While attempting to sketch the outline of a yet unpublished novel titled Thirty Day Threat, which I intended to be the first Sophie Harlock novel, I found myself drowning in a sea of creative turmoil.
For me, writing fiction is not the graceful, fluid process of spilling forth of imagination. It is instead a form of torture that I feel compelled to inflict upon myself. The ideas slip razor-sharp tentacles into my mind and the process of writing is the only way to extract those toxic limbs. The only cure.
It was during this period of creative conflict that I stumbled across an old collection of five stories, divided across three volumes, titled In a Glass Darkly. The work was published a year before the death of the author, Shridan Le Fanu (1814-1973).
It was while reading these short stories that the spark I had been nurturing burst into a furnace of inspiration.
The Vanishing Room is a modern retelling of The Room at the Dragon Volant, to which I have strived to remain faithful to the original, while creating the space for Sophie and James to make their début. I had to accept that the sleight-of-hand ending in the original would be out of reach within a novel. I hope this hasn’t diminished the work. My nights are spent tossing and turning anxiously as I consider my hubris. I hope that this story will bring joy to fans of Le Fanu, as well as to those who are not familiar with his work. For Sheridanites, there are a few more surprises to come; though you may already have guessed some of them.
Thank you for sharing this journey with me.
S. M. Fenton