A Poem by Emily Brontë

“Emily wanted to be a Night Walker before she knew what one was.  Sometimes I think she summoned it.”  

~Anne Brontë, Nightwalker

 

One of the deeply enjoyable aspects of writing Anne Bronte, Nightwalker was incorporating the Bronte’s poetry throughout the manuscript.  When I came upon the following poem by Emily Bronte, #184 in The Complete Poems of Emily Jane Brontë, ed.C.W. Hatfield, I couldn’t believe it.  It fit my story so perfectly.  In Nightwalker, Emily, unlike Anne, takes to the night naturally, far preferring it to the day.  And then to stumble upon this poem, where in Emily’s own words, the sun brings fire, death and pain.  What a surprise!  And, I must admit, a perfect gift.

 

Here, Emily likens the sun to a weapon, “arrow-straight” whose fierce beams strike the brow. It blazes, blinds, and “drains the blood of suffering men.”  She rejects the light, and despite the nightmares and insomnia that plagued her in real life, she longs for the night.  For where the sun is harsh, the night is gentle.  It brings a “pure” spell and union with  . . .  someone or something.  A vision of Shelley perhaps?  God?  Night itself?

 

It’s to the Stars, Dreams, and Night that Emily pleads for protection.

 

This poem deeply inspired my story.  It’s this poem that gave me inspiration for Anne’s words above, and showed me that Emily, despite the deep blackness of night on the moors, was unafraid of the darkness.

 

A Poem by Emily Jane Brontë

 

Ah! why, because the dazzling sun

Restored my earth to joy

Have you departed, every one,

And left a desert sky?

 

All through the night, your glorious eyes

Were gazing down in mine,

And with a full heart’s thankful sighs

I blessed that watch divine!

 

I was at peace, and drank your beams

As they were life to me

And reveled in my changeful dreams

Like petrel on the sea.

 

Thought followed thought–star followed star

Through boundless regions on,

While one sweet influence, near and far,

Thrilled through and proved us one.

 

Why did the morning rise to break

So great, so pure a spell,

And scorch with fire the tranquil cheek

Where your cool radiance fell?

 

Blood-red he rose, and arrow-straight

His fierce beams struck my brow:

The soul of nature sprang elate,

But mine sank sad and low!

 

My lids closed down–yet through their veil

I saw him blazing still;

And bathe in gold the misty dale,

And flash upon the hill.

 

I turned me to the pillow then

To call back Night, and see

Your worlds of solemn light, again

Throb with my heart and me!

 

It would not do–the pillow glowed

And glowed both roof and floor,

And birds sang loudly in the wood,

And fresh winds shook the door.

 

The curtains waved, the wakened flies

Were murmuring round my room,

Imprisoned there, till I should rise

And give them leave to roam.

 

O Stars and Dreams and Gentle Night;

O Night and Stars return!

And hide me from the hostile light

That does not warm, but burn–

 

That drains the blood of suffering men;

Drinks tears, instead of dew:

Let me sleep through his blinding reign,

And only wake with you!

.

Emily Jane Brontë

April 14, 1845

 

 

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The Brontës and Book Clubs

Book clubs love the Brontës, and yet Nightwalker is a strange, new twist on their story, so I’m very excited to announce that a book club is reading Anne Brontë Nightwalker right now! This is a first for me, and a new and wondrous feeling. Thank you Renee Rockweiler Wilson for sharing this pic.  And thank you Andrew Jalbert and Julia Pearson for welcoming Nightwalker into your group.

 

 

 

Tonight, via video, I will be meeting the club and answering questions.  This is another first for me!  I’m a bit nervous, but really looking forward to engaging with readers and hearing their thoughts on Anne’s adventure. For any book clubs out there, please know that I’m happy to participate with your group via person, phone, or video.  You can reach me at geahaff@gmail.com.

 

Until then . . . Good Reading!

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Anne Brontë Nightwalker Giveaway!

Enter for a chance to win one of three signed first edition copies of Anne Brontë Nightwalker by Gea Haff!

