Sunday, July 26, 2015

Jeannie and Alexandra: the backstory.

(From Sophie, in Shadow) What a strange friendship they shared, this ill-matched pair: Jeannie Grenville-Smith, with her Scotswoman's steadiness and common sense, doing her best to conform to the claustrophobic rules of this still-Victorian world; and Alexandra, to whom the rules, it seemed, were mere inconveniences, to be ignored altogether if they interfered with her plans.

And yet was Jeannie entirely what she seemed? There were the veiled hints of something strange in Jeannie’s past; and the glances between Jeannie and Alexandra, as though they shared some special knowledge. There was much more about Jean Grenville-Smith that Sophie had yet to learn.

They recognize no limits to their power —What did those words mean to Jeannie, and why did they frighten her so much?

Some of the answers can be found in my earlier novel, Wild Talent: a Novel of the Supernatural. It's the story of the young Jeannie Guthrie (later Grenville-Smith) and Alexandra David Neel, caught up in the occult worlds of London and Paris, twenty-six years before Sophie, in Shadow begins.

“The greatest strength of Wild Talent is its vivid portrayal of the tumultuous times in which Jeannie lives. The drudgery of rural poverty, the decadence of absinthe-soaked artists, the glamour of the Paris world’s fair, and the spiritual debates among London’s occult circles are all handled with skill. When I finished Wild Talent I felt that I’d paid a visit to the late 19th century, that I’d be there with Jeannie right along.” -- Fantasy Literature Net

Wild Talent: a Novel of the Supernatural (Thistledown Press, 2008)