Book/Author Spotlight and Book Giveaway: Dreadful Beauty by L.M. Rapp


Hi everyone, please join me in welcoming author L.M. Rapp as she stops by on virtual tour today for her book A Dreadful Beauty. Read on for an excerpt, guest post, a few interview questions including some gorgeous Notre Dame gargoyle pictures and information on entering to win a copy of A Dreadful Beauty.


About the book:
Nymphosis, a disease that turns humans into Chimeras, is ravaging the land of Gashom.
The More-Than-Pure, determined to protect themselves, have seized power and enacted segregationist laws.
Neria, the daughter of a high dignitary, witnesses more and more of the Chimeras being ruthlessly executed.
When she learns she is afflicted by the very disease her father is determined to eradicate, she’s forced to surrender her privileges. She flees the capital amid her terrifying transformation and traverses the strange wilds to seek refuge with others like her.
But she knows what’s happening isn’t right. Find out how Neria develops the courage to fight oppression in this inspiring and elegantly written fantasy novel that pushes all to look deeper.

———————–

A Dreadful Beauty Excerpt

One moment, she had been enjoying the security and comfort of her family home. The next, she was left helpless in a deserted square. An oil lamp rested in Neria’s hand. A clay container, filled with a greenish-yellow liquid. A wick, coiled within its heart, snaked up to the groove that guided it into the open air. A flame danced on its tip, a paltry defense against the darkness of that night, one of those gentle nights that often follow the heat of the day. The moon watched her with a wry smile.

Neria suddenly felt she was going to collapse, crumpling like a sheet that had fallen to the ground. Without the warmth of the hand curled inside hers, she would have indeed done so. She remembered the last time she had seen Arhel’s hand, crimson and reaching out of the covers. Who knew what the disease would do to her? But before she succumbed to it, she would save Anaëlle.

She breathed in, then out, and took a step forward. Her aching limbs strained at first, but after a few minutes, she was walking briskly, her head bowed like a servant, the child in tow. First, she had to find the secret passage her mother had told her about and cross the wall of the High District without going through the ever-guarded gates.

She came to a dead-end and saw the dried-up well and a withered pistachio tree lined with shrubs of rosemary leaning against the perimeter wall. It concealed a narrow, low opening. She went in first, crawled into a tunnel bereft of cobwebs and emerged behind an olive tree, also surrounded by shrubbery. Crouching down, she peeked between the branches. No one was there. She called to Anaëlle in a hushed voice, the child joining her. They emerged from their cover and arrived on the street. Before long, they had made their way to an impoverished part of town they had never been to before. The hovels were huddled together, separated here and there by narrow, randomly arranged passageways. The first on the left… The second on the right…

“Hey there, little lady! Where are you off to in such a hurry?”
Three guards had concealed themselves in a nook to drink to their hearts’ content…


Author guest post:

A Dream Come True
I loved reading and writing from a very early age. In elementary school, I remember writing a poem in which I described, in rhyme, the sunlight shining on the snow… My family complimented me, but I soon realized that writing stories or poetry wasn’t what was expected of me. My aim in school and university was to get a diploma, so I would be able to have a good job and earn a decent living.

So, I stopped all my efforts to develop my writing skills, though I did continue on reading. In fact, I never left home without a book. Even now, since I read on my phone, I carry my library with me everywhere I go. It’s amazing and it gives me an inexplicable level of serenity.
But this thought of becoming a writer was still sitting on the back of my head and I decided to check back in with my abilities. While I was a student, on a long train ride from Toulouse to Bordeaux, I took out a sheet of paper and a pen to brainstorm an idea worthy of exploration. Nothing came to mind. At least, nothing that warranted delving deeper and eventually morphing into a novel. So, I reached the conclusion that I had no talent as a writer and that I would never be skillful enough to pursue this profession.

