From the first pages in The Beautiful and the Cursed, we knew we were going to be more than just a little obsessed with this series—so we had to get the inside scoop behind this delicious gargoyle romance by chatting with author Page Morgan….
What inspired you to write The Beautiful and the Cursed?
It all started with a photograph. It was a simple black and white image of a Notre Dame gargoyle with the Eiffel Tower in the backdrop. It was moody and bleak, and to me, it looked as if that hunched gargoyle was watching over the city of Paris. It turns out that gargoyles were, in fact, symbols of protection. Some are decorative waterspouts, and others are simply statues, or les grotesques, but they are all meant to scare off evil spirits. Some looked fierce, while others seemed playful. But that first Notre Dame gargoyle, and the way its back and shoulders had been sculpted, came across as vigilant. I started to imagine the “what ifs:” What if they were real? What if they weren’t just cast of stone? What if they really did have to protect humans? And then the book took off from there.
This is the first book in the Dispossessed series. Tell us who the Dispossessed are and where you got the idea for the rich mythology behind them?
I loved creating the mythology for the Dispossessed! The Dispossessed are gargoyles that shape-shift between their old human forms and their new, true forms: massive, winged and scaled gargoyles.Dispossessed means to be cast out or barred from something. In this case, these humans were barred from heaven because of the same, unforgivable sin they committed when they were alive. Their punishment is to be eternally bound to one particular territory—any building or structure that has les grotesques—and they are forced to protect the humans there. If they fail, there are consequences to suffer from the angels within the Angelic Order. These gargoyles, however, are supposed to only appear in their human form to the ones they protect, which as you can imagine, can make things rather complicated and challenging for them!
Without giving away any spoilers, share a brief description of your favorite scene in The Beautiful and the Cursed.
I have many favorite scenes! But I think the one that had the most magic for me when writing was the scene where Ingrid, her sister Gabby and their mother attend a dinner ball. Ingrid is whisked in to waltz with a handsome stranger who turns out to be a party crasher—and a gargoyle! This particular gargoyle, Marco, had been a minor character until this scene. He really came to life for me here and I decided to make him a larger character from there on out.
The Beautiful and the Cursed is so romantic and gothic! Do you have a favorite book featuring star-crossed lovers or a personal fave in gothic lit?
I have a thing for star-crossed lovers. While I don’t lean toward completely tragic endings (Romeo and Juliet has always felt like a punch in the stomach!), I do love a well-done bittersweet ending—even if it is mostly bitter. My favorite example is Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton. It’s one of those “be careful what you wish for” kinds of endings. You could rent the movie version starring Liam Neeson, but the novella is a fantastic read, too. Recently, my favorite gothic read has been The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd. That ending ripped out my heart and stomped on it!
Ingrid and Gabby are smart, strong, girl-power heroines in a time where independent women were uncommon. Who is your favorite girl-power heroine?
One of my favorite heroines in real life is the reporter Nellie Bly. She broke all the rules in the late 1800s when she worked her way into the male-dominated profession of investigative reporting. She was criticized and bullied, but she didn’t give up. She took huge risks, once even posing as a mentally unstable person so she could uncover the brutal conditions of a women’s insane asylum. In books, some of my heroines include Gemma Doyle from Libba Bray’s A Great and Terrible Beauty, Ismae from Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers, and Scarlet from A. C. Gaughen’s Robin Hood retelling, Scarlet.
The amazing period fashions add to the mood of the book. Did you have to research the fashions of the time period? Did they inspire you in any way?
I knew that ladies wore corsets and men wore hats and waistcoats, but my fashion knowledge ended there. Researching fashion turned out to be a lot of fun. I never would have known miniature top hats were something ladies would have worn in 1899! I just had to have one of my main characters wear one, too. Incorporating specific details like colors, fabrics and textures—even walking canes, gloves, hats and hair combs—helps me to better see the characters, their personalities and social backgrounds. So once I decided what each character would be wearing in each scene, I felt they came to life a bit more.
5 Quick Questions!
1. Describe your book in five words: Gargoyles, demons, forbidden love, family.
2. In one word each, what is your favorite attribute for the following characters: Ingrid—rational; Gabby—determined; Luc—unrelenting; Grayson—flawed; Nolan—humorous; Vander—sincere.
3. Your guiltiest pleasure: Watching Twilight every time I come across it while channel-surfing.
4. The one person in history you’d like to go to dinner with is:Jane Austen because fan-girling her in person would be so much more satisfying.
5. Your dream superpower? Teleportation!