 

I am a huge Goodreads fan.  It is my favorite, go to site for everything on books, reading and writers.  There’s hundreds of reading groups and it’s fun to make friends with other readers who share your tastes and obsessions.  Plus, Goodreads gives away thousands of books for free each year.  Check it out!

 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Anne Brontë by Gea Haff

Anne Brontë

by Gea Haff

Giveaway ends January 07, 2017.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

 

The Goodreads Giveaway is open for entries on December 13th and will run to January 7th.

 

 

 

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Anne Brontë Nightwalker is here!

tenderWhat happens when you work Fire/EMS and read way too much gothic English Literature?  Anne Brontë Nightwalker!

 

Nightwalker is here and available on Amazon in paperback and kindle.  If you enjoy reading about literature, the Brontes, blood and EMS (a strange combination, I know!) then you may find it darkly entertaining. Thank you all my friends for your warm-hearted support and encouragement. Your kind words have given me courage.

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Special thanks to Ayesha Pande, Marinda Williams, Ericka Adams Cole, Dana Isaacson, Joe Havel, Ruben Munoz, Rick Rizzo, George Izquierdo, Patrick Knowles, Julie MacKenzie, and Randy Brooks for reading/polishing my manuscript or patiently answering my questions on realms outside my experience.

 

And also, of course, my darling beautiful husband, Rob Haff, who always supports my most impractical, outlandish pursuits. You, my darling, are a prince.

 

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Nightwalker Proof is Here!

Anne Brontë Nightwalker proof arrived in the mail and I have deemed it acceptable. Progress is being made!  This means the paperback will be ready any day now.  Next step is the Kindle formatting.  On track for November 24th!

 

nightwalkerproof

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Anne Brontë Nightwalker now available on Wattpad for Free!

motme__wattpad_by_girlscoutlin343-d4t0i4nMy debut novel, Anne Bronte Nightwalker is now available on Wattpad for free! You can read it on your computers, phones, or tablets with the app. It was originally slated for release Halloween in soft cover and Kindle, but those versions have been pushed back until Thanksgiving, November 24th, because I am an OCD/Perfectionist and the cover was slightly off-center.  (Ah, the joys of self-publishing!)

 

However, I set a date and wish to keep my word, (plus I love defying capitalism and giving things away) so I’m sharing my Wattpad version with the world today.

 

For free!  Woohoo!

 

What is Wattpad?  Wattpad is a community of readers and writers coming together to discover, create and share their thoughts and stories.  Writers such as Margaret Atwood, Hugh Howey, and Cory Doctorow have shared their work on Wattpad for free because they believe literature and story belong to everyone regardless of how much money one has.  You can also find classics on there such as works by Emily Bronte, Jane Austen, Leo Tolstoy and many more, all available to anyone for free.

 

wattpad-let-the-numbers-tell-its-story

 

And so, in the spirit of generosity, I offer up Anne Brontë Nightwalker with no expectation of financial reward, only the fervent hope that a single soul may derive pleasure from my story.

 

If you like it feel free to post a review on Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31824187-anne-bronte-nightwalker

 

I hope you enjoy!

wattpad-screenshot

 

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Chapter One of Anne Brontë Nightwalker

I like my blood warm. I find cold blood as appetizing as an old stale cup of coffee. It’s hard to choke down, but then again I’m finicky. Regardless, I’ve never had access to a blood bank. Our lives are nothing like TV. For us there is no daylight, no friends, lovers or family. We do not travel in packs. We’re more like the clouded leopard or spotted jaguar, rare creatures, besieged by modernity, strangely fragile despite our steel strength. We are shy, solitary creatures—especially me. Thus, I haven’t seen one of my kind for 50 years, having perfected the art of lying low. Camouflage and evasion are my great skills. Ten years is the length of commitment I give any place or any job. After that, it’s hard to explain looking like a 29-year-old. I’ve spent nine years and nine months in this cold mountain town and soon my time here must come to an end.

