It's my tradition to do a desktop post when I have a new story release, showing images that inspired my story. "The Black Dog" is in "claw", the 3rd gothika. It's a gothic m/m anthology with three novellas by myself, Jamie Fessenden, and Kim Fielding. The theme of the claw anthology is beast shifters. Jamie and Kim's stories feature werewolf shifters and mine, a massive black hound.
I love gothic stories and horror movies. Both of my previous gothika stories were influenced by some of my favorite books or movies. ("Wuthering Heights" and "Frankenstein" for stitch's "Reparation" and "I Walked with a Zombie" and "Wide Sargasso Sea" for bone's "The Bird").
The inspiration for "The Black Dog" comes from "Hound of the Baskervilles" by Sir Conan Doyle.
I love this Sherlock Holmes story, the mood and atmosphere of it. Though I have to admit always been a little disappointed that the 'solution' to the mystery ends up not being paranormal at all. In "The Black Dog", that's not the case. SAY NO MORE.
Initially, I was going to do a modern take on "Hound of the Baskervilles", sticking true to the original plotline. But as I began working on it, I wasn't satisfied with that and I decided I needed to pull in some other influences and go my own way.
LOCH NESS MONSTER
I liked the idea of having a legendary creature in my story, and a small town where monster-hunters might go to try to track down this legend. I'm a fan of TV shows where people are trying to track down Big Foot and other fabled beasts. "The Black Dog" is set in Scotland and the legend of the Black Dog (which is fictional) is the only thing bringing in dribs and drabs of tourists to the tiny Northern Scotland hamlet where my story is set. The Black Dog is like a poor cousin to the Loch Ness Monster.
SCOTLAND AND HAMISH MACBETH
Gothic stories are defined by their setting. It's critical to have someplace that feels mysterious, spooky, and isolated, where the normal safeguards and rules don't apply.
I decided to set "The Black Dog" in an isolated region on the northern coast of Scotland. Why? Well, first I felt the story had to be on the British Isles because the original inspiration, "Hound of the Baskervilles" is a very British story. But I wanted someplace that would still be very remote in the current day.
I decided on Scotland, primarily due to my love of the TV series "Hamish MacBeth". Hamish is a constable in a small town in Scotland and I loved the rural, isolated feeling of the show. What a great place for a spooky tale! The show was also the inspiration for my main character, Hayden, who is a constable in the small Scottish town of Laide.
More pics of my setting:
Hayden, my main MC, is a huge "almost ginger" Scotsman, a police constable, patient and steady. Simon calls him "Mount MacLairty". Yes, he's big. He's the seventh son of a seventh son, and he loves living in the tiny hamlet of Laide and wouldn't have it any other way, despite the fact that all his older siblings have moved to big cities and the modern world.
I don't really have a picture that does Hayden justice, but not to leave you hanging, here's a lovely Scotsman for you...
My other MC is a writer from New York. Simon is intelligent, sophisticated, he loves to travel, doesn't mind roughing it, and has made a career writing fictional stories around real monster legends. I picture him looking like a younger Neil Gaiman.
And last, but not least, some inspirational beast pics I grabbed off the web while writing:
That's it for this desktop. I hope you will give "The Black Dog" a read!