It’s always great to be involved with a blogtour, especially when the book is something as unique and slightly Gothic as Beneath the Skin.
Published by Polygon and written by Sandra Ireland this was one book I was looking forward to reading.
My full review is now available to read Here
But in the meantime I am delighted to host Sandra Ireland with a wonderful guest post she has written for us entitled :
‘Why Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein still inspires’
I’ll hand you over to Sandra now…
‘First of all. Let’s reclaim that monster!
Frankenstein is NOT the monster. Mary Shelley’s story is named after Dr Victor Frankenstein, a brilliant, ambitious scientist who creates his creature because he can. He has power and the knowledge to carry out the act, but not the wisdom or the compassion to live with the consequences of his actions.
The monster remains nameless. Living on the very edge of civilisation, it has no identity, no roots, no family and no mother.
Are we beginning to relate to it yet?
Let’s take a look at Mary Shelley and the context in which she gave birth to her ‘hideous progeny’. I’m convinced that you can prise the story from the writer, but you can’t take the writer out of the story!
Mary was just eighteen when she wrote this novel, living in the shadow of her radical, reckless love Percy Bysshe Shelley. The ultimate tortured poet, Shelley was destitute and in exile, careering around the Continent with his young wife in tow, meeting up with the other Bad Boys of Romantic Rock (Poetry). Frankenstein was the result of a contest; a boozy one-night-stand of ghostly storytelling on the shores of Lake Geneva. Among those present were Shelley, Byron, John Polidori (Byron’s physician, who dreamed up The Vampyre that same night) and Mary Shelley.
It was Mary who took the task to heart. The previous year (1815), Mary had lost a baby, a little girl, within two weeks of her birth. A journal entry from this period is very telling.
‘Dreamt that my little baby came to life again, and it had only been cold, and that we rubbed it before the fire and it lived.’
Frankenstein is a tale about life, about creation, dysfunctional families, power trips and mind games. Innocence is at the heart of it all, and the corruption of that innocence when those who wield the power can’t, or won’t, step up to the plate. As a writer, this novel contains all the most powerful markers of the human condition.
My own debut novel Beneath the Skin contains several nods to this epic tale.
My protagonist Robert ‘Walt’ Walton is named after Shelley’s narrator, an explorer who frames the narrative and becomes obsessed with this tale of terror and concealment, violence and victimhood.
William, Mouse’s little boy, echoes the child in Frankenstein. Shelley’s William is a golden child tarnished by the mistakes of others. The taxidermy in my book is, in a sense, reanimated life. The reader cannot escape those ‘dead yellow eyes’!
Pick up a copy of Frankenstein. Who knows what inspiration you might find between the covers!’
Sandra Ireland’s debut novel Beneath the Skin is out now in paperback and ebook and is available to purchase Here
What an absolutely wonderful piece of writing, just in time for Halloween from Sandra Ireland!!
Thank you so much Sandra for visiting Swirl and Thread!
You can check out more about Sandra on her website
Don’t forget to continue following the tour at the dates in poster below.