Hi, welcome to the Gemma Doyle trilogy!
Wait, you haven’t heard of the Gemma Doyle trilogy? What? For real? Okay, I’m going to assume you had a head injury and couldn’t get to it. It’s all right. You’re here now, and I am going to tell you everything about it. Well, not everything. That would require puppets and maybe some Barbies. And then there’d be no point in reading.
Back in 2001, I had a crazy idea: Wouldn’t it be fun to try to write a Victorian “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and mix together all the things I enjoy reading about: Victorian London, mystery, romance, creepy gothic ghost story stuff, boarding school drama, powerful-yet-dangerous magic, existential angst, spunky girls, and very scary things that go bump in the night and sometimes eat your soul? The answer is, yes, it was wild, mad, off-the-charts fun. And hard work. Really, I used to be a lot taller before I started this thing.*
I had no idea where it would go, what would happen, or how thoroughly it would change my life. I came to love these characters—vulnerable-but-headstrong Gemma; the cheeky and rebellious Felicity; timid, talented Ann; beautiful, tragic Pippa; and the mysterious, handsome Kartik. I enjoyed the whirl of London in 1895: the magicians at the Egyptian Hall, fake spiritualists holding séances, the opulent balls and dances, daring escapes in the sewers along the Thames, the hazy opium dens and fog-choked streets. I wondered what secrets were contained within the walls of Spence Academy for Young Ladies, where two young women made a terrible bargain years before, setting in motion a chain of events that could destroy Gemma and her friends and unleash a terrible power upon their world. I thrilled to the beauty of the mystical realms, a world just beyond this one where your wildest dreams can come true. I wasn’t always sure who was trustworthy and who wasn’t, and yes, I’m talking to you Gorgon, Mrs. Nightwing, Miss Moore, Miss McCleethy, Fowlson, Simon, Philon, Pippa, and Kartik. I feared what ancient evil lurked in the forbidden Winterlands, gathering new power. And I hoped that Gemma and her friends would find their own paths and be true to themselves while standing strong against the forces trying to defeat them.
There were mistakes made along the way. (The Spence motto changes! Oh no!) I learned a few new tricks (secret code anagrams!) as well as some interesting historical tidbits (Bedlam hosted dances with the patients—OMG). Sometimes I scared my own creepy self. (The girls in white—ahhhh, make them go away!) All in all, it’s been a wild, wonderful ride through nearly two thousand pages of magic, mayhem, murder, mystery, and hot guys in cloaks.**
And now, I’m very excited, because on April 28th, the paperback edition of The Sweet Far Thing will be here, bringing the conclusion of the Gemma Doyle trilogy to a whole new audience.***
So enjoy the site and the books. Remember to keep your friends close, believe in the magic, steal a kiss in the Caves of Sighs, practice your curtsy or face the wrath of the headmistress, be careful who you trust, don’t play with the Poppy Warriors (very bad idea), watch out for what lurks in the Winterlands, and know that there is magic in the world if you know where to look. Make it yours.
* I’m lying.