I’ve always been inclined towards the Gothic, veering to the darker and more tumultuous side of both books and film when it comes to romance.
Gothic fiction combines the elements of both supernatural horror and romance, with suspense and mystery added to the mix. A damsel in distress in an unfamiliar and frightening environment, pursued by a sinister being (usually male or otherworldly) is a recurrent theme. The settings are invariably dark and atmospheric, the buildings often representing the decay of human creations and, especially in present-day Suburban Gothic, can reflect social issues of the time.
Gothic stories are primarily based on fear and desire, contain both physical and psychological terror, and often delve into the dark and twisted psyche of the main characters. The focus and intensity of the aforementioned varies but, in essence, these are the fundamental elements associated with the genre.
Amongst my favourite books in classic Gothic literature are Wuthering Heights, The Picture of Dorian Gray and Dracula. Within Modern Gothic, it’s Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles. I first read Wuthering Heights when I was seventeen and was instantly enthralled not just by the book, but the author who so bravely wrote a dark and tortured hero into a romantic role. My encounter with Heathcliff no doubt had an impact on my view of romantic heroes or, as I should put it, romantic anti-heroes.
Anyone who has read Wuthering Heights will know Heathcliff’s not exactly the most pleasant of characters, at times tyrannical and cruel even. In fact, he’d probably get quite the slating on contemporary romance reviews for what can be deemed as abhorrent actions throughout most of the book. Although his behaviour can’t be excused, what Emily Bronte achieved was to enable the reader to understand him and, more importantly, empathise with his plight. Add into the mix Catherine Earnshaw (the heroine), who has many non-redeeming features of her own, and what developed was a passionate and subsequently damaging relationship.
For me, the beauty of Wuthering Heights was Emily Bronte willingness to push aside what is deemed appropriate and right as to how heroes and heroines should behave and interact on the page to, instead, focusing on enabling the rawness and power of the romance to take centre stage above social conventions. The reader is left knowing that Heathcliff loved Catherine and Catherine loved Heathcliff – a love that survived beyond the end. Albeit dark and tumultuous and destructive, ultimately their love was meant to be.
Although there were numerous influences on my Blackthorn series, I have no doubt my passion for such books played a part in what it became.
It was twenty years ago this month that I first came up with the idea of Blackthorn. After walking home one night only to get lost in a very isolated and run-down part of the city I’d just moved to, I’d decided to keep calm by creating a story. My setting became an urban, gritty backdrop of social unrest where the ‘third species’ (vampires, lycans etc), as I named them, brushed shoulders with humans. They weren’t evil, they weren’t cursed, and they certainly weren’t the undead – just physiologically different, defined primarily by their shadows in place of souls. Because of this, humans were calling the shots in this dystopian world shrouded by segregation, prejudice and the fear of difference. In the wake of it, my anti-heroes emerged as being as dark, dangerous and unpredictable as the Blackthorn district itself.
Over the years, Blackthorn became about how these characters, having been forced into this melting pot of injustice, were going to overcome it. It was a concept that became the ideal backdrop for the intense forbidden romances that would become the catalyst for the revolution their oppressive world needs.
With my seventh book in the overarching plot of my series out today, it won’t be long before my readers find out if that change will be achieved.
Thank you so much for hosting me, Kelly. 🙂
Lindsay J. Pryor is the author of seven novels in her Amazon bestselling BLACKTHORN series. Her complex, dark and gritty urban PNR has achieved numerous Gothic and PNR Amazon number ones both in the UK and the US, thousands of 5 star reviews, and more than thirty blog nominations and awards. Blood Shadows – Lindsay’s debut novel – was optioned by US film giants Relativity Media.
Lindsay has been creating stories since she was nine years old, having quickly decided that fantasy was more interesting than reality. More than thirty years later, writing remains her passion.
Lindsay is a qualified Psychology lecturer and English teacher. Before becoming a full-time author, she taught for eighteen years, primarily to improve literacy for children with special needs. She was born and grew up in Wales but now lives in England with her husband, their rescue bunny and a plethora of wild woodland creatures.
To find out more about Lindsay or her books, please visit www.lindsayjpryor.com or visit her Facebook page where she regularly chats to her readers.
What readers are saying about Lindsay J. Pryor…
‘I don’t think I have read such a finely executed dark PNR world before…This series truly surprised me. I didn’t think I would love it that much or be intrigued by it. I couldn’t stop thinking about these books once I was done with them… The world-building is spectacular. The characters are enthralling and addicting… Plain fabulousness.’ Gaga Over Books
‘I am completely enthralled with this paranormal series. You get so wrapped up in the story and characters that you lose track of time… This is one of my favorite series so far this year!’ Paranormal Book Club
‘This is a paranormal universe like none you have encountered before… There are stories that are so powerful, so intense that I do not believe anyone should warn you about what is to come… I truly do feel that if you love the Paranormal genre and have not yet discovered Lindsay J. Pryor or these novels then you need to read them, experience them firsthand.’ Keeper Bookshelf
‘I am officially addicted to this series. Why, you ask? Because Lindsay Pryor is my kind of fearless author. She isn’t afraid to “go there”, to create characters and situations that challenge me as a reader.’ The Demon Librarian
‘Not only are Pryor’s characters and fathomlessly dark love stories fabulous, but her continual world building of Blackthorn blows me away.’ Gravetells.com
‘If you’re looking for a new PNR series that has a dark world and complicated characters, then you’ll want to grab a copy of this. I can’t wait to read the next book.’ FictionVixen.com
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Lindsay J. Pryor
Author of the BLACKTHORN series