Please welcome Katherine Harbour to The Qwillery. Briar Queen, the 2nd Night and Nothing novel, was published by Harper Voyager on June 2, 2015.
by Katherine Harbour
Gothic. The word conjures up images of vampires, penny dreadful novels, J.M.W. paintings of majestic ruins, ‘70s Hammer films, Emily Strange, the Cure, or Hot Topic.
As a genre, Gothic fiction became popular in England during the late eighteenth century because it was sexy, subversive, horrific. It was also a little gonzo. Its hallmarks were revelations of the forbidden, the macabre, the uncanny, elements found in horror and fantasy today. The scene in Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula, when Dracula crawls vertically down the castle wall, has been copied in countless horror films, while the Uncanny Valley effect is a term used to describe the feeling of unease/revulsion some people experience when encountering a thing that looks human, but isn’t. “. . . the uncanny is something which ought to have been kept concealed, but which has nevertheless come to light.” Sigmund Freud ‘The Uncanny’
I felt sorry for the eloquent monster in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (first steampunk?); fell in love with Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (although now I feel the jerk got what he deserved); was fascinated by the villain in A Modern Mephistopheles by Louisa May Alcott, (who wanted to write Gothic fiction until Little Women became a commercial success). Later works that influenced me were Arthur Machen’s ‘The White People’, M.R. James’ ‘The Turn of the Screw’, and Jane Austen’s parody of the Gothic in Northanger Abbey. And then there’s Edgar Allan Poe, the godfather of Gothic lit, whose works were saturated with blood-drenched masques, with ravens and black cats, doomed families, and mysterious women as menacing as forgotten goddesses.
The Gothic in Thorn Jack and Briar Queen sort of sneaked in, but formed a suitable atmosphere for a modern retelling of the folk ballad ‘Tam Lin’, with the faeries in upstate New York. I did use a quote from Percy Bysshe Shelley’s ‘Ghasta’—“For thou art mine, and I am thine, ‘till the sinking of the world”—as a way for Finn and Jack to express their connection. But both know the poem is about a warrior who confronts a demonic spirit. Some elements of the Gothic that crept into my series are: haunted/abandoned houses/mansion; the damaged hero; the ordinary/familiar touched by the weird; a heroine who (sometimes) avoids a cruel fate; a malevolent supernatural force.
The combination of mystery and romance, and, sometimes, camaraderie, set against an extravagant background of horror and secrets, has always fascinated me as a reader and a writer, and, like a phantom visitor, will probably always inhabit whatever story I write.
Night and Nothing 2
Harper Voyager, June 2, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 368 pages
The dark, moody, and mystical fantasy begun in Thorn Jack, the first novel in the Night and Nothing series, continues in this bewitching follow up—an intriguing blend of Twilight, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Alice in Wonderland, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream—in which Finn Sullivan discovers that her town, Fair Hollow, borders a dangerous otherworld . . .
Serafina Sullivan and her father left San Francisco to escape the painful memory of her older sister Lily Rose’s suicide. But soon after she arrived in bohemian Fair Hollow, New York, Finn discovered a terrifying secret connected to Lily Rose. The placid surface of this picture-perfect town concealed an eerie supernatural world—and at its center, the wealthy, beautiful, and terrifying Fata family.
Though the striking and mysterious Jack Fata tried to push Finn away to protect her, their attraction was too powerful to resist. To save him, Finn—a girl named for the angels and a brave Irish prince—banished a cabal of malevolent enemies to shadows, freeing him from their diabolical grip.
Now, the rhythm of life in Fair Hollow is beginning to feel a little closer to ordinary. But Finn knows better than to be lulled by this comfortable sense of normalcy. It’s just the calm before the storm. For soon, a chance encounter outside the magical Brambleberry Books will lead her down a rabbit hole, into a fairy world of secrets and legacies . . . straight towards the shocking truth about her sister’s death.
Lush and gorgeously written, featuring star-crossed lovers and the collision of the magical and the mundane, Briar Queen will appeal to the fans of Cassandra Clare’s bestselling Mortal Instruments series and Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely.
