Category: history

#Spooktober 18: Madame de Montespan and the Witchcraft Scandal of 1677

When we talk about witch hunts, the mind usually goes to remote and muddy villages where poor old practitioners, mostly focused on healing with herbs and indulging their neighbours’ tantrums, were fiercely snatched away from their lives and persecuted on someone’s whim. This is of course true, but it’s not the whole truth: some major […]

#Spooktober 9: Lamia

Curiously enough, when one thinks about spookiness rarely the mind goes to Ancient Greece. And this, I think, is one of the worst disservices we can do to our ancestors (beside Percy Jackson, I mean): Greek mythology is riddled with monsters, dark creatures lurking in the night, curses and malevolent deities ready to bite you in the ass. Literally, sometimes. So, […]

Shirabyōshi dancers in the diary of Lady Sarashina

For a very small and specific part of the novel, I decided to research the role of a specific kind of dancers in medieval Japan, called shirabyōshi. As it happens, their role and characteristics are highly romanticized (i.e., objectified) by male authors of the time: they’re often portrayed as femmes fatales and seductresses, and this […]

Omoba Aina: the Yoruba daughter of Queen Victoria

Being set on a Dutch East India Company ship, the story I’m writing has to deal with the appalling crimes perpetrated by this and the other trading companies throughout history. And, since I aim to write a Gothic novel, what’s more fitting than an imprisoned princess? The idea, drawing from literature tropes and aiming to […]