I’m thrilled to welcome one of my favorite authors, Judith Sterling, whose new gothic paranormal mystery Trip the light Phantasmic launches today! Judy, thank you for sharing launch day with us! I just have a few questions…
1) What sort of books did you enjoy reading as a child? Did you have a favorite book or series? I loved reading (and writing!) ghost stories and mysteries.
My favorite book in elementary school was Weeny Witch by Ida DeLage; in middle school, it was Moon Eyes by Josephine Poole. My overall favorite series while growing up was the Nancy Drew Mystery Stories.
2) What sort of books do you enjoy reading nowadays?
For the past few years, I’ve mostly alternated between cozy mysteries and traditional gothic romances.
3)Around what age did you realize that you liked to write? And when did you know that you wanted to write books?
My mom taught me to read and write early on, so I was writing stories—albeit simple and short—before kindergarten. I wrote my first chapter stories in elementary school. Honestly, I can’t recall a time when I didn’t want to be an author.
4) What’s the first thing you wrote that you remember being proud of?
Probably Mysteries of the Judson House, a chapter book I wrote when I was eleven. I bound it with thick poster board, and a talented friend (who was also eleven) did the cover art.
5) Tell us about the creative force within you. What inspires you to write, to create?
I guess it’s that divine spark which lives inside and around each one of us. It’s a palpable force that has always been there. Some ideas I can trace to a word, a song, a location, etc., but many just pop into my mind. Sometimes the fabric of a story seems to weave itself, if you know what I mean!
6) What’s your writing space like?
I write in our dining room, which often feels like Grand Central Station. My twin boys, who recently turned eighteen, can get pretty loud, so I’ve had to hone my focus to accomplish anything!
7) Do you have a favorite time of day to write? Any habits or little rituals that put you in a writing mindset?
I used to write only at night; it’s the time when I feel most alive. When my boys came along, I got used to writing during the day. Family time is a priority, and I also work part-time as a tour guide at the 17th-century Witch House here in Salem, Massachusetts. So nowadays, I write whenever I can. I don’t have any rituals, but I feel that when I sit down in front of the computer, with hands poised above the keyboard, it’s a signal to the universe that I’m ready to create.
8) Congratulations on Trip the Light Phantasmic! I can hardly believe… I love your romances, but this is so exciting! How did you come up with the idea for the book? How did you come up with the title? Please tell us all about it. Is this the first in a series?
Thank you! Believe it or not, I wrote the detailed outline for this book almost seven years ago, and it has been waiting in the wings while I completed my other two series. It’s kind of sad that nine other books pushed it aside, but now its time has finally come. The title just popped into my head while I was writing the outline, and it’ll make more sense once you read the book! As for the idea, it might have its roots in my childhood. I’ve had lucid dreams for most of my life, and when I was ten, I experienced what could only be called “serial dreaming” over a two-week period. On the first night, a mystery worthy of Nancy Drew began to unfold. I was the detective, and each successive night, I dreamed the next “chapter” of the story. At the end of the fortnight, I solved the mystery my mind—and who knows what else—had cooked up. Also, I’ve always thought it’d be cool to somehow leap into the world of a beloved story and play the heroine’s role. There will definitely be more Gothic Gwyn books. In fact, this may be the series I write for the rest of my life.
I think you've said it exactly right - "its time has finally come". I like to think there is a right time for everything. And your dreams - that's astounding to me.
9) I realize you’ve just published a new book and I know what that takes. Still, I can’t help but ask – do you have another story waiting in the wings?
Ideas for the next book in this series are starting to flesh out. I hope to have a detailed outline finished by the end of the month and start writing Chapter One in December.
10) Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
I’m so grateful for your enthusiasm and support, and I sincerely hope the book makes readers happy. Thank you for having me here today!
I'm so very glad you've allowed me to host you today of all days! Once again, congratulations on your new release and for sharing launch day with us. I wish you much joy and success!
And now, let's enjoy a little Trip the Light Phantasmic!