 

As a mortal, I was plain, but since the turning all my physical qualities have intensified, becoming deeper and more striking. My hair is the color of night, cut in jagged edges above my shoulders, evidence of my desperation in the wake of obliterating fever. I wear it pulled back, hidden beneath a low navy work cap. My eyes are blue violet: intense and startling. When light hits them, they shine like a wolf’s. I hide them behind a sleek pair of safety glasses, prescription, I lie, that cuts down the sheen. My skin is white. Not cream-colored or fair, but a pure porcelain white like Michelangelo’s Carrera. Beautiful for a Venus or a Persephone, but unnatural for a human woman. Then again, I’m not human.

 

Or am I?

 

Nearly 200 years have passed and I’m still unsure what to call myself. Night Walker is what I’ve settled on. So much kinder sounding than demon or predator or that most heinous word of all: Vampire.

 

Long ago I was a teacher and then a writer, but now I am a tender of broken bodies and injured souls. The word they use today is paramedic. Some call me ambulance girl.

 

Tonight, heaven is brilliantly dark with a net of stars thrown above our heads so incandescent they illuminate the forest. My partner Dana peers through the headlights into the darkness. She is driving fast and lacks my night vision, though her eyes are young and strong. She likes to be in control and so always drives, which is fine with me. I prefer to be in back with the patients. It’s easier to ward off starvation that way.

 

We are, as Dana puts it, “trolling for trauma” in a well-stocked ambulance courtesy of Asheville EMS. I’ve been a medic since the Crimean War. Dana Fitzpatrick, on the other hand, has been one only six months, and as she goes to nursing school during daylight hours, she is my partner on the night shift.

 

We are as opposite as the sun and moon. Dana’s blonde hair cascades down her back in a silken ponytail she refuses to secure. She’s all femininity but there’s an assertiveness to her that hints at whips and knee-high, lace-up boots. An alpha female in a Delilah’s body, she chafes at my slender, youthful authority.

 

She pulls out her glittering phone and starts texting.

 

“Who are you seducing tonight?” I ask.

 

She glances over at me wickedly. “Someone new and tasty.”

 

“Please tell me he’s not married.”

 

“Like Tom? I’m over him. All he talked about was fires and hunting. Boring.”

 

“He was a firefighter. A married firefighter.”

 

“That’s not my fault. Maybe if his wife wasn’t fat, he wouldn’t go looking for someone else.”

 

“She’s nine months pregnant!”

 

Dana ignores me and taps at her phone with one hand while steering with the other. Occasionally she glances up at the road. Winter is here and the naked trees flash by in the violet moonlight, spectral as ghosts.

 

In a flash, I grab the phone out of her hand. Even weak, I’m faster and stronger than any human. “You’re going to get someone killed,” I say. “Watch the road.”

 

“You have no right to take my phone.”

 

“Texting and driving are against policy and I’m your supervisor. I do have the right.”

 

“Great. You’re in one of your moods tonight. Is it that time of the month?”

 

“Werewolves of London” wells out of the radio and I turn it up loud. After thirty years, this song never fails to thrill me. London and darkness and life. England. Dana begins singing at the top of her lungs as she whips the truck around hairpin turns like a demented chariot driver.

 

Ahoooooo, Werewolves of London,” Dana howls. Despite the cold, she rolls the window down to feel the wind rip through her hair. As she howls, her breath puffs with steam. The song infects me and I can’t help but move with the beat. My defenses are slipping. Yes, it is that time of month, but not in the way Dana is thinking. I’m famished. It’s been a strangely quiet two weeks on the ambulance and I’ve gone too long without a meal. I’m weakening and if I don’t feed soon, I’ll become unacceptably vulnerable. I shouldn’t have let things get this far, but this is the price I pay for refusing to hunt like the rest of my kind.

 

“Come on, Anne! Let loose, sister!”

 

The music sweeps me up, slipping through my near-constant composure. “Ahoooooo,” I howl long and clear. Dana joins in. Outside, a pack of dogs begins singing in the night. With wide blue eyes Dana looks at me then laughs, head back, voice the sound of shattering glass.

