Bethany Griffin - The Fall
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10 Random Things about The Fall
(in no particular order)

1. I wrote the Fall before Masque of the Red Death.

2. There is a version in chronological order. In fact, several times during the editing process I put the scenes in order so that I could make sure everything was consistent. There is a chronologically ordered word file on my computer and a color coded file in a big binder on my bookshelf. I also have a calendar of every single scene with Madeline/Roderick’s ages, and the day/month of the year to be sure that the setting details were right.

3. The first draft of the story was only 30k words. This is my shortest rough draft, and oddly enough The Fall is my longest published book. Guess I added a lot in revisions!

4. Cassandra was named for the prophetess who is doomed never to be believed in Greek Mythology. Madeline says in the book that her dog is named for “another doomed twin.”

5. At one point I had to use a thesaurus for other words for darkness.

6. Originally, like in Poe’s version, Roderick’s friend (Poe’s narrator) had no name, but in later versions it was awkward for him not to have a name, so I called him Noah and joked that he had joined ‘a sinking ship’ when he came to the House of Usher, and then remembered that the Ark didn’t sink at all, it just had a lot of animals on it. The name stuck, though!

7. Writing this book exacerbated a slight sense of claustrophobia that I’ve always had.

8. My concept of the structure of the book is that Madeline is buried alive and her life is flashing before her eyes. I don’t think you have to get that to understand/enjoy the book, in fact it might actually be frustrating to some readers, but that’s what I envisioned.

9. Unlike Madeline, I actually hate gardening. I have some friends who totally consider it their creative outlet, but I already have a creative outlet, and I really hate touching dirt with my hands.

10. There are small homages to many of Poe’s other works (and other gothic works) within the Fall, including the Black Cat, The Tell-Tale Heart, Ligeia, Berenice, and the Pit and the Pendulum. There are also multiple references to The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman.

Bonus #11, in the first draft of the Fall, Dr. Winston’s first name was William, as a sort of reference to Poe’s William Wilson…but later when I wrote Masque of the Red Death, there was Will, so Dr. Wilson was renamed Victor. You can guess that gothic reference!

 

Other Frequently Asked Questions

How did you get the idea for Masque of the Red Death?
Really, I just re-read the story for fun and realized that it would be great to expand it into a longer novel, and that I wanted characters. I’m a very character based reader.
How did Masque change from your original idea?
My first concept wasn’t historical (and therefore not steampunk). I simply hadn’t imagined a historical post-apocalyptic novel. I wrote about 20 pages before I found the idea I wanted to write…but within those twenty pages the Debauchery Club was a loud dance club. Nothing like the way it ended up, thankfully!
What is your favorite Poe story?
The Fall of the House of Usher. I love The Masque of the Red Death, but The Fall of the House of Usher will always be my favorite story.
Where did you get the name Araby?
From Poe’s book tales of the Arabesque and Grotesque. I thought Arabesque was a fascinating word, and Araby was a great name.
What is the difference between a retelling and a reimagining?
A retelling does exactly what it sounds like, it tells the original story in a different way. I call Masque a reimagining because Poe’s story can’t be found in the first book. But, if you’re looking for a masked ball, be sure to pick up book two!
How did you come up with the “Handcuffs Idea”?
Basically I needed Parker to get grounded. For a long time. What could make her parents ground her for a really long time? I asked myself. And this is what I came up with.
Is this book an autobiography?
Ha ha. Nobody ever really asked me this. But, no, it isn’t an autobiography. Only one thing in this book ever happened to me. It’s a certain scene (and not one involving handcuffs). If you can guess what scene, email me. I’ll send the first ten correct guessers a handcuffs keychain.
How are writers different than normal people?
Depends on what you think is normal. I think it’s best not to stereotype, because I don’t want to say anything that can be misinterpreted by the “normal” people.
Do you base your characters on anyone?
Not really. I mean, I start out with something, a quality or even a look or a type of person. But by the time I write about that character they take on their own sort of life and set of characteristics.
How long have you been writing?
I’ve always been writing, since before I could make words with a pencil, I was telling my mom stories and she would write them down for me. I wrote like crazy through high school, and then I kind of drifted for awhile.
How long have you been alive?
I have been alive long enough to remember when Kurt Cobain was alive and when he died. Long enough to remember before The Lord of The Rings was a movie, but not before it was a book. The first album I ever picked out and bought for myself was Madonna’s Like a Virgin.
Why are you so awesome? (disclaimer- this is an actual question, I did not make it up.)
I’m guessing this could be a combination of things, good genetics, superior sense of direction, ability to tell time on most digital clocks and on other clocks at 12 noon and midnight.
What is your worst quality?
Inability to multi-task, easily distracted. What was the question? Oh and serious internet addiction. We may need to schedule some kind of intervention soon.