Ghost Wife: From Inspiration to Publication #Romanticsuspense #Gothicromance

Image Jordan Singh on Pixabay

I wrote the first version of Ghost Wife between June and September, 2017, five years ago. I wrote the first draft in four months, and I’ve been rewriting it, on and off, ever since. The initial idea and characters has remained constant throughout, although the novel has undergone many revisions and minor changes along the way until it developed into the final version which I have just published on Amazon kindle.

These are the facts, but they don’t reflect the reality of my writing process. The initial idea for Ghost Wife took root 50 years ago, and it has been growing since then.

Real Timeline

Initial Inspiration: The Seeds

  • My fascination with Jane Eyre started when I first read it in my teens and watched some film and TV series.
Orson Welles as Rochester with Joan Fontaine as Jane in Jane Eyre (1943). Image Wikipedia.
Theatrical poster for the American release of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1940 film Rebecca.
  • Some years later, I read Wide Sargasso Sea the prequel to Jane Eyre by Jean Rhys, which led to a rereading and reinterpretation of Jane Eyre
  • Later I taught Postcolonial Literature at the University of Córdoba, between 2009 and 2014. One of the themes I lectured on was a comparative analysis of Jane Eyre and Wide Sargasso sea from a feminist and postcolonial perspective. I wrote a chapter in Identities on The Move (2014), titled Sexuality and Gender Relationships in Jane Eyre and Wide Sargasso Sea. If you’d like to read it, just let me know in the comments.

Stage Two

An Author is Born: The Writing Begins

  • In the summer of 2013 I started writing All Hallows at Eyre Hall, which was first published in 2014. It is the sequel to both Jane Eyre and Wide Sargasso Sea, because my sequel builds on the plots and characters in both novels. The original Trilogy was completed in 2016.
  • The idea of writing Ghost Wife, a contemporary retelling of Jane Eyre started taking shape in 2017. I wrote the first draft between June and September. It was the bare bones of the novel in about 40,000. By the end of the year, I had written about 80,000 words and over the next two years it underwent many revisions.
  • Following a conversation with my editor, Alison Williams, I realised The Eyre Hall Trilogy should become a series and between 2020 and 2022, I wrote Blood Moon at Eyre Hall, which was the new Book One in the series, I revised All Hallows at Eyre Hall, which became Book Two, and Twelfth Night at Eyre Hall, which became Book Three, and I wrote and published Thunder Moon at Eyre Hall, which is Book Four and Snow Moon at Eyre Hall. which is Book Five. Midsummer at Eyre Hall, which will become Book Six, has not been republished yet, as I am in the process of revising it. I have also written the novella, Resurgam: An Eyre Hall Series Novella. More information about the Eyre Hall Series here.
  • Meanwhile, I decided to revise Ghost Wife yet again, and I sent it to two editors, and one beta reader in 2021-2022. I finally published Ghost Wife a few days ago, on 13th July 2022. More about Ghost Wife here

Stage Three

Reviews, Paperback, and Marketing

Now Ghost Wife is free from the confines of a folder on my computer and it is lodged out on a massive cloud on the Internet, called Amazon, for readers to like, dislike, criticise, praise, or ignore.

I’ve had plenty of doubts along the way. I enjoy writing historical fiction. I had never thought of writing a contemporary novel, and yet I’ve enjoyed the challenge and the process.

That said, I’m going to admit I almost didn’t publish it because of my insecurities, but in December 2021, I decided that this year, my word of the year would be ‘Dare’; Dare to dream, Dare to step out of my comfort zone, Dare to write what I want to write and publish it, so that’s what I’ve done!

I’ve published the kindle version, but there’s still a lot more to do. I hope to have the print version ready by the end of the summer, and I have the daunting chores of marketing to look forward to. I’m planning on booking blog tours, social media posts, and hopefully getting some help from friends, readers, and fellow bloggers.

