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paulgoatallen
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OCTOBER FEATURE #3:Isis by Douglas Clegg

 

The third feature for October is a little literary gem that is a perfect seasonal read – Doug Clegg's Isis, a story that was published a few years ago as a limited edition hardcover that is now being published for a wider readership by Vanguard Press. Here's the PW blurb: "First published as a limited hardcover, which PW called a “triumph,” this reissue of bestseller Clegg's thriller novella features illustrations especially commissioned for this edition by Glenn Chadbourne. Set in Cornwall, this eerie tale of sibling love gone awry builds to a gripping finale."

 

As you all probably know, Mr. Clegg has written dozens of novels – some horror, some dark fantasy (I loved his Vampyricon saga, by the way.) – but his one just could be his best yet.

 

Two things of significance here:

 

1. I'm hoping to get Mr. Clegg to stop by for a chat this month so prepare yourself with questions, comments, etc.

2. If you haven't purchased Isis yet, check out this www.isisthebook.com – looks awesome, right?!?

 

Paul

"There never can be a man so lost as one who is lost in the vast and intricate corridors of his own lonely mind, where none may reach and none may save..." – Isaac Asimov, Pebble in the Sky
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Douglas-Clegg
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Re: OCTOBER FEATURE #3:Isis by Douglas Clegg

Paul,

 

Thank you for featuring Isis here. I look forward to fielding questions or just hanging out a bit in this book club area. If anyone has questions, fire away. And don't forget to go play the Isis game. You can also watch the book trailer at the Isis page here at Barnes & Noble:

 

 

Isis

 

 

 

Best,

 

Douglas Clegg

 

p.s. Glenn Chadbourne illustrated Isis -- he recently worked with Stephen King on special illustrated editions of The Secretary of Dreams. He is a great artist, and his illustrations for Isis give it a timeless look.

 

Inspired Bibliophile
Nelsmom
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Re: OCTOBER FEATURE #3:Isis by Douglas Clegg

Welcome Doug,

 

I have been waiting till now to read Isis but I have enjoyed your other books and your newsletters.  I hope that you have a good time visiting with us.  I will definiately have more to say after I finish the book but just wanted to say hello now.

 

Toni

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Re: OCTOBER FEATURE #3:Isis by Douglas Clegg

Toni -


Great to see you here! Enjoy Isis -- it's a tale of the supernatural that is a "be careful what you wish for" kind of story.

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EEsMom
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Re: OCTOBER FEATURE #3:Isis by Douglas Clegg

Yet another great book by Doug Clegg!!

Very recommended read from a long time reader and "#1 fan"!  Lol

Happy Reading,

Jeanne

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LordRuthven
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Re: OCTOBER FEATURE #3:Isis by Douglas Clegg

Oh cool, Douglas Clegg stopped by. I met you years ago at World Horror Con in Phoenix. We spoke briefly about vampire fiction (I am sure that Paul is shocked about that). I've read several of your books throughout the years, and even one of the "Andrew Harper" books as well. My favorite was probably The Hour Before Dark. I saw Isis earlier tonight and it looked cool and different.

Derek Tatum
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Re: OCTOBER FEATURE #3:Isis by Douglas Clegg

Jeanne -

 

It's great to see you here!

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Re: OCTOBER FEATURE #3:Isis by Douglas Clegg

Hey Derek - glad you could make it over here. That was a fun World Horror. Let me know what you think of Isis when you get a chance.

 

Thanks for reading my fiction -- glad you enjoyed The Hour Before Dark.

 

Writing Isis was a whole other experience than my other work -- I really felt like I was channeling a 19th century girl in some way, and that I could see out of her eyes.   Be sure and post here when you've read Isis -- also check out those illustrations by Glenn Chadbourne, Derek .

 

Good to hear from you!

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paulgoatallen
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Re: OCTOBER FEATURE #3:Isis by Douglas Clegg

[ Edited ]

Okay Mr. Clegg:

Just finished Isis and here are my thoughts in no apparent order....

 

* The first word that comes to mind is "departure" although I'm not sure how much of a stretch it was for you to write Isis. When I think of Douglas Clegg, I think of horror, or vampire fiction. I interviewed you back in 2005 for BarnesandNoble.com when you released The Priest of Blood and I remember it being a pretty cool interview. You spoke of The Priest of Blood being a "personal story" for you and I still remember, after the interview, how much that made your Vampyricon saga more compelling for me. Here is that interview excerpt....

 

PGA: I read on your website that The Priest of Blood was a “personal story” for you. How so?