Gwyneth Camm has just inherited her great-aunt’s house in Salem, Massachusetts, along with an extensive collection of gothic romance novels. As a PhD student who prefers “serious” books, Gwyn has always avoided pulp fiction. Now, in honor of her beloved Aunt Ethel, she gives one of the gothics a try…and promptly falls asleep.
When she wakes, she finds herself inside the story, thrust by forces unknown into the heroine’s role. There’s magic afoot, and the only way back to her own life is to play her part and solve the mystery.
When fiction becomes fact, anything can happen…
I stepped out into the crisp, fresh air of an autumn evening and inhaled deeply. To my eyes—and lungs—the terrace was Heaven, illuminated by electric lights whose glow reached partway down a wide stone staircase. Darkness hid the rest of the grounds and whatever else lay beyond.
I turned to my savior as he closed the doors to the dining room. “How can I thank you enough?”
“By telling me the real reason why you wanted to leave.” He closed the distance between us. His broad shoulders looked sturdy, dependable.
“I’m not sure you’ll like it.”
“I still want to know.”
“I’m sensitive to cigarette smoke. I was okay with it for a while, but then I had to get out of there.”
He performed a little smile. “You sound just like…”
I held my tongue, expecting him to elaborate, but the wait was wasted. “You were saying…”
He shook his head as though shaking off a memory. “Never mind. Why didn’t you tell the truth?”
“I didn’t want to seem rude. But I suppose I did anyway.”
“You’ll have to forgive Mother. She’s had her share of tragedy.” He took a deep breath, then sighed. “She was once a prima ballerina…world-famous. Until she married my father. They were happy for a time. Then she had an accident and was paralyzed from the waist down.”
He nodded. “Being confined to a wheelchair is…difficult for her, perhaps harder than for most.”
Out of nowhere, an icy gust swiped me. I shivered and rubbed my bare arms.
“You’re cold.” He removed his jacket and placed it around my shoulders. Though haunted by the smell of smoke, it infused me with his warmth and an odd sense of intimacy. He lingered behind me.
“Thank you.” Twisting around, I looked up into his finely chiseled face and detected a hint of interest.
His pupils expanded. “It’s the least I can do.”
Oh yeah? What more could you do if I let you? Best not to think about that.
A slight movement at one of the windows caught my eye. Penny, the maid, watched us from inside the house. Before I could acknowledge her presence, she dropped the curtain, hiding herself from view.
Okay. That was interesting.
Edgar followed my gaze. “What is it?”
“We had an audience.”
“Penny was watching from that window.” I pointed to the one in question.
“Ah, Penny. I’ve known her a long time, and she’s a curious girl. Of course, it wouldn’t surprise me if she had company.”
I turned to face him. “Meaning?”
“This house has many eyes, and they’re always watching. You’d do well to remember that.”
Dude, you just upped the creep factor by half. “I’ll try.” I doffed his jacket and handed it back to him. “Thanks for this. I’m going now.”
“My room. I know it’s early, but—”
“You’ve had a long day.”
You have no idea. “Yes. Should I go back through the dining room?”
“Better not. Roland will still be smoking. Go through the drawing room, over there.” He indicated the other set of French doors. His eyes held understanding, and if I wasn’t mistaken, regret. “Good night, Gwyn.”
About the Author
Judith Sterling is an award-winning author whose love of history and passion for the paranormal infuse everything she writes. Through gothic paranormal mystery (The Gothic Gwyn Mysteries), medieval/time travel romance (The Novels of Ravenwood) and young adult paranormal fantasy (the Guardians of Erin series), she loves to whisk readers away from their troubles and remind them of the hidden magic all around us.
Her nonfiction books, written under Judith Marshall, have been translated into multiple languages. She has an MA in linguistics and a BA in history, with a minor in British Studies. Born in that sauna called Florida, she craved cooler climes, and once the travel bug bit, she lived in England, Scotland, Sweden, Wisconsin, Virginia, and on the island of Nantucket. She currently lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and their identical twin sons.
It's no secret that I prefer fat HEAs. Where better than in a beautiful romance?
From me to you with a smile.
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