Friday, May 12, 2017

Night Writer - R.C. Matthews

I'm so excited to have author R.C. Matthews join me here today to talk about her Gothic inspirations and welcome you to a pirate's life.

R.C. Matthews is the author of contemporary and gothic romances featuring bold, sassy heroines and magnetic alpha heroes. Warning! The chemistry between her characters is off the charts hot, so read at your own risk. She resides in the Midwest and is surrounded by men: her husband and three sons. During her free time you'll find her watching The Walking Dead, reading a fabulous book or hanging out with her family.

So, tell us about your series.

I’m in the midst of writing the Tortured Souls series which is set in 1880 / 1881 and follows the stories of Devlin Limmerick, Victor Blackburn and Charles Moore – three pirates bound in friendship while serving on the notorious ship, The Bloody Mary. Each man battles his own demons and suffers a tortured soul. So it stands to reason that only women who suffer their own tortured existence are capable of truly seeing the worth of each man beneath his stony exterior. These courageous women will face their men and provide exactly what each longs for in his hour of need. Grace … Mercy … and Hope.

DEVIL’S COVE: Captain Devlin Limmerick, the pirate feared as the Devil on the high seas, eagerly takes ownership of an abandoned manor in his quest for vengeance on his past. Only Grace, a beautiful but blind medium, can aid him with his nefarious plan. Yet even though she finds herself drawn to the Devil’s darkness, she refuses to sacrifice her soul to set his revenge in motion. Plunged into the throes of passion and danger, their skills will be tested beyond any foes they’ve ever faced.
Don't miss an excerpt of the DEVIL’S COVE below.

BLACKBURN CASTLE: Victor Blackburn shouldn’t have to pay for the sins of one of his ancestors with a brutal death at the age of twenty-seven. His only hope for survival is a young witch capable of casting the counter spell to the Blackburn curse. It seems simple enough; find Mercy Limmerick and drag her to Blackburn Castle in the Scottish Highlands. But nothing in Victor’s life has ever been simple. He killed Mercy’s mother. Now she wants him dead. The clock is ticking. Can he find a way to break through her hate, and can she find it in her heart to forgive him before it’s too late?

THE RIVER ROAD: Charles Moore relishes the dangerous life of a pirate where he earned the nickname, Hatchet. The daily toil of manning a clipper ship keeps his mind off the brutal loss of two loves of his life. Both dead for the crime of having given him their hearts. He cannot ignore the whispers anymore that the Voodoo Queen hexed his family. So when he returns to New Orleans at the request of his ailing mother, he will move heaven and earth to banish the curse with the assistance of a high priestess. Madam Hope Leblonc bristles under the Black Codes that forced her practice of voodoo underground, and stripped her of so many freedoms she enjoyed before the civil war. So when the ship carrying an ancient voodoo relic of her ancestors is set upon on the high seas and a dark, brooding pirate visits her brothel, Hope is a little more than suspicious of his motives. Can Hatchet restore Hope’s faith in the beauty of a white man’s soul?

Was there anything specific that drew you to this genre?

I’m a big fan of romance, paranormal and horror stories. Gothic romance offers a little of each and features an imperfect hero who is dark and mysterious. That’s simply irresistible for me. And the heroines are no milksops. They need a backbone to face the snarly heroes. Add mansions … hauntings … curses … dark passages … secrets … unsavory staff. I love it!

What is your favorite Dark/Gothic novel?

I have to pick just one? Dracula is a classic and holds a special place in my heart. My love affair with vampires hasn’t waned since I first read it. But more recently, I could not put down Dark Prince by Eve Silver and The Darkest Frost by Tanya Homes was fascinating and unique.

What is your favorite Gothic motif? Any particular reason why?

My favorite gothic element is the haunted space – whether that’s a castle, manor, abbey, woods, or ship. It is that feeling of being watched. Of danger lurking. Or discovering something horrible. I have no idea why. Guess I’m strange that way – loving it when I’m scared out of my wits. My husband laughs at me whenever I scream or hold onto his arm tight during tense scenes.

Which resource/s helped you the most in researching for or writing the Tortured Souls series?

Honestly? I started with Google and ‘gothic fiction’ in the search engine. There aren’t a ton of in-depth resources. You get bits and pieces at each website and follow the breadcrumbs. I searched ‘tragic heroes’, ‘gothic themes’, ‘gothic motifs’, and ‘gothic elements’. I read about the four types of dark heroes: satanic, Byronic, herculean and promethean. In addition, I wrote notes about what elements I adored in all of my favorite gothic stories. Personally, I enjoy writing gothic stories that have a paranormal aspect to them, but that isn’t essential. Maybe that’s what I love about the genre – there is so much flexibility around what you can include in your story.

Here are two resources that are brief but to the point:

Do you have plans to continue writing in this genre? If so, is there anything you would be willing to share about it?

Absolutely. I’m writing book three in the Tortured Souls series now but plan to write many more in the future. I’ve been mulling over a gothic story set in Detroit. There are so many gorgeous gothic homes in Detroit which are deserving of a story. I’d love to find more settings in the US for gothic romance.

And finally, is there anything else you would like to share with others who write or are looking into writing Dark/Gothic Romance?

The storyline for Devil’s Cove originated from a picture of an abandoned ballroom. So I follow ‘Creepy Things’ on Facebook, hoping another picture will strike me for a great gothic story. I’ll also troll through #gothic on Twitter occasionally. I’ve searched the internet for other gothic forums but haven’t found many. There must be others out there like me who love gothic stories so please let me know of any other groups or forums out there that I can join!

