My participation in the A World of Gothic series was my proudest moment as an author last year. Talented, award-wining authors penning suspenseful stories with a definite Gothic vibe, each set in a different location around the world, all taking place in a remote, awe-inspiring mansion. As a number of amazing titles have been available since the series launched last April, I felt I should bring them to your attention again, from a different angle this time. So, each week, I’ll invite one of the series’ authors here, spotlight her book and focus on the heroine, the hero, and the backbone of any good Gothic story, the house/castle/mansion that tends to hold the key to solving the mysteries piling up.
This week, I’m pleased to present Marie Treanor and the first book in the series, which takes us right to the heart of the Scottish Highlands. Read on for an inspiring anatomy of the Ghost in the Rain by the author herself.
by Marie Treanor
Genres: Gothic, paranormal, romantic suspense
Publication date: April 24, 2016
A haunted Highland house, battered by storms and murder…
Notorious rocker Dan Stewart isn’t anything like Dr. Kate Yorke imagined. Arriving at his remote home in the Scottish Highlands to research some valuable letters – only to discover he’s forgotten their appointment – Kate soaks up the Gothic atmosphere of Invershiel House. But it’s the owner who truly fascinates her.
Reclusive and abrupt, Dan is haunted by the deaths of his fellow band members, especially his one time lover Islay Lamont, whose shade seems to flit around the grounds in the rain. But the ghost is not the only mystery Kate encounters. Light bulbs disappear around her – and only Dan knows she’s scared of the dark. Then she trips over a dead body which inexplicably vanishes.
It becomes a race against time to find the identity of the body and the killer. And to discover if she and Danny have any kind of future together. Or even at all…
Q & A with Marie Treanor
Hello, Marie, and welcome back to my blog!
Thanks, Maria! Lovely to be back.
What does writing a Gothic story mean to you? What are the core elements such a story should incorporate?
I’ve always loved Gothic tales, from atmospheric romances to downright scary stories, so I suppose it was inevitable I would come to write them! For me, they are a combination of spooky, threatening setting, and a dark, dangerous hero, preferably with a tragic and/or wicked past. There has to be a genuine danger to the heroine, and a paranormal element always helps with atmosphere.
Your main female character, Kate, is a Cambridge researcher—a scholar down to business. Can you give us more clues about her personality? Which are her strengths and weaknesses and what made her a good fit for your story?
Kate is obviously very bright and determined. Though far from the sweet, passive heroine of old who screamed a lot and waited to be rescued, she has her own kind of unworldly innocence, isolated as she is in her academic bubble, surrounded by the past, which is, of course, what takes her to Invershiel. Relationship-wise, she’s vulnerable, having been hurt and let down before – and someone like hard-living rocker Dan is way out of her comfort zone. She’s also basically kind and extremely curious by nature, and not afraid to pursue that curiosity. And she wants to do the right thing.
Dan Stewart, on the other hand, is a brooding recluse—a character often found in Gothic stories—but this one is a rocker with a wild past. What chemistry were you going for between the two main characters?
The chemistry of opposites! Kate is wary of him for so many reasons, and yet she’s very aware of his physical attractions. He also surprises her constantly. She’s drawn to the hint of wickedness about him, and yet is unexpectedly comfortable in his company. They’re very different people with very different pasts, thrown together by chance.
Which actors did you have in mind when writing those two characters or who would you like seeing portray your characters should the book ever became a film?
I had a definite picture in my head of how Dan would look, but I never had an actor in mind. I’ve just been looking through LOADS of pictures of Scottish actors (I do feel he should be a Scottish actor!) and I can’t find one who really fits. Dan is one of those big, loose-limbed men, not really good-looking but definitely sexy. Actors like David Tenant, Gerard Butler, James MacAvoy, and Ian Henry Cusick are really too handsome, though I suppose they could be roughed up a little in make-up J.
ETA: Marie and I agreed that Luke Evans would make a great Dan (his Welshness, aside).
Kate would be easier – maybe Emma Watson or Jessica Brown Findlay, or someone else both beautiful and strong in appearance.
ETA: I chose Jessica Brown Findlay (Images are labelled for reuse)
The story mostly takes place in Invershiel House. Could you give us a brief description of the story’s setting as seen in the book?
It’s an old, stone house, medieval in origin and added to throughout the ages. Obviously, it’s full of ghosts, real and metaphorical! Here’s Kate’s first glimpse of it:
“I could barely see the house for the horizontal rain blasting across my windscreen. What I could make out was dark and bleak and about as welcoming as a leaky roof, but since I was already late for my initial appointment—thanks to appalling single-track roads and foul driving conditions—I took the next turning and bumped my poor old car up the muddy track towards Invershiel House.
“I thought this might once have been a gracious driveway, for in front of the big, turreted house itself, it widened into a large, tarmac area with two four by fours parked near the imposing front door. I parked my poor little car next to the others, grabbed my bag, and made a dash for the entrance. I bolted up the steps to the wide porch, which was flanked by two stone columns, and rang the bell.
“While I waited, I turned and gazed through the rain at the lowering Highland hills, their summits lost in mist and cloud. Even in this foul weather, the scene held a strange, grand beauty that caught at my breath with sheer awe. I felt very small and insignificant.”
Last but not least, the greater setting—Scotland. What are the Scottish elements that played in the story? Give us some examples of the book’s Scottishness.
Well, there’s the rain :). We get a lot of that, especially in the west. And the Highland scenery is spectacular. Then there’s our history, which is long and often bloody! Kate is there for particular historical documents, but the whole house is steeped in a much broader past. Related to that, we have many ghost sightings, especially in old houses and castles (though obviously this is played up for tourist purposes!)
But of course, Scotland is much more than pretty scenery and Highland lairds! Dan himself is a Lowlander (as, indeed, are the vast majority of Scots!), the product of a rough Glasgow housing scheme where money is short and unemployment high. Like most countries, Scotland is a place of contrasts, not least the down-to-earth versus the esoteric, aggression versus kindness, and it was great fun to play with that in GHOST IN THE RAIN.
Thanks for talking about Ghost in the Rain, Marie. What are you up to writing-wise these days?
My pleasure, Maria! Thanks so much for inviting me. And by the way, I love your HOUSE AT THE EDGE.
Writing-wise, I’ve been a bit quiet over the last few months, having to concentrate on other things – but I have plans to write more in my historical Gothic series, Darke of Night, and my paranormal suspense series, The Gifted. Looking forward to that!
About the Author
Marie Treanor lives in Scotland, in a chaotic house by the sea, together with her eccentric husband, three much atoo smart children and a small dog who rules them all. Most days, she avoids both housekeeping and evil day jobs by writing stories of paranormal romance and fantasy.
Marie is the award-winning author of over forty sexy paranormal romances – Indie, New York and E-published.
You can find out more about Marie and her books on her website: www.MarieTreanor.com.
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