Gothic Houses: Exterior

I think all creators of Gothic books and films have a love affair with houses.

In one of my favorite stories, Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier, it is Manderly.  For Jane Eyre it is Thornfield Hall. Anne Rice begins most of her Gothic novels with lavish descriptions of Greek Revival houses in New Orleans.  We know Anne loves houses! Mysterious houses cast their turreted shadows over characters from Fall of the House of Usher, by E.A. Poe, to Miss Haversham’s mansion in Dickins’s Great Expectations, to the Museum of the Addams Family, or the ruined manse in Diane Setterfield’s Thirteenth Tale. I struggle to think of one Gothic tale from Horror to Romance and everything in between that does not feature a stately home, or a haunted house, or  a haunted stately home, as the setting for drama and suspense.Unless its a castle, but that’s another post.

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In all stories, the protagonist leaves their ordinary life to either set out on an adventure, or has  an adventure visited upon them. In most Gothic stories, .it is going into a strange house. Every house, and by extension every family, especially Old Aristocratic families, are worlds unto themselves. The houses must be large with many unused rooms where mysteries dwell. There may be hidden staircases, rooms behind the fireplaces, widows walks, towers and balconies that extend the world of the house into the outside, into the garden, usually a walled garden, for these interior stories that address the soul.

This is why Gothic tales often indulge in descriptive passages designed to lure the reader into the book in the same way the heroine is lured into the house. The house may be derelict and darkly eerie, or bright and beautiful, like Manderly or Bly in Turn of the Screw by Henry James, but secrets lurk in the corners, or the attic, or in the woods.

The 1970s soap opera, Dark Shadows, drew on the classic Gothic tropes, including the house Collinwood on Widow’s Hill overlooking the sea. All of these houses are haunted either symbolically, psychologically or literally. All of them are overshadowed by death and harbingers of death.

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Many of my own stories were inspired by houses, many photographed by British photographer Simon Marsden. One of these was Crawford Priory falling to ruin in Scotland. But I’ll save that for  a post on ruins.

A Gallery of Gothic Houses

Stitched Panorama

I lived near this house when I lived in London Highgate.  I used to pass all the time. And yes, it is as evocative ad it looks in the photo.

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Used as a location for Thornfield Hall in a recent film of Jane Eyer.

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A Southern Gothic house than Anne Rice might appreciate.

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We enter the Otherworld of the house through the door. Therefore are doors Gothic.

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Sale! Memento Mori is 99 cents.

 

 

April 7 – 14, 2014!

Paranormal Romance

Memento Mori

at the SALE price of 99 cents!

 

MementoMori03 copy

 

This book was originally a short story I wrote in 2003, then was self published as a novella in 2012. A few positive reviews convinced me to expand it to novel length. I was happy to discover that the story and characters had enough depth to grow into a full novel.

Originally inpsired by the Eyam plague in 1666, this tale also owes some of its mystery to Alain Fournier’s The Wanderer, the German silent film Nosferatu, the Pre-Raphaelites, Poe and my studies in Medieval Art.

The protagonist is not some six-pack abbed stud, nor is the ghost a warrior princess. Popular as those kinds of characters are,  I don’t personally believe in people like that. My hero, Simon, is an artist, a quiet, imaginative young man who sees ghosts. My heroine is a ghost who died at age sixteen waiting in a plague-infested village for her true love to arrive. But she isn’t all peaches and cream…

The story may begin a bit slowly for some readers because I wanted Simon to get good and lost in the Pennines and find his way into a kind of Otherworld, far from civilzation. There he meets Lara, a young woman, inspired by the 1960s Alexandrian witch queen, Maxine Sanders, who initiates Simon into the history of the village of Whynnesmere and its primary ghost, Suzanne Montmorency, who seems to devour young men. Simon is haunted before he arrives at Whynnsemere, and is haunted more deeply the instant he steps foot over its boundaries. This haunting infuses him, changes him and stalks him back to London where he hopes to reconcile with his girlfriend, Monica, who dumped him for another man.

As a born and trained clairvoyant, I wanted to write a truly psychic story. The psychic events in this story are authentic. Its effects as hallucinatory as a vivid dream.

If you’re looking for something different, give this one a try. Its the product of many years of research, craft, and love.

Click right here:

Memento Mori: Time Travel, Art, and a Ghostly Lover

 

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Memento Mori: Time Travel, Art and a Ghostly Lover

Available March 4th!

 

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From 1666 to 1966.

London art student, Simon Beaumont has been haunted all his life by dreams of a mysterious dark haired girl in a long white dress. When he is unceremoniously dumped hi muse girlfriend, Monica Lee, he embarks on a journey of self discovery.

Wandering in the Pennine Mountains hoping to die a glorious death for love, he stumbles into a ruined garden. There, in the night,  he finds a mysterious mansion and walking up and down on the balcony, is the girl from his dreams. When daylight dawns he finds himself in a village that time seems to have forgotten. A young woman called Lara takes him under her wing and initiates Simon into mysteries so intense, that he is changed forever.

Who is the man Simon sees in the mirror? Who is the dark haired girl in the long white dress? And why are they haunting him?

 

Get it Here!

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