Good morning, everyone!  Please welcome Marion Croslydon to the blog this morning.  She's going to be telling us a little about her new book, Oxford Whispers -- which sounds simply fascinating!

 Oxford Whispers
New Adult Paranormal Romance

Two star-crossed lovers in the English Civil War
A painting with haunting powers
A murderous ghost back for revenge

Madison LeBon is dead set against the dead. She has vowed to ignore her Voodoo-stamped heritage and the psychic gift passed down through her Louisiana family. The world of the living is where she wants to belong.

But her resolution shatters when the ill-fated lovers in a painting—the subject of her first history class at Oxford—begin to haunt her. The lovers warn her against their own nemesis, a Puritan from the English Civil War.

In misty present-day Oxford, Madison embarks on a quest to unravel the secrets of the past and understand her personal bond with the painting. To protect herself, she must learn to accept her gift before life imitates art, in all its tragedy.

College becomes more complicated when she falls hard for Rupert Vance, a troubled aristocrat and descendant of one of the characters in the painting.

With the spirit of a murderer in hot pursuit, Madison comes to realize that her own first love may be doomed…

Based on a real Pre-Raphaelite painting, Oxford Whispers is full of romance, drama and suspense.

Fall in love for the first time… Again

Marion is going to be tell us a little about her characters' growth arcs in Oxford Whispers.  And with that... I turn over the blog!

Claire, thank you very much for having me on your blog. I’m a big fan of the Curse Of The Templars series, and I really appreciate your invite to talk about my debut novel, Oxford Whispers.

(You're most welcome, Marion.  And I'm glad you're enjoying some tortured knights!)

Oxford Whispers is a New Adult Paranormal Romance (Upper-Young-Adult / Mature YA / “College-Lit”). It tells the story of Madison LeBon, an American student at Oxford University, with psychic powers she prefers to ignore. But when the tragic lovers in a painting begin to haunt her, she must learn to accept her gift. Otherwise, life will imitate art and Madison's own first love will be doomed.

Madison’s journey is one from self-denial to self-acceptance.

She’s a daughter of the South. She grew up in a small town a one-hour drive from Baton Rouge, in a Creole family. Her mother owns the local honkytonk, her aunt is an Ursuline nun, and her grandmother a Voodoo priestess. So quite a colorful bunch of women. Her father took the easy way out before she was even born.

Madison has ambivalent feelings towards her family. She loves them and respects them, but, at the same time, she longs for a “normal” life, a more traditional existence—and even if she doesn’t admit it to herself—a more “respectable” one.

Thanks to her aunt, Madison went to a catholic boarding school, and from there, got into Yale, majoring in History. She learned how to erase her Southern drawl and keep absolute silent about her Voodoo-stamped heritage and the psychic abilities passed down the LeBon female line. More than anything she wants to belong, to fit in… even if that means denying her roots.

When she enrolls in a Master’s program at Oxford University in England, she expects her life to take a magic-free turn. But bang! During her first History tutorial, an English painting set during the English Civil War throws her into a turmoil of bloody visions. From then on she won’t be able to ignore the characters in the painting, their ghosts, and their own quest for love, justice or revenge.

I won’t go into more details as it would spoil the plot and the suspense. Oxford Whispers is a paranormal romance, yes, but it deals with a special time in our lives, our early twenties. Surprisingly, romances or commercial fictions dealing with those “in-between” years are quite rare.

I dived into Harry Potter. I devoured Twilight. But then what?

I’m not a teen anymore. But in some time-defying ways, I grew up with those heroes. They nurtured my thoughts, my dreams. I cheered for them, cried with them… and fell in love with them (you, broody vampire, yes you!).

When I started Oxford Whispers, I was desperate for the next adventure, for the next step in my “growing-up.” “Coming-of-age” doesn’t only happen in high school. A lot of the excitement, joys and heartbreaks also fill those “in-between years,” when you’re legally an adult but don’t always know how to be one. Or why you should even try to be. But hardly any book deals with this transition into the “big bad” world, about these life-changing, earth-shattering “first-times.”

The first time we leave home, our family, our parents, the friends we grew up with, but didn’t always choose.

The first home, the first job, the first real love.