Years have now passed, I’ve lived in other countries, and have had several jobs. I spent some time painting. This discipline, like any discipline practiced seriously, taught me precision and the search for a harmonious balance. To promote my painting, I kept a blog. At a certain point, I wished a bit like a classical pianist learning to play jazz, to free myself from constraints. Abandoning methods and technical means, armed with a pencil or a ballpoint pen, I started to scribble on scraps of paper.
Monsters appeared for the first time. Unlike humans, who always try to smile in pictures, and showcase ourselves at our best to hide weaknesses and negative emotions, my monsters don’t smile if they don’t feel like it. I decided to write their stories, a short one for each of the paintings. And slowly but surely I began imagining a young heroine growing up in a family of supremacists until the day a disease turns her into one of these persecuted creatures. With just a storyline and a few characters in mind, how did the ideas come to me when I thought I had none?

Well, I sat down at my computer for more than five minutes. Even now I dread that floating sensation, that emptiness, that time of latency during which I look at the screen without knowing if the miracle will happen again. The brain spins, searches, weighs, then the inspiration arrives. And if it doesn’t, I scribble what comes to mind. Anything and everything. Truncated, wobbly and unintelligible phrases… But it doesn’t matter. I have to keep the flow moving and I’ll get it right later.

For three years, I worked alone. I read essays, tried to learn, and went through some typical steps: first the doubt, then the wonder at a short story or a few well-turned sentences I had just written. After a while, I began to realize that I didn’t understand anything. We imagine artists as isolated, and while it’s true that most of the creative process is accomplished in solitude, everyone needs community and support. After three years, determined to find answers, I was fortunate enough to discover an excellent literary consultant on the Internet. He guided me to rework the story, make it denser and improve my style. He often quotes a phrase from Proust: “The main quality of a writer is courage.” The courage to persevere despite difficulties, to admit mistakes and to ask for help when necessary. The rewriting took a year.

Today, I can hold my dream in my hand and I would like to motivate you to pursue yours, not for the money or potential fame, but for the unspeakable joy of seeing it come true.

A few interview questions:
Q: How did you do research for your book?
A: The research took place mostly on the internet. A word I stumble upon while writing can instantly turn into several hours of reading.

Q: Which was the hardest character to write? The easiest?
A: None of the characters were easy to write about, but certainly the most difficult was the tyrannical father. I read three different books about serial killers before I began to understand the reasoning of a psychopath.

Q: In your book, you describe the gargoyles’ people. What made you use elements of Gothic architecture for creating these characters?

A: During a visit to Notre Dame de Paris, I was able to admire the sculptures of gargoyles that adorn its facade. Their mere presence evoked a fabulous universe and served as great inspiration in my novel.

Q: Where do you get inspiration for your stories?
A: The ideas seem to me to be floating around, in books, events, and encounters, and that it is enough to sit for long hours in front of a computer screen and concentrate on arranging them in a new way.

Q: There are many books out there about chimeras. What makes yours different?

A: The story follows a family and a people through a tone that is both intimate and epic, which is rather unusual in this kind of literature.

—————————-

About the author:
L.M. Rapp has lived in different countries and practiced several professions: dentist, web developer, artist, aikido teacher, farmer. Eager to learn and discover, she uses her experiences to enrich her stories. She has also written a thriller, Of Flesh and Tears.
Website: https://www.lmrap.com/en Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/L.M.Rapp

Giveaway details: *open worldwide now through September 25th*
To enter to win a copy of A Dreadful Beauty by L.M. Rapp:
1. comment on this post and leave your email address
2. spread the word about this giveaway for an extra entry
That’s it! good luck! I will email the winner on September 26th

*this giveaway is now closed*.


Special thanks to A Marketing Expert for making this possible.

4 thoughts on “Book/Author Spotlight and Book Giveaway: Dreadful Beauty by L.M. Rapp

  1. Love the cover, its so intriguing. This sounds like a book I’d enjoy, that it was gargoyles that served as great inspiration in the novel confirms this. Thanks for sharing not only an enjoyable extract but also an interesting Meet The Author

    Liked by 1 person

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