Sunday, January 10, 2016

Guest Post: New Gothic Romance: A Haunting Combination by Claire Gem. Plus an Excerpt from Phantom Traces

My readers often ask me, “Why ghosts in your contemporary romance? Where do you get your ideas?” The answer is simple: I love both genres.

Contemporary romance, with its high emotional stakes, present-day, real life settings, and steamy sex scenes, draws me in and keeps me turning the pages. I also love ghost stories, with all the thrills and chills of a true gothic. Trouble is, there aren’t many gothic novels set in present day. Most of them fall into the historical category, and take place in the past.

So what better way to express my love of both genres? Write books embracing both.
What exactly is “New Gothic”? Okay, I’ll admit it—I invented the term, mostly because contemporary romance with paranormal elements was too long. Plus, nowadays the term “paranormal” in genre fiction is more often related to vampires, zombies, and shape shifters than plain old, garden-variety ghosts. Not that my ghosts are boring. Not by any stretch.

Where do I get my inspirations? That’s the easy part. I’m a sucker for old buildings: centuries-old libraries, crumbling hotels, abandoned asylums. And graveyards—I’m addicted to them. There’s actually a name for that: taphophilia. I started exploring old graveyards way back in my first year of college, when I took a photography course. I created an entire portfolio of black-and-white photos of cemeteries, playing with the light, bare-branched trees, and hovering birds. Unfortunately, that was 40 years ago. Sadly, I no longer have any of those pictures.
I suppose the question that arises now is: why? What draws me to these places? It’s hard to explain, but they speak to me. I get vibes from every one I visit, sometimes positive, sometimes very negative. But the vibes incite ideas, characters, situations, stories. The next thing I know, I’m at my keyboard tapping away.
In my preparation for writing Phantom Traces, I visited every old library within a 50-mile radius of my home. I live in New England, so that took me to some very old buildings indeed, including the one in Salem, Massachusetts. And so the setting for my ghostly romance, the Harvey Library, was born from bits and pieces of all of these magical, mysterious places.

Since then I have sketched out several other settings for New Gothic romances, including an abandoned hotel and two defunct asylums. For me, the research is half the fun.
So are you one of those readers who loves romance, but also loves the paranormal? A really chilling ghost story? Mysteries? Magic? I invite you to share with me, in your comments, your favorite elements of these genres. Your input will help me to better construct my next New Gothic Romance. If you comment and sign up for my newsletter here, on January 15, I will choose one lucky participant to receive a free Kindle copy of Phantom Traces. 


Claire Gem turns the paranormal genre on its ear by combining the elements of gothic horror, mystery/thriller, and contemporary romance into a genre she calls New Gothic.

Claire loves ghost stories, and has done her homework when it comes to exploring the world of paranormal phenomena. She holds her certificate in Parapsychology from Duke University's Rhine Institute of Paranormal Studies.

Although she most definitely believes in ghosts, Claire doesn't suffer from nightmares. They are simply midnight musings for her next gothic novel.

Claire Gem’s debut New Gothic romance, Phantom Traces, is available in ebook, paperback, and audiobook here: Read about Claire’s upcoming New Gothic romances here:

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for hosting me, Clare! I invite all your visitors to share their thoughts on my take of New Gothic romance. Those who sign up for my newsletter may win a free Kindle copy of Phantom Traces!


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