The Revenant officially releases six weeks from tomorrow, and by golly, I feel like celebrating!
Gentle reader, I invite you to join me today and the next five Mondays as I share many of the inspirations behind the story. Each week I'll be giving away a recent YA novel that relates to that week's theme. Simply comment below to enter the drawing for that book.
**All those who comment over the next several weeks will also be entered to win one of two finished copies of The Revenant!
This week's theme: GOTHIC!
What do I love about it?
I adore the iconography and themes of Gothic -- the dreary, crumbling castles or mansions, the dark forests and desolate landscapes, the atmosphere of gloom and confusion, the very real threat of supernatural forces, and the general sense of foreboding and mystery. Why is this so cool to me? I think it boils down to how Gothic landscapes are often a projection of unresolved internal conflicts. Gothic showed us "the return of the repressed" long before Freud came along (just read any Poe story for an illustration of this). As my dear husband put it, "the surroundings give form to the monster within." So compelling! (Here is a really fun Glossary of Literary Gothic Terms, if you'd like to know more.)
What does it have to do with The Revenant?
The easy answer is that The Revenant is Gothic because it's a ghost story. But for me, the setting screamed "Gothic" before I even decided to write about a ghost.
In most Gothic novels the setting itself is a major character. This 1888 photo of students standing in front of the Cherokee Female Seminary gave me a jolt of inspiration with its aura of gloom. I realize that the B&W photography lends strongly to this atmosphere, but still . . . the leafless trees, the wrought-iron fence, the clock tower and turrets, not to mention the dark clothing and grim faces of the students -- all these strongly communicated "secrets" and "mystery" to me. I wanted to place an outsider -- a girl with dark secrets of her own -- within this context and see what sort of trouble I could brew!
What am I giving away?
A shiny hardcover of Tessa Gratton's Blood Magic, which will come to you as soon as it releases (May 24). I had the privilege of reading an ARC of this book, which I devoured in about two days. With its atmosphere of danger, dark secrets and barely repressed (& often wildly out-of-control) passions, I'm delighted to say that it fits the Gothic bill perfectly. However, it is not for the faint of heart -- consider the title, folks!
In addition, you will receive an assortment of Elevensies swag, including bookmarks and goodies for The Revenant. This giveaway is open to residents of North America only. (Don't worry -- there will be another international giveaway in the future!)
How does one enter?
1. Leave a comment that includes a name and some way to contact you. This is really all you have to do to be entered for the weekly giveaway AND to put your name in the drawing for one of two finished copies of The Revenant. (Of course, I'd love for you to expound on your personal Gothic favorites in your comment, but this is not required.)
2. If you'd like an extra entry, please tweet or facebook a link to this contest. Something along the lines of: Win a copy of BLOOD MAGIC at @soniagensler's Six Weeks to THE REVENANT Giveaway! http://tinyurl.com/5wbhkra
I wanted to make it simple, so that's it! Good luck and thanks for helping me celebrate!
[Cross-posted from Livejournal]