Thursday, January 5, 2012

Guest post with Robin Bridges

Happy New Year Everyone!  

With a new year comes a new group of debut authors.  I always like to find out how authors come up with ideas and how they find a balance between the parts of their story based on actual events and the parts that began in the authors mind.  Robin Bridges is the author of The Gathering Storm which will be released January 10, 2012.  I wanted to know how Robin balances historical fiction and the paranormal.  Thank you Robin for taking the time to share with us!

By Robin Bridges:
I’m not sure I would have had the guts to start writing the Katerina books if I’d known how much research would be involved.  It’s not that I hate research- in fact I love it a little too much.  I can spend hours online reading obscure old books on Google, or just looking at old photographs on the website for the Encyclopaedia of Saint Petersburg.  I fell in love with the Russian Silver Age after reading a book about the history of the actor Stanislavsky and the Moscow Art Theater.  And of course, there’s the research for all the fun things I needed to know for this book, like practical necromancy or ancient Egyptian magic.

Author Gail Carriger has helpful advice for researching on her blog: one of her hints is to focus on primary sources.  Since I can’t read Russian very well, I’ve had to scour the internet for good translations. The forums at the Alexander Palace Time Machine provided a wealth of information, including some of the electronic versions of the earliest books written about the Romanovs.  And oh, the photographs! 

I’ve used Librarything as an online bibliography of sorts to keep up with all my Katerina sources.  Every book I buy or check out of the library that has anything to do with Imperial Russian history has been added to my list.  The jewel of my collection is a 1968 copy of Mara Kay’s children’s book, MASHA, about a young Russian girl during the reign of Alexander I.  I’m still looking for an affordable copy of the sequel, THE YOUNGEST LADY-IN-WAITING. Alas, the least expensive copy on Amazon at the moment is $895!

Russian culture is teeming with superstition.  It wasn’t hard for me to imagine a Saint Petersburg filled with vampires and other monsters.  When I reread my favorite Russian fairy tales about Koschei the Deathless and Baba Yaga, I also read about firebirds and bogatyrs.  Digging into other Eastern European mythology, I discovered veshtizas and strigas.  Want a hint about what’s next for Katerina?  For Book 2, I’ve been reading a lot about ceremonial magic and the secret magical orders of the late 19th century.  (Think Aleister Crowley and the Order of the Golden Dawn.)

So my research has been a blend of history and folklore.  A little occult history. And watching lots of YouTube videos. I haven’t been able to go and see the grand palaces of the Romanovs, so I do the next best thing and watch them here:

Love to read historical paranormals?  Here are some of my favorites!
Saundra Mitchell’s The Vespertine
Sonia Gensler’s The Revenant
Libba Bray’s Gemma Doyle trilogy
Colleen Gleason’s Gardella Vampire Chronicles
Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series
Marissa Doyle’s Leland Sisters books


  1. Loved this book and really enjoyed the setting - fancy balls!!! :)

  2. Can't wait for this book. Russian history is full some outrageous characters that will definitely make for a rich background. Wish the publisher would have picked me ;( Guess I'll have to wait like everyone else.

  3. Can't wait for this book. day dreaming