Book Tour| The Alchemy of Moonlight – David Ferraro

I’ve been reading a lot of romance lately, but I’ve been in the mood for fantasy as well. The Alchemy of Moonlight sounds like a great book to dive back into this genre. So I’m excited that I have an author interview for my tour stop hosted by TBR and Beyond Tours. Keep on reading to find out more about this book and author!

The Alchemy of Moonlight by David Ferraro
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publishing Date: May 30, 2023

When Emile’s aunt declares he must marry or be disowned for being gay—he runs away to hide as a servant in Count Montoni’s mansion. In their service, Emile tends to the family who all suffer a strange affliction on the full moon. And after overhearing suspicious family arguments, he finds a body on the estate, drawing the attention of a handsome doctor as well as the count’s charismatic nephew, Henri.

Before Emile can sort out his affections or unravel the growing Montoni family mystery, his identity is revealed and his aunt comes to collect him.

When she arrives, Count Montoni forces everyone to depart to the remote Udolpho Castle—where there are no witnesses and no chance for escape. There, Emile realizes that he will have to risk his life to find the love he deserves—and survive the Montoni family.

Content Warning: Mentions of dead bodies, homophobia

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Author Interview

What inspired you to write The Alchemy of Moonlight?

I’ve had the idea for “The Alchemy of Moonlight” for over a decade. My favorite book ever is Ann Radcliffe’s “The Mysteries of Udolpho,” and I’d seen so many retellings of popular classics like “Pride and Prejudice” and “Romeo and Juliet,” but an obscure Gothic classic was not a likely candidate. It kind of bothered me because this is such an amazing story, and I felt like more people should have the chance to read it. So, what better way to spread my love for this story than by making it more accessible to a modern audience? A YA retelling is the perfect vehicle for a Gothic story like this. I’m one of those people with TONS of story ideas, so it took me a while to get around to writing it, and frankly, I wouldn’t have been a good enough writer ten years ago to take on a historical novel like this, so I’m glad I had the time to hone my skills. It really was the resurgence of interest in Gothic lit that was kicked off by Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s “Mexican Gothic” that made me realize that it was time to finally sit down and write it.

What has been the favorite part of your publishing journey so far?

I haven’t really experienced anything I haven’t liked in my journey, unless you count keeping things secret! I’m terrible at keeping secrets, so when I saw that AMAZING cover for “The Alchemy of Moonlight” in my inbox (Thank you, CJ Merwild and Rosie Stewart), I was floored! I wanted to show everyone and shout it from the rooftops, but alas, I had to just quietly stare at it and geek out with my agent and a few close friends. Despite the frustration of having to zip my lips for once, that was probably my favorite moment. Seeing that made everything feel so much more real and it was exactly what I’d envisioned, so I felt like everyone involved just got it. It was very validating.

If you were a character in The Alchemy of Moonlight, what kind of character would you be?

I prefer morally-gray characters because they’re just more realistic. As readers, we might shake our heads and mutter that so-and-so is being frustrating, but in real life, we’re like that. We’re all human, we all make mistakes, and we all do things that are questionable from time to time. The boys in “The Alchemy of Moonlight” are all motivated by human conditions like jealousy and arrogance on top of doing something just because it’s the right thing to do. Throw into that the societal expectations of the time period, and it becomes more complicated than ever, especially for queer people. The “right thing” isn’t always clear. I know a lot of people will fault Henri for his actions, but honestly, I think people would relate to him most if they were being honest with themselves, myself included.

Describe The Alchemy of Moonlight in five words or less.

Queer. Atmospheric. Gothic. Secrets. Monsters.

What is your favorite quote from The Alchemy of Moonlight?

I like the opening. I think it sets up the tone of “The Alchemy of Moonlight” rather nicely: “I’d never seen a dead body before. Or rather, I’d never seen part of a dead body.”

What do you hope readers take away from your story?

“The Alchemy of Moonlight” is truly a love letter to Gothic literature, from “The Picture of Dorian Gray” to “Dracula” to “The Phantom of the Opera.” There are several Easter eggs sprinkled throughout, nods to the people who helped build the foundations of what we think of as “Gothic” today, especially Ann Radcliffe, who continues to be overlooked and unfairly relegated to a corner of the classics canon. I hope readers walk away from this with a better appreciation for the atmosphere and tone and dread that make up a Gothic novel, and perhaps it will spark an interest for the beauty that can be found in the macabre.

Could you give us 5 random facts about The Alchemy of Moonlight (think the story, writing, publishing, anything that comes to mind)?

“The Alchemy of Moonlight” was sold as “Silver in the Blood.” I LOVE the title now, so I don’t mind the handwringing that went into coming up with a new one.

The main character Emile is NEVER described in the book! I had to scramble to come up with a description to send to the cover artist when the time came.

Father Schedoni is the villain from another Ann Radcliffe novel, “The Italian,” but I loved how deliciously evil he was, and couldn’t resist folding him into this story.

The entire first part of “The Alchemy of Moonlight” rewrites the circumstances that kick off the action from “The Mysteries of Udolpho.” It was inspired by “Downton Abbey,” in particular Barrow’s role in the show, and I was delighted when my copy editor mentioned him in relation to Emile.

That ending (you’ll know it when you read it) was not my idea, but was a suggestion from my editor, so you can thank Tamara for that!

Tour Schedule

If you’re curious about The Alchemy of Moonlight after reading the synopsis, click here for the full tour schedule. Amazing bloggers and bookstagrammers are talking about this book throughout the week.

About the Author

David Ferraro grew up in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, where he was raised on a steady diet of comic books, horror movies and YA novels. He graduated with a B.A. in English and creative writing from St. Cloud State University, and currently resides in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with his boyfriend and a very spoiled tortoise. He is represented by Eva Scalzo of Speilburg Literary. His debut “The Alchemy of Moonlight” is set to be published from Page Street Kids in Spring 2023.

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A big thank you to David for taking time to answer my interview questions. I love stories with family mysteries, so I’m really excited about reading The Alchemy of Moonlight.

One thought on “Book Tour| The Alchemy of Moonlight – David Ferraro

  1. Oh my goodness! I hadn’t heard of this book yet but I LOVE the sound of it. I read The Romance of the Forest by Ann Radcliffe for university and hated it, but always felt like I would enjoy The Mysteries of Udolpho more! I need to get my hands on a copy of this one. Great interview Candyce!

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