Veterinarian turned author weaves magical debut reminiscent of “The Woman in White”
La Quinta, CA — Author J. Fremont makes her authorial debut with an enchanting historical fiction novel that explores the topics of love, the supernatural, art, and insanity. Drawing inspiration from a dream she had about her characters and her personal love of glass fusing, her labor of love has come to fruition with Magician of Light (May 17, 2022, She Writes Press).
One of the most innovative designers of his time, René Lalique was a leader in the decorative arts. Magician of Light begins in his adolescent years in Paris as a striving apprentice. Meanwhile, across the channel, Lucinda Haliburton is facing her own struggles, including a dysfunctional family and history of mental illness. Her grandfather, Lord Haliburton, suggests a visit to his archeological dig in Egypt in an effort to help her escape her difficulties at home—but the trip ends in disaster, and Lucinda returns to England with the belief that she is being preyed upon by ancient Egyptian spirits.
Rene and Lucinda’s paths cross when he leaves Paris to continue his studies at a nearby art college. His fascination with Egypt sparks a connection with Lucinda, and romance blooms—but is complicated by her mental condition. Overactive imagination, insanity, or a real haunting? Will their love see them through?
Magician of Light touches on the truth of Lalique’s illustrious life, the people most important to him, and the anguish of some of those personal relationships, creating a unique view of his real life and a compelling storybook love story.
“Magician of Light”
J. Fremont | May 17, 2022 | She Writes Press | Historical Fiction
Paperback | 9781647423551 | $16.99 | Ebook | 978164723568 | $9.95
Praise for J. Fremont and Magician of Light
“Reminiscent of Wilkie Collins’ ‘The Woman in White’, Fremont weaves a gripping tale of spirits, hallucinations, insanity and betrayal to take the reader into the life of the famous Rene Lalique.”
—Lucinda Jackson – Author of Just a Girl: Growing Up Female and Ambitious and Project Escape: Lessons for an Unscripted Life
“With each stroke of the pen, Dr. J Fremont gives us an in-depth view of the masterful art of René Lalique. The settings, art medium, and process Lalique used to create his art was so intricately described that it placed you into the scene of each chapter. Fremont so eloquently details the imagery of Lalique’s work in Magician of Light that it connects you as if you were an observer at a Fine Art Exhibition.”
—M. Bernard Edmonds, (BerniE.) – Author, Artist, Sculptor, Song Writer
“Fremont’s detailed account of Lalique’s life takes the reader on a fascinating journey as he seeks to find his place in the world of art. She captures the atmosphere of Paris and London, where the mystical lived side by side with the rational. Reminiscent of 19th Century gothic novels, this fictional account of the artist’s life is both engaging and informative.”
—Susan Speranza, author of The City of Light, The Tale of Lucia Grandi – The Early Years and Ice Out
“Subtle, smart, compelling, and blessed with an intelligent storyline and top-notch writing, MAGICIAN OF LIGHT transports us to European life at the end of the 19th Century. Through Fremont’s sensory descriptions, readers practically live—smell, taste, see, touch, and hear—the life and art of René Lalique.”
—Laurie Buchanan, author of Note to Self: A Seven-Step Path to Gratitude and Growth, The Business of Being: Soul Purpose In and Out of the Workplace, and the Sean McPherson novels
More about the Author
J. Fremont is an author and veterinarian. For more than twenty-five years, she practiced small animal veterinary medicine in addition to serving as an adjunct professor at a local university and community college. The mother of two adult sons, she lives in Southern California with her husband of thirty years. Retired from veterinary medicine, J now spends her time developing her artistic side. In addition to writing, she is a passionate practitioner of the decorative arts, including jewelry making, glass fusing, sewing, and creating mixed media for fun. She enjoys photography, gardening, and posting on Instagram, as well as building gorgeous Pinterest boards. You can find her on her website: https://drjfremont.com/
In an interview, J. Fremont can discuss:
- The book’s journey from a dream to a full-length novel
- How the supernatural and ghosts play an integral role in her novel
- How personal love of art, jewelry making and glass fusing informed her main character, René Lalique
- Navigating themes of mental health, hallucinations, and insanity
- Her passion for European dress, food, and daily life in the late 1800s to early 1900s
- Her intuition as a Veterinarian, and the special place animals hold in our hearts
An Interview with the Author:
1. The original idea for your novel, Magician of Light, originated from a dream. Can you talk a little bit about how this dream sparked your motivation to write this novel? What was the process to take this idea from a dream to a full-length novel?
