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Monday, October 29, 2012

Guest Post/Giveaway: See Me by Natalie-Nicole Bates

See Me

Natalie-Nicole Bates
Carly Anders  is hearing voices in her head. Another one of her kind is trying to contact her. She knows of the malevolent freaks—others who are eternal like her and seek out the weak to inflict pain upon. For years, Carly has held up huge protective walls to keep herself and her secrets safe. Now, physically and mentally exhausted, Carly needs protection and rest.She accepts the invitation to visit an internet friend who needs help appraising a collection of antique photographs.  The situation is not ideal, but Carly hopes a male presence in her life will deter the determined suitor who haunts her thoughts and dreams.

Daniel Tremont is not what Carly is expecting.The former funeral director has a secret of his own. Not only is he eternal like Carly, he is her creation from all those years before—her abomination she thought she killed.

Daniel has been searching for Carly for years. He knows she is the piece of his life that he has been missing for so long. Now that he has found her, he has no intentions of letting her go. 

Delving Into the Paranormal Genre 

By Natalie-Nicole Bates 

If you asked me two years year ago what I write, I would have told you without any hesitation, I write contemporary romance. Indeed, my first novel sale was a contemporary romance called Change of Address.

A while back, I won an auction where the prize was a three chapter critique of a current work-in-progress by an established editor. The who and where the editor works is not important, it was the results of the critique. The first thing that caught my attention was that the editor told me to watch the fantastical elements of my hero, that they weren’t really suited for contemporary romance.

This comment got me thinking. I always was the kind of writer who liked the more unusual aspects in a hero—ethereal eyes, long hair, tattoos, body piercings, killer chin beards. But somehow my hero had transcended the contemporary and was what? I wasn’t so sure. Then it hit me: Maybe it was time to try writing paranormal.

I have always been drawn to the allure of the paranormal genre. But as a book reviewer, I have seen it all—vampires, werewolves, shape-shifters. With the influx of television shows such as The Walking Dead, even zombies were turning up with alarming regularity. The paranormal genre has always been popular, but has literally exploded over the last few years. Writers are writing it well, too. While I felt an inclination towards the genre, I knew that if I wanted to write paranormal, I was going to have to conceive a new twist on it.

I found my inspiration quickly.

I am an avid collector of Victorian and Edwardian-era photographs. To me, there is much beauty in these black and white stills. This past spring, I found a photograph from an online seller that completely captivated me. The size of a postcard, but printed on a much thicker stock was the image of a funeral home (I come from a long line of folks in the funeral care business). Outside, a very handsome man stands proudly with his hands clasped in front of him, most likely one of the owners at the time. Although the photo is slightly faded, you can still clearly make out the reflection in the glass of a black funeral carriage tied with elaborate ribbons. The back of the photo reads in very elegant script, Week of Oct-11-1896.

Although the photo was pricy, I splurged and bought it for myself.

When I finally held it in my hands, I was in love. I then wondered, was it possible to use my love of Victorian photography as a way to put a new spin on a paranormal character?

It was then that an idea occurred to me. What if a very lovely lady who is just starting out in the funeral business buys this particular funeral home, determined to restore it to its former glory. And what would happen if one night this woman was visited by the very handsome man in the photo who claims to still own the funeral home?

To me, the idea seemed like a good one. Adam wasn’t a ghost or a vampire, although readers have speculated that he is a vampire because of his magnetism. I love that the story has sparked debate! The closest I could describe him is as a dybbuk. In Jewish folklore, a dybbuk is the wandering soul of a dead person that enters the body of a living person and controls his or her behavior. But even a dybbuk isn’t quite accurate.

So, Antique Charming was a success. But it was a short story. Would it be possible to write something longer?

Once again, I returned to my photographs. I had recently bought a Carte de Viste (1860’s) of a beautiful little girl about age 3, her photo surrounded by a memorial wreath. In my mind, Baby Charlotte was born.

SEE ME begins in 1896, where we meet sixteen year old Charlotte. Charlotte always knew she was special, but never knew why. She believed it all stemmed from a near drowning incident when she was three. An incident her family members refused to speak of.

Her hunch comes true one day in 1896 during a lumber yard fire when her true powers reach fruition.

One very small photograph from the 1860’s suddenly became one huge idea for a novella.

I then went in search of my Daniel Tremont, the hero of SEE ME. Daniel’s inspiration is a magnificent 1860’s Daguerreotype of a young man. The matt on this photograph is purple, which is usually the colour of significance for mourning, which means this young man probably passed away young. He was perfect.

Sometimes what you know well can be a powerful ally. In writing, this is so true. I took my love for Victorian photography and turned it into a plot for a novella that combines romance, paranormal, and a touch of my beloved horror.

I hope you will read SEE ME, now available at Leap of Faith Publishing. To view the photographs that inspired both SEE ME as well as Antique Charming, visit my new blog Ghosts and Phantoms at:

Follow Natalie-Nicole Online
Twitter: BatesNatalie

Natalie-Nicole Bates is a book reviewer and author.
Her passions in life include books and hockey along with Victorian and Edwardian era photography and antique poison bottles. Natalie contributes her uncharacteristic love of hockey to being born in Russia.
She currently resides in the UK where she is working on her next book and adding to her collection of 19th century post-mortem photos.

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