So really these are some of the things I wanted to explore through Madison. She’s passed the rebellious teenage years (although hers were very tame because she’s a nerd ;-)). She’s on her own and has to construct her own identity. For her, it will mean accepting where she comes from, her roots, and her heritage.

Madison comes a long way. I thought I would share with you the Inciting Incident, the moment her life takes that unexpected turn, the moment her heritage comes back to haunt her. Literally…

Let's take a peek!  

Oxford Whispers – Chapter One

Oxford, Faculty of History ~ Today

Madison spied on the Puritan, and the Puritan spied on the lovers. He hid behind a tree, his hand clenched on a Bible, his mouth twisted into a snarl.

His hatred radiated out of the painting into the classroom, and punched Madison in the belly. She closed her eyes.

Violent scenes flashed behind her lids. Severe faces stared back at her, and battles played out around her. She saw blood. Blood on her hands and on the face of the Cavalier, the other man in the painting. The warm liquid stuck to her skin. To her soul.

Visions had shaken her before. But nothing like this… Like a freakin’ Taser shot.

A wave of nausea flushed through her body, and an acrid taste invaded her mouth. She stood, but her knees buckled. Shuffling the few inches back to her seat she flattened her palms on the cold surface of the desk. The contact helped, but briefly.

Madison dragged her attention back to the painting, spread by the slide projector all over the classroom wall. In a forest clearing, a blond Cavalier lay in the arms of a young girl. Judging by his limp posture, he’d been badly injured. On the right side of the scene, a man dressed in black—the Puritan—watched. A plain hat covered half of his face. But Madison could see enough of his expression. He reeked of jealousy.

“Miss LeBon, do you need to take a break?” Doctor McCain’s familiar East Coast accent took her out of her trance and brought her back to the classroom.

As she shuffled in her seat, Madison’s chair squeaked. The other students turned in her direction.

Embarrassment fired up her cheeks, but she managed to shake her head and give the professor a faint smile. He nodded and returned to his lecture.

Clad in dark blue jeans, he rested now on the corner of his desk. His compact body partly blocked the image of the painting behind him. “William Shakespeare Burton was a relatively unknown artist, but this work, The Wounded Cavalier, enjoyed some success after he died. The scene takes place around 1650, after the execution of King Charles I.”

The tutorial continued, but Madison looked away through the classroom window. One of the spires jutting into the Oxford skyline caught her attention. Her breathing slowed, and the trembling of her hands stopped. Almost.

She had been knocked off her feet before, but the ghosts had never made her sick enough to bring her breakfast to her lips. Never before had they been mere characters in a painting.

So much for leaving behind her Voodoo heritage and the long line of LeBon psychics.

Madison gave herself a mental slap. She would not follow in her ancestors’ footsteps and end up a total whacko. She would not drown herself in the Mississippi or hang her pretty neck from the branch of a cypress. She would not let anyone shut her in a nuthouse. Just because she talked to those who were not there.

Confusion seeped into her. She would stand, fight and die for her crazy family, for her Cajun blood.

But no way am I going further into the loony bin. At least, not quite yet.

When Doctor McCain signaled the end of the session, her fists were tightly clenched, her knuckles white.


GIVEAWAY - Marion will be giving away a $20 New Adult Reading pack --i.e. selected NA titles on Amazon to one commenter on the tour.  Follow the tour -- the more you comment, the better your chances of winning!  Complete Tour Dates can be found here

About the Author:  

I am a true citizen of the world. I was born in West Africa, grew up in the South of France, and studied in Vienna, Paris, Berlin, Cape Town, and Oxford before finally settling down in London. This wide variety of cities has provided lots of inspiration for my writing. Talk about culture exposure!

In addition to being an author, I work as an entrepreneur, wife and mother-of-one but spend a good deal of time with books, DVDs and listening to my mp3 player; all for the sake of inspiration, of course. My debut series, The Oxford Trilogy, has been a blast to write because I can indulge in my favorite types of music: Country and English rock.

My main goal as a writer is to make readers dream bigger and cause their hearts to beat a little faster. Since my writing is all about sharing dreams and stories, I love connecting with fellow readers and authors.

Keep in touch via:  Website  |  Twitter  |  Facebook  |  YouTube      

A GoddessFish Promotions Virtual Book Tour


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2 Responses so far.

  1. Thank you Claire for having me on your blog! Marion x

  2. Congrats on the book! It sounds good.


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