Today, we welcome Divalle Curie to the blog. Welcome Divalle! First, tell us the synopsis of your book.
My first book, Mina Harker’s Diary, is a collection of paranormal erotica based on three of the best-known tales of gothic horror: Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s Frankenstein. I’m confident that any potential readers are at least vaguely familiar with all three stories, so that I don’t need to go into them here. For anybody who hasn’t read the original novels, I include synopses in a readers’ discussion section in the back of the book.
To get the gist and flavor of Mina Harker’s Diary, here is my Back-Cover Blurb:
While on summer holiday, Mina notices her friend Lucy is beginning to act strangely, expressing sensuous appetites considered shocking in late Victorian England. Mina soon learns the cause: recurring dreams of a sinister man ravishing Lucy in her sleep. But when Mina experiences these dreams too, and her own forbidden desires awaken, the women embark on an adventure of pleasure together—not realizing that their nocturnal seducer is Count Dracula, Lord of Vampires.
What might Bram Stoker, Robert Louis Stevenson and Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley have written without Nineteenth Century mores inhibiting their pens? And what did they write to hint at sexual license lurking just beneath the surface of propriety and the printed page?
Mina Harker’s Diary explores the hidden eroticism of Dracula, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Frankenstein to cast these familiar tales in a new and voluptuous light.
What do you feel is the most unique aspect of your story?
I studied Dracula, Jekyll & Hyde and Frankenstein very closely and carefully in order to mimic the styles of Stoker, Stevenson and Shelley. I wanted my chapters to read like they were ‘things left out’ by these authors but could credibly be part of the original novels. To this end, I also mirrored the plots of the source stories as closely as I could. If a reader were to comb through Mina Harker’s Diary, they would find the hidden seams where I’ve stitched my chapters to the originals. I did this because I hold all three of these works with great respect, and I didn’t want my own, eroticized versions to appear irreverent or mocking. As I say in the prologue: It’s my intent that this work be read not as parody, but as homage.
Tell us about your main character(s).
All nine chapters address the sexual mores of the 19th Century, and most particularly as they pertained to women. For the Dracula chapters, I focus on Mina Harker, who I portray as a prim and modest woman gradually overcome by the sensuality awakened in her by the vampire. For my treatment of Jekyll & Hyde, I use Henry Jekyll to narrate the stories of two different Victorian women as they describe their sexual experiences with Edward Hyde. In my Frankenstein chapters, Victor Frankenstein relates the ordeals he suffers at the hands of his monstrous creature, who is the manifestation of Victor’s own latent sexuality.
What genre(s) is this and who do you think will enjoy reading it?
Mina Harker’s Diary is erotica, but I’m a little reluctant to describe it as such. I’ve invested into it a great deal more than the sex which readers of erotica expect. Conversely, fans of gothic horror or Victorian-style literature might avoid reading it because of the word ‘erotica’ in the subtitle. As a result, my target audience is the narrow intersection of readers who can enjoy both—bodice-rippers with substance, I guess. It wasn’t my intention to pursue so specific a niche, but that’s where my work led me.
Have you received any feedback on it yet, and if so, what was it?
Minus the spite of one revenge reviewer (who I don’t count), I’ve received very favorable feedback thus far. My average rating on Amazon is 4.6 out of 5. On Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo and Nook collectively, I have 16 fives, 3 fours and 1 three. All my reviewers seemed to appreciate the smoldering eroticism, the writing style, the fresh approach to familiar stories and the earthy darkness in which I’d dressed them. Among my favorite comments are: ‘the writing is lovely and the sexuality is believable and enticing’; ‘such clever, well written takes on three classic horror stories’; ‘outright suspense and horror with a twist’; ‘I wish I could give a helluva lot more stars’; and ‘erotica for the literate reader’. I love to read such comments, not because they’re flattering (though they are) but because they tell me clearly that my work resonates with my readers.
Tell us something about yourself that most of your readers may not know.
Many of my readers—at least, my reviewers—have assumed that I’m a woman, but I’m not. (I don’t know how this happened; I state clearly that I’m a man in my bios and author’s pages. Maybe choosing Lily Munster as my avatar has something to do with it.) For whatever its cause, I’m delighted by this misperception. I’ve found that erotica written by men tends to be heavy-handed and crude, focusing far more on the physical than the psychologically-complex sex that women enjoy. Simply put, women’s erotica can be genuine literature, which is what I wanted to write. Since most of my reviewers are women, mistaking me for one of their own is a pretty high compliment to my writing skills. Also, most of my chapters are told from a woman’s perspective, and one of my source stories was even written by a woman. Consequently, I was trying to ‘sound like a woman’ as I wrote, which I evidently succeeded in doing.
What’s next for you?
I’ve already self-published a second collection of paranormal erotica, written much in the same vein as Mina Harker’s Diary, titled Autumn Moon. These are more eroticized scenes from classic horror stories, both literary and cinematic, which readers might find familiar. Admittedly, it doesn’t have the depth of MHD, though I hope my audience will find it no less entertaining. To date, it has only 2 (albeit five-star) reviews.
I also have two more books, both paranormal erotica, planned for the immediate future. Tristan: An Erotic Ghost Story, takes place in 1901 New Orleans, with many flashbacks to the Civil War era. It involves a young Northern woman’s adventures with her Southerner landlady and the ghost of an emancipated slave. Lorelei: A Paranormal Lesbian Romance, is the tale of a young New England woman and her supernatural lover during the Salem Witch Trials of 1692. Both stories demand a great deal of historical research for their context, which is why they’re not yet published. If only I had more time to write! (Sigh…)
Where can people interact with you and find out more about you and your books?
Check out my Smashwords page here
See my Amazon author page here
Follow me on Twitter here
View my website here
View my LinkedIn page here
Send me an email here