Wednesday, July 20, 2011

An Amish Gothic Romance...Really?

What does the contemporary Amish romance genre have in common with gothic romance? Nothing at first glance. That's the challenge and fun of being a writer. I get to make the link between the two and create a story that is a little unique.

Gothic romance is usually dark and spooky, and sometimes the hero isn't as sweet as you would find in contemporary romance novels. Think Heathcliff from Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights, and you've got the picture of a common gothic romance hero-- an obsessed man with inner darkness, secrets, and turmoil. That doesn't have to be the case, though, and in Cries from the Past, the hero, an Amish guy named David Fisher, has a sad past, but he is far from a Byronic Hero.

Setting is another component of gothic romance that fans of the genre recognize and love. Mist, murder, mouldering castles, abandoned graveyards, and ghosts all populate the landscape in the genre. In Cries from the Past, the setting of an old farmhouse where the heroine, Amity Frost, hears strange cries in the night, fits the bill. Other details of setting come into play, but I don't want to give everything away before you've read the novella.

Another component of gothic romance are the secrets that must be uncovered by heroine and hero. In the novella, secrets from the past threaten the present and those in it. The relationship between David and Amity hangs in the balance as do their very lives. The living also try to thwart the hopes of the lovers in the present in order to protect their secrets or fulfill their own wants.

Cries from the Past also focuses on the spiritual journey of the heroine and the faith of the hero. This facet of the novella sets it apart from most gothic romance novels. I believe there is always room for the spiritual growth of and hints at the faith story of characters, and I’ve included these aspects in past works. In this novella, Amity Frost and David Fisher must decide if their love is strong enough to help them find a common faith.

So, what can an Amish romance story and gothic romance have in common? I hope you'll read Cries from the Past and find out.

Cries from the Past excerpt:
The only thing she had planned tomorrow was that a local Amish carpenter was going to come out and take a look at some furniture Gram had put upstairs in storage.

She didn't know anything about the man, but she had set it up through the Fishers' store. Amity wanted to sell the old pieces rather than see them go to ruin. Gram's pack rat ways were clear, and the furniture could be better used as money for repairs on the house as needed or for getting it ready to sell, if that's what Amity decided to do.

She realized as she lay in bed, listening to her watch tick, that she wasn't sure she wanted to leave here at all.

Sometime in the night, she awoke to crying. Tonight, the sound came to her, muffled and terrible, and she whimpered under her comforter, praying for the first time in a long time. Please, God, make it stop. Grant him or her peace. She fell asleep with the sound of crying ringing in her ears, tears on her cheeks.

Lisa Greer is an author of contemporary gothic romance and contemporary sweet romance. She received her M.A. in 18th century British Literature from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and teaches and tutors when she is not working on her obsession that began last year: writing romance. She owns the Gothicked Blog, a blog that reviews gothic novels, especially gothic romance novels. Lisa has two gothic romance novels under her belt: Magnolian from Bookstrand and Moonlight on the Palms from Astraea Press. Her latest release is an Amish gothic romance novella, Cries from the Past.


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