Next Tuesday, my first foray into strictly m/f romance, The Lost Coast, will be released. It's a gothic romance in a contemporary setting, both novel things for me. The only element that carries over from my previous body of work is the paranormal (although a tiny bit of BDSM did sneak in there). I'd originally planned to set the story in a non-magical world, but as I started writing, I soon discovered the characters had secret lives and histories rooted in magic.
My favorite thing about this book, though, isn't the paranormal twist (though I certainly enjoyed writing that part). It's the gothic. I grew up on gothic romance, hiding under the covers with a flashlight
at night to read Victoria Holt, Mary Stewart, and Phyllis A. Whitney. I
tried to stay true to those influences while giving the
story a more modern edge.
The other thing that's a little different about this story is the heroine. Millie is an orphan who grew up in foster care after being badly burned and abandoned as an infant. Although the cover doesn't show it, Millie has burn scars covering the right side of her face and down the right side of her body. I wanted the cover to reflect that, but the design work required would have been too pricey.
I hope readers will be able to see Millie as a three-dimensional person instead of a conventionally beautiful romance heroine with flawless features. Millie is beautiful, but she doesn't fit what society tells us that word should mean.
But aside from not judging a book by its cover, I hope people will enjoy a little something different from me, especially those who love the old gothic romance tradition.
she met Lukas Strand, she’d never understood what “home” meant. Then
Lukas disappeared without a word. Eight years later, Millie is secure in
the life she’s built as a physical therapist. Until she gets a letter
from a mysterious stranger who knows her real name.
moment she arrives at the sprawling vineyard manor on California’s Lost
Coast to work with the owner’s young son, she begins to doubt her secret
benefactor’s motives. The vineyard is known as The Strand—and Lukas is
her patient’s father.
As Millie delves into the tangled threads of
their family histories, she realizes the fire that scarred her may not
have been an accident—and Lukas’s son is in danger. Unless she survives
long enough to unearth the key to some very uncomfortable truths…
a vineyard owner whose family tree may not have the ideal number of
branches, and a woman who is about to discover the magic hidden in her
own DNA. May cause unsettling feelings of creeping anxiety and a sudden
urge to make bad puns about wood.
The Lost Coast is available for pre-order now (and for purchase on December 15) from the following vendors:
Amazon | ARe | Barnes & Noble | BAM! | iBooks | Kobo | Samhain Publishing