 

DC: The Priest of Blood came from three things – first my travels around the world where I saw the intersection of an ancient, buried culture with the modern culture that had essentially buried it. At 11, it was in Mexico, at 16, I saw this in Spain, and then in my late teens, in Great Britain, and in my early 20s, in France and Germany. All my life, here in North America, as well. I responded on a very personal level to this – and it also makes the world a bit of a treasure hunt. I'm an amateur mythologist and an enthusiast of archaeology and anthropology, so these loves came together in reinventing the medieval world and the cultures that contributed to it.

          Next, as I mentioned earlier, my parents both died within a year of each other after illnesses that were devastating. This drove me into the world of The Vampyricon – a world where life is both brutal and fantastic, and where a hero could arise to combat shadows, even while existing in them. All my childhood loves came back to me after my mother and father died – all the things I'd cherished – the storytelling, the world mythologies we discussed, the way my parents, taking us kids or sending us kids on travels, opened my eyes to the greater world out there.

         Although I began writing this saga in the early 1990s, it would not have been finished if I didn’t have those years when I wanted to escape into this other world – the world of Alkemara, and The Vampyricon. And finally, of course, that special time in my early 20s in that forest, which I call the Great Forest in The Priest of Blood.

 

 

* The illustrations in isis were such a perfect fit.... eerie, melancholic, haunting, timeless.. just perfect for the storyline. Glenn chadbourne is amazing.

 

* I loved how you weaved the myths and legends of Cornwall/England – like the Isle of Apples – and the Egyptian story of Isis/Osiris into the story of Iris Catherine Villiers and her family.

 

So here are my initial questions for you:

 

1. How did you come to write this particular story? What was your inspiration?

2. How did you hook up with Glenn? Did you plan to feature illustrations or was that a publisher decision?

3. Can you talk a little about the publication history of this novel? Why did you decide to release it as a limited edition hardcover?

 

More to come once I hear back from you! And congrats on writing a truly unforgettable story.... This is a book to be cherished and I'm glad I have a copy in my library!

 

Paul

 

 

"There never can be a man so lost as one who is lost in the vast and intricate corridors of his own lonely mind, where none may reach and none may save..." – Isaac Asimov, Pebble in the Sky
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Douglas-Clegg
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Re: OCTOBER FEATURE #3:Isis by Douglas Clegg

Paul,

 

With each book, each story, they come from a very personal place. Isis, which seems a world away from my life, also has its origins in both travels and a story personal enough that I won't mention it here.

 

I think some writing comes from having a sense of story and seeing an idea "out there," to bring to it. But mostly what I've written has been from my own life and observations, crossed with finding a metaphor that can connect to others.

 

Now, onto your questions:

 

* The illustrations in isis were such a perfect fit.... eerie, melancholic, haunting, timeless.. just perfect for the storyline. Glenn chadbourne is amazing.

 

Yes, he is. He's done work with Stephen King (on the special editions of The Secretary of Dreams as well as creating the character Doug E. Graves for King's radio station, among other projects.) Glenn is not only a great guy, he is also a pure artist. Those are pen-and-ink drawings. He captured the tone haunted atmosphere of Isis beautifully.

 

His work here reminds me of a cross between Edward Gorey and John Tenniel (who did the early Alice in Wonderland illustrations) -- but it's all Glenn Chadbourne with his signature touch.

 

* I loved how you weaved the myths and legends of Cornwall/England – like the Isle of Apples – and the Egyptian story of Isis/Osiris into the story of Iris Catherine Villiers and her family.

 

Thank you. It's a legend-soaked tale.

 

So here are my initial questions for you:

 

1. How did you come to write this particular story? What was your inspiration?

 

My inspiration was fairly private, but I'll say this: in dealing with the deaths of my parents, and more recently, other aspects of family life and what happens in a family after someone dies, this story just grew. I also love gothic fiction, and I place Isis squarely within that tradition.

 

I've discovered that you can be haunted anytime, anywhere, and the impulse to call back someone you love from the dead (or even in life, when the love is in the past) brings with it a price that no one will want to pay.

 

Additionally, I know Fisher's Island, New York, well, and also I loved Cornwall -- so I was able to bring them both into Isis's story.

 

2. How did you hook up with Glenn? Did you plan to feature illustrations or was that a publisher decision?

 

Vanguard, my publisher, really saw Isis as being an illustrated book.

 

We looked at one or two artists, who were terrific, but I knew Glenn's work well.

 

So, I brought Glenn into the discussion. I've known Glenn for years.  When the publisher and staff at Vanguard saw his art, they were bowled over. Every piece of illustration that came in, they'd get more excited -- as would I.  It is a dream come true to have such a beautiful cover, endpapers, and interior illustrations.

