Welcome to Day 14 of Romancing September Across The World Tour. Our guest today is Jane Godman. Catch up with more from Jane in a few hours with the second part of our tour when Stephanie chats to her.
Where is your home town?
I live in Birkenhead, which is on the Wirral Peninsula in North West England. It’s on the opposite side of the River Mersey to Liverpool and the iconic ‘ferry ‘cross the Mersey’ originates here.
How long have you been writing romance?
I’ve written for as long as I can remember. As a teenager, I lived in South Africa, and my best friend and I discovered the novels of Kathleen E Woodiwiss when we were thirteen. We used to spend our evenings writing books in the style of ‘The Wolf and the Dove’. I had a big birthday (let’s just say it had a zero at the end) two years ago and my friend gave me an amazing present. She had kept one of the books I wrote when I was fourteen! It’s a medieval romance, written in felt tip pen. I’m very proud of it and it gave me the push I needed to start submitting my work to publishers.
Although I’m very proud of the fact that, my fellow Shivers authors and I were recently described as ‘the reigning Queens of Gothic Romance’ by a reviewer, I also love to write historical romances. I like to think my historical romances are in the style of Georgette Heyer, but rather steamier! My career as a published author began in January 2013 when I had a series of historical romances published with a small company which has now, sadly, gone out of business. When the rights for the books reverted to me in April 2014, I undertook to completely re-write the series. Each book in the series features a smouldering, sexy hero eighteenth century hero. Entitled the Georgian Rebel Series, it currently consists of four books and I am hoping to find them a home with a new publisher soon.
My first Harlequin book, Legacy of Darkness, was published in the January 2014. I now have three Harlequin Shivers titles available, with two others due to be published in the next few months.
What is your favourite sub-genre of romance?
I love gothic romance. Crumbling manor houses, gloomy corridors, ghostly apparitions and eerie secrets. Just a few of the reasons why gothic romance has enthralled readers (myself included) for over two centuries!
Gothic romances are all about setting, uncertainty, and an element of creepiness that makes the romance all the sweeter. The hidden story is as important, perhaps more important, than the explicit. Think ghostly shadows rather than chain-saw wielding serial killers. Fingertips of nervous and sensual excitement are trailed down the spine in equal measure. The dark atmosphere is integral to the suspense, and the most frightening elements are often implied rather than stated outright. Our heroines have a tendency to ignore common sense and explore dark houses or stormy cliff-top castles, but they are also brave, loyal, and determined. The gothic heroine will fight for the man she loves, even if she has a sneaking suspicion he may be trying to kill her. Our brooding heroes are misunderstood by everyone, including the heroine at first (see above).
The gothic style allows us an outlet for our darkest imaginings. From the safety of our armchair, we can accompany the gothic heroine as, clad in a clinging white nightdress, with only a single candle to light her way, she climbs the creaking stairs to discover just what those strange noises in the attic actually are. We’ve all seen those scenes in horror films. We’ve all shouted at the screen “Don’t go into the attic!” and shivered with a combination of pleasure and terror when our heroine ignores us.
Tell us about the Gothic period, what does it involve?
Gothic romances can be set in any time period. They can be historical or contemporary. I suppose they could also be set in the future! They are mysteries, usually tinged with horror and the supernatural. Gothics are often set against dark backgrounds such as medieval ruins, mysterious houses or haunted castles. Traditional gothics had a spirited young heroine, peculiar supporting characters, precocious children and darkly handsome men with mysterious pasts. Authors included Victoria Holt, Mary Stewart and Daphne du Maurier.
Harlequin Shivers, the ‘new’ Gothics, have elements of the unexplained, but they are not paranormal romances. Generally, the heroine and heroine are human beings who may have paranormal experiences. Shivers have high levels of sensuality, but their strong gothic story line makes them much more than an erotic romance.
So what can readers expect from a Jane Godman Shivers?
A dark, gloomy and atmospheric setting.
A feisty heroine who pushes the boundaries of her time.
A hero you fall in love with…
…And a villain you fall in love with (for very different reasons)
Dark secrets, the past comes back to haunt the present.
Erotic tension that builds alongside the story. The shivers in these stories don’t come just from the supernatural elements!
Who is Divine Dita?
Dita Varga is the heroine in Echoes in the Darkness, the second book in the Jago Legacy series. It is the 1860s and she models for the artists in the Montmartre district of Paris, but she will only let them paint her naked body, never her face. She is so beautiful that the artistic community nickname her ‘The Divine Dita’. But Dita is a girl with secrets…
Why has she gone to Cornwall?
Dita lives with a gorgeous, dissolute artist called Eddie Jago. Everyone thinks they are lovers, but in reality they are just friends. Eddie gets a letter from his family in Cornwall telling him that he must return home because his father, Tynan Jago, the Earl of Athal, is ill. This coincides with news that the man who has been searching for Dita across Europe is on his way to Paris. Dita must leave France quickly. She agrees to go to Cornwall with Eddie and, so that his family are not suspicious about their relationship, they pretend to be engaged.
What frightens her about the Jago’s house?
Athal House is a beautiful mansion, on the top of a Cornish cliff. It has been built on the site of what was once Castle Athal, the Jago family’s legendary ancestral home. The castle burned down on the night of Tynan Jago’s twenty first birthday, which was also his wedding night. His aunt and uncle were both killed in the fire. Tynan supervised the rebuilding himself and even had some of the original castle walls incorporated into his new home.
When Dita arrives at Tenebris—the name the Jago family give to their home—she is immediately struck by the atmosphere of the place. Although it is beautiful, it is brooding and strange things begin to happen to her. Dita sometimes finds herself in corridors that seem to be from another time. She sees a man with golden eyes riding a black stallion along the cliff top and a woman, also with golden eyes, comes to her room and warns her to stay away before vanishing.
Is there something which drives all the house residents mad?
Tenebris means ‘darkness’ and the Jago Legacy is certainly a dark one, but not everyone who lives there is mad. Tynan and his wife Lucy have managed to escape the legacy, and they hope their three children will too. There is definitely something about the place and about the Jagos, however, that makes it wise to avoid them on a dark night! A reviewer recently said that the Addams Family have nothing on this lot (and I do like to think that the Jago Family are sexier than the Addams Family)!
Tell us what you are working on at the moment.
As well as making sure my Georgian Rebel Series of books are complete, I’m working on a contemporary romantic suspense series. It’s a new venture for me as I haven’t written any contemporary books before. The content is very dark, however, so that’s definitely nothing new when it comes to Jane Godman stories. I like to think I’m the point at which Jane Austen and Stephen King meet and overlap!
Oh, and I have an idea for a horror novella lurking that I really must get down on paper! As you can probably see, I like to keep busy and I like to write in a variety of genre.
Where can readers find out more about you?
I love to hear from readers and can be contacted at:
Find out more about Jane from Stephanie Hurt’s blog and all our Romance writers http://stephanie-hurt.com/