Gothic fiction is something that mixes elements of both horror and romance. It's generally believed to be have been invented by the English writer Horace Walpole with his 1764 novel, The Castle of Otranto. All books of this genre had to include terror, both physical and psychological, the supernatural , haunted houses, Gothic architecture, castles, darkness, doubles, madness, secrets and heriditary curses!!
The stock characters are tyrants, villains, bandits, maniacs, Byronic heroes, persecuted maidens, madwomen, skeletons, ghosts and even the Devil himself.
Further contributions to this getnre came from the Romantic poets, such as Coleridge's, Christabel, and Keats's, La Belle Dame Sans Merci. Lady Caroline Lamb published her own Gothic novel in 1816, Glenarvon, and Mary Shelley, wrote Frankenstein, in 1818. Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey satirizes Gothic Romances.
This genre has remained popular over the years and more modern practioners are Mary Stewart, Victoria Holt, Catherine Cookson and Dorothy Eden.
I'm in the throws of writing my own 'Gothic romance' and am finding it a balancing act keeping it credible with all the 'spooky ghosts' thing going :-). I'll let you know if I succeed!
My latest book, A DEBT OF HONOUR Robert Hale, is released next week in hardback but this book will also be available as an e-book on regencyreads at the end of March.
Don't forget to order it at your UK library.