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 delighted to present Alicia Dean who not only penned a fantastic novella but also edited the series. Her book, Haunting at Spook Light Inn, is set in misty Oklahoma. Read on for an inspiring anatomy of the book by the author herself.
by Alicia Dean
Genres: Gothic, paranormal, romantic suspense
Publication date: April 24, 2016
A Gothic Mystery Romance…
Amidst a blizzard, paranormal debunker Camille Burditt arrives at Devil’s Promenade in Oklahoma to research a supernatural ‘spook light’ phenomenon for her latest book. There she encounters a ghostly being, which she dismisses as a figment of her imagination. But as the apparition becomes too persistent to deny, Camille realizes the woman’s ghost is quite real—and that her demise was not accidental.
Declan Rush—the inhospitable, reclusive owner of the inn where Camille is staying—is linked to the deceased woman, but he is less than forthcoming. Despite his unfriendliness, Camille is oddly drawn to him, even though she suspects his connection to the spirit might be that of killer to victim.
When another suspicious death occurs, Camille intensifies her investigation. She has precious little time to ferret out the truth. Not only is her book deadline looming—she’s desperate to discover if the man she’s falling for is a murderer.
Q & A with Alicia Dean
Hello, Alicia, and welcome back to my blog!
Hello…I am so thrilled to be here. Thank you for featuring the series on your wonderful blog.
Haunting at Spook Light Inn is a great suspense read with a definite Gothic vibe. What does writing a Gothic story mean to you? What are the core elements such a story should incorporate?
Writing a Gothic story, to me, is almost like paying homage to the great classics from decades ago, stories by Victoria Holt, Daphne du Maurier, Phyllis A. Whitney, and other authors whose stories I devoured as a young girl. The elements needed in a gothic are; a young girl away from home and family, maybe who doesn’t even have a home or family, a brooding hero, a remote, spooky, potentially haunted dwelling, a mystery that intrigues and endangers the young heroine, gloomy, rainy or snow weather, and lastly, it’s always nice to toss a ghost into the mix.
Your main female character, Camille, is a paranormal debunker—a skeptic. 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?
Camille is intelligent and caring, but she’s a little damaged. Not only is she a skeptic about the supernatural, she’s a skeptic about love, and she doesn’t trust easily. Her strengths are that she’s tenacious and unafraid. Those might also be her weaknesses. She often gets involved in situations she should leave alone, and she takes risks she shouldn’t take. She is a good fit for the story because she is cut off from her only family, a sister who stole her fiancé, and she needed to get away from her home environment. And the ghost in the story needed someone who would take up her cause, and once Cami believed, her tenacity enabled her to do just that.
Declan Rush is a brooding recluse—a character often found in Gothic stories. What chemistry were you going for between the two main characters?
Their chemistry came out of not only a physical attraction, but their identifying one another as wounded souls. Camille saw how fiercely loyal Declan was to his deceased sister, and that he was an honorable man, unlike her former fiancé. Declan saw that Camille was caring and strong, and he was drawn to her in spite of his reluctance to become involved.
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 love this question, because I always choose ‘models’ for my characters and usually, they are celebrities, although a few times, I have simply come across a photo of a ‘regular’ person who was right for my characters. In this case, Stephen Amell was my inspiration for Declan and Allison Williams, for Camille. Aren’t they lovely? 🙂
(Both images are licensed for re-use)
They’re lovely and quite fitting! The story is set in Spook Light B&B. Could you give us a brief description of the house as seen in the book?
I also love this question, because, in a gothic, the house itself is a character, and the description is important. Later, I describe the interior, but this is my character’s first glimpse:
I peered through the snow-dusted windshield at the large house looming in the evening dusk, and an unwarranted shiver of foreboding washed over my flesh.
From behind the wheel, my driver, Rita, made a sound that was somewhere between a squeak of trepidation and a sigh of admiration. “It’s huge. And gorgeous, but kind of creepy, don’t you think?” Her eyes were big and round behind the lenses of her black cat-eye frames.
“It is indeed.” The sprawling structure was a combination of Southern plantation and Greek revival architecture; painted white and trimmed in a darker colored molding—perhaps forest green. The exact color was difficult to make out in the descending dusk. Narrow, darkened floor-to-ceiling windows peeked from between a portico of six Doric columns. Hanging by chains above the porch, a wooden board flapped in the icy wind. Spook Light Bed and Breakfast. The sign should have been welcoming, yet apprehension clawed at my heart.
Ooh, I felt it all over again. Last but not least, the greater setting—Oklahoma. What are the area’s elements that played into the story?
Well, the most critical element was the Spook Light itself, which is an actual supernatural phenomenon in that area of Oklahoma. There is an actual ‘Spook Light Road’ although the B&B in my story is fictional. Other elements are that the area is pretty remote, with dirt roads and lots of trees and a deep darkness. (My sister lives in the area, and my friends and I took a trip there as I was beginning to write the story, so we could see the area first hand) Also, while Oklahoma doesn’t get a ton of bad weather, a few times a year, we usually experience a pretty hefty blizzard, especially in that part of the state, and the weather played a big part in my story.
Thanks for talking about Haunting at Spook Light Inn, Alicia. What are you up to writing-wise these days?
You’re welcome. I loved being here! Ha, that’s a loaded question…I’m actually involved in and behind on several projects. I’m finishing up a paranormal/romantic suspense set in Africa for an anthology, I’m writing a Martini Club 4 story for a series with three of my writing friends, and next, I’ll be working on a straight suspense that was requested by Amazon’s Thomas & Mercer line…if they haven’t given up on me by now. Thanks again for having me!
About the Author
I write in a variety of genres, among them, paranormal and romantic suspense. I live in Edmond, Oklahoma and am the mother of three grown children. I love creating spine-chilling stories that keep readers on the edge of their seats. I am a huge Elvis Presley fan, and I love MLB and the NFL. If you look closely, you’ll see a reference to one or all three in pretty much everything I write.
If I could, I would divide all my time between writing, watching (or rewatching) my favorite television shows—such as Dexter, Walking Dead, Vampire Diaries, Justified, and True Blood, along with a lot of the older classics; I Love Lucy, Leave it to Beaver, both Bob Newhart shows, etc.—and reading my favorite authors…Stephen King, Dennis Lehane, Michael Connelly, Lee Child, and Lisa Gardner to name a few.
Connect with the Author
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