Rowan McAllister Talks Covers, Victorian Gothic Romance and her latest novel ‘We Met in Dreams’ (guest post)

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We Met in Dreams by Rowan McAllister
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover artist: Anna Sikorska

Release Date: February 27, 2017

Available for purchase at

           

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Rowan McAllister today talking about her cover for We met in Dreams.  

Welcome, Rowan.

✒︎

Covers, Victorian Gothic Romance and We Met In Dreams by Rowan McAllister

Candlelight flickering off a darkened staircase. Skeletal branches clawing at a blue-black sky. A crumbling castle with one lit window.

Anyone with a love for romance has to have seen at least one cover featuring some or all of these themes. When I made the decision to dive headlong into delightfully spooky and melodramatic genre of the Victorian Gothic Romance, I had dozens of inspiration pics and ideas for my cover. I’d share some of the pics with you here, but unfortunately I don’t own them. Instead, I’ll urge you to Google image search “Victorian Gothic Romance” and “women running from houses.” It’ll be worth the keystrokes. You’ll have an entire screen filled with smudged pencil, pastel, and charcoal drawings of women in flowing white gowns, in varying states of undress, fleeing darkened hulks of stone or racing down stairs clutching candelabras, as dark shadows loom menacingly behind them.  It’s wonderfully moody art.

Now obviously I couldn’t have my hero in a flowing white gown— or I suppose I could have, except that would’ve been an entirely different story— but I wanted the same feel. I wanted that delicious urgency of the fleeing hero and the towering bulk of a darkened and forbidding house. I wanted the decay of winter and the air of neglect, even in a prosperous family’s stately London house. I wanted swooping bats and glowing white apparitions with skeletal hands pressed to window panes… okay I’m going a little over the top here, but you get the gist.

Poor Anna Sikorska, she had to deal with a LOT of “I wants” from me on this one. It’s only once in a blue moon that I have a clear idea of what I want for my cover, and lucky her, she got this one. But she was a trooper and kept at it until this fresh take on the classic theme became reality. I just hope she wasn’t cursing my name by the end of it. And poor Paul Richmond at Dreamspinner Press had to explain to me that there was such a thing as TOO dark a cover. Apparently there’s a little more leeway for ebook covers than ones that will also be sold in print, so I couldn’t go as dark as my soul. I learned something new there— darned reality imposing its rules on my gothic vision. But in the end, I suppose it’s better that you can actually see the cover. That’s kind of important, or so I’ve heard.

A big thanks to Anna for putting up with me and making my beautiful cover, and I hope you all enjoy reading what’s inside We Met In Dreams as much as I enjoyed writing it.

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Blurb

In Victorian London, during a prolonged and pernicious fog, fantasy and reality are about to collide—at least in one man’s troubled mind.

A childhood fever left Arthur Middleton, Viscount Campden, seeing and hearing things no one else does, afraid of the world outside, and unable to function as a true peer of the realm. To protect him from himself—and to protect others from him—he spends his days heavily medicated and locked in his rooms, and his nights in darkness and solitude, tormented by visions, until a stranger appears.

This apparition is different. Fox says he’s a thief and not an entirely good sort of man, yet he returns night after night to ease Arthur’s loneliness without asking for anything in return. Fox might be the key that sets Arthur free, or he might deliver the final blow to Arthur’s tenuous grasp on sanity. Either way, real or imaginary, Arthur needs him too much to care.

Fox is only one of the many secrets and specters haunting Campden House, and Arthur will have to face them all in order to live the life of his dreams.

Genre: Victorian Gothic/Historical European

Page Count/Word Count: 268/98,457

About the Author

 

Rowan McAllister is a woman who doesn’t so much create as recreate, taking things ignored and overlooked and hopefully making them into something magical and mortal. She believes it’s all in how you look at it. In addition to a continuing love affair with words, she creates art out of fabric, metal, wood, stone, and any other interesting scraps of life she can get her hands on. Everything is simply one perspective change and a little bit of effort away from becoming a work of art that is both beautiful and functional. She lives in the woods, on the very edge of suburbia—where civilization drops off and nature takes over—sharing her home with her patient, loving, and grounded husband, her super sweet hairball of a cat, and a mythological beast masquerading as a dog. Her chosen family is made up of a madcap collection of people from many different walks of life, all of whom act as her muses in so many ways, and she would be lost without them.

E-mail: rowanmcallister10@gmail.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/rowanmcallister10

Twitter: @RowanMcallister

A Free Dreamer Release Day Review: We Met in Dreams by Rowan McAllister

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

a-free-dreamer-release-day-review-we-met-in-dreams-by-rowan-mcallisterIn Victorian London, during a prolonged and pernicious fog, fantasy and reality are about to collide—at least in one man’s troubled mind.

A childhood fever left Arthur Middleton, Viscount Campden, seeing and hearing things no one else does, afraid of the world outside, and unable to function as a true peer of the realm. To protect him from himself—and to protect others from him—he spends his days heavily medicated and locked in his rooms, and his nights in darkness and solitude, tormented by visions, until a stranger appears.

This apparition is different. Fox says he’s a thief and not an entirely good sort of man, yet he returns night after night to ease Arthur’s loneliness without asking for anything in return. Fox might be the key that sets Arthur free, or he might deliver the final blow to Arthur’s tenuous grasp on sanity. Either way, real or imaginary, Arthur needs him too much to care.

Fox is only one of the many secrets and specters haunting Campden House, and Arthur will have to face them all in order to live the life of his dreams.

I’m usually not big on historical romance novels, but the blurb was sufficiently unusual and slightly creepy to make me curious. I definitely didn’t regret my choice.

First of all, you have to suspend your disbelief for this story. Fox breaks into Arthur’s house, late one foggy winter night. When Arthur catches him, Fox doesn’t knock him out or harm Arthur in any other way. Instead, he stays for a chat.

Once I got past that slightly strange beginning, I started getting caught up in the story. There are so many unanswered questions and so many secrets lurking here. Is Arthur truly hallucinating? Are the apparitions real ghosts? Or is his kindly uncle plotting against him and there’s a much more mundane reason behind those creepy noises Arthur hears every night? There’s an answer to all those questions in the end, rest assured.

The setting was subtly creepy. Not outright horror-story-like, but just enough to make the hair on the back of your neck stand on end every now and then. I like this kind of subtly creepiness and the author did a brilliant job creating an eerie atmosphere.

While the author managed to convey the creepiness of the setting extremely well, it lacked a “British” feel all over. I think it might have been better if she’d chosen to set this in the USA instead of London. Part of it is probably due to the fact that most of the story takes place in Arthur’s rooms and we hardly ever see the outside world. But when I first read “color” instead of “colour”, I found it really jarring and kept looking for the American spelling. I know it’s pronounced the same, but if a story is set in London and has English MCs, then I expect the British spelling. It should only be a minor niggle, but it started to quite bother me after a while.

The MCs were nice. A little too nice, really. I don’t see why Fox would return to the seemingly insane Arthur and risk a prison sentence in doing so. And Arthur was a little too concerned with everybody else’s well-being.

After all the suspense throughout the entire book, the ending was a little anti-climactic. The revelation felt a little mundane, to be honest.

Long story short, “We Met in Dreams” was good. It might not have been brilliant but overall, I quite enjoyed it.  If you like ghost stories and the subtle creepiness they bring, then you’ll like this book.

The cover by Anna Silkorska is perfect for this story. I love the haunted manor.

Sales Links

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Book details:

ebook, 268 pages
Expected publication: February 27th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1635332966 (ISBN13: 9781635332964)
Edition LanguageEnglish