I am so pleased to kick off the blog tour for Natale Ghent’s newest release, Dark Company, out this week from Doubleday Canada, a division of Penguin Random House of Canada. Natale is an amazing and diverse author who writes beautiful and compelling stories, and this new book is no exception. I am so pleased to welcome her here today! After her post, look for the exciting giveaway and how you could win a signed copy of her Dark Company.
Although the genre of my new fantasy/paranormal book, Dark Company, may surprise readers who are familiar with my other books, it was a natural progression for me. I grew up on a staple diet of the fantastical and strange. I read every book I could find on the paranormal, the otherworldly, the mystical, the supernatural, the unexplained. As a child I loved the Narnia series, L’engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, Pinocchio, Alice in Wonderland, and obsessed over Cameron’s The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet. I lived for shows like Doctor Who, Twilight Zone, Tales From The Dark Side, The Night Stalker, Star Trek (every series in the Trek mythos), X Files, and more recently, Game of Thrones, and even True Blood, in all its campiness. My latest preoccupation is Vikings with all its mysticism and lore.
It was only a matter of time before my writing would turn in this direction. And while I delved heavily into the paranormal with my teen novel, The Book of Living and Dying, and lightly in my YA novel, The Odds Get Even, it took many years after those two novels before Dark Company was born.
I started writing Dark Company nine years ago. The idea came to me while driving alone in the car: one of the main characters climbed into the passenger seat, buckled herself in and rode with me for hours on the way home from some distant northern location. I didn’t know who she was or who she would become but it was clear she had an agenda: she wanted me to write her story.
She had two very unique aspects to her personality—two separate girls in one—connected by something unbreakable, something unforgiveable. She engaged me for the entire trip, and by the end it was evident she would not be brushed off lightly. She was larger than life and surrounded in a soft blue light; she was friendly and encouraging and she seemed so real.
The book began as a script. I’d studied script writing at UCSD (University of California, San Diego) as part of my writing studies years before, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to exercise that muscle. I thought the subject matter would make a better movie than a novel, and so that’s how I approached it.
Originally, it was meant to be a joint effort between my husband and me—at least, that’s what I had hoped. He is one of the most casually creative thinkers I know, and I have always yearned to collaborate with someone on a writing project. I also wanted to write something that would allow me to entertain some of the notions I’d been pondering since childhood. This also meant that one of my characters had to use a bow and arrow; I was a dedicated disciple of the discipline as a teen and was rarely seen without my gear. I still have an interest in it. So I told my husband about the girl and the duality of her character, and we brainstormed at the dining room table for hours.
Afterward, I had the very rough beginnings of a story. But it was obvious I was going to have to go it alone. I was too focused and my husband was too casual, and so I took the beginnings of my story and sequestered myself in my office to write. The girl patiently kept me company the entire way—through stops and starts, through the writing of other books contracted in between, through the evolution of the script it once was into the novel it became, and so much more.
Eventually, I emerged, first draft in hand—a story of two girls torn between two worlds: Caddy, the earth-bound visionary with her head in the stars, and Skylark, the ethereal demon hunter, bound to the earth by a love she can neither maintain nor relinquish. I’m hoping Dark Company is the first of many such novels for me, though I can never really predict where the writing road will take me.
You can find out more about Dark Company at www.darkcompanybook.com.
Now for the contest: The lovely people at Doubleday Canada (Penguin Random House) have offered a signed copy of Dark Company! In order to enter, all you need to do is to leave a comment below that answers our question: Natale explains how she used to go everywhere with a bow and arrow, while I had a fancy for fencing. What weapon or sport do you wish you could learn, or have learned over your life? Please note that this contest is limited to Canadian residents only. Entries will be closed at the end of the blog tour, and winners will be notified by email – please leave your email (example: your name AT provider DOT ca) so that you may be contacted.