FLOATS THE DARK SHADOW
BY YVES FEY
Pub date: September, 2012
Casebound: ISBN 978-1-937356-20-0
Trade paper: ISBN 978-1-937356-21-7
Kindle: ISBN 978-1-937356-22-4
SAN FRANCISCO, CA—FLOATS THE DARK SHADOW is a literary mystery set in the decadent world of Belle Époque Paris. Yves Fey’s debut novel tells a haunting tale of aspiring artist Theodora Faraday and Detective Michel Devaux as they find themselves at odds over the disappearance and murder of neighborhood children. “I want readers to have their surrounding world dissolve,” says Ms. Fey. “I hope they’ll be swept back to that golden, exhilarating era and find beauty and terror embraced there.”
Yves Fey has an MFA in Creative Writing from Eugene Oregon, and a BA in Pictorial Arts from UCLA. She has read, written, and created art from childhood. A chocolate connoisseur, she's won prizes for her desserts. Her current fascination is creating perfumes. She's traveled to many countries in Europe and lived for two years in Indonesia. She currently lives in the San Francisco area with her husband and three cats. Writing as Gayle Feyrer and Taylor Chase, she previously published unusually dark and mysterious historical romances.
Synopsis of FLOATS THE DARK SHADOW:
Young American painter Theodora Faraday struggles to become an artist in Belle Époque Paris. She’s tasted the champagne of success, illustrating poems for the Revenants, a group of poets led by her adored cousin, Averill. When children she knows vanish mysteriously, Theo confronts Inspecteur Michel Devaux who suspects the Revenants are involved. Theo refuses to believe the killer could be a friend—could be the man she loves. Classic detection and occult revelation lead Michel and Theo through the dark underbelly of Paris, from catacombs to asylums, to the obscene ritual of a Black Mass. Following the maze of clues they discover the murderer believes he is the reincarnation of the most evil serial killer in the history of France—Gilles de Rais. Once Joan of Arc’s lieutenant, after her death he plunged into an orgy of evil. The Church burned him at the stake for heresy, sorcery, and the depraved murder of hundreds of peasant children. Whether deranged mind or demonic passion incite him, the killer must be found before he strikes again.
Q: Here’s a question that always gets asked, but readers are always curious: how did you get started writing?
YF: I always loved books, especially pretty illustrated books when I was a child. After my father’s death when I was ten I burrowed into books so I could live in another world for a time. Writing? I don’t remember now if it was inspiration or an assignment, but I wrote a short story in 6th grade where the heroine opened the scene dusting a marble bust of Athena or some such thing. My teacher praised the unusual detail, so I decided I knew how to write. After that, I frequently wrote short stories and poetry until I went to college. There I embarked on the Great American Novel. I even finished it, but no one understood it, including me.
Q: What has been the most important influence on your writing?
YF: The books I love. The movies I love. Mostly, I’ve learned through osmosis – and good critiques. I almost never read how-to books, though I’ve gleaned a few glittery bits here and there. All these things combined with the desire to venture into other times and places.
Q: Do you have a favorite author?
YF: Many favorites. The greats—Shakespeare, Dostoyevsky, Tolkien, Hardy, Faulkner. In mystery I love both old and new authors—Megan Abbott, Raymond Chandler, Dorothy Sayers, Michael Connelly, among others.
Q: What spurred your fascination with Paris?
YF: It was love at first sight—seven years old and watching An American in Paris.
Q: Your ancestry isn’t French?
YF: Scotch-English and German—but probably French in an earlier incarnation. Paris feels like a second home.
Q: Do you stay historically accurate when you write, or do you like to play with history?
YF: I’ve researched carefully and tried hard to stay true to particular events, but I’ve discovered in tracking down odd discrepancies that being perfectly accurate is a pipe dream. When I could not confirm something or it was not particularly significant, I went with what was best dramatically. The cycles of the moon in Floats the Dark Shadow are accurate, but the weather suits the mood of the chapter. I hope the reader will not chastise me if they uncover a faux pas, but view my world as an alternate reality to our historical Paris.
Q: Why did you switch from romance to mystery?
YF: At first, I didn’t think I could successfully plot a mystery, but then my romances evolved with dark, twisted plots. While I love happy endings, I love sad endings too. Classic romance was often tragic, but the modern romance genre wants happily ever after every time. I didn’t want to be bound to that. I like to explore darkness. I did like writing the steamy scenes in romance—which are much curtailed in mystery.
Q: You like darkness?
YF: Psychological labyrinths that lead into a fascinating abyss, yes. Urban grunge and squalor sends me fleeing in search of happy endings.
Q: What next for Theo and Michel?
YF: In the next book the Dreyfus case erupts, splitting Paris into warring camps. The murders are committed against that backdrop of anti-Semitic riots, letting me explore the theme of prejudice against not just the Jews, but gays and women as well—and the relative lack of prejudice against Blacks in France. After that—well there’s a character locked away in an asylum, the World’s Fair in on the horizon, and the French police were known to have sent detectives to America. Michel may end up in California. The main characters continue to fascinate me, but Lilias the courtesan and Blaise the criminal kingpin are both asking for leading roles as well.
Q: And you’re now designing perfumes? How did that come about?
YF: It began as a quest for fragrances I couldn’t find—the perfect dark spicy rose, the ultimate gardenia. I fear the gardenia is unattainable, but I’ve done a shadowy rose I loved. But the real spur was the idea of creating perfumes inspired by the book, by the characters or even just the mood of the world. Theo still eludes me, but I have a wonderful Michel fragrance brewing, and a dreamy concoction that is an homage to The Green Fairy, absinthe.
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