Thank you so much for sharing!

☙ Shadow ❧

Places you can find R.C. Matthews.


Excerpt from DEVIL’S COVE:

A gust of wind blew through Grace’s hair, sending gooseflesh racing down her arms and reminding her why she despised sitting close to the tavern entrance. Only this time it was different as a hush settled over the boisterous room. Grace cocked her head to one side and listened closely. Nothing but the hiss of the gas lanterns could be heard. Not even the telltale squeak of the wooden floorboards as Mercy Seymour made her rounds, racing from table to table in a never-ending attempt to keep the tankards full. This was odd, indeed.

But even odder was the sense of foreboding that crept into Grace’s veins. She inhaled a deep breath, and her nostrils itched. Fear had a distinctive scent, and the air was rife with it. She shivered.

Mercy shuffled past Grace’s table, mumbling under her breath, and just like that, the muted voices resumed and the unsettling moment passed. As the clanking of forks against plates grew louder, Grace exhaled and tuned out every last speck of noise, homing in on the conversation taking place at the entrance. Ever since she had gone blind at the age of seven, her cochlear and olfactory nerves had sharpened to an astonishing level, almost as if God mourned the loss of her sight as much as she had and gifted her with heightened sense of sound, taste, and smell.

“Evening, sir,” Mercy said with the tiniest of tremors lilting on her words. “I’ve a fine table for you this way. Please follow me.”

The floorboards groaned under a heavy set of boots, and a mixture of fresh sea air and sandalwood assaulted Grace’s senses. She bit down on her lip when the footsteps paused, and her fingers tensed around the fork and knife she held steady over her plate. His heavenly scent enveloped her; he must be a fine fellow to smell so good. Her heartbeat thumped painfully against her ribs, and she hated herself in that moment for falling victim to vanity. However, she couldn’t help but wonder if the man stared at her in disgust, drawn with a morbid curiosity to gawk at the sightless spheres that rested in her eye sockets.

Her mother had gazed often into her eyes and proclaimed their beauty when she was a child. Bluer than the bluest sky on a bright spring morning. That was a long time ago and much had changed. The brothers of the priory couldn’t afford much, but she was thankful for the simple prosthetic eyes they’d procured. Brother Anselm assured her the dark-brown shade was appealing.

She shoved the treasured memory to the back of her mind and resumed cutting a piece of roasted beef on her plate. Let the man stare if he must. Bowing her head, she pulled the fork toward her mouth and welcomed the taste of the savory beef, seasoned to perfection. It melted on her tongue, tender as it was.

The footfalls resumed against the wooden planks, and the noise of the tavern reached its normal deafening pitch. Grace lifted her head toward her supper mate as the tension left her body. She must know about the newest patron of The Black Serpent. That he should bring the entire establishment to dead silence spoke volumes about the man, yet she yearned for specifics.

“Brother Anselm,” she began, licking her lips. “Please.”

She needn’t say more. After living in each other’s company for nearly fifteen years, he understood her plea. What she didn’t know was whether he would comply and provide the details she sought.

A soft chortle from across the table was enough to bring a smile to her face. Brother Anselm was amused, so the tale must be a good one. As she waited for him to collect his thoughts, she fished for a potato on her plate. They were always the largest pieces, and her fork sank into them with ease. She speared a tasty morsel and bit into it, delighting at the creamy gravy rolling over her tongue.

“It’s Captain Devlin Limmerick,” Brother Anselm said in a hushed tone.

Grace stopped in midchew and her stomach fell to the floor. “The pirate?”

“Privateer,” he countered. “Or at least that is what he would have the good people of Devil’s Cove believe. He has taken residence at Devil’s Cove Manor. Can you imagine?”

She forced the potato down her throat and washed it away with a sip of ale. That was only one of many rumors she’d heard about the man. A shudder ran through her. “No, I can’t imagine living there. The man must be the very devil himself to reside in a mansion reputed to house the gatekeeper of Hell. Pray tell, does he look like the devil?”

“Ah, my dear girl,” Brother Anselm said with an amused lilt. “You cannot believe the nonsensical rumors whispered about the gatekeeper. But the man … should you like to hear that his hair is black as night, and that he sports a chiseled jaw capable of ripping his opponents to shreds? Tall, with rippled muscles that will crush every foe? Eyes so dark and sinister that to even look into their depths would send a man screaming in the other direction?”

Grace’s lips twitched as the heat of a blush rushed up her neck and into her cheeks. That was exactly what she wished to hear. But from the sound of her mentor’s voice, it wasn’t entirely the case.

“Oh, that would be fine, indeed,” she said on a sigh. “Is it not so?”

Brother Anselm laughed and pulled her hand into his. “I would liken him to an archangel. Golden hair kept long and pulled away at the nape of his neck. Quite unconventional. Chiseled jaw, that much is true. But his eyes. From what I could see in this dim light, I believe they must be as dark blue as the fathomless sea upon which he commands his ships.”

Not what she had been hoping for, but all was not lost. There must be more to the man in order to command a room with only his presence. Perhaps he towered over everyone and wielded an axe or sword. Yes, that would do nicely. “Would you say he’s as big as Goliath?”

“Quite,” came the answer from an amused baritone at the edge of their table, and Grace froze.

Good Lord, the pirate was standing right there. Brother Anselm could’ve forewarned her, at the very least.


  1. Thanks for having me on your blog!

    1. The pleasure is all mine! Thank you for sharing all of your insights and the world of Tortured Souls!