 

“Are you reading Dracula again?” she asks when the song winds down. She’s noticed the battered paperback tucked beside me on the seat. For a girl so frivolous, her powers of perception are surprisingly keen. “How many times are you going to read that? I thought you hated genre fiction.”

 

Dracula is a classic. Bram Stoker is hardly genre fiction.”

 

“Oh, my bad. I thought it was about vampires. You really should read Twilight. It’s right up your alley. Vampires with a conscience. Compassionate, pacifist, virgin, vegetarian vampires. It makes me want to puke. I want my vampires slutty and violent.”

 

“Until they rip out your throat. Nothing too sexy about that.”

 

“Unless I’m doing the ripping.”

 

Despite her constant chatter, I’m happy to have her as my partner. She’s the perfect foil to work with. All gold hair and abundant cleavage like the quintessential California girl she is. When we’re together men look right past me, their eyes finding her like a homing pigeon streaking toward the castle. She is the queen and I am content to remain in her shadow.

 

“I wish you could take my Lit class for me. It’s boring as hell and I’m about to flunk out. I’m gonna be a nurse. Why the fuck do I need to take this crap?”

 

“Because you’re getting an education. A well-educated young lady should be familiar with the classics. What class is it?”

 

“Nineteenth Century English Lit. Professor Hardcastle expects me to read books that are almost two centuries old. How does reading books written by a bunch of dead virgins help me make a living? Do you realize not one of the women we’ve read all semester ever had sex?” Dana begins counting them off on her fingers. “Emily, Charlotte, Anne, Jane. Well, actually Charlotte Brontë had sex and then died nine months later. Can you believe her morning sickness was so bad she starved to death? How’s that for divine punishment?”

 

I wince.

 

“What can they possibly know about life?”

 

“There’s more to life than sex.”

 

“Like what?”

 

I remain silent, my fallback response to so many questions.

 

“I was wondering, Anne . . .” She turns and smiles sweetly at me. “My paper is due next week, and I was thinking maybe you could help me with it. All you ever do is read and you’re so eloquent.”

 

“Of course,” I say, amazed. Never before has she made a request of me other than diverting to the mall for a shopping spree. “What would you like to discuss?”

 

“Well, actually, I was hoping you could just write it for me.”

 

“Write it for you! That’s cheating. I’d be doing you a disservice, not to mention undermining the entire educational tradition.”

 

“God, Anne, don’t be so dramatic. People do it all the time. I could just buy something online, but Professor Hardcastle can smell a cyber paper like a bomb-sniffing dog. He already kicked one student out of school for it.”

 

“As he should have. Professor Hardcastle sounds like a man of integrity. A quality you might learn to value, especially when it comes to men.”

 

“He’s a stuck-up asshole who thinks he’s God’s gift to Asheville, North Carolina, just because he has a double PhD from Oxford.”

 

“Oxford? How did he end up here?”

 

“Hell if I know. I have no idea why he deigned to stoop to our little mountain town. Maybe he can’t get a job anywhere else because he’s such a fucking jerk.”

 

“What happened?” I demand.

 

“What happened? When?” she asks innocently.

 

“Between you and him.”

 

“Nothing.” She presses her glossed lips together and resolutely stares ahead. The cold, hard road slips beneath us, fortunately free from snow.

 

“Then why the animosity?”

 

“Because he’s failing me. He gave me an F on my last paper. So I suggested we discuss my performance over drinks and perhaps I could improve his impression of me. You know, make it clear where my talents truly lie.”

 

“You propositioned your professor! For a grade?”

 

“It’s his voice. That English accent! I cream my panties just hearing it. So I figured why not kill two birds with one stone?”

 

“And exactly what did he say?”

 

“He acted all indignant. Said that I affronted his honor to think him capable of such a thing.” Dana laughs. “‘Suit yourself,’ I told him. ‘Go beat off to Anne Brontë if that floats your boat.’”

 

“What?!” I stammer.

 

“He totally has an Anne Brontë fetish. It’s weird. Guess he didn’t like my take on her.”

 

“What was your take?” I ask, unsure I want to know.

