Welcome to Fantasy Book Critic! Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us, could you please tell us a little bit about yourself?
Hi, thank you for having me! I’m RuNyx. I’m a 29-year-old author of adult romance, primarily with darker themes and undertones. I’ve been published since 2020, though I’ve been writing for almost a decade now. I’m private and enjoy being a hermit but also connecting with my readers, which can sometimes be a bizarre balancing act. But mostly, it’s incredible fun! Oh, and I love to procrastinate.
How would you describe your book to our readers in just three adjectives, and then in just three sentences?
Oh, I’ve always been so bad at these games! I’ll try. Three adjectives? Spooky. Secretive. Sexy.
Gothikana is my love letter to the gothic genre. It is a story set in a secluded castle, seeped in
secrets, misted with mysteries, and rampant with romance. It’s a forbidden love story of the dark
edges of the mind and the dark corners of the soul.
Gothikana is said to have the eternal romance of Beauty and the Beast, and the gothic suspense of Dracula. Could you detail for us how the story is evocative of the familiar elements of well-known works of classic literature?
There is a timeless, eternal quality to it. There’s a sense of being transported within the pages, and a sense of carrying it with you afterward. The setting, the love story, the characters themselves are very reminiscent of the same—a secluded castle, mysteries, an enigmatic mysterious male lead, a female lead unraveling secrets. As I mentioned, it is my homage to gothic literature. I’ve been an avid lover of the genre since my university days. Dracula, for instance, is referenced in the book multiple times.
Can you give us the context of the romance (if not a spoiler) in the book, and what do you think about forbidden romances make them such a delicious trope?
The romance occurs between a new student and her professor. Though they are both in their twenties and there isn’t a significant age gap, there is something forbidden about the student- teacher dynamic, especially at this university. What seems like just physical attraction in the beginning is actually an extremely layered and nuanced connection, which the readers discover eventually.
As for why forbidden romances are so delicious, well, the forbidden fruit has always been the most tempting, hasn’t it? It creates such delicious tension between characters, one that’s a delight for any writer to explore. I believe this trope allow us as readers to explore our dark fantasies in a safe space without being judged about it, also knowing the payoff is going to be good.
Are there any other romance tropes in fantasy that are have soft spots for?
I love a good enemies-to-lovers. Again, the tension between characters and the slow buildup can lead to such fantastic climaxes!
What is your process for building tension between romantic leads? Were there any particular practices that helped you work on these scenes in the book?
It actually comes very naturally to me. I love writing tension, like the entire dynamic of two magnets coming into each other’s field without touching, just mounts and mounts until they collide together. As long as I have a clear idea of who the characters are and what their internal conflict is, tension builds organically.
Speaking of the gothic atmosphere and dark academia, what were your influences? Any authorial influences or reads of note?
Oh, so many! A lot of it was experiential. I studied gothic fiction for an entire semester and got very, very inspired. Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and Edgar Allan Poe’s entire works are absolute foundational masterclass of gothic atmosphere. Another influence was my own time at boarding school and some of my experiences there which kind of merged the gothic and the academic for me. I realized ‘dark academia’ was a thing quite later on actually.
Given all the work that needs to be put into writing fiction, has it changed how you react to other books as a reader, and how?
Not much has changed except I limit what I read depending on what I’m writing. For instance, if I’m writing a fantasy romance, I won’t read any fantasy romance until I’m finished with my work-in-progress, just to ensure my subconscious mind does not compare any ideas or styles as we humans tend to do. Other than that, I still devour books like always.
Before we wrap this up, I want to talk about you as a reader. What are you currently reading, and which of your recent reads made a positive impression on you? Are there any that you are looking forward to, or anything that’s already published that you hope to squeeze into your reading, and how do you discover these books?
Oh, good question! I think the most recent read that stuck with me was Crowns of Nyaxia series by Carissa Broadbent. So fantastic! Off the top of my head, some books that I’m really looking forward to reading this year are Bride by Ali Hazelwood, the Gold series by Raven Kennedy, Cat and Mouse Duet by HD Carlton, Daydream by Hannah Grace, so many! Mostly I discover them through bookstagram or Facebook reader groups.
In closing, do you have any parting thoughts or comments you’d like to share with our readers?
Just that I’m incredibly grateful for all the love. It never ceases to amaze me that I’m living my dream and it’s all thanks to such warm, wonderful readers who take chances on my book. Thank you!