The South and Southern Gothic fiction have long fascinated me, and as my own readers will know, I have more than a passing fancy for magic. Therefore, when I first started to hear about Steph Post’s Miraculum, I was intrigued. We share a publisher, Polis Books, so I was able to snag an advance. All I can say is “wow.” This book comes out this month, and you want it. Read on to find out why.
How does a book start for you?
As sort of an amalgation of themes, characters, archetypes, settings and moods, and usually all at the visual level. In a weird way, it’s like a universe starting. All these little bits and pieces floating out there in my subconscious, starting to spin around one another. Patterns and connections start to emerge and eventually a very basic story (or sometimes just a single main character) will form and I go from there. I have all these ideas and then I start paring them down, trying to find the center, the kernel or spark, at the center of the story. Then it’s on to research, and then the actual writing. But it always starts with those little ideas I’ve held onto along the way, smashing into one another to create new matter.
Who in your latest book has surprised you most – and why?
So, I wrote Miraculum a little over three years ago (I’ve written two books since) and what is surprising me now is how I’ve changed a bit towards some of the characters. Daniel has always been my favorite character, but now that I’m really going back and having to work with him all over again, I’ve realized how much more I like him than Hayden, our other male lead. It’s always weird going back to a book that you’ve written in the past, but the time difference has really changed my opinion of Hayden’s character. Not in a bad way, necessarily, but it does change how I myself see the story playing out past the last page. And yes, I know that’s cryptic, but I don’t want to give too much away….
When and/or where is your latest book set and is there a story behind that setting?
Miraculum takes place across the South, from Louisiana to Georgia. While the setting – geography wise – isn’t as essential to Miraculum as it is to my Florida crime series, it’s still a huge part of the book. There’s not interesting story, unfortunately, except that I’ve lived in the South all my life and, of course, have a complicated relationship with some of my Southern heritage. I think you can find hints of this conflict simmering in Miraculum.
What are you working on now?
I finished up the third and final book in my Judah Cannon series and now I’m back to working on the historical/literary/fantasy-ish genre level. I’m extremely secretive about works in progress, but I will say that this book- set in the 1890s and not in the South- will be my most ambitious work to date. As it should be. Which question didn’t I ask you that I should have?As I get the chance to talk more about Miraculum in the coming months – and let me tell you, I can talk about this book- I’m hoping to be asked more about the mythology, both real and invented, driving the book and about all of the symbolism weaving in and out of the story. I build all layers of symbology into all of my books, but it’s particularly evident in Miraculum. I’m hoping readers pick up on it and are curious.
Steph Post is the author of the novels Miraculum, Walk in the Fire, Lightwood, and A Tree Born Crooked. She graduated from Davidson College as a recipient of the Patricia Cornwell Scholarship and winner of the Vereen Bell award, and she holds a Master’s degree in Graduate Liberal Studies from UNCW. Her work has most recently appeared in Garden & Gun, NonBinary Review and the anthology Stephen King’s Contemporary Classics. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, a Rhysling Award and was a semi-finalist for The Big Moose Prize. She lives in Florida. Follow her on Twitter @StephPostAuthor, on Instagram as stephgostauthor or on Facebook at stpostvegas