Today I am so pleased to welcome K.J. Charles to Joyfully Jay. K.J. has come to talk to us about her latest release, The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal. She has also brought along a great tour wide giveaway. Please join me in giving K.J. a big welcome!
Back in the day I was an editor for a huge romance publisher. It was going through the periodic upheavals that publishers do, trying to branch out from publishing category romance and expand their readership, and, because I evidently did something really bad in a previous life, I got put on a brainstorming blue sky ducks in a row task force. We were asked to come up with one plausible and one implausible proposal for new series. I think the implausible proposal was meant to get everyone talking in a ‘moving your cheese outside the box’ sort of way. There’s a reason I went freelance.
Anyway, I suggested that Romance Giant should start publishing horror. My reasoning was clear: Horror is romance’s evil twin.
In romance, you start with delicious anticipation. The looks, the touches, the uncertainty, the building sense of something maybe, possibly, probably going to happen. In horror, the same thing, but the building anticipation is a creeping sense of dread.
They’re both genres that aim to evoke a physical response in the reader. Romance is all about getting the endorphins flowing, setting off those magical sensations of excitement and happiness and sexual charge. Horror is about tapping into your deepest feelings too, but this time it’s the limbic system, the lizard brain. Both genres are thinking about what’s outside in the night; romance is the one that hopes it’ll come in.
Romance takes its characters and says, here is an unexpected, astounding, wonderful thing that can happen to you out of nowhere. Horror does the same, except wonderful becomes awful. The protagonists are on the bed; the monsters are under it.
And this is why I love to write spooks and scares and creepiness into my romance. Because they belong together, like shadow and light, Snow White and Rose Red. They may be opposites, but we all know what opposites do.
My new book, The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal, is a romance between ghost-hunter Simon Feximal and journalist Robert Caldwell. They meet in a haunted house, and their love affair develops to the background of death by butterflies, screams in the night, strange cults, the creepiest villain I’ve ever written (I scared myself) and rats. It’s about strange stuff, and spooky stuff, and it’s also about two people falling hard for one another and finding a way to open up to each other and make it work. Which is, perhaps, the scariest thing of all.
(Incidentally, while Romance Giant didn’t pick up my genius proposal, it’s worth noting that my publisher Samhain work in two genres: romance and horror. They know what’s what.)
A story too secret, too terrifying—and too shockingly intimate—for Victorian eyes.
A note to the Editor
I have been Simon Feximal’s companion, assistant and chronicler for twenty years now, and during that time my Casebooks of Feximal the Ghost-Hunter have spread the reputation of this most accomplished of ghost-hunters far and wide.
You have asked me often for the tale of our first meeting, and how my association with Feximal came about. I have always declined, because it is a story too private to be truthfully recounted, and a memory too precious to be falsified. But none knows better than I that stories must be told.
So here is it, Henry, a full and accurate account of how I met Simon Feximal, which I shall leave with my solicitor to pass to you after my death.
I dare say it may not be quite what you expect.
KJ Charles is a Rainbow Award-winning romance writer and freelance editor. She blogs about writing and publishing, spends too much time on Twitter, and has a Facebook group for book chat and sneak peeks. The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal, a Victorian occult m/m romance, is coming from Samhain on 16 June.
KJ has brought a tour wide giveaway for readers on her tour. Just fill out the Rafflecopter form to enter.
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