Today I am visited by fellow Crooked Cat author Rumer Haven, on the launch day for her new novel, What the Clocks Know. She’s here to talk about some of her literary influences. Welcome, Rumer!
Thanks so much for hosting me, Tim!
As a writer, I’m also an avid reader, and it’s inevitable that the essence of what I read will find its way into what I write. I love losing myself in other authors’ creativity, their imagined worlds and their beautiful prose. They give me something to aspire to as I continue honing my own craft, and I’d be remiss not to give a nod to the stories that inspire mine.
Here are just a few that influenced What the Clocks Know:
- Charlotte Sometimes – Written by Penelope Farmer and published in 1969, this tale of a boarding-school student who slips into the past life of a former student is directly mentioned in my book to set the tone for my protagonist’s own supernatural experience. It’s a children’s book that I first read as an adult when I became aware it had inspired The Cure’s song of same name. The Cure being one of my favorite bands and “Charlotte Sometimes” one of my favorite songs, I delved into Farmer’s haunting prose and found a kindred spirit. Later on as I drafted What the Clocks Know, I originally wanted to quote from Farmer’s book, so corresponded with the author directly to ask permission. She did give me her blessings, kind woman, though I ultimately cut those excerpts out in later drafts.
- Take Three Tenses: A Fugue in Time – If a song introduced me to the previous book, a film acquainted me with this one. Enchantment, starring David Niven, did indeed enchant me from the TV screen one night as I watched Turner Classic Movies. I adore past-present stories and am perpetually contemplating the past and present lives that have traversed the same spaces, so when this movie explored the same, I wanted to read the book that inspired it. Written by Rumer Godden and published in 1945, this story waltzes back and forth in time in such a seamless, delicate way, and I, too, wanted to write a story about a single house and the multiple lives dwelling in it over generations. So, Rumer inspired this as well as my pen name.
- Lost – Written by Gregory Maguire and published in 2001, this contemporary story embraces the Victorian Gothic as an American woman finds herself in a haunted London flat. Now, from that description, you’d think I ripped off the plot for my own book, but it honestly didn’t inspire that aspect of the story. I just enjoy ghost stories and appreciated this one’s subtle approach–it’s haunting without horror and ultimately about the protagonist’s personal journey, not the ghost.
- The Bell Jar – Written by Sylvia Plath and published in 1963, this book loosely inspired my own protagonist’s descent into depression. It so poignantly conveys the suffocation, despair, and numbness arising from that condition, and how gradually (yet drastically) such an insidious illness develops without awareness.
- The Turn of the Screw – Written by Henry James and published in 1898, this quintessential ghost story takes my favorite approach to the genre: presenting phenomena that could have both supernatural and natural explanations. It brings a psychological element to the paranormal that is more chilling to me in its subtlety than any in-your-face horror could possibly achieve. In the same way, I wanted to develop my protagonist’s story gradually, and leave explanation for her experiences open to multiple possibilities so that she fears for her mind before she can accept that something supernatural might actually be afoot.
So those are a few memorable reads that have haunted me, you could say. I hope they and What the Clocks Know will join your reading list. 😉
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About What the Clocks Know:
Finding a ghost isn’t what Margot had in mind when she went ‘soul searching’, but somehow her future may depend on Charlotte’s past.
Woven between 21st-century and Victorian London, What the Clocks Know is a haunting story of love and identity. A paranormal women’s fiction, this title is available as of March 18, 2016 from Crooked Cat Publishing.
“A unique tale of the paranormal – as beautiful as it is haunting.” ~ Shani Struthers, author of Jessamine and the Psychic Surveys series
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Amazon US – http://amzn.to/21DZoCw
Amazon UK – http://amzn.to/1QsiFfr
Rumer Haven is probably the most social recluse you could ever meet. When she’s not babbling her fool head off among friends and family, she’s pacified with a good story that she’s reading, writing, or revising—or binge-watching something on Netflix. A former teacher hailing from Chicago, she presently lives in London with her husband and probably a ghost or two. Rumer has always had a penchant for the past and paranormal, which inspires her writing to explore dimensions of time, love, and the soul. She debuted in 2014 with Seven for a Secret (in which a Jazz Age tragedy haunts a modern woman’s love life), and her award-winning short story “Four Somethings & a Sixpence” (about a bride who gets a little something she didn’t register for) was released in 2015. What the Clocks Know is her second novel.
Learn more about Rumer at:
Website – http://www.rumerhaven.com
Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/rumerhaven
Twitter – @RumerHaven