Horror Novel Soundtrack

While writing, my internet is usually turned to the wonderful allclassical.org (thank you DD!)

But then there is the specific music I seek out, or discover, that is divinely perfect for the story.

The soundtrack for my latest horror novel includes:

1. Swan Lake
2. music from the film version of Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita
3. lots of opera, including arias from La Pique Dame, Lulu, Elektra, and Lucia di Lammermoor

What music is inspiring your story?


Thanks to Ralfast, for suggesting a character interview challenge.

*Pours two cups of coffee.  One black, and one with lots of cream and sugar.  Authoress knows by now that this particular character has quite the sweet tooth*

*clears throat*

“Well hello, dear character.  you and I have known each other for a few years now.  But for those who have not met you, could you please introduce yourself?”

I would be happy to.  My name  is Anne Durrant. 

Do you have any nicknames?

My brothers used to call me a mouse when I was a kid.

What do you look like? Eye color, hair color, ethnicity, distinguishing marks or features, clothing, jewelry, and gear…

Oh, it is awkward talking about oneself!  Let’s see.  I’m very small, hence the above mentioned nickname.   I have carroty-colored hair, and was cursed with the freckles of a redhead at birth.  A parasol is, thus, of little help.  Also, I’d walk into a wall without my dreaded spectacles.   As for dresses, I prefer a pretty, but unfussy style.  I do have a fondness for lace and ribbons.

What are your hobbies?

Books!  Especially “shudder” stories.  I love to be thrilled.  And I love trying to solve mysteries.   Lately, due to discovering I have the “sight”, I have started studying the occult.

Who and where is your family?Where are you from?

We live in Boston on Beaon Hill.  It’s a very busy street with all the carriages and pedestrians coming back and forth.  I’m a city girl at heart, but am glad to be visiting my relatives in the backwoods for a change of scenery.

Do you have any secrets, and what are they? Why do you keep them?

Of course I have secrets!  Someone without any secrets must have led a rather dull life, don’t you think?  But it’s improper to pry in one’s private business, so please don’t ask again.

Sorry!  You are quite right about that.  Let us move on.  What do you believe in?

I am open-minded.  There are a lot of new ideas circling around Boston right now.  Transcendentalism.  Spiritualism.   It’s all very fascinating.  I’m not sure exactly what I believe in, but I am keen on learning different things!

What is the setting of your story?

I am staying with my relatives in the backwoods of New England.   They live in a tiny backwater village that isn’t on any map.   This is my first visit out here, and I am finding my cousins to be all rather… odd.  And there’s also a dead girl.

That is all I shall say for now.

Thank you, Anne for your time.

Thank you for having me.  It has been  a pleasure.

Before I leave, if I may mention a delightful interview I read at http://dianedooley.wordpress.com/2011/04/26/464/

Published in: on May 1, 2011 at 1:21 pm  Comments (24)  
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Writing Meme: Day 11- Favorite Characters

11. Who is your favorite character to write? Least favorite?

These questions are almost impossible to answer!

Presently, I would have to choose my mysterious witch, Beth.  The dark sphinx.   She was one of those characters who I knew inside and out from the very beginning, and our relationship only deepened through various drafts.  But I also had found such joy in writing of the exploits of Mr. Raferat and Mrs. Brent.   Most of all the sardonic banter between the two.

I don’t have a least favorite character.   All characters are in a story for a reason.  There are some that are certainly more challenging because they reveal themselves slowly, displaying more aspects of their personality through each draft.    But if they didn’t belong, I’d cut them out and wait for their correct story to come along.

How about you?

Published in: on October 6, 2010 at 11:18 am  Comments (5)  
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Writing Meme: Day 7: Writing and Music

7. Do you listen to music while you write? What kind? Are there any songs you like to relate/apply to your characters?

Not so long ago, the answer would have been, “no”.  I worked in utter silence or with the television on.  (yes, there is no need to point out the contrariness of that)  But then the lovely DD of Filling Spaces alerted me to the wondrous allclassical.org, and I was thusly hooked.  Love that station because they play such a fantastic variety of musicians and styles, introducing me to lots of composers  I’d never heard of.  And they prove such hosts can be tons of fun and lighthearted.  No  Charles Emerson Winchester the Third-ians need apply!

If PORTRAITS OF THE LIVING: A GHOST TALE has a soundtrack, then I think it would be The Hours.   Philip Glass’s haunting, somewhat monotonous piano music is reminiscent of my characters trapped in their personal hells.