 

“That she’s a stuck-up, self-righteous, morally indignant, sexually repressed prude. I don’t see anything remotely appealing about her. She thinks she’s so much better than everyone else. She’s totally cold. If her character Agnes Grey were my governess, I’d stab her with a pair of knitting shears.”

 

I’m speechless.

 

“Of course, he didn’t see it that way. Said she was a rebel. ‘A maverick’ he called her like she’s freakin’ Madonna or something. Said she was way ahead of her time. She wrote of things no one wanted to hear, which is my point exactly!” Dana slaps the steering wheel for emphasis.

 

“Did he say anything else?”

 

“He claims that she was the bravest of all the sisters. And the strongest. What a load of horse crap. The man has a PhD from Oxford and he doesn’t even know that Emily was the brave one.”

 

“Why do you say that?”

 

Wuthering Heights. Any woman who thinks haunting a man to the point of psychopathic insanity is romantic—now that’s a maverick. Personally, I think all the Brontës were off their rockers. All those fevers and moors. No wonder Branwell became a drug addict. That poor boy had to grow up surrounded by all those PMSing, sexually frustrated sisters. He sounds like the only fun one of the bunch. I would definitely do him. I would have rocked that man’s world.”

 

I stare at her in amazement. “Gosh. I never imagined you gave them so much thought.” This is longest conversation we’ve ever had on an even remotely intellectual subject.

 

“I don’t, but I’ve sat through weeks of Professor Hardcastle raving about them and he’s still failing me. Frankly, I’m glad he spared me from his conceited, snooty self. I honestly think I hate him. Which reminds me, I have some PB tonight.”

 

I flash her a disapproving look. “You know how I feel about personal business on shift. You have all day to go shopping. Why can’t you do it on your own time? It doesn’t look professional for a woman in uniform to be perusing the shoe department while on duty.”

 

“This PB you just might approve of,” she says mysteriously.

 

“I doubt it.” I sigh. After six months of working together, Dana remains staunchly impervious to my influence.

 

“Professor Hardcastle is giving a talk at Malaprop’s tonight.” She glances at me when I don’t respond. “You know, the coolest bookstore in town? Although the Battery Park Book Exchange is pretty cool too. They have a champagne bar. Anyway, he said if I come he’ll give me extra credit and allow me to rewrite my paper.” She looks at me imploringly.

 

I stare out the window. The forest flashes by. I should be out hunting or soon I’ll become too weak to work, but I haven’t killed an animal in years. I abhor the feeling of a warm, pulsing creature being drained of life in my frozen hands. I no longer have the heart for it.

 

“Please, Anne. You don’t have to go inside. You can wait in the truck and read your book in the dark. It’s for my education. I know you hate public places, but this is a matter of me making it through college. My future lies in the balance.”

 

Suddenly a call comes out over the radio and my heart leaps in my chest. Here is my chance to feed!

 

“Rescue 1, respond to 29 Thornton Road for a one-year-old, fever.”

 

“Damn! Hardcastle starts in 40 minutes and we’ve got to run on a fucking baby.”

 

My mouth waters and I take a deep breath to settle myself. “We’ll make it fast,” I say.

 

Dana looks at me in surprise and smiles.

 

In a rare gesture, I smile back. “Step on it.”

 


 

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Brontë Inspired Novels of 2016

2016 has been a good year for Bronte inspired Novels. Three fun books have been released so far and Anne Brontë Nightwalker will be added to the list on October 31st.  In the meantime, here’s some entertaining fiction to keep your Brontë cravings satisfied:

 

The Madwoman Upstairs by Catherine Lowell

 

Madwoman Upstairs

 

This has all kinds of Brontë fun.  An orphan girl, a foreign university, (Oxford!), a handsome but surly professor, a crumbling attic, and missing Brontëana.  Throw in some mystery and romance and you have The Madwoman Upstairs, a play on Mr. Rochester’s deranged (or was she?) and mysterious tenant locked in his attic in Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë.  Catherine Lowell writes with a sharp wit and brisk pace, and she knows her way around English literature.

