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Hello, everyone! Thank you so much for having me here today, and for the opportunity to talk a bit about my new book, The Circus of the Damned!
Those of you already familiar with my work will know that I have a fondness for rather odd settings. It comes with the territory of writing mixed genre fiction: a blend of magical realism, urban fantasy, paranormal, steampunk, romance, with occasional pinches and dashes of other genres thrown in. I have found myself right at home in this genre ever since I started writing, and I suspect it’s become a sort of trademark of mine.
I seldom give names to my cities or my lands; I don’t provide a map. The effect I hope to convey is to have a narrow focus on the little corner of the world where we get plunged along with the characters. We don’t know exactly where we are, in what universe we’ve landed, what rules we have to follow, who is friend and who is foe: we are caught in the adventure and swept along, without a moment to catch our breath or find our bearings, and have to make do with what we know to scrape together a survival plan… which pretty much mirrors what the characters themselves have to do. It’s a way to feel a bit of what they feel, catch a glimpse of how disoriented they feel when their world gets turned upside down and their whole reality shifts, becoming foreign and unpredictable.
It is also a matter of taste, obviously. More traditional fantasy provides detailed maps, and political systems, and religious beliefs, and social organisations, and dynasties, and logistics: there are stories where I have enjoyed finding out every detail about the world I was exploring, having the time to sit down and bask in the information. But my favourite ones – the ones I remember with fondness – where the ones that baited me with that feeling of stepping into the unknown, an adventurer exploring uncharted territory, never knowing what awaited me, collecting bits and scraps of precious information to try and piece together a map…
I loved the feeling that these uncertain settings gave me – suspended like a bubble in the fog, like a pool of light in a sea of darkness. I never knew what to expect at every turn, and every next oddity came as a surprise – another piece to add to the puzzle. I might not know much about the world outside the borders of the microcosm inhabited by the characters, but I loved it that way.
That preference has stayed with me now that I’m the one holding the pen: so, it is my readers’ turn to be dropped smack in the middle of the action, without a map or compass, and left to find their own way into the unknown, scrambling after the protagonists. The Circus of the Damned is set in a world that resembles ours, and borrows some elements from Victorian England; but it is not the world as we know it, that much is certain. We don’t know exactly where we are, nor when. Gilbert’s world is Shadowsea, with its power struggles and its labyrinth of slums, streets and underground trains; and, at the beginning of the book, he’s catapulted in the brand new world of the Circus of the Damned, and takes us along for the ride as he explores it and tries to figure out its rules and dynamics.
I hope you will enjoy following him in this adventure…
Thank you so much for stopping by!
Title: The Circus of the Damned by Cornelia Grey
Part of the Deal with the Devil Universe
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Genre: Historical, Fantasy, Alternate World/Alternate Universe, Romance
Length: 322 pages/Word Count: 91,500
Magician Gilbert Blake has spent his entire life conning drunkards in the seediest pubs in the darkest towns, careful to hide the true depths of his power. But when he spends a little too much time in Shadowsea and the infamous slumlord Count Reuben gets wind of his abilities, hiding within the Circus of the Damned may be Gilbert’s only chance at survival.
But there’s more to the Circus than meets the eye. Every time a performer dies, a new one must take his place, or the entire circus suffers the consequences. And while the handsome ringmaster Jesse isn’t one to coerce unwilling performers into giving up their souls to the devil, a recent death in their ranks makes Gilbert exactly what they need.
Yet the longer Gilbert stays with the Circus, the more danger he seems to bring them. Being with Jesse is more than Gilbert could have hoped for, but as Count Reuben’s men continue to search for Gilbert and the Circus loses another performer, they all face running out of time long before the Devil claims his due.
Purchase Link: Riptide Publishing
Cornelia Grey is a creative writing student fresh out of university, with a penchant for fine arts and the blues. Born and raised in the hills of Northern Italy, where she collected her share of poetry and narrative prizes, Cornelia moved to London to pursue her studies.
After graduating with top grades, she is now busy with internships: literary agencies, publishing houses, and creative departments handling book series, among others. She also works as a freelance translator.
She likes cats, knitting, performing in theatre, going to museums, collecting mugs, and hanging out with her grandma. When writing, she favors curious, surreal stories, steampunk, and mixed-genre fiction. Her heroes are always underdogs, and she loves them for it.
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