike Gold Rush.

Vicki's newest book is More than Sorrow, a standalone novel published by Poisoned Pen Press. In a starred review, Library Journal called the book, "a splendid Gothic thriller."

Having taken early retirement from her job as a systems analyst in the high-pressure financial world, Vicki is settling down to the rural life in bucolic, Prince Edward County, Ontario where she rarely wears a watch.

Visit Vicki at www.vickidelany.com , www.facebook.com/vicki.delany, and twitter: @vickidelany. She blogs about the writing life at One Woman Crime Wave (http://klondikeandtrafalgar.blogspot.com)

Donna Fletcher Crow (US) is the author of forty-some books, mostly novels dealing with the history of British Christianity. She is the author of The Monastery Murders series; The Lord Danvers Victorian True-Crime series; The Elizabeth & Richard literary mysteries, GLASTONBURY,A Novel of the Holy Grail and more. www.donnafletchercrow.com

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Reader Comments:

Thanks for having me, Donna. And I reminder that YOU are the guest today at One Woman Crime Wave
-vickidelany, September 10, 2012

Hi Vicki, I'm delighted to have you here today. And thank you for posting my article about the background of my Monastery Murders on your blog: http://ning.it/Olv8Hr
-Donna, September 10, 2012

Great post! More Than Sorrow sounds like a fascinating read, Vicki. Good luck with it! Thanks for hosting in the blog tour, Donna.
-Stacy Juba, September 10, 2012

Such a fun tour, Stacy. I'm delighted to be part of it!
-Donna, September 10, 2012

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