A Return to the Gothic – guest post from Tara Moss

Posted on December 17, 2012

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This post first published at www.awritergoesonajourney.com

While perhaps better known for her series of crime novels, Tara Moss has had a love affair with speculative fiction for a long time which has come out in her Pandora English series. Here, in a blog entry from her website that she kindly agreed to share with us, Tara briefly shares her interest in the weird and the macabre in the writing of the latest in the English series.

skeletonkeytaramossfeatureMy ninth novel, The Skeleton Key, has officially hit the stores as the third in my Pandora English paranormal or speculative fiction series. (Or as I prefer to call it, ‘weird fiction’, the term HP Lovecraft used.)

Pandora’s world is set in a contemporary, alternate New York inhabited by all manner of supernatural beings and figures from ancient mythology and folklore. It is a great pleasure to write, not least because it gives me an opportunity to channel my obsession with all things gothic and delightfully macabre into a fantasy world I can thoroughly immerse myself in.

My fascination with the macabre began as a child when I sat rapt watching Bela Lugosi and his vampire brides in the 1931 black and white classic, Dracula, on our TV in the family room. I was perhaps 6. Over the years that fascination was helped along by Mary Shelley, Poe, Edward Gorey, HP Lovecraft, Stephen King, Tim Burton, Charles Addam’s The Addams Family and more recently Joss Whedon and Charlaine Harris.

One of the things I love most about writing this series is the excuse to satisfy my dark fascinations with research into Victorian ghost stories, necromancy, black magic, nineteenth century spiritualism, supernatural folklore and ancient mythology, all of which play strong roles in the series. (As an added bonus, it also gives me an excuse to share the peculiar antiques in my haunted tea room, or dress up in some of my Victoriana, as I did for The Skeleton Key inside jacket, above, photographed by Elizabeth Allnutt and swathed in my black brocade Midnight Bustle by Kambriel, wreathed in a Spektor-like mist in my wild backyard. The heavy mists at my mountain home inspired Spektor’s supernatural fog in the series, and they came out again just in time for our shoot. Lucky us.)

In The Skeleton Key, Pandora sets out to learn more about her great aunt’s haunted mansion in Spektor – the Manhattan suburb that doesn’t appear on maps – and she gets much more than she bargained for. This third novel contains some significant reveals about Pandora’s world:

By day, Pandora English is a lowly fashion assistant. But by night, she is a supernatural scion.

The Crow Moon is rising and Pandora has a date with Civil War soldier Lieutenant Luke, who will be flesh-and-blood for one night only. When Lieutenant Luke disappears, Pandora must unlock the mysteries of Number One Addams Avenue with her skeleton key and discover the secrets that lie in the forgotten laboratory of Dr Edmund Barrett.

For Pandora has been warned: a powerful force is in the house.

As Friday the Thirteenth looms, Pandora English and the citizens of Spektor are in grave danger. For the dead will rise and terror shall reign.

With the book now on shelves, I am busy researching ancient Egypt for the fourth novel in the series, The Cobra Queen, due for publication in Dec 2013.

Happy reading.

Thanks for sharing with us, Tara

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Posted in: Writing