 

More than anything, I began to hate women writers. Frances Burney, Jane Austen, Elizabeth Browning, Mary Shelley, George Eliot, Virginia Woolf. Bronte, Bronte, and Bronte. I began to resent Emily, Anne, and Charlotte—my old friends—with a terrifying passion. They were not only talented; they were brave, a trait I admired more than anything but couldn’t seem to possess. The world that raised these women hadn’t allowed them to write, yet they had spun fiery novels in spite of all the odds.

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And in a declaration every passionate female lover of Victorian lit surely must agree with, she writes:

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The curtains were blood-red and drawn. This was not an office. It was a small library, two storeys high, with thin ladders and impractical balconies and an expansive ceiling featuring a gaggle of naked Greeks. It was the sort of library you’d marry a man for.

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I devoured The Madwoman Upstairs in four days and as I wrote in my Goodreads review:  Reader, I loved it!

~

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Jane Steel by Lyndsay Faye

 

Jane Steele and similarities Bronte

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Charlotte Bronte’s, Jane Eyre was a rebel.

She broke the rules and went her own way despite overwhelming barriers to self-fulfillment.  Lydsay Faye’s, Jane Steel, inspired by our beloved Ms. Eyre, is not only a rebel, she’s a serial killer.  And she’s funny as hell.

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Karen, one of my favorite reviewers on GR and wickedly funny herself, describes Jane Steele so much better than the publisher does.  She writes,

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this follows the life and bloody trail of jane steele, whose experiences mirror Jane Eyre in some ways, but is a much easier character for a modern reader to applaud. don’t get me wrong, Jane Eyre is a great book, but i personally get a little impatient with the way she sabotages her own happiness based on her notions of propriety or morality and the conventions of her time. it’s all perfectly reasonable behavior when you’re reading with your scholar-glasses on, but it’s not always easy to shelve those modern sensibilities that would prefer jane push up her sleeves and call rochester out on his bullshit instead of quietly absconding to suffer alone on that moral high ground.

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this jane is always pushing up her sleeves, but mostly to avoid getting blood all over them.

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But as Ms. Steele says in her defense,

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Though I no longer presumed to have a conscience, I have never once lacked feelings.

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Goodreads reviewers loved this book.  I’m still reading, but it captured me right from the start.  This Jane has a strong, compelling and mischevious voice.  This Jane is not as pure and innocent as Charlotte’s Jane, and yet she has a vulnerability that makes you root for her just the same.

~

Nelly Dean:  A Return to Wuthering Heights by Alison Case

 

Nelly Dean

 

I have not yet read this re-imagining of Wuthering Heights as told by the masochistically loyal servant, Nelly Dean, but it’s at the top of my tbr list.  I’ve read Emily Brontë’s masterpiece countless times and I see it entirely new with every reading.  In my 20s I thought it was wildly romantic.  In my 30s I thought it was incredibly pagan.  In my 40s, after a decade on the fire department working with alpha males, I thought Heathcliff was an abusive and oppressive psychopath and saw Cathy as a self-indulgent, histrionic, head case.  Now, I’m really curious to hear what Nelly Dean thinks of it all.

 

Author Alison Case is a professor of English at Williams College and the word on the street is that she knows her English Lit.  With a background in Victorian Studies, Narrative Theory, and Gender Studies, I’m sure she has plenty of ideas about this intensely violent love story.  Or is it a hate story?  Either way, who can get enough Wuthering Heights?  Reviewers agree, that Case handles this retelling adeptly while maintaining the mystery and mood.

I truly love the trend in Brontë inspired Novels, and hope it continues.

Posted in book reviews, brontë, Brontë inspired stories, jane eyre, wuthering heights Tagged , , |

The Luscious Dark Cover Art of Patrick Knowles

Bronte B RED Orig Crop 3Finding the right cover artist for Anne Bronte, Nightwalker was no easy task.  I’d spent weeks working with a talented, well-known designer but 400 dollars later (the deposit), I let him go because the cover just wasn’t quite right.  The mood was wrong.  The colors were off.  Inspired by the Victorian undertones of my novel, he was creating a dreamy, romantic palette despite the fact Nightwalker takes place entirely at night and is about blood, killing, and EMS.  It’s also about the Brontës and literature and I admit, this is tricky swirl of elements to capture in a single image. Then I found Patrick Knowles and he just got it.

