Sunday, August 26, 2012

Interview with Michael Boccacino & Giveaway - August 26, 2012

Please welcome Michael Boccacino to The Qwillery as part of the 2012 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling was published on July 24, 2012. You may read Michael's Guest Blog - A Good Start - here.

TQ:  What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Michael:  I tend to get almost all my ideas from dreams. I keep a note pad on my nightstand so I can write them down as I have them. So when I'm having trouble figuring out a plot point, I tend to literally "sleep on it" to find the solution.

TQ:  Who are some of your favorite writers? Who do you feel has influenced your writing?

Michael:  Neil Gaiman and Susannah Clarke are two that I draw the most inspiration from. They both have such an eloquent way of folding human elements into fantastic situations. They never lose sight of the emotional weight of the what their characters are experiencing.

TQ:   Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Michael:  I fall somewhere in between. I have a clear sense of where I want to go, but I'm often surprised by how I get there. It's like a half-planned road trip. Discovery is part of the fun.

TQ:  What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Michael:  Finding the time, and a story you're passionate enough to live with for a number of years. It's like a sprint and a marathon at the same time. You have to be just slightly crazy to make it work!

TQ:  Describe Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling in 140 characters or less.

Michael:  2 cups Jane Eyre, 6 oz of Lovecraft, and a tbsp of Tim Burton. Serve with ice cream.

TQ:  What inspired you to write Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling?

Michael:  Charlotte Markham began life, quite literally, as a dream: an English governess stood on the side of a dirt road with her two young orphaned charges as they consulted a homemade map. They were debating whether or not to enter a forest up ahead and I knew, as dreamers often do, that something terrible awaited them in the woods. I remember waking up and being fascinated with where they were going. I felt the most lovely combination of dread and excitement, because I knew that their journey would be extraordinary, terrible, and wonderful, even if I remained uncertain about their final destination. The dream stayed with me, but didn't really crystallize until my mother died of cancer at the age of 44. I dreamt of her nearly every night afterwards, and though we both acknowledged in the dream that she was still dead, we continued to have a relationship. The idea fascinated me, and I quickly realized that the children from my previous dream were looking for a way to reconnect with their dead mother.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do for Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling?

Michael:  I reread a lot of the books that inspired me to write in the first place. For me it wasn't so much about recreating a specific time period, but tapping into the "tone" that runs through some of my favorite books, like Wuthering Heights, Coraline, Jonathan Strange, and others.

TQ:  Who was the easiest character to write and why? Hardest and why?

Michael:  James was the easiest, because deep down I'm not sure I ever stopped being an excitable five years old. The hardest was probably Duncan, since he had to convey a lot without really saying anything.

TQ:  Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling?

Michael:  The fairytales were my favorite bits to write, but as a reader, the scenes with Duncan and the candle wax people.

TQ:  What's next?

Michael:  I'm working on my second novel, which is inspired by the works of Lewis Carroll, C. S. Lewis, and J. M. Barrie. It's a book about children placed into fantastic situations, but written for adults. I hope to be done with my first draft sometime early next year!

TQ:   Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Michael:  My pleasure! Thank you so much for having me.

Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling

Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling
William Morrow Paperbacks, July 24, 2012
Trade Paperback and eBook, 320 pages

When the nanny to the young Darrow boys is found mysteriously murdered on the outskirts of the village of Blackfield, Charlotte Markham, the recently hired governess, steps in to take over their care. During an outing in the forest, they find themselves crossing over into The Ending, "the place for the Things Above Death," where Lily Darrow, the late mother of the children, has been waiting. She invites them into the House of Darkling, a wondrous place filled with enchantment, mystery, and strange creatures that appear to be, but are not quite, human.

However, everything comes with a price, and as Charlotte begins to understand the unspeakable bargain Mrs. Darrow has made for a second chance at motherhood, she uncovers a connection to the sinister occurrences in Blackfield and enters into a deadly game with the master of Darkling—one whose outcome will determine the fate of not just the Darrows but the world itself.

Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling is a Victorian Gothic tale about family ties, the realm beyond the living, and the price you pay to save those you love.

About Michael

Michael Boccacino's poetry has been published in the St. Petersburg Times. He currently lives in New York City. This is his first novel.


The Giveaway


What:  One commenter will win a copy of Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling from The Qwillery.

How:  Leave a comment answering one of the following questions:

What is one of your favorite Gothic novels?
What is one of your favorite fairy tales?

Please remember - if you don't answer one of  the question your entry will not be counted.

You may receive additional entries by:

1)   Being a Follower of The Qwillery.

2)   Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.

There are a total of 3 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry) and Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry).  This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.

Please leave links for Facebook or Twitter mentions. You MUST leave a way to contact you.

Who and When:  The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Sunday, September 2, 2012. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*


  1. My favorite fairy tale is Beauty and the Beast. When I was younger I loved the Little Mermaid Disney version but then I read the full story and it was pretty gruesome.

  2. My favorite fairy tale is The Twelve Dancing Princesses. It has always fascinated me. I read the Grimm versions as a child and they have always stayed with me.

    What a fabulous interview! This author is new to me- but like him, I am a huge fan of Neil Gaiman. This book sounds interesting (I love Jane Eyre). Thanks so much for sharing! I would love to win.

    GFC follower: Jessica Haight/DMS (old follower- Google has been switching the name)
    email: haightjess at gmail dot com


  3. The MONK by Matthew Gregory Lewis, published in 1796. I had to do a college paper on the development of the Gothic novel, and I enjoyed this more than the The Castle of Otranto, a 1764 novel by Horace Walpole.

  4. One of my all-time favorite Gothics is Melmoth the Wanderer by Charles Maturin!

    Thanks for another amazing giveaway!
    elizabeth @ bookattict . com (subscribed)
    GFC: BookAttict
    Shared on Facebook:

  5. I like the Cinderella fairy tale.

    I follow the blog.


  6. I enjoy a good gothic romance. I Love the books of Laura Kinsale. They are a bit off of what would be considered historical romance or gothic. But there is always a surprise in her books that brings me back over and over again. My only regret is that there aren't more of her books out there. I would love to read your book. It sounds like a wonderful read.

  7. I love Gothic stories but I cannot say I have a favorite - favorite theme maybe. I do enjoy fairy tales. I like Sleeping Beauty.
    debby236 at gmail dot com
    I am a follower

  8. I love Beauty and the Beast. That is my favorite fairytale. Please enter me in contest. I am a follower and email subscriber.

  9. BEAUTY & THE BEAST would be my absolute favorite Fairy Tale.

    GFC: Mary Preston


  10. My favorite fairytale is Sleeping Beauty. I posted on twitter the giveaway and I'm a follower (Nikki Magante). My email is

  11. What is one of your favorite fairy tales?

    Toads and Diamonds

    To receive additional entries:

    I am a Follower of The Qwillery.

    I tweeted the giveaway!

    - lavendersbluegreen(at)yahoo(dot)com

  12. I admit, I haven't read many Gothic novels, but I totally love fairy tales, especially those by the Brothers Grimm - one of my fav's is Sleeping Beauty!

    +1 GFC follower (Birgit)

    danaan at gmx dot at