 

Glenn's art really makes this story a classic.  And the cover designer did a beautiful job, as well.

 

 

3. Can you talk a little about the publication history of this novel? Why did you decide to release it as a limited edition hardcover?

 

I often work with Cemetery Dance Publications, and when I wrote Isis, it seemed natural to bring out a very limited edition -- almost a private edition of the book, with very few copies produced.

 

I was thrilled that Vanguard -- who publishes some of my favorites, including David Morrell, Nevada Barr, Alan Jacobsen and others -- wanted to bring out Isis in a trade hardcover edition, and then have it fully-illustrated, as well.  First, it was for a small group of readers -- and now, it's for everyone. I could not be happier.

 

More to come once I hear back from you! And congrats on writing a truly unforgettable story.... This is a book to be cherished and I'm glad I have a copy in my library!

 

Thank you, Paul. I hope this dark tale reaches readers everywhere.

 

 

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Re: OCTOBER FEATURE #3:Isis by Douglas Clegg

 


Douglas-Clegg wrote:

 

My inspiration was fairly private, but I'll say this: in dealing with the deaths of my parents, and more recently, other aspects of family life and what happens in a family after someone dies, this story just grew. I also love gothic fiction, and I place Isis squarely within that tradition.

 

I've discovered that you can be haunted anytime, anywhere, and the impulse to call back someone you love from the dead (or even in life, when the love is in the past) brings with it a price that no one will want to pay.

 

Additionally, I know Fisher's Island, New York, well, and also I loved Cornwall -- so I was able to bring them both into Isis's story.

 

 


 

 

I don't know if I'm stumbling across your private inspirations but for me, Isis was essentially a heartrending love story between a sister and her brother. I have a younger sister who I just love with all of my heart and reading this story really touched me on a personal level. I would have done exactly as Harvey did when he sacrificed himself to save his sister's life. Real powerful stuff here. I was just wondering if you have any siblings and, if so, do you have a strong bond – like the Iris/harvey bond – with any of them?

 

Paul

"There never can be a man so lost as one who is lost in the vast and intricate corridors of his own lonely mind, where none may reach and none may save..." – Isaac Asimov, Pebble in the Sky
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Re: OCTOBER FEATURE #3:Isis by Douglas Clegg

I was just wondering if you have any siblings and, if so, do you have a strong bond – like the Iris/harvey bond – with any of them?

 

Paul, we lost my brother this past summer, obviously long after I'd written Isis, but regarding sibling bonds...I just can't comment. I try not to discuss my private life too much. But I think love -- no matter whether it's within a family-by-blood or the family you create -- is something that no one wants to lose.

 

And when it is lost, it's natural to want to call it back.

 

In the beginning of Isis:

 

“Beware a field hedged with stones,” our gardener, Old Marsh, told me in his smoky voice with its Cornish inflections, as he pointed to the land near the cliff. “See here? The hedge holds in. Will not let out. Things lurk about places like that. Unseen things.”

 

A house, I suppose, is a stone-hedged field.

 

A tomb, as well.

 

The place where the stone-hedges ended, as they grew round our house and the gardens, was an old cave entrance that had been turned into a mausoleum beneath the ground, carved out for centuries for the bones of my ancestors.

 

***************

What Isis recalls here is the boundary of her life, and of the story: the stone walls of the field and gardens and the tomb and the house. This is the place that will haunt her, and where she crosses a threshold of understanding.

 

I think the loss of a loved one takes us all across that threshold, where life becomes something more -- or less -- than it had been before, in the innocent times. Whether it's a brother, sister, father, mother, lover, child -- the essential love story, the haunting, the desire to mend what is broken, all of it inspired the story for me.

 

Would I risk what Iris herself risks in calling back the dead?

 

Absolutely. Absolutely. Just for another moment.

 

Still, be careful what you wish for...

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Re: OCTOBER FEATURE #3:Isis by Douglas Clegg

I've got a question for visitors here: What's your favorite classic dark tale?  Is it The Monkey's Paw? The Lottery? Or something else? I'd love to know what you're reading as a way to enjoy a night in the lonesome October.

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paulgoatallen
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Re: OCTOBER FEATURE #3:Isis by Douglas Clegg

 


Douglas-Clegg wrote:

I've got a question for visitors here: What's your favorite classic dark tale?  Is it The Monkey's Paw? The Lottery? Or something else? I'd love to know what you're reading as a way to enjoy a night in the lonesome October.


 

 

Interesting that you would post this, I was just going to ask you a similar question! What are some of your favorite gothic tales? Are you a reader that reads books multiple times or not? I rarely read a book more than once myself but I do make exceptions with classics – I love reading authors like Ashton Clark Smith, Algernon Blackwood, and H.P. Lovecraft during the fall!

