Monday, February 9, 2015

The Green Muse by Jessie Prichard Hunter - Guest Post & Giveaway

Green Muse

Green Muse Cover
The Green Muse:
An Edouard Mas Novel

Jessie Prichard Hunter

February 3, 2015
Witness Impulse an imprint of HarperCollins  


In Belle Époque Paris, the morgue is the place to see and be seen … 

"This morning I was called upon to photograph the dead again." So begins the story of Edouard Mas, a photographer's assistant with a detective's soul. Edouard's job is to take pictures of corpses before they are carted off to the Paris Morgue. If the bodies are unidentified, they will be put behind glass for the whole city to view, in a morbid display of lost and found.

Edouard begins to come across more and more bodies stripped of their identification and laid out in methodical poses, and he knows he is dealing with those who dabble in art—the art of death. The morgue—their museum.

Edouard's investigation takes him from the sterile halls of La Salpêtrière to the opulent, smoke-filled soirees of high society, but he must do everything in his power to stop the artists of death, before they go after somebody he loves …

In exquisite prose—so vivid you can almost taste the absinthe and hear the rustling skirts of the Moulin Rouge showgirls—Hunter tells an unforgettable tale of murder and lust in the City of Light.   

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Guest Post by Jessie Prichard Hunter

What I Think of My Characters
Edouard Mas is the true Victorian gentleman without being saccharin or staid or the least bit dull. I love the way he faces his temptations, cares about the murder victims he photographs, is willing to let his work tell him the stories of the dead. His devotion to everything he loves in life is an inspiration to me.

When I first decided I wanted to create a star hysteric for the Hôpital Salpêtrière, she came to me as a fifteen-year-old girl named Augustine. I later made her seventeen, that being a more believable age for her to fall in love. Then I started my research in earnest—and discovered that the star hysteric of La Salpêtrière was a fifteen-year-old girl named Augustine! It was then that I knew I absolutely had to write this particular book.

Adelaide, a patient at La Salpêtrière and firm friend of Augustine, is a manic-depressive. When she is manic she is high-spirited and infectiously positive, and it is almost impossible to imagine that she could ever be down. Without her Augustine might not have been able to survive the atmosphere of the institution.

Dr. Charoct actually said more than 50% of the things I have him say in the book; and he really was quite terrifying. There is a lot of controversy about whether or how much he coached his hysterics; it is up to any author to decide that, as we will never know for certain.

Lucille, a lifelong patient at La Salpêtrière, is fearful, combative, and cannot speak. She is autistic. I did not clarify this is the book, but I have read a great deal about autism and how autistics have been treated throughout history. Up until rather recently they were generally institutionalized in childhood and remained so for life.

I have an autistic son. Raising an autistic is all-consuming; one reason I chose to write about fin de siècle France is that it was as far from autism as I could possibly get! But it seems I didn’t get away from it after all: I love Lucille, and her relationship with Augustine serves to show just what a good heart Augustine has.

Charles is very much a young man of his time and class. He is wealthy, playing at educating himself while indulging all that is worst in his character. He is spoiled, cruel, and, I hope, fascinating. He was already in love with death when he met V. Although he himself avers that he would never have actually killed without her, I’m not sure we can believe him.

I created V to be the great Victorian villainess. She is enigmatic to the point of not even having a name, and she is the only character in the book without a voice. She is, of course, a sociopath, having no real concept of love, living for power and pleasure alone. Charles thinks she loves him, but what she loves is that he kills for her. She has a great ability to mimic human emotions, convincing Augustine that she is her friend and cares only for her highest good. And yet at her cruelest she only shows how very strong Augustine can be.

Odette is the great sensualist, the succubus, the siren that sings men to their deaths. She enjoys corrupting innocent young men; her great complaint about Edouard is that he is that most boring of mortals, the incorruptible man! But there is something almost innocent in her overarching search for passion at all costs. And it cannot be denied that she is irresistible. Certainly she would not deny it!

I’m quite fond of Captain Bezier, even though he is a stock character, not in the least original. But I thought that he could be an entertaining counter-voice to Edouard, disagreeing with practically everything he says while carefully tucking away any information that might be useful to the investigation. And when it really matters he shows himself to be a good and loyal friend to Edouard.

About the Author

Jessie Prichard Hunter is the author of the psychological thriller Blood Music, forthcoming from Witness Impulse. She currently resides in New York's Hudson Valley with her husband and two children.


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