I'm thrilled to have author Barrymore Tebbs on the blog today. It's always a fun and informative day when he drops by the blog to share his knowledge and experience about all things Gothic. After you read the interview, check his new release out--The Haunting at Blackwood Hall. It's a historical gothic romance, and I think you'll all enjoy it.
Where did your love of Gothic and writing Gothic start?
I’ve been into Gothic since I was a kid. I was about ten-years-old when I first saw Dark Shadows. As a teenager I watched a lot of old horror movies on the weekend Creature Feature shows. Horror movies were more atmospheric in the 1930s-1960s. From there I went on to read both Gothic Romances as well as the Gothic Horror classics like Poe and Lovecraft. I always wanted to write Gothic, but it took thirty years for the stories to start coming out.
What is Psychological Gothic?
For the past ten years or so, most of my pleasure reading has been psychological thrillers. I really enjoy the suspense, the plot twists, and the disturbed individuals who people the novels of writers like John Connolly and Jeffrey Deaver. These are the types of books I want to write, and because I have such a love for the atmosphere and motifs in Gothic fiction and film, I tried combining the two, and they seem to work well together. Defining my stories as Psychological Gothic has helped me carve out a unique niche which falls somewhere between Gothic Romance and Gothic Horror.
Where did you come up with the characters and ideas for The Haunting at Blackwood Hall?
The main characters, the Fenn siblings, the psychic Luna Summerhill, and the governess, were holdovers from a NaNoWriMo project I did a few years ago. When Lisa and I met while finishing the first drafts of our first novels (Magnolian and Night of the Pentagram) we spent a lot of time talking about all things Gothic. She has this master list of tropes on her Gothicked blog, and when I decided to try write a Gothic Romance like the ones popular in the 60s and 70s, I pulled out every trope I wanted to explore and used those existing characters to form the basis of what became The Haunting at Blackwood Hall.
Your books are generally set in the Victorian/Edwardian era or the 1960s. Do you have an affinity for those time periods and why?
The love for the Victorian era goes back to my love for old Gothic horror movies and Dark Shadows, but I’ve also had enough interest in that era throughout my life that when it came time to research, I was like a hog in mud. I have some fun books filled with facts about Victorian life.
As far as the 1960s, I was eleven-years-old in 1970, so I was just coming into consciousness as a young adult and the events of the late 60s have had a lasting effect on me. There seems to be a lot of nostalgia for that era, both through Classic Rock and also with the popularity of the TV show Mad Men which takes viewers on a tour of the fashions, politics, and social mores of the time. I have another Edwardian story and another 1960s set story coming out toward the end of this year.
There is a lot of drug use in your books. Why is that?
Don’t they always tell us to write what we know about? All kidding aside, drug abuse has been around since the dawn of time, and people with deep psychological issues are often driven to addictions of various kinds. The LSD and pot smoking was essential for a story like The Yellow Scarf to be true to the characters and the era, but I think the opium use in The Haunting at Blackwood Hall is one element that takes that story to a level which wasn’t possible in the books published fifty some years ago.
The Haunting at Blackwood Hall has a striking cover. How did you create it and some of your other book covers?
The image on the cover is a rendering of a 3D model I built in a modeling program called Bryce. It’s based on a house called Barrington Court in England, which reminded me of that type of old baronial hall that you see in The Hound of the Baskervilles movies. I made the inverted Hollywood star for the cover of Night of the Pentagram while I was writing the book, and had no idea that I would eventually self-publish and use the cover. I took a community college class in Adobe PhotoShop about fourteen years ago, and know quite a few tricks. It comes in handy, and saves money from having to hire a cover artist!
Thanks for letting me stop by, Lisa. We always have fun shooting the breeze about Gothic in its many forms. Through independently published books, there is a noticeable reemergence of Gothic based fiction. It’s a good time to be a Gothic writer!