A Shadow Melody, available January 5th, 2023, is a child with four parents. That is, I wrote the book with four distinct genre influences in mind. Rather than a mashup, I think the four separate genres reinforce each other.
First, the novel is a historical, depicting rural Ohio in 1920. Set in the town of New Concord, home of Muskingum College, the small town flavor of small town life is an important element. Life in the cities changed fast back then, but small towns resisted change. In particular, I aimed at the 19th century novel for flavor. I love the writing of the Bronte sisters, and though my prose is different, you might catch elements of Wuthering Heights in the story.
The second parent is the romance novel. My characters are virtuous, so you may wish for some disruptive force to whirl through the literary landscape, smashing things. Your patience will be rewarded.
The third parent is Steampunk. This subgenre of science fiction endeavors to reverse engineer elements of the subsequent century and insert them into the Victorian era (the era of steam). My New Concord is post-Victorian (barely). The actual timeframe in the story is important, because the protagonist – Harry Browning – is a contemporary of Thomas Edison and Nicola Tesla.
The fourth and final parent is horror. There is a supernatural element (how could there not be in a story about building a machine to speak to the dead?). There’s no gore to speak of, but the ending is genuinely creepy.
“A Shadow Melody is a fascinating blend of historical fiction and speculative fiction that explores one man’s quest to lift the veil of death and learn what lies beyond. One of the most original novels that I have read in years, A Shadow Melody reinforces Kaufman’s status as a gifted storyteller. Highly recommended.” ~Kenneth W. Harmon, author of In the Realm of Ash and Sorrow
Available on the fifth of January, 2023.