Do you listen to music while you write?  Does your novel have a soundtrack?

Published in: on September 30, 2010 at 11:29 am  Comments (8)  
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Meme: Thirty Days of Writing: Day One- Favorite Writing Project

The preeminent Ralfast (waves hello) has tagged me for a meme in which I am to answer 30 questions related to writing.

If I suppose correctly, I am to answer a question a day.    Well, there goes my plan of blogging once a week.  But no worries, Ralfast.  I’ve never been one to stick to plans: others or my own.  Really.  Don’t feel bad.  😉

So, with a little Wicked playing in the background, here I go:

1. Tell us about your favorite writing project/universe that you’ve worked with and why.

This will no doubt change with time, but right now it is PORTRAITS OF THE LIVING: A GHOST TALE

Why?  It’s the first novel I wrote with the specific aim toward publication.  Wait.  No.  That’s sort of a lie.   But unlike the Little Women knock-offs I penned when I was ten, I think this at least has a slight chance in Hela.

The “universe” that the story takes place in is very tight. I  wanted the setting to be claustrophobic.  The majority of the novel takes place around one  desolate house.   Outside, it’s glorious summer, while inside, the house’s inhabitants are wilting.

I’d speak more in depth about the novel, but no doubt with 29 more questions to go, I have plenty of time for that.

Published in: on September 23, 2010 at 5:26 pm  Comments (14)  
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Writing Update: Steampunk Ahead

music playing:  Velvet Underground’s “I’m Waiting for the Man”

After brainstorming  for my Victorian murder mystery,  “INSIDE THE LANCHESTER HOUSE” for the last few weeks, I’ve decided to put it aside for the meantime to work on this steampunk novel idea that’s been brewing in my head.

I’ve always wanted to try my hands at steampunk, and last night I remembered a very old fantasy novel I’d hidden away.  I took a look at it, and thought, “You know, with some revising (okay, a lot of revising) this could work.”  The writing is hilariously bad (over a decade old so you can imagine.  No.  Please don’t imagine), but the story itself is a lot of fun.

This morning, I revised the first chapter.  Yeah!  My plan is to go through the whole thing, revising the general story, characters, writing, etc.  When that’s done I’ll see about building my alternative, steampunking Victorian world.

As much as I love the story behind, LANCHESTERS, my heart wasn’t presently into it.   Today, working on the steampunk novel, or what shall become a steampunk novel, was fun.  And I realized after finishing, PORTRAITS, which is rather dark, I needed to engage in something more playful.  So, steampunk ahead.

How’s everyone else doing?

Published in: on August 22, 2009 at 4:36 pm  Comments (32)  
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Portraits of the Living: A Ghost Tale- characters

music playing:  Stevie Nicks,  Nightbird

Things are very exciting right now.  I have a full out on POTL (whispers this as not to upset the Fates), and have started researching and taking notes on my next supernatural suspense novel.  Before blogging about the new novel,  I wanted to write a couple of posts regarding Portraits, which will then be put together in a separate page.

The first is the novel’s cast of characters:

1.  Anne Durrant:  fifteen-years-old, imaginative, clever,  intelligent, yet often foolish.   Definitely not as sensible as she believes.   Booksmart, but has a lot to learn about the dangers of real life. Her insatiable curiosity is both her greatest asset and her worst, for it might get her killed. . .

2. Daphne Hoffman Stowe: thirty two- years-old, married, highly intelligent, poised, and stoic.  Loves science, history, and linguistics.   Despite her scientific leanings,  she is addicted to having her fortune read.  Fears an ominous reading from a Gypsy. . .

3.  Beth Hoffman:  Daphne’s younger sister.   The reticent spinster loves art, poetry, tarot cards, and waxen dolls. . .

4.  Gerard Hoffman:  Anne’s uncle.  Father to Daphne and Beth.  Scholar of the Occult.  What does he do in his study?

5.  Sheridan Stowe:  Daphne’s husband.   Uses his charm to get away with his drinking and gambling.  What does he feel guilty about?

6.  Grace Cullwick: the utterly devoted house maid.  The only servant who remained after an exorcism went frighteningly wrong.   Tender to her “family”, she is cold to all outsiders.

7.  Mr. Raferat:   Family friend.  Retired anthropologist.  Studies the occult.  Larger-than-life world traveler who relishes good stories and obscure facts.

