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Isabel Canas Interview - Gothic Delights


The Hacienda
Isabel Cañas

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May 2022
On Sale: May 10, 2022
352 pages
ISBN: 0593436695
EAN: 9780593436691
Kindle: B09CD81MFZ
Hardcover / e-Book
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Also by Isabel Cañas:
The Hacienda, May 2022
The Hacienda, May 2022
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First of all – I love the cover for your book THE HACIENDA. It seems to capture the mood based on the book’s description.

Your book is described as “Mexican Gothic” and “supernatural suspense”. What does that mean to you? How would you describe that for readers?

THE HACIENDA is a genre-bending novel that combines elements of historical, horror, thriller, paranormal, and fantasy, tying it all together with a dash of romance. I believe the term “supernatural suspense” signals to readers what kind of experience awaits them between the covers: a suspenseful, terrifying tale of ghosts, witchcraft, and things that go bump in the night.

Mexican Gothic is both a comp title (as in, THE HACIENDA will appeal to readers of the novel Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia) and, I believe, a genre in and of itself with ample room to grow! So many things about Mexican culture and history lend themselves beautifully to the Gothic as a genre: ghosts, tempestuous colonial histories, long-buried secrets, buildings that are hundreds of years old, the cultural predominance of and tension between Catholicism and traditional religious beliefs, and the skeletal iconography of holidays such as the Day of the Dead. I eagerly await more Gothic tales by Mexican and Mexican American writers!

 

What was your inspiration for this book? Did you grow up reading a lot of Gothic suspense novels?

I have loved books with Gothic themes ever since I was young. Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and Toni Morrison’s Beloved were deeply influential texts for me as an adolescent. I departed from the genre for about ten years to focus on writing fantasy, but when I returned to the Gothic in 2019 intending to write a haunted house story, I discovered that the basic tenets of the genre had never left me. All my work, regardless of genre, is infused with atmosphere so thick it drips off the page, family secrets, ghosts (both metaphorical and tangible), and angsty romantic entanglements. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

This book is historical fiction. Do you prefer to write about the distant past?

Writing fiction for me has always been a form of escapism, so I gravitate toward stories set anywhere but the here and now. THE HACIENDA is my first novel-length attempt at historical fiction. As someone who matured as a writer in the fantasy genre, I found while writing THE HACIENDA that there are many parallels between writing high fantasy and historical fiction. Both genres require enough detail-oriented worldbuilding to suspend the reader’s disbelief, but not so much that it overwhelms or interferes with the characters’ stories. I love the challenge that striking that balance presents!

 

Is it not until the very end of the book that the reader finds out what’s causing all the spookiness? Or is it revealed earlier?

In order not to spoil The Hacienda’s twists and turns, I absolutely will not give a straightforward answer to this question! Let it suffice to say that some readers may put the pieces together quickly and others may be shocked when Hacienda San Isidro’s sordid secrets are at last revealed.

 

What kinds of books do you like to read? Favorite authors or books?

I’m a very mood-driven reader. Lately, due to high levels of stress in my academic life (I will defend my PhD dissertation the day before THE HACIENDA is released), I have been reaching for escapist romance by Emily Henry and Mimi Matthews. That said, I will never abandon my first love - fantasy! Lately, I have been absolutely loving Alexis Henderson’s Gothic fantasy House of Hunger (out in September), Hannah Whitten’s dark romantic fantasy For The Throne (out in June), and am about to dive into Tasha Suri’s Indian-inspired high fantasy The Jasmine Throne (out now!).

 

What are you currently working on?

I’m deep in revisions for my next book, which will be published by Berkley in Summer 2023. I can’t say much about it yet, but I will give one hint! It braids together three core themes that readers who enjoyed THE HACIENDA will also love: nineteenth-century Mexican history, paranormal elements, and a hearty dash of romance.

 

Where can readers find out more about your books?

You can head to www.isabelcanas.com and sign up for my newsletter for top-level updates or follow me on Instagram for more regular peeks into what I’m up to! I love to share writing updates, songs from works-in-project playlists, and books I’m enjoying on Insta.

THE HACIENDA by Isabel Cañas

The Hacienda

 

Mexican Gothic meets Rebecca in this debut supernatural suspense novel, set in the aftermath of the Mexican War of Independence, about a remote house, a sinister haunting, and the woman pulled into their clutches...

During the overthrow of the Mexican government, Beatriz’s father was executed and her home destroyed. When handsome Don Rodolfo Solórzano proposes, Beatriz ignores the rumors surrounding his first wife’s sudden demise, choosing instead to seize the security that his estate in the countryside provides. She will have her own home again, no matter the cost.

But Hacienda San Isidro is not the sanctuary she imagined.

When Rodolfo returns to work in the capital, visions and voices invade Beatriz’s sleep. The weight of invisible eyes follows her every move. Rodolfo’s sister, Juana, scoffs at Beatriz’s fears—but why does she refuse to enter the house at night? Why does the cook burn copal incense at the edge of the kitchen and mark the doorway with strange symbols? What really happened to the first Doña Solórzano?

Beatriz only knows two things for certain: Something is wrong with the hacienda. And no one there will help her.

Desperate for help, she clings to the young priest, Padre Andrés, as an ally. No ordinary priest, Andrés will have to rely on his skills as a witch to battle the malevolent presence haunting the hacienda.

Far from a refuge, San Isidro may be Beatriz’s doom.

 

Paranormal Thriller [Berkley, On Sale: May 10, 2021, Hardcover / e-Book, ISBN: 9780593436691 / eISBN: 9780593436714]

Buy THE HACIENDA: Amazon.com | Kindle | BN.com | Apple Books | Kobo | Google Play | Powell's Books | Books-A-Million | Indie BookShops | Ripped Bodice | Love's Sweet Arrow | Walmart.com | Book Depository | Target.com | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon DE | Amazon FR

About Isabel Cañas

Isabel Cañas

Isabel Cañas is a Mexican-American speculative fiction writer. After having lived in Mexico, Scotland, Egypt, and Turkey, among other places, she has settled (for now) in New York City, where she works on her PhD dissertation in medieval Islamic literature and writes fiction inspired by her research and her heritage.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM

 

 

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