Thursday, 1 May 2014

Introducing The Insatiable by Ginger Myrick

I'd like to introduce you, if you haven't already met, to my good friend and author Ginger Myrick. I have read and loved her novel,  The Welsh Healer, and although I haven't yet started it, I know this one will be just as absorbing. Her new novel is called Insatiable and is an alternative look at Marie Antionette of 'Let them eat cake' fame (although I am reliably informed she never really said that).
Take it away, Ginger, tell us all about it.

INSATIABLE: A MACABRE HISTORY OF FRANCE ~ L’AMOUR: MARIE ANTOINETTE is my latest release. It is a work of alternate history and borderline horror. For the most part it is historically accurate in respect to the documentation and timeline, so much so that people who know Marie Antoinette’s story will find enough to feel a comfortable sense of familiarity … for a while!
It begins predictably enough with the birth of Archduchess Maria Antonia Josepha Johanna in the Hofburg Palace and continues on in the same historical manner, covering such events as the handover ceremony at the Rhine, where she is stripped of all vestiges of her homeland including her little pug, Mops. She enters the building on one side an Austrian archduchess and exits on French soil as Dauphine Marie Antoinette. From there I move on to her glittering wedding at Versailles where she goes through the official marriage ceremony with Dauphin Louis-Auguste. The reader is taken through the strange and uber-public customs established by the Sun King and enforced by the Comtesse de Noailles, or as Marie Antoinette dubbed her Madame Etiquette. The story references her mother’s harassing letters and the constant presence of Maria Theresa’s spy, Count Mercy. Louis XV, Madame du Barry, the Princesse de Lamballe, the Duchesse de Polignac, Axel Fersen—all make their respective appearances. It’s all there, from the masked balls in Paris and her reveling at le Petit Trianon to the expensive construction of her perfect little fairytale village le Hameau de la Reine.
Lié Louis Périn-Salbreux [Public domain]
The rest of the book is not meant to feel comfortable or predictable. I apologize. It’s just my way. Marie Antoinette is known for her extravagance with all of her gorgeous custom-made gowns, her diamond jewelry, and towering wigs, so why would I turn it into a horror story? Well, because this story screams horror. Look what came after all the fun. Her downfall was swift and brutal beginning with L’Affaire du Collier, continuing with the storming of the Bastille and Versailles, and culminating in the French Revolution in all its bloody glory. My goodness! It was bad enough before I started with it. Even just the guillotine gives me the shivers, let alone the massacres with heads on pikes and market women declaring that they wanted to carve Marie Antoinette up and make cockades out of her entrails. I’ve just given a more macabre explanation for the violence is all.
It says right in the blurb that there is “a mysterious plague causing a sinister transformation in the residents of Paris,” and it does more that just that. I attribute the origins of some of the historical events to the mysterious (and fictional) plague and its victims. There are many documented instances during the life of Marie Antoinette with undocumented causes, even unexplainable behaviors, like Louis-Auguste’s fascination with locks (a decidedly un-kingly hobby) and the overwhelming presence of dogs in the palace. As an historical novelist, it’s my job to exploit exactly these sorts of loopholes and gray areas in history to write an interesting and believable story, but I think I’ve taken that premise to new heights with this one!
I also put a spin on the propaganda against Marie Antoinette, taking the line that some of the
The Storming of the Bastille, Henry Singleton [Public domain]
assertions were true despite the fact that there was never any solid proof to back them up. (There must be something going on for people to imagine it! Right?) I stick with the assumption of Louis XVI’s impotence, although I attribute it to a fictional medical condition. There were also stories asserted by the libelles—basically the National Enquirer of the time—that Marie Antoinette and her brother-in-law, the Comte d’Artois, had an affair. This also plays a major part in the book. I adopt the assertion that she and Axel von Fersen were lovers, which although widely accepted has never been conclusively proven. I also make her enmity with Madame du Barry into something more than a simple clash of personalities.
But, I don’t want potential readers to think this book is wholly one thing or the other. I don’t want them to be put off by the horror aspect, because that is only a part of it. Some of the scenes get graphic, but hey! It was a revolution! There is so much more to the story than that. There is a sweet and touching family depiction and a passionate love story at the core. There are some scenes in it that are so touching that I cry each time I read them. My Louis XVI is valiant and decent, if indecisive, and Louis-Joseph, the first Dauphin, is as sweet and pitiable as his reputation holds. In fact, I think I’ve done a pretty good job capturing the personalities of all the main characters, at least I hope I have. I also try to give a well-rounded look at the political picture if not a detailed account. But that is where the story diverges from the path of straight historical fiction into alternate history. The result is the same, it’s just a different and slightly more twisted journey!
Not only have I put my spin on Marie Antoinette’s story, I plan to do the same with other French notables, as well! This book is part of a series. I originally thought to do only a trilogy but have since revised my opinion. I think I have enough interesting ideas to do at least four books without the premise becoming hackneyed. The next will be about Napoleon and the subsequent one about Catherine de’ Medici. I’m still debating the others. Please stay tuned.

INSATIABLE is now available for a discounted introductory price at:

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Photo's from WikimediaCommons

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for hosting me, Judith! I am ever grateful for your generosity and support. It means the world!