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“…want to know a secret? Human evil is the worst evil there is. Supernatural may or may not exist but when I read any sort of history and examine the lives of Elizabeth Bathory, Vlad, Hitler and other mass murderers I am able to come to that conclusion fairly fast.”

April 11, 2011

Arts & Literature, Interviews

DarkMedia Interviews Carole Gill:

Author Carole Gill wrote her first story at age 8. It was science fiction. She switched to horror in her teens and has been writing ever since.

Widely published in horror and sci-fi anthologies, The House on Blackstone Moor, published by Vamplit is her first novel. It is a tale of vampirism, madness, obsession and devil worship.

Set in 19th Century Yorkshire its locales include Victorian madhouses as well as barren, wind-swept Yorkshire moors. The story is a marriage of horror and darkest gothic romance set in 19th Century England.

A former New Yorker now resident in England and residing in Yorkshire gave her the knowledge of the area the novel is set in. Also, as a great admirer of the Brontes and frequent visitor to the Bronte Parsonage in Haworth she found herself nearly obsessed with recreating the gothic romantic narrative.

Having been employed in a hospital which had been historically a workhouse and asylum in Victorian times, Carole was able to add great realism to the depiction of the asylums as described in her novel.

The sequel to The House on Blackstone Moor will be released later this year.

The plot of your novel, The House on Blackstone Moor, has some features of a Brontë or Austen novel. Was that something you aimed for deliberately?

Yes! Let me explain. I read that the gothic romance genre was dead. I have always liked it although I think for it to appeal en-masse to today’s reader, it has to change. Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights had darkness in them but I’d like them to be darker still. I want to push the boundaries as far as I can. There are demons, Satan, fallen angels as well as vampires. Yet along with that, there is the gothic narrative and a strong romantic thread as well. It is really a blend of horror and gothic.

Who were your (other) literary inspirations for this novel?

Daphne Du Maurier. Always liked her novels. There again, I love the gothic narrative. Novels like Rebecca, My Cousin Rachel are strong well-told stories with unforgettable characters. Du Maurier is a very strong influence. I also love Susan Hill; my favorite book of hers is The Woman in Black. That is a ghost story like no other!

Child abuse and insanity are difficult themes to explore in any kind of writing. How do you make sure the writing keeps from getting too depressing?

The story occurs because of the child abuse. Rose understands this as the reader does. She asks throughout the novel if evil gains a foothold in because of an evil act.

She comes home (first paragraph of the novel) to find her mad, incestuous father has murdered her family and himself. Her fate is tied to this and everything that occurs is a result of it.

As far as depressing goes, this is a horror novel. I don’t think a book merits being considered horror if it doesn’t have some pretty tough themes. Having said that, there is love too but as with it being horror it comes at a price.

What do you think makes a good story?

Strong characters and tremendous conflicts. I think that’s all you need for a good story. My characters write my story they lead me right through it all. I write without an outline not because I prefer to, it’s the only way I write. I am sometimes surprised at the turn of events!

As an American, why did you decide to set your novel in England?

I have lived in England for nearly 30 years! I am married and it is my home now and always will be. I can set stories (short stories in other places) but for a novel, I am far more comfortable setting them in England and in the past.

And also, as funny as it may seem, I am comfortable writing in an English narrative, although for short fiction I don’t!

What’s your favorite book to give as a gift and why?

Well I would want to know what sort of books the person liked. Having said that, if their tastes were similar I suppose I’d give them Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights. I live in Yorkshire. I have been to Haworth and to the Bronte Parsonage as well as Top Withins. Top Withins is where it is thought Emily Bronte was inspired to write Wuthering Heights. I walk my dogs on farmland every day and believe me, on those windswept chilly walks I can completely transport myself to the world of the Brontes and it is very inspiring!

What are you reading right now?

Well I am writing the sequel to The House on Blackstone Moor. My publisher has asked me to. There is a journal in it and that journal covers the infinite existence of an immortal being. I am reading Great Lion of God by Taylor Caldwell which is about St. Paul in order to get a feel for first century Jerusalem. Naturally I read nonfiction as well for research, but I like novels too.

Tell us about a writer you really admire and why?

It’s hard to pick one! I’d say Charlotte Bronte. She lived in such a narrow little world. How she was able to dream of love and passion of madness too—is remarkable. She and her sisters and brother lived a thoroughly claustrophobic life in that little parsonage. It faced the cemetery. There are and were in her life time countless graves. Haworth had open sewers running along the High Street; this was no cozy touristy village in her time. It was completely different. By the way there were two elder sisters who died in childhood. Maria and Elizabeth. Maria was writing by age 8! I think she would have been hugely successful.

Yes, I admire them. They had no internet, no word processing programs. They lived in a narrow little world and they wrote the most fantastic fiction that will be remembered forever.

Do you make a distinction between human and supernatural evil?

Yes, want to know a secret? Human evil is the worst evil there is. Supernatural may or may not exist but when I read any sort of history and examine the lives of Elizabeth Bathory, Vlad, Hitler and other mass murderers I am able to come to that conclusion fairly fast.

As well as your novel, you’ve also been published in short story anthologies. Which do you prefer writing?

Short stories are easier! I’ll be honest they’re more fun too! Novels are hard, hard work. Last year I wrote a story because I felt like killing off the author of wimpy vampire novels (if you follow me)! I did kill her in the most graphic way and I enjoyed every second of it!

Even though they are fun, I still prefer my novel writing as it is something I feel I have to do. I don’t think I have a choice at the moment!

What, or who, is your greatest inspiration as an author? What about them inspires you?

I would say history is and other novels are! I have an idea for my third novel which is inspired by Dracula! I’ve discussed it with my publisher and she likes my idea. There again—I think there are aspects of it that make me want to go on from there or pick up a thread and develop it. Every story has other roads it might have taken and then that wonderful ‘what if…’ comes to mind! What if Count Dracula and–! Ah but you will have to wait!

What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

Read a lot and write a lot. Write every day; keep a pad with you or near you. Experiment, but write within the framework of the sort of thing you like to read (genre).

What’s the best, or worst, advice someone gave you?

Best advice came from a published author, the writer of a successful crimes series who said ‘don’t wait for inspiration, think of it as your job.

I hadn’t expected her to say that, but I never forgot it and let me say that it was and is the very best advice I have ever had!

What are you working on right now, and how can your readers support you and your upcoming projects?

I am writing the sequel to the novel, The House on Blackstone Moor. Unholy Testament will be released later this year. There is a character in the first novel called Eco who is evil beyond question, he is the son of a fallen angel—a being who calls Satan, Father Satan. He is campy and horrible and outrageous. He has also become popular! It is his journal or testament that the story is centered around.

To support me I would love to have people buy my book! The ebook is at Smashwords and preorders for the print version are being taken at Ebookundead.

Find me at any of these links:

Facebook Author Page
Blog
Website

I have the most fun on my blog and the author page! I love feedback!

Finally, what’s got you excited or inspired?

I’d like to follow in the tradition of Anne Rice. I loved her early novels in particular: Interview with the Vampire and The Vampire Lestat—I am inspired by them and I thank her for writing thoughtful horror. I’d like to continue in that sort of tradition but with putting my own stamp on my work: sort of Rice/Bronte/DuMaurier/Gill!

I think that would be really exciting!

________________________________________________

Carole Gill can be found on her blog, her website, on Facebook or on DarkMediaCity.

Many thanks to our contributing interviewer and reviewer, D.

(All interviews are the exclusive property of DarkMedia, and may not be reproduced or shared without permission.)

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