The Monster Within, The Monster Without-The Rebirth of Miss Francene Stedman
I’ve mentioned before that I’m working with a group of authors on an exciting project called Love After All, Tragic Characters in Classic Literature. We’re taking tragic heroes and heroines, setting their stories in Regency, England, and giving them a happy-ever-after.
This is an indie project, with all of us releasing our books at different times over the next few months. My retelling of Macbeth will arrive sometime in December.
The Monster Within, The Monster Without, by Lindsay Downs is one of the first Love After All projects out the door and available for pre-order.
Lindsay joins us today discuss the project and share an excerpt:
Welcome, Lindsay! What tragic story are you retelling?
I selected Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.
Why did you choose this story?
First and more importantly I had never, to the best of my knowledge, read the book. Over the years I had watched many of the different movie variations of the story from multiple horror versions to the comedic versions. Even the one with the Wolfman.
Before I wrote a word, much less thought about how I’d write the book I went and bought a copy, sat down and read the book cover to cover. Was I surprised at how the book played out compared to the movies. All I can say is, if you want the true story read the book and forget watching the movies.
I confess, I haven’t read the original book, but I saw that Wolfman version as a child, and it gave me nightmares! What was difficult (or easy) about writing your version of Frankenstein?
Finding my voice for the story. Twice I tried writing in third person but the words were forced. I then tried first person and had success but only when I had a woman as the main character. At this point I needed a name for her, actually two. I decided to use a play on Frankenstein. I call her Francis Steen, when she was dressed as a man and Francene Steen when as a woman, which she is for the majority of the book.
I also wanted to bring in a few scenes from the original story but in my words. That wasn’t easy but I was able to accomplish what I set out to do.
In short, I enjoyed the challenge.
Thank you, Lindsay. Now here’s a little bit about the story:
When bodies start turning up in Whitechapel, Miss Steen returns to London with Lord Cartwright and the Countess of Harlow as her chaperone to solve the murders. Little does she realize she will be introduced to the last person she wants to meet — and hunting down the murderers proves a lot more difficult than they had anticipated.
Offered another cup of tea told me this interview, which was more of an inquisition, was not finished. Not that I was complaining since I greatly enjoyed improving on my story. It was false but excellent practice for the future, if needed. From behind me I heard the French doors open.
I sensed a man was approaching because the breeze carried his masculine scent to me, which I did not recognize. The walking stopped. My hostess lifted her head slightly giving the newcomer a smile of pleasure.
“I was wondering if or when you would make your presence known to us. Miss Steen, may I introduce you to my son, Lord Cartwright.”
When the countess said “Lord” at first the word did not register in my mind. In London I was acquainted with a Mr. Cartwright, but he was far from being a peer.
“You must have met him as he is employed by Sir William Morse as a Runner from Bow Street.”
I set the bone china teacup and saucer on the glass tabletop, then clinched my fists in anger as I turned in my chair to see if this man was who I knew. He is. Except now he wore a dark brown jacket with matching vest. Covering his legs were buckskin riding britches tucked into well-worn riding boots. A perfectly tied cravat in a coachman’s knot circled his neck, which I was sorely tempted to wrap my fingers around and strangle him. Even more annoying was the wisp of raven black hair hanging down over his forehead. He stood in front of me with a slight smirk on his lips.
That behavior caused me to almost lose what little politeness I had left in me. When he gave me a slight bow then reached for my hand, I lost my temper completely.
“Miss Steen, this is indeed a pleasure,” he spoke.
His words were pleasant but behind them I was sure he was laughing at me for having fooled him all these years.
I could no longer be in his presence. Standing, I gave him my hand across his smirking face. Dashing for the open doors, I escaped him
I barely could make out what he was yelling, not that I cared for he had just made a fool out of me. Rushing out the front door I told the coachman to take me home.
“Now,” I screamed at him, climbing into the carriage.
We had barely arrived at the main road when tears started filling my eyes then rolled down my cheeks. I withdrew a hanky from my reticule and tried to pat my face dry but could not because the waterworks continued to flow unabated. Through hazy eyes I saw the coach was approaching my parent’s house. The carriage barely halted when I thrust open the door, climbed out then raced inside and up to my room, throwing myself on the bed.
Preorder The Monster Within, The Monster Without for $0.99 until November 7 when the price will go up to $2.99.
About the Author:
So it only seemed natural at some point in my life I take up pen and paper to start writing. Over time my skills slightly improved which I attribute to my English teachers.
My breakthrough came about in the mid 1970’s when I read a historical romance written by Sergeanne Golon, Angelique. This French husband and wife team opened my eyes to the real world of fiction. Stories about romance, beautiful damsels, handsome heroes and plots which kept me hooked. Of course, being a man, I had to keep my reading hidden from others as that wasn’t appropriate reading for men.
With this new found appreciation of the written word I took up other books and devoured them as a starving person would a plate of food. I them attempted to write again. I still wasn’t satisfied so I put it aside for years as other events entered my life.
Finally, in the early years of the new millennium I tried again to write and once again met with limited success. At least now I was able to get past the first page or two. Then, in 2006 a life changing event brought me back to my love, I took a job as a security officer. This allowed me plenty of time to read different genres.
My favorites are regency and murder mystery. As I poured through everyone I could get my hands on I knew this could be something I wanted to do and have been successful.
I’ve been published since 2008. Since 2012 I’ve lived in central Texas.
Find Lindsay at:
Thank you for sharing The Monster Within, The Monster Without with us today, Lindsay! I’ve preordered my copy!