Meanwhile, if you enjoy reading contemporary romantic suspense, with a gothic setting, I’m sure you’ll love Ghost Wife, and it’s only 0.99!

International buy link for Ghost Wife

International Amazon Author Page

‘The Allure of the #Byronic #Antihero’ in GHOST WIFE, a Contemporary #Romantic #Suspense by Luccia Gray

Antiheroes are protagonists with a dark side, which is frequently unknown to the other characters, especially the heroine, at least at the outset of the novel. Antiheroes are complex characters who have an inclination for using dishonest methods to achieve their goals. They also have positive attributes, which are the reason their weaknesses are so often overlooked. 

Some authors have distinguished between the antihero as someone who has no regard for right or wrong; he does bad things irresponsibly and unpredictably, just because he can, and the Byronic antihero, who does bad things for good reasons.

A Byronic hero is a bad good guy. He does bad things, makes his own rules, operates outside of the law. But his goal is to do good. He’s tormented. He’s introspective. He hurts. He takes full responsibility. He’s Batman.

Author Kay Camden in Is Your Hero Anti or Byronic?

Some antiheroes, especially of the Byronic kind, are popular among readers who often excuse the antihero’s flaws, defending, justifying their actions, or even falling in love with the dark brooding antihero, because they supposedly had a good intention. Such is the case of Emily Bronte’s Heathcliff, Scott Fitzgerald’s Jay Gatsby, Mario Puzo’s Michael Corleone, Ian Fleming’s James Bond, Stephen King’s Roland Deschain, and David Nicholl’s Dexter, to name just a few of the most well-known.

One of literature’s most captivating and most famous Byronic antiheroes of them all is Charlotte Bronte’s Edward Rochester.

Orson Welles as Rochester with Joan Fontaine as Jane in Jane Eyre (1943). Wikipedia

I have been obsessed with Charlotte Bronte’s novel, Jane Eyre, since I first read the novel as a teenager, and when I read the prequel, Wide Sargasso Sea, by Jean Rhys, as an adult, my obsession grew so much that the first novels I wrote and published are included in The Eyre Hall Series, the six-part sequel to Jane Eyre, which takes place twenty years after Jane Eyre’s marriage to Edward Rochester.

The first two novels in the series expose Rochester’s crimes, lies, and flagrant manipulation of Jane Eyre, as well as his criminal acts. The rest of the series deals with Jane’s subsequent marriages, travels, ordeals, and misfortunes, as well as her relentless pursuit of justice, integrity, love, and happiness.

As with all antiheroes, some readers claim Mr Rochester has some positive qualities, although I can’t appreciate any myself, unless his supposedly genuine love of Jane is considered a redeeming attribute, because ‘All’s fair in love and war.’   

Some readers disagreed with my portrayal of Mr Rochester in The Eyre Hall Series and defended his behaviour, which I find surprising, to say the least, especially bearing in mind the cold-blooded and selfish way he treated his first wife, his mistresses, his daughter, and the way he manipulated his second wife.

If we agree with Nietzsche and ‘true’ love can justify any criminal or immoral action, then perhaps we can let Mr Rochester and all the other antiheroes off the hook, and call them simply heroes.

‘Whatever is done for love always occurs beyond good and evil.’

FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE

What do you think? Can we justify a hero’s actions and behaviours because of his allegedly good or romantic intentions?

While I was writing The Eyre Hall Series, which is almost complete, I had the idea of writing a contemporary novel, with a similar plot, and that was how Ghost Wife was born, over five years ago. It has undergone several rewrites and transformations over the years before I published the final version yesterday.

Ghost Wife is a suspenseful, contemporary gothic romance, with engaging and complex characters, and many twists and turns. And, just so you know, Ghost Wife has three main characters and points of view, and one of them is a Byronic Antihero.

I’ll tell you more about these characters tomorrow!

Luccia Gray’s Amazon Author Profile with all her novels

International Amazon Buy Link for Ghost Wife