Night and Nothing 1
Harper Voyager, June 24, 2014
Hardcover and eBook, 352 pages
Published in Trade Paperback on March 10, 2015
A spectacular, modern retelling of the ancient Scottish ballad of Tam Lin—a beguiling fusion of love, fantasy, and myth vividly imagined and steeped in gothic atmosphere.
Their creed is "Mischief, Malevolence, and Mayhem."
Serafina Sullivan, named for angels and a brave Irish prince, is haunted by dreams of her older sister, Lily Rose, a sprite, ethereal beauty who unexpectedly took her own life. A year has passed since Lily's death, and now eighteen-year-old Finn and her college-professor father have moved back to Fair Hollow, her father's pretty little hometown alongside the Hudson River. Populated with socialites, hippies, and famous dramatic artists, every corner of this quaint, bohemian community holds bright possibilities—and dark enigmas, including the alluring Jack Fata, scion of the town's most powerful family.
Jack's smoldering looks and air of secrecy draw Finn into a dangerous romance . . . and plunge her into an eerie world of shadow and light ruled by the beautiful and fearsome Reiko Fata. Exciting and monstrous, the Fata family and its circle of strange, aristocratic denizens wield irresistible charm and glamorous power— a tempting and terrifying blend of good and evil, magic and mystery, that holds perilous consequences for a curious girl like Finn.
As she becomes more deeply entwined with Jack, Finn discovers that their lives and those of the ones she loves, including her best friends Christie Hart and Sylvie Whitethorn, are in peril. But an unexpected ally may help her protect them: her beloved sister, Lily Rose. Within the pages of the journal that Lily left behind are clues Finn must decipher to unlock the secret of the Fatas.
Yet the wrathful and deadly Reiko has diabolical plans of her own for Finn, as well as powerful allies. To save herself and to free her beloved Jack from the Fatas, Finn must stand up against the head of the family and her clever minions, including the vicious, frightening Caliban—a battle that will reveal shocking secrets about Lily Rose's death and about Finn herself . . .
Evocative and spellbinding, rich with legend, myth, and folklore, filled with heroes and villains, ghosts and selkies, changelings and fairies, witches and demons, Thorn Jack is a modern fairy tale and a story of true love, set in a familiar world, where nothing is as it seems.
Night and Nothing 1
Harper Voyager, March 10, 2015
Trade Paperback, 368 pages
Previously published in Hardcover and eBook, June 2014
A spectacular modern retelling of the ancient Scottish ballad of Tam Lin—a beguiling fusion of love, fantasy, and myth that echoes the imaginative artistry of the works of Neil Gaiman, Cassandra Clare, and Kami Garcia
In the wake of her older sister's suicide, Finn Sullivan and her father move to a quaint town in upstate New York. Populated with socialites, hippies, and dramatic artists, every corner of this new place holds bright possibilities—and dark enigmas, including the devastatingly attractive Jack Fata, scion of one of the town's most powerful families.
As she begins to settle in, Finn discovers that beneath its pretty, placid surface, the town and its denizens—especially the Fata family—wield an irresistible charm and dangerous power, a tempting and terrifying blend of good and evil, magic and mystery, that holds dangerous consequences for an innocent and curious girl like Finn.
To free herself and save her beloved Jack, Finn must confront the fearsome Fata family . . . in a battle that will lead to shocking secrets about her sister's death.
Bones and Heart
A Night and Nothing Tale .5
Harper Voyager, March 10, 2015
eBook, 22 pages
Before Finn's arrival in Fair Hollow, Jack and Phouka are sent by Reiko Fata to New Orleans, and Mr. Bones, a creator of Grindylow. As disturbing events unfold, Jack remembers his mother's mysterious death, working with his exorcist/coachman father, and how he became Reiko's Jack in Victorian-era London.
Katherine Harbour was born in Albany, NY, where she attended the Junior College of Albany and wrote while holding down jobs as a pizza maker, video store clerk, and hotel maid. She went, briefly, to art college in Minneapolis, and sold her oil paintings of otherworldly figures in small galleries and at outdoor shows. She now lives in Sarasota, FL, where she works as a bookseller and dreams of autumn and winter in her stories.