I'm so happy to welcome gothic romance writer Amber Newberry to the blog today! She has a wonderful post about her writing and a great giveaway. I am also in love with the cover art for Walls of Ash. Please post your entries to the contest below this post. If you have too much trouble doing that, you can post your comments on the Facebook page, too
Take it away, Amber! :)
What draws us toward the danger and mystery of a gothic romance? We begin reading a Victoria Holt or Mary Stewart or Phyllis A. Whitney novel expecting great suspense and a love story that may very well not have a resolve until the final pages. We go into these gothic adventures knowing that we will experience a certain amount of fear and at the same time, a flutter of our hearts when the heroine first meets a man she both loves and despises for his arrogance or one who must be saved from the depths of darkness. We are the gothic romance readers, we choose our books based on the ‘woman running from house’ cover art and the cover blurb which usually reads something like, ‘...the secret will destroy her, or save her...’ or ‘only the bounds of love can save him...’ It is a grand and faithful tradition that we devote ourselves to for the rest of our lives. We read our first gothic at 13 or 30 or 55 and no matter who we are, this under-appreciated genre is with us from then on.
For some of us, the obsession is a hobby and for others, a way of life. My obsession began as a young teen, having completed too many books for my age-group too quickly, my mother suggested I started reading at a higher level. My mother reads like it’s her day job and I remember hundreds of trips to the used book store, flea markets and thrift stores to search for our next great adventures. We had recently stocked up on teen books for me, I was in the sixth grade and finishing a book a day and when my mom realized there was no challenge in the ‘Babysitter’s Club’ books and that I’d already swept through Avonlea and Narnia, she knew that something had to be done. I was yearning for something new and I wanted something historical, so we went through the many shelves my mother kept around the house. They were absolutely stuffed with books, magnificent fantasies and alternate realities and stories of space and time. She handed me book after book that I declined or showed little interest in until she handed me a tan hard-cover book that smelled musty and had a layer of dust across the top.
“The Pride of the Peacock”, I read aloud. There was no book jacket and the letters were in an ominous dark brown font with the name ‘Victoria Holt’ below it. My mom stopped there and said that it was the one she’d been looking for. She gave me a brief synopsis and I stopped her at the mention of Australia and was reading for the rest of the day. My mother was shocked that I finished it within 48 hours but then gave me another Holt book called, “The Spring of the Tiger” and by this time, I was ready to give over my life to the genre and I suppose you could say that I did. That was when I began collecting gothics and when the creative energy began to stir within me that I needed to write my own stories of great houses with secrets so horrifying and intriguing that they spurred the main character into running out into the mist to get away from the darkness dwelling within those walls. Sadly, it would be over a decade before I began writing novels seriously and I have only recently achieved my goal.
They say ‘don’t quit your day job’, but in a moment of either clarity or insanity I quit my job just before a trip to Ireland where I unwound and began to live my life for me again instead of the so-called ‘man’. I kept a travel journal for the trip and when I arrived home began blogging of my experiences, but the creative release in writing was overwhelming and no poetry or short stories seemed to relieve the need. There was an idea building in my head and I sat down one May morning and began to write ‘Walls of Ash’ a story that stretched out into a novel over the course of ten very long days. I woke up, wrote from 7am till 2am, skipping meals and forgetting about the outside world. I wore my pajamas all day and lived off of coffee. I spent 10 glorious days living within the walls of Rhineholt House, oblivious to what went on around me. My dreams were filled with the images on the pages I wrote and I had to get the story out before the inspiration left me. When I wrote the final words on the very last page, I breathed a sigh of relief, enjoyed the achievement and began writing the next story before I even started the long editing and rewriting process that took a good six months with the help of a very dear friend.
So, for me, the gothic romance genre has become a way of life that was shared by few around me. I was thrilled to discover the Gothicked community where like-minded people went to bask in the joy of intrigue and mystery. I’ve had such fun reading Lisa’s reviews and the posts. I was excited when Lisa opened the blog up for guest-posts and she agreed to allow me to host a giveaway. We have two print copies available for you, dear friends, to win! With much thought on how to host the contest, I’ve decided to ask you all what your first gothic read was and why it drove you into the madness of continuing to read these stories of darkness and love. Give the book title and the author’s name and a short reason why it made you continue reading gothics in the comment section below. The winners will be chosen in two week’s time and notified right away.
For those of you who would like to begin reading ‘Walls of Ash’ right away, it is a great time to take the plunge as it is on sale at .99 for a limited time. You can get it for Kindle, Nook or Kobo or for any of the aforementioned apps on your iPad or iPhone. I have posted the synopsis and a cover photo below, as well as a link to the book on Goodreads. The first few chapters are available to read for free in the “sample” option on Amazon. I thank you for taking the time to read about my obsession with my favorite genre and wish you luck in the contest!
Walls of Ash, A New Gothic Romance That Echoes The Style of A Forgotten Genre
Tamsin Rhineholt is a stubborn and unconventional daughter of Rhineholt House. In a time when young women were bred to wed and follow orders, she finds herself faced with decisions that could lead her into the arms of love, or into danger. With the discovery of harrowing family secrets, Tamsin’s sweet dreams of her mother become dark, terrifying nightmares, warning her of the terrible things to come.
This homage to the gothic greats breathes new life into a forgotten genre that has been too long left in the cold. Walls of Ash takes a refreshing look at the gothic romance.
Amber Newberry is a musician and writer who grew up in the South but later migrated to New England. With a variety of creative interests, writing became a hobby that was generally focused toward lyrics and poetry until she recently developed an itch to write a novel. With a flare for the macabre, Amber has made her home in Salem, MA with her very own bard and their three cats.