Debut gothic mystery novel published by Irish author

Louise Davidson, an Irish author and teacher living in West London published her dark and twisty gothic mystery The Fortunes of Olivia Richmond last Thursday.

The novel is a haunting coming of age debut which explores the supernatural world of tarot and fortune telling alongside women in Victorian England. 

Mrs Davidson draws on her experience growing up in the time of The Troubles where Northern Ireland was the subject of conflict between the IRA and The British Government. 

Davidson said: “What really got me interested in the gothic (genre) was the idea of hidden darkness and this overall sense of dread and fear.

“It was certainly something you would have experienced growing up in Belfast at that time.”

Mrs Davidson suggested that writing in the gothic genre is perhaps a form of self help, to process IRA Belfast as she describes it as the background of her childhood. 

Davidson admitted: “I don’t think I realised just how much that has stuck with me until I moved to England. 

“I’ve realised oh this is not everybody’s context.”

Davidson takes adversity and creates art in the form of writing in a relatable manner for others to find comfort in.

She expresses how you don’t have to get rid of the darkness but perhaps you just have to harness it.

Hence, her interest in gothicism was prompted by the idea of somebody who’s perhaps haunted by their past experiences and therefore feels like an outsider.

Davidson translates this into her novel by incorporating her anxieties into her work.

She gives an anecdote of one night walking back from the bathroom past the stairs and her inner monologue questions – wouldn’t it be awful if a hand just reached up through the bannisters and grabbed your ankle?

Davidson now ironically describes these scary scenes as lovely and great as she can now look at these scenarios as helpful writing material.

When asked about a favourite or most impactful line in her new book Davidson touched on an onomatopoeic sound effect which occurs with water dripping throughout.

Davidson speaks on how it terrifies readers and never allows them to hear water the same again.  

The Fortunes of Olivia Richmond by Louise Davidson is out now (Moonflower Books, £18.99) Available online from Waterstones here.

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