Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Blythe of the Gates by Leah Erickson

Do your characters seem to hijack the story, or do you feel like you have the reigns to the story?

I did have one character who was completely unpredictable and had a life of his own, and that is Sean, the Irish gangster who wants to win Luna’s heart. Now days this young man would most likely be diagnosed with ADHD. But he was a total disruptive influence in my writing. I never knew what crazy thing he would say or do next. I was actually caught off guard by the letters he wrote from prison. I felt I was literally channeling a spirit or something. I would literally laugh out loud at stuff that he said. But that’s the best part of writing, When the author is actually surprised. That’s when I know there is life in the work and everything is flowing as it should!

Blythe of the Gates
by Leah Erickson
Genre: Historical Fiction

Can the gates of perception be bypassed?
A rash love affair with a member of the Irish Mafia catapults Luna Mulkerrins into scandal, murder, scorn and decadent friendships in Ragtime Manhattan. Escaping from the blaze of publicity, a new Luna emerges: Blythe of the Seven Gates. Her meteoric rise as a magician leads to fame, vaudeville, silent movies and the notoriety of a damaging court case. Can Luna reclaim her reputation and reinvent herself as an independent woman of the time?

From Leah Erickson, author of The Brambles, winner of the Crime Fiction award from the IPA.

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Covered in cracked, brown leather and very old, the box had rows of hammered
brass tacks along its edges, the lock held shut with a heavy latch of blackened
metal. Only the Magician was allowed to use the key, and he kept it in his breast
pocket at all times.
Luna knew about the faded red velvet lining. And she knew how the antique
metal hinges creaked when he opened it. She knew about the ancient smell of
mildewed newspaper, the smell of trapped life, the smell of time passed by …
“Luna. Open your eyes and look at it!”
Why the Magician did this to her, she did not know. Some nights when he was
in a particularly wicked mood, he'd take the box down from the top of his closet
and make Luna look inside, even though she turned away, and shut her eyes to it.
This made him laugh. “Girl, I am your husband. Listen to me! Look at it.”
But it was unbearable, to look straight into it, because it hurt. Looking straight
into the thing was like looking straight into the sun; when she shut her eyes, she
saw pulsing blood, red and floating orbs …
To look inside the box was to feel dissolution, deep down in her very center,
spreading out and out until she had no more edges to her.

But once she did look, it was so hard to look away again.

Leah Erickson is the author of the novel "The Brambles" (2017) and "Blythe of the Gates." She is the recipient of the 2018 Independent Press Award and the Independent Book Award. Her short fiction has appeared in many magazines and journals in print and online, including The Fabulist, Pantheon Magazine, The Saint Ann's Review, Eclectica, The Coachella Review, and many more. She lives near Newport, Rhode Island with her husband and daughter.

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