8.  Mrs. Brent:  Widow.  Not-so-discreet lover of Mr. Raferat.  Devoted Spiritualist.  Overbearing and a bit daft, but with a great heart.

9.  Mary- the young servant girl who haunts the Hoffmans’ house.

Who are the characters in your novel?

Novel Update: Finished!

music playing:  Dvorak’s New World Symphony

The last few days I’ve been mostly offline as I revised (again!) and edited the last fifty-odd pages of my novel.   

 Now I can officially announce that on July 1, 2009  at 22:52 ,  I typed the words:  The End.  (I never typed those words on any of the drafts.  I wanted to save them for the final one)

Then I nearly fainted.  

This novel that I’ve been working on for so long- endless drafts, revisions, editing- is done.   Now all I have to do is wait to get feedback from my betas on these final chapters.  Meanwhile,  I’ll be working on my query letter and researching agents.

The realization that it was truly done,  hit when I took  my evening bath.  The last few weeks, no matter how nice and comfy I might have been soaking in the hot bubbles, I’d hear my characters screaming,  “Hurry up!  Get out of there and come finish writing our story!   You know you need to write more before we’ll let you go to sleep!”

Well, tonight- everything was eerily quiet.  (my mind isn’t used to quiet)  None of my characters called to me.  They’re satisfied.  Their story is done.

Portraits of the Living: A Ghost Story




Published in: on July 2, 2009 at 1:16 am  Comments (29)  
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Novel Update: The Star (tarot)

music playing:  Maria Callas, Casta Diva

For the second time, I shut my eyes and drew a tarot card to write about in relation to my novel and the writing process itself.

I opened my eyes and looked upon The Star.  A  woman stands in a pond and scoops up the water that flows upward into her hands.   A  blue star shines above.

The Star is a card of hope and healing.   Of  help from unexpected sources. It speaks, not of today, but of tomorrow.    Rainbows form after storms. Dreams are possible- but it is up to the Querent to make them come true.   

The last three days, I had a hellish time revising Chapter Eight.  I would have teared out my hair if it weren’t for my Leonine vanity.   But I kept at it, reminding  myself how important my story is to me.  And that I could do it.

I received wonderful words of encouragement and inspiration from my writer friends.

Saturday 7 p.m. :   Chapter Eight revised. 

As The Star suggests, my novel won’t be finished today.    And there will, no doubt, be more struggles as I revise the second half.  But I am one chapter closer to the end.

Thank you to everyone for all your support.  Here are freshly baked magickal brownies:  not only are they delicious, but they also help you write!

Published in: on April 19, 2009 at 1:35 pm  Comments (26)  
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Novel Update: Nine of Wands

 1:30 a.m.

A few moments ago, I shut my eyes and pulled out one card from my tarot:  The Nine of Wands.  A woman stands alone, holding two crossed wands.  Behind her, seven wands stand upright.   She appears weary- how long has she held those wands?  Yet there is no surrender in her gaze,  for the card symbolizes perseverance and stamina.

 It’s been a long time since I typed the first word of this WIP.  Whatever that first word was- it’s been long ago changed.  And changed, again.  And again.  

I’ve persevered when my characters moved  from 1880s England to 1850s New England.    I’ve endured  characters bickering over everything from who had the starring role to what their name should be.  Dark fantasy turned to Gothic horror when a ghost appeared. Winter setting turned to summer back to winter before finally deciding upon summer.  The contrast of rich meadowland, blooming trees, and wildflowers against an interior of gloominess and despair intrigued me. 

The most difficult moment was when I realized that my novel was too short.   I had the dreaded novella.   Sure, you can bring up succint masterpieces like, “The Postman Only Rings Twice”,  “The Turn of the Screw”, ” Heart of Darkness”, and “Death in Venice”- but try to sell one today as a newbie novelist.

I took a long, hard look at my work to see if I could honestly add more story to it.  (versus crappy word padding). 

Well, I could.  And I did.   (It only took a few months of tossing and turning in bed,  pacing back and forth across the living room floor at dawn, and glaring at my computer screen)

Now I have the full story intact.   And all the headaches  have been worth it, because it’s definitely a stronger work.

 Today I begin revising chapter 8 out of 20 chapters.

I’m still holding the crossed wands in my hands.   When they start to feel too heavy, I remind myself their weight is only a reminder of what I’ve conquered.

“We acquire the strength we have overcome.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Published in: on April 14, 2009 at 2:42 am  Comments (42)  
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