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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!

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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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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.

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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.

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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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