 

Also, please let us know about the podcast you just did when it is available – I'd love to listen to it!

 

Paul

"There never can be a man so lost as one who is lost in the vast and intricate corridors of his own lonely mind, where none may reach and none may save..." – Isaac Asimov, Pebble in the Sky
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Re: Isis by Douglas Clegg

Paul -

 

Although I read a lot of current fiction, I go back often to the early gothic and horror writers for reading.

 

Poe, Shelley, Hawthorne, M.R. James, Arthur Machen, Blackwood, Lovecraft Mary Shelley -- as well as writers like the Brontes and naturally a later writer of gothics and genius -- Shirley Jackson. Those writers were after some truth of human psychology, using the supernatural as a metaphor for the interiors of the mind to some extent. Not sure all of them knew that was the effect, but it's there.

 

With Isis, I really wanted to reflect my love for the gothics and for that level of the paranormal and fantasy tinged with darkness. Here's one such moment, when Iris looks out over the sunken garden in the moonlight:

 

"I saw a wriggling movement in the shadows of the stone walls. A whirl of motion, as of leaves and seedlings stirred up by a sudden breeze. As if I were connecting parts of a puzzle drawn upon the air, I saw a strange form manifesting itself from the soft white milk thistles that blew in a circular motion at the garden wall. It seemed to be the outline of a man.”

 

*****************************

 

And Paul -- and others here -- the various reviews have come in for Isis. What they're saying is exactly the effect I hoped for with Isis -- the gothic, subtle but insistent dark whisper within the story.  I would love to see reviews by readers up here in this forum. I welcome your opinions.

 

Here are some of what others have said:

 

From Tombs of Darkness/J.L. Comeau: " ISIS is a short masterpiece of gothic horror that elegantly elevates Douglas Clegg's renowned horror fiction to a higher level. Gorgeously illustrated by Stephen King's illustrator, Glenn Chadbourne, ISIS is a perfect novella to usher in the spooky month of October."

 

From BookPage Magazine: "This brief chiller should be read aloud, in a happy company ready to be distressed, while a surplus of Halloween candy sweetens Clegg’s bitter little masterpiece."

 

From Hellnotes: "Douglas Clegg knows the power of a ghostly whisper in the ear. In Isis, he creates a subtle yet scary spectral story; no screams are necessary."

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The illustrations in Isis

Just wanted to bring in one of the many beautiful, haunting illustrations by Glenn Chadbourne from Isis.

 

This is the standing stone at the edge of Belerion Hall. Glenn Chadbourne, who recently illustrated special editions of Stephen King's The Secretary of Dreams, created these unforgettable illustrations for Isis.

 

If you look in the drawing, you'll see all kind of faces and figures within even a bramble of sticks and vines. He created a masterpiece with this work.  His work here reminds me of both Edward Gorey and John Tenniel (who did the most famous Alice/Lewis Carroll illustrations) but it's all Glenn. These are pen-and-ink illustrations -- and they're stunning.

 

An illustration from Isis by Douglas Clegg

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paulgoatallen
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Re: The illustrations in Isis

Yes, the Glenn Chadbourne illustrations were excellent – it definitely made the book into something to be treasured – but I was bummed out that I couldn't see the illustrations in a larger format. The complexity of each piece – the meticulousness of every single detail – made me want to experience these drawings in a museum setting. The piece that you featured is the perfect example – stunning is a perfect descriptive term here....

 

Paul

"There never can be a man so lost as one who is lost in the vast and intricate corridors of his own lonely mind, where none may reach and none may save..." – Isaac Asimov, Pebble in the Sky
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Re: The illustrations in Isis

Paul -

 

 I'd love to know what people in the book club here enjoy the most?  What kinds of tales do they gravitate toward when it comes to the darker variety of tale?

 

I'd like to invite anyone dropping by to jump in on this. Thanks!

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Isis, iPod Nano, the Game, etc.

[ Edited ]

Vanguard, my publisher, just announced a special Nano iPod contest with Isis -- right here. Hope some folks here enter and enjoy it.

 

Isis & iPod Nano

 

Also, for those who missed it, there's a great "Spot the Difference" game for Isis, using many of the beautiful illustrations by Glenn Chadbourne here. It's a lot of fun -- give it a whirl.

 

 

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Chomp
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Re: OCTOBER FEATURE #3:Isis by Douglas Clegg

My copy arrived yesterday, and I hope to get to it soon. :smileyhappy:

 

Carol

So many books, so little time...