This is a book I’ve wanted to write for a long time, and yet even now it’s hard for me to say what genre it is. It’s intended to be humorous in places, but I wouldn’t call it a pure comedy. There are some scenes and concepts that are a bit scary, but it’s not horror. It has a love story, of sorts, but I don’t think of it as a romance.
The best way I can describe it is to say it’s my love letter to the Gothic horror stories I’ve been reading ever since I was a kid, as well as a light-hearted satire of the same. I’ve always had an affection for stories about big country estates, forbidden texts, and ancient mysteries. All of these tropes are so well-worn they’re not truly scary anymore, but they are fun, at least to me.
If I had to explain the “tone” of this book, I’d say it’s supposed to be roughly the same as that of my favorite Gilbert and Sullivan show, Ruddigore, which I listened to repeatedly while writing this. Ruddigore is, like most G&S, fundamentally a comedy poking fun at the conventions of drama and society generally, but the reason I love it so much is that in addition, it has some genuinely creepy and emotionally-powerful moments. That’s what I’m shooting for here, and I thought the best way to do it would be to juxtapose some classic Gothic tropes with the life of a modern-day office worker.
The other fun challenge was writing the first-person narration by a female protagonist. I’ve seen a lot of people caution against authors writing characters of a different gender, but I decided to give it a go anyway. Certainly, I’ve read plenty of great books by female authors written from the perspective of a male character. One of the points readers raised about The Directorate was that Theresa Gannon didn’t seem distinctively female. Part of that was just who the character as I envisioned her is, but it was something I tried to take into account while writing this. I’m eager to hear what you think.
The other motivation for the female protagonist was that I initially wrote a rough draft of this story from the perspective of the main male character. And it was terrible. I am quite certain that switching the protagonist made the story immensely better—indeed, it was that change that opened the floodgates and allowed me to finally finish it.
Thank you to all my readers, and to all the wonderful people in the indie book community who never fail to inspire me with their great work.
Finally, special thanks to the wise and powerful Mark Paxson for his help and guidance on this project. His suggestions made this story much better, and for that I am extremely grateful. For those who don’t already know: Mark is a terrific writer, and you should check out his books. I am incredibly fortunate to have the benefit of his advice, on everything from how characters should behave to proper punctuation.