Title: Drowning Rapunzel
Author: Annette Gisby
Publisher: Pink Petal Books
Recently released from a mental institution, Beth Gregory accepts a job as a live-in secretary/PA to the reclusive painter Josh Warrington. Beth's long red hair fascinates him from the first moment he sees her and Josh wants her to be his Rapunzel for a series of fairy tale paintings he's working on.
Beth has two major fears: that she will be sent back to the mental hospital and the visions which landed her there in the first place will return. They do; this time giving her glimpses of murders before they happen. Beth becomes the main suspect in the murder investigation and then she has the most disturbing vision of all: she will become the next victim...
Where did you get the idea for this book?
The germ of the idea started with a painting, La Belle Dame Sans Merci by Sir Frank Dicksee. We'd seen it in a gallery in London and bought a print of it in the gift shop on the way out. That picture is still in our bedroom and I'd been seeing it every morning and every night before I went to sleep and I was struck how beautiful it was. I can't draw to save my life, not unless you count stick figures, and I am in awe of those who can.
I started wondering about being able to paint. Could you make a living at it even if you were really good? In the end I wasn't so sure that you could, so the hero, Josh, was independently wealthy, but he did consider painting his full time occupation. It was probably more than full-time as sometimes he was so engrossed in his work that he forgot to eat or sleep.
I had the painter, now I needed his Muse, and that was Beth Gregory, our heroine who was to become his Rapunzel for his next painting. Gothic romances were one of my favourites, things like Jane Eyre, Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier and nearly every book by Victoria Holt, so I wanted my book to have a bit of a gothic feel as well but with a modern slant. After that, I needed the setting, which was an old mansion called Holly Lodge, complete with bell tower and its own lake. It's an amalgam of lots of different stately homes we've visited in England over the years, but something uniquely its own too.
Of course, you can't have anything gothic unless there is a crime or some secret to be revealed. I n this case it's murder, with a skeleton being found in the lake and one of the guests murdered at Beth's birthday party in the grounds.
Once I had those elements in place, the story flowed from there. I had a detailed plan originally, with the 'baddie' and things like that in place. But when it came to the denouement, it wasn't him! It was a surprise to me who it turned out to be, but it worked so well that I left it in, even though it wasn't anywhere on my plan. I like to be surprised when I read mysteries so I hope my readers are too.
About the Author:
Annette Gisby grew up in a small town in Northern Ireland, moving to London when she was seventeen. She writes in multiple genres and styles, anything from romance to thriller or erotica to horror, even both at the same time. When not writing, she enjoys reading, cinema, theatre and travelling the world despite getting travel sick on most forms of transport., even a bicycle. Sometimes you might find her playing Dragon Quest or The Sims computer games and watching Japanese Anime. She lives in Hampshire with her husband, a collection of porcelain dolls, cuddly toys and enough books to fill a library. It's diminishing gradually since the advent of ebooks, but still has a long way to go.