Monday, June 11, 2012

Publishers Weekly Rave & Behind the Scenes with DARK COMPANION



I've waited for years and now there's less than a month before the release of Dark Companion! Alexandra Machinist, my wonderful agent, surprised me this morning by sending the terrific review in Publishers Weekly:
Buttressing adult author Acosta's (the Casa Dracula series) YA debut are nods to the gothic tradition and Jane Eyre parallels that she encourages through epigraphs, character names, and the events that unfold. Her well-drawn characters shine--Jane especially, whose very nongothic life on the street makes for a gritty opening and influences the whole. Jack Radcliffe (the mountain-biking incarnation of Mr. Rochester) and Jane's clearly delineated classmates are vivid actors in the drama as well...

Acosta's story is an impressive contender in the crowded YA paranormal field.
It's so nice that the reviewer saw all the gothic references!

I've been talking a lot about gothics, especially with readers who have questions about the genre and my novel. One reader told me that she enjoyed getting a "behind the scenes" perspective, so I decided to post a Q&A with answers to questions at Marta Acosta's Dark Companion. This Q&A is on a separate blog because it has so many spoilers.

I've done a little searching around and I think that Craig White of the University of Houston does a great job summarizing the elements of gothic fiction.
  • haunted houses - castles - woods mazes - labyrinths - closed doors & secret passages/rooms
  • light and dark interplay with shades of gray or blood-red colors fair &amp
  • dark ladies - twinning, doubling, & doppelgangers
  • repressed fears & desires
  • memory of past crime or sin
  • death & decay
  • bad-boy Byronic heroes
  • blood as visual spectacle and genealogy/ethnicity
  • spectral or grotesque figures
  • lurid symbols, creepy or startling sounds, screams in the night, groans from unknown rooms
I can put a check next to each of these elements!

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Saturday, June 02, 2012

Kirkus Praises DARK COMPANION & Contest for All of My Novels!


I'm having a contest at my Vampire Wire blog for signed copies of all my novels: my entire Casa Dracula series, Nancy's Theory of Style, and an ARC of Dark Companion. The contest is open worldwide and runs through June 15.

I received a great review from Kirkus Book Reviews for Dark Companion, which called the novel "savvy" and said it has "bracing astringency."
It’s a breath of fresh air in a genre marked by creaky gender relations and unchallenged class stratification.
Smart, ambitious and now aged out of foster care, Jane Williams is thrilled with her free ride to Birch Grove, a prestigious private high school. Her scholarship includes a cottage of her own, courtesy of headmistress Radcliffe and her family. Jane’s streetwise toughness conceals a naive, inexperienced heart that’s soon given to self-centered but gorgeous Lucian Radcliffe. (His musician brother, Jacob, has his own disturbing appeal, but he’s no Lucian.) While Jane recognizes that Lucian harbors his own sinister agenda, she thinks she’s willing to pay the price, which buys other compensations.
This Jane’s true peers are the heroines of the historical gothic romances. Quotes from such deathless classics as The Monk and The Castle of Otranto, among others, begin each chapter, making the book something of a survey of the genre all by itself.
This story is a change from my romantic comedies, and that can be a bit of a surprise to my Casa Dracula fans, but I've always written darker stories and I really enjoyed returning to a grimmer tale.

I'm back to writing funny fiction today, but my train of thought keeps getting derailed by my dogs, who are being driven to insanity by squirrels scampering through the trees. Note to self: next time, get cats.

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