Today, as part of France Book Tours, I’m welcoming M.J. Rose, author of Seduction.
Yesterday I posted a review of the novel and you can find it here.
So, here we go:
Q. How would you sum up Seduction for those who haven’t read it yet?
I could but I love how this bookseller tells it.
"Seduction transcends time, recounting the story of Victor Hugo's tragic loss of his daughter and his desperate attempts to contact her via séances. Fast forward to the present, when Jacinthe 'Jac' L'Etoile, a mythologist specializing in Celtic lore, probes the secrets of the Isle of Jersey, where Hugo communed with spirits and composed his journal. With alacrity, Rose interweaves mythology, the supernatural, psychoanalysis and Evil Incarnate, creating an amazing amalgam of narrative wonder. And, yes, M.J. Rose fans, there are reincarnationists in Seduction, and they will haunt you." —Mystery Lovers Bookshop
Q. You’ve published more than a dozen novels, yet Seduction is so original. What inspired you to include Victor Hugo and reincarnation themes in this novel?
When I write a novel I always need a question I want to answer. It’s not what the book is about… the reader might not even notice… but it keeps me motivated. The question that started this novel was way back in the early 2000s when I read Les Miserables. I was so curious about Fantine. She was such a tragic and heartfelt character. Who was she? Why did she have such a great impact on Hugo? Being a writer I knew it probably wasn’t as obvious as one might guess.
Q. As an author, how much research is required for a book like this? Do you research from home or does it include travel?
This book took over two years of research and I usually have to do some traveling yet. It’s hard to go back in time and see the cities and towns the way they were – I wish I could though.
Q. Is there a character in Seduction that you most closely relate too? Why?
I relate most to Fantine actually – I don’t know why but I felt her pain in a very visceral way. She moved me so much.
Q. Do you believe in reincarnation? Did your beliefs make it harder or easier to write about reincarnation?
I’m open to it all – it’s all so fascinating to me. I think I pretty much believe whichever character I’m writing in that moment. If pressed the best I can do is say - I don’t “not” believe.
Q. What inspired the title for Seduction?
I saw the book as a series of different seductions from the very beginning – most fascinating to me – the seduction of Victor Hugo by the spirit who offers him a “deal.” How a brilliant, powerful, rational man could be seduced into doing something terrible for the right promise.
Q. Please share your writing story. How did you begin and what helped you succeed?
Getting published has been an adventure for me. I self-published Lip Service late in 1998 after several traditional publishers turned it down. Editors had loved it, but didn't know how to position it or market it since it didn't fit into any one genre.
Frustrated, but curious and convinced that there was a readership for her work, I set up a web site where readers could download my book for $9.95 and began to seriously market the novel on the Internet. I was in advertising and just wanted to find the right marketing strategy so that my agent could go back to the publishers with my plan.
After selling over 2500 copies (in both electronic and trade paper format) Lip Service became the first e-book and the first self-published novel chosen by the LiteraryGuild/Doubleday Book Club as well as being the first e-book to go on to be published by a mainstream New York publishing house.
Q. What authors or books influenced you?
So many – but I’d start with The Secret Garden when I was a little girl.. everything from Rebecca to Jane Eyre to Wuthering Heights to The Great Gatsby. I am an obsessive reader.
Q. Are you working on a new project now that we can look forward to?
Yes – its about Catherine De Medici’s perfumer.
Thanks to M.J. Rose for the interview. Below you'll find a synopsis of the novel Seduction.
Please leave a comment with information about how to contact you and you could win a signed manuscript page from M.J. Rose and the chance to win the necklace featured on the book cover.
A gothic tale about Victor Hugo's long-buried secrets and the lengths we go to for love...
In 1843, novelist Victor Hugo's beloved nineteen-year-old daughter drowned. Ten years later, still grieving, Hugo initiated hundreds of séances from his home on the Isle of Jersey in order to reestablish contact with her. In the process, he claimed to have communed with Plato, Galileo, Shakespeare, Dante, Jesus—and even the Devil himself. Hugo's transcriptions of these conversations have all been published.
Or so it has been believed...
Recovering from a great loss, mythologist Jac L'Etoile thinks that throwing herself into work will distract her from her grief. In the hopes of uncovering a secret about the island's mysterious Celtic roots, she arrives on the Isle of Jersey and is greeted by ghostly Neolithic monuments, medieval castles, and hidden caves.
But the man who's invited her there, a troubled soul named Theo Gaspard, hopes she'll help him discover something quite different—transcripts of Hugo's lost conversations with someone he called the Shadow of the Sepulcher. Central to his heritage, these are the papers his grandfather died trying to find.
But what neither Jac or Theo anticipate is that the mystery surrounding Victor Hugo will threaten their sanity and put their very lives at stake.
Seduction is a historically evocative and atmospheric tale of suspense with a spellbinding ghost story at its heart, written by one of America's most gifted and imaginative novelists. Awakening a mystery that spans centuries, this multi-layered gothic brings a time, a place, and a cast of desperate characters brilliantly to life.
Hardcover, 384 pages
Expected publication: May 7th 2013 by Atria Books
ISBN1451621507 (ISBN13: 9781451621501)