Welcome back to another post in the Monday Inspirations series, where guest bloggers write about the books and authors that have inspired them. Today’s post is by Candy Korman. You can check out OTHER Monday Inspirations posts here.
It all started on a dark and stormy Sunday afternoon. I switched on the TV and there was a Frankenstein movie that I’d never seen before. I was hooked. Frankenstein, in nearly every incarnation, is my catnip. Having grown up before the VCR/DVR/streaming movie era, I was a fan of the classic horror flicks on TV’s ‘Creature Features’ and, since my late father worked at Columbia Pictures, we had a 16mm projector in our basement and I screened Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney and Bela Lugosi movies for my friends.
Years later, on that fatal rainy Sunday, it suddenly struck me that I was terrible Frankenstein fan because I had never read Mary Shelley’s novel. I found a copy the following day and was knocked over by the opening pages. It begins with a fraught letter to and from characters I did not recognize from any of the many movies…
You will rejoice to hear that no disaster has accompanied the commencement of an enterprise which you have regarded with such evil forebodings. I arrived here yesterday, and my first task is to assure my dear sister of my welfare and increasing confidence in the success of my undertaking.
I was hooked again. Mary Shelley’s ‘ghost story’—written to entertain her friends on a rainy, cold holiday in the country—is an extraordinary piece of literature. Through Dr. Frankenstein and his Monster, she explores fundamental questions about life, mortality and—most of all—what it means to be human.
I was inspired by the tale, by the story of how Mary came to write this astonishing novel and how it evolved into a familiar canon of Frankenstein-inspired entertainment. Some of the characters and incidents in the original, including the encounter with the blind man, are part of the movie/TV canon, while other Frankenstein elements were left behind and replaced by Igor and other now familiar memes.
The original inspired me to write the first of what became my Candy’s Monsters series of novellas. ‘The Mary Shelley Game’ is a house party mystery with an invitation that asks guests to BYO-Frankenstein stories instead of a bottle of wine. In addition to the overarching mystery, I created the stories written by the individual characters. From Mary’s masterpiece, I wandered on to Dracula and the result was ‘Bram Stoker’s Summer Sublet’ a dark comedy set in contemporary New York, ‘POED’ my psychological suspense homage to the great Edgar Allan Poe and ‘The Strange Case of Dr. Hyde and Her Friends’ a romantic suspense romp about a level-headed doctor’s adventures outside her comfort zone. Will there be more in the series? Probably, but not right now as I’m busy with a mystery novel and short stories.
I cherish the experience of being inspired by a classic work of literature and I’m also happy that I was home that rainy Sunday afternoon!