While I was creating my short stories on my blog and writing and researching for a novel about ancient Egypt, I had a dream about meeting a man sitting in a chair behind a counter. I didn’t know him but he appeared to me again three months later and told me I am to promote him. I finally came across Lalique’s picture on the internet about 18 months later (exactly how I saw him in the first dream) and knew that he would be part of my novel. Ultimately, he became the story as I delved into his personal life and came to know him.
2. Themes of the supernatural, hallucinations, and ghosts are integral to this story; what is the significance of adding in these elements?
The supernatural has always drawn me, and I have strong intuition. Over the years, I have had
many experiences with the metaphysical and precognition, especially in dreams. I lived in a
home built in the early 1900s, originally a boarding house, haunted by a presence felt on the
stairs (I always ran on the stairs to avoid being on them). Later in life, my mother told me she
could hear someone walking on the stairs at night. I added these elements to my story because
the unknown is intriguing, a little scary sometimes, and I like suspense.
3. One of your personal hobbies is glass fusing. How did this passion for art extend your knowledge of the famous glass maker, artist and main character, René Lalique?
I wrote the book before I took up glass fusing, so Lalique influenced me in this area. I love beads and have been making my jewelry for over 25 years. While I was creating my novel, I had to restrain myself from focusing on my beads and not on writing. I definitely feel that his artistry inspired the pieces I did during that time. Lalique was a crucial influence in the development of art nouveau, an era of art that I have always admired.
4. You touch on themes of mental health and insanity in The Magician of Light. How did you navigate writing about these topics in a sensitive but relatable and compelling manner?
I approached my character’s mental issues from a scientific approach researching the techniques being used to treat mental illness in people in that era. Placement in insane asylums is how they removed most of the mentally ill from society. Psychology was a burgeoning science in the late 19th century with some barbaric treatments because doctors didn’t know what to do with people who perceived reality differently than most. In my novel, my character with mental illness is seeing spirits. I leave it up to my reader to decide what is real and what is not.
5. Readers have commended your excellent attention to detail when it comes to European dress, food, and daily life in the late 1800s to early 1900s. Have you always had an affinity for this time period? Where did you draw inspiration in order to write so succinctly about this particular era?
I read a great deal of classic literature, especially Charles Dickens, in high school and early college and developed an affinity towards this time period, especially fashion. Part of the allure of historical programs (fiction and nonfiction) is to see the beautiful clothes and accessories. I credit my late mother with introducing me to art and, in particular, art nouveau. The gorgeous, flowing curves and intricate design appeals to me.
6. Why is Magician of Light an important story to you and what do you hope readers take away from your book?
After dreaming of Lalique, I felt as though I received an extraordinary gift. His identity was a mystery to solve, and I love a good puzzle. After discovering him, I wanted to bring him to life and create a renewal of appreciation for his prolific art and him personally. I want my readers to feel more familiar with Lalique, the fin de siècle era, and feel great satisfaction for having read my story.
7. What were some challenges that you faced when writing this book and how did you overcome them?
The biggest challenge was finding material regarding his personal life, as most books focus on his phenomenal art. I bought some books and did a lot of surfing on the internet to find relevant data. The other challenge was that I don’t speak French. Over time, using a variety of resources, I learned some. One of the reference books that I used in research was in French. I ended up typing many, many words, paragraphs, pages into Google Translate.
A former award-winning journalist with national exposure, Marissa now oversees the day-to-day operation of the Books Forward author branding and book marketing firm, along with our indie publishing support sister company Books Fluent.
Born and bred in Louisiana, currently living in New Orleans, she has lived and developed a strong base for our company and authors in Chicago and Nashville. Her journalism work has appeared in USA Today, National Geographic and other major publications. She is now interviewed by media on best practices for book marketing.