I am pleased to welcome author Josephine Blake back to Modern Jo March, this time to talk about her fabulous new release, A Brush with Death. For those of you interested in the full length interview I did with Josephine, where we discussed her writing process, her books, authors that have influenced her, and more, you can check it out here. This time around, we got together because I desperately wanted to talk to her about her recent project, A Brush with Death, so without further ado, here we go!
*****Spoilers alert! If you haven’t already read this excellent book, you might want to hold off on reading this interview! *****
MJM: A Brush with Death takes a different direction than your other novels, marking your first official foray into the Historical Gothic genre. What made you decide to write a gothic novel?
Josephine: Honestly, I’ve always strayed towards the darker, creepier aspects of storytelling. My first love of fiction as a child was horror novels, and I still read them to this day. What better way to celebrate that love than to combine those darker elements with the romantic tales that I love just as much?!
MJM: That’s interesting! And you did it beautifully, by the way. This book is so unique, what was the inspiration/thought process behind the original idea of this story, which essentially humanizes Death?
Josephine: Oh, thank you! I don’t know where the idea came from. Maybe from that creeping sensation that we all get? The one where we feel like we’re being watched when no one is around? Combine that with my tendency to pity the villain in any story, and WAM, here’s Death, who is still my favorite character that I have ever written. :)
MJM: Ah, yes, that’s so cool that you picked up on that sensation and used it to your advantage! By the way, I’ll never think about that creepy sensation of being watched in the same way! Death is that you? ;) I admit that Death is probably my favorite character that you’ve written so far too! There’s just something about him…
I love the fact that A Brush with Death is a romance story at its heart. I find it so original and intriguing that you made Death itself/himself the love interest. How in the world did that come to be? What was the inspiration behind it? I mean, you actually made Death rather desirable, that’s no small feat!
Josephine: Well, I believe that every person, no matter how good they are, has a darker side to them. My goal in writing Death was to create a character who wore every bit of darkness inside of him proudly, for all to see. Death isn’t ashamed of what he is, he’s blunt, honest, and to the point. He knows what he is and what his place is in the world. I wanted to take him and reverse that divide between good and evil. Death is more ashamed of the GOODNESS inside him, rather than the darkness. He’s the direct opposite of a human being.
MJM: Speaking of evil, the story takes place in 1888 London, during the reign of terror of Jack the Ripper. What was the reasoning behind this particular setting? Was it because you intended to feature Jack the Ripper from the start or did that come later?
Josephine: I’ll admit, in the beginning, I wasn’t sure where this story was taking me. Originally, I had it set in Georgia, and I was planning to drum up a sort of “murder mystery” theme. Then my husband and I went to England. During one of our tours, we touched on the tale of Jack the Ripper, and my mind exploded with ideas. It was awesome!
MJM: What an amazing twist of fate! I think the whole Jack the Ripper plot really brought it all together, made it even darker and highlighted Death’s role.
That twist near the end came out of left field for me. I can usually figure out how the story is going to end before the book is done, but I did NOT see that whole last part coming. Was that twist, Michael being Jack the Ripper, planned from the start or was it formed as you got deeper into the writing of the story?
Josephine: Nah. Michael was the bad-guy from the get go. I needed some way to REALLY involve Isabel in the mystery and the thrill of hunting down Jack the Ripper and so… Enter Michael. ;)
MJM: So I have to ask, will there be more books along the lines of A Brush with Death?
Josephine: YES! A Brush with Death is the first book in my Hands of Fate series. Each of the following stories will be standalones with a single thread that ties them all together. Can you guess what it will be?
MJM: I can’t wait! This series will definitely continue to be on my radar, you’ve got me hooked now, and to think I’ve never been a fan of the darker stuff! Hmmm, is it Jack the Ripper? Maybe other “beings” like Death?
Josephine: I’m far too much of a tease to give you that answer. ;) Let me just say that fans of Isabel and Death’s story will be in for a delightfully, twisted ride.
MJM: Darn it! Well a girl has to try, haha ;)
Liz Austin. Bibliophile. Writer. Book hoarder. I would rather be reading....