 

He captured the playful darkness of the story.  He nailed the mood, the ambience, the vibe.  He incorporated images from the book into his design:  Anne’s cat Ivanhoe, a wolf, the moon, stars.  And he was an utter dream to work with.

 

Unlike my first designer who was very professional and fair, but limited his revisions and grew increasingly frustrated with me, Patrick was incredibly generous with his time.  I have no doubt driven him crazy with my emails and requests that have extended far beyond our finish date.  But, he’s an incredibly gracious and classy man.  Perhaps this is why he’s done the calligraphy for the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton and for the Christening of their son Prince George.

 

I personally love typography and hand lettering, a dying art, and this is what initially drew me to Patrick’s work.  His art has a literary flare, a playful and mysterious sophistication, that I find very appealing.  His cover design won’t work for any genre, but it fit for Nightwalker, which interweaves literary elements and historical biography into a gothic, supernatural thriller.

 

Here’s some of his work:

 

Moriarty-frnt-72

 

BoM-front

CTTE-frnt

 

jet-engine

Jet engine 3D modeling and hand lettering

 

For more on Patrick Knowles, you can visit his site at www.patrickknowlesdesign.co.uk

 

Patrick Knowles logo

 

Posted in brontë, cover design, indie publishing resources Tagged , |

Dear Sweet Fierce Anne Brontë

Anne Bronte, The Tenant of Wildfell HallAnne Brontë, the fiercest Brontë of all?

 

With a trio of Bronte sisters to choose from, two of whom are perennial favorites, plus their wildly wayward brother Branwell, why write a novel about Anne?  Grave, quiet, serious Anne?  Why not Charlotte of Jane Eyre fame?  Or Emily, creator of the savagely gothic Wuthering Heights?  Why little Anne Brontë, author of the less popular and more realistic novels, Agnes Grey and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall?

 

Let me tell you!

 

Because there’s so much more to Anne Bronte than meets the eye.  Because Anne was a dark horse.  Pure stealth.  She was the littlest sibling, the sickest one, the quietest and shyest, the girl everyone thought was the most fragile and delicate when in reality she was FIERCE.  Anne didn’t cave.  She never surrendered to the people around her.  She didn’t argue or scream or stamp her feet.  She simply did what she wanted to do, very quietly, and before anyone  realized what had happened she’d written two subversive novels by the age of 29, worked the longest and hardest of anyone in her family besides Papa, and never EVER complained.

 

Anne could keep secrets.  Big, juicy, dangerous secrets.  Secrets that could bring an entire house down.  She knew the dark night of the soul.  It almost swallowed her whole when she was seventeen.  Anne fought demons and won.  She fought just to breathe.  At times she was so shy she could barely speak, and so she watched and listened, learning about all manner of things a gentle virgin in the 1800’s wasn’t supposed to know.  Things like sex and bastards, alcoholism, heroin addiction, and betrayal.

 

Anne paid attention.  She saw through masks and noticed the details everyone else missed.  She wrote about the dark side, but she loved the light, and when she died at 29, on the heels of Bran and Em, Anne went out with the courage of a lion.  No crying for her.  Instead a deep, calm grace.

 

As I read Anne Bronte’s books over the years, she quietly slipped up on me.  She reminds me of a thief in the night, stealing up behind you, sliding an arm around your throat to pull you close and whisper in your ear.  I couldn’t forget her voice.  It haunted me.  Her spirit stole into my head and heart and wouldn’t leave.  And then to my utter surprise she rose from the dead to embark upon a new and dangerous adventure.  So I wrote it down and now, in Anne Brontë, Nightwalker, sweet, gentle Anne will show you just how fierce she truly is!

 

 

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