Oh My Shelves welcomes author Nash Summers to the blog with the release of her latest book, Poison Tongue – Available from Dreamspinner Press, August 10, 2016 – and shares with us her love of Gothic novels, how it bled into writing Levi and Monroe’s story as well as sharing bits of info on just how her latest work came to life. She is also doing a giveaway, so be sure to check that out at the end of the post!
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The first Gothic book I read was Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. I think I first read it about four years ago without really knowing anything about the book. Luckily enough, I also hadn’t heard or read any spoilers. While the book wasn’t scary, it definitely did unsettle me. It was the type of book that continuously left me wanting more, wanting to understand the characters, their motives, and their secrets.
While Poison Tongue isn’t exactly a thriller like Rebecca, I’d like to think that I was influenced by it. Since reading Rebecca, I’ve had a lot for Gothic romance. It’s such a unique mixture of elements and themes that I can’t help but be drawn in by it.
In some ways, of all the characters I’ve written, I think I can relate to Levi the most, and maybe that’s one of the reasons why this story is special to me. I wanted Levi’s character to be quiet–not shy–but solemn, perhaps. The fly on the wall. The reserved one. I don’t think anyone in my life could accuse me of being a shy person, but I can be reserved and tend to keep to myself.
Levi’s character is emotionally reserved, which I think plays a huge role in his internal battle with his feelings towards Monroe. To Levi, letting someone get close to him, or getting to know him, is one of his most terrifying experiences. And while things otherworldly are commonplace for a person like Levi, it’s the barest of human emotions which he fears the most.
There is a quote by Dorothy Dix I’ve always liked, and while writing Levi’s character, it was constantly in mind.
“Confession is always weakness. The grave soul keeps its own secrets, and takes its own punishment in silence.”
- Levi’s last name, Bell, was chosen as a small nod to the Bell Witch from Southern folklore.
- I chose the title Poison Tongue to represent one of the major themes throughout the story, which is the horrendous stigma that Monroe has carried his entire life. Rumors, naysay, and gossip spread through word of mouth, becoming poisonous. They affect everyone around him, even the main character, Levi. The serpentine reference in the title was a pleasant afterthought.
- When first outlining the story, Monroe’s curse was actually a maze of serpent tattoos that covered his body. When Levi would look at the tattoos, they would move under Monroe’s skin. It wasn’t until later I decided to make the serpents more tangible in the story, and to eliminate the tattoos.
- My first outline for Poison Tongue dates back about 2 ½ years, and it was vastly different than it is now.
- I hadn’t actually given the town of Malcome its name until I was almost finished writing the manuscript.
- If I could only pick one word for describe Monroe’s character, it would be lonely.
- Not exactly a tidbit about Poison Tongue specifically, but the Afflicted Souls series in general. Before finishing Poison Tongue, I’d already picked the titles for three books in the series, and outlined each story as well. While each novel will feature a different couple, I plan to have a few guest appearances.
Levi Bell can see a person’s soul just by looking into their eyes. In Monroe Poirier’s eyes, he sees the devil himself.
When Monroe moves back to the small Southern town of Malcome, Levi is repelled by the darkness of the stranger’s soul. But Levi is cursed to love things dark and wicked, and he’s seduced each time he looks into Monroe’s eyes—and drawn to the swamp behind the old Poirier house.
As strange occurrences begin to happen when shadows and visions visit him in the night, Levi sees a flicker of something good in Monroe’s soul. But the need to submerge himself in the swamp’s murky waters grows stronger as Levi’s desire for Monroe becomes unbearable.
In his struggles to help Monroe save his soul, Levi will have to decide if it’s worth losing his own.
Giveaway for $15 Amazon Giftcard.
Starts August 2nd and ends August 9th.
Click on the picture to enter!