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“I actually could not put the book down. It is well written and kept my interest. I want more from this author.”
Reader review of Maximilian and Carlotta Are Dead on Amazon.com 

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Friday, July 26, 2019

Art of the Novel

I have lived with The Curse of Septimus Bridge for about fifty years now. And no, that’s not an exaggeration. Like the title character, I am literally from another century.

The book’s title is relatively new, but the story goes back a long ways. And in a sense, it actually predates me. I frankly admit there is little original in it other than my own personal worldview and sensibilities and literary filter. As I acknowledge in the dedication, a lot of the story ideas are heavily influenced by my beloved 1960s supernatural Gothic soap opera Dark Shadows. Viewers of that series will know well that the literary lineage does not stop there. Creator/producer Dan Curtis populated his show with plots from all kinds of horror/supernatural literary classics—everything from Bram Stoker’s Dracula to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw, Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” and many more.

If fans of Doctor Who want to focus on the fact that the title character is from another time and takes on a young companion with her own mystery, well, I will not dissuade you from that line of thinking either.

On top of all that, some events and people in the book are actually real, that is, they are from history. My fictional characters do sometimes interact with people who actually lived.

Finally hitting the page, it is quite a different story in 2019 than it was in the 1960s and 1970s, at least in terms of the characters. Its soul may be in the Victorian age, but I have tried to put its feet squarely in the 21st century.

Having kept quiet about the story during the actual writing of the book, which only happened over the past couple of years, I stored up a lot of things I wanted to share about my thoughts and intentions and where the inspiration for a particular thing came from. The irony is that, by this point, I have already moved on mentally. The next installment of Dallas Green’s story beckons. Moreover, I am hesitant to give away too much about the story (not a great strategy for selling books, I know) because, if I were now reading it for the first time, there are things I would not want to have spoiled. Still, I will see if there are a few more things I can safely share.

One thing I can share is my excitement over the cover art. The artist’s name is Tamlyn Zawalich, and I was so delighted when I first saw her work that my immediate reaction was to regret that some of it would inevitably have to be covered up with boring, distracting things like the book title and my own name.

So that you have the same pleasure that I did and do not have to try to imagine the original illustration, I share it with you here. Enjoy.

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