When Lucienne Reneault receives an invitation to a Bal des Victimes, a masquerade dance in honor of those aristocrats who have been guillotined, she believes it must have been a mistake. Of two things she is certain, however: she will attend the ball. And she will have her revenge.
A Tumblr post was the main inspiration for this novel. I had never heard of the victim’s balls, and the idea fascinated me. I did a little research and discovered that it’s very unlikely these balls took place. I couldn’t shake the image of a girl dressed in a white gown with a red ribbon around her neck walking into ball looking to murder someone, and so this novel was born.
In order to get into the mindset for this time period, I had to listen to a lot of classical, baroque music.
This playlist, A Gilded Age, was originally for a different story, set in 17th century Italy. You can listen over on 8tracks.
- Sarah Brightman – Gothica/Fleurs du Mal
- Interview with the Vampire soundtrack – Lestat’s Recitative
- Olivier Beaumont – Lee Rigg, A Scots Tune with 3 variations and a Gigg in A major
- Alexandre Desplot (from the Twilight: New Moon soundtrack) – The Meadow
- Daniel Lecht (from the Dexter soundtrack) – Blood Theme for Piano
- Proxenos Papias – The Endless Library
- Marie Antoinette soundtrack – Les Barricades Mysterious
- Dustin O’Halloran – Opus 28
- Johann Johannsson – Here They Used to Build Ships
- Daniel Versano – Gnossiennes No. 1
- Johnny Hollow – Alchemy
- Marie Antoinette soundtrack – K. 213
- Secret Garden – Song from a Secret Garden
I made this playlist, Bal des Victimes, specifically for The Victim’s Ball. You can listen over on Spotify.
- Hans Zimmer (from the DaVinci Code soundtrack) – Malleus Maleficarum
- The Gladiator soundtrack – Secrets
- Vivaldi – The Four Seasons, Violin Concerto No. 2 in G Minor
- Mozart – Requiem: Lacrimosa
- Erutan – Transylvanian Lullaby
- Camille Saint-Saens – Danse Macabre, Op. 40
- Bach – Toccata and Fugue in D Minor
- Tom Waits – Russian Dance
- Beethoven – Moonlight Sonata
- Vanessa Mae – Toccata and Fugue in D Minor
These Spotify playlists were also “instrumental” in writing The Victim’s Ball:
Robiquet, Jean. Daily life in the French Revolution. Translated from the French by James Kirkup. New York : The Macmillan Company, 1965.
Schechter, Ronald. “Gothic Thermidor: The Bals des victimes, the Fantastic, and the Production of Historical Knowledge in Post-Terror France.” Representations, No. 61, Special Issue: Practices of Enlightenment (University of California Press, Winter 1998), pp. 78- 94.
Cover Story & Working Titles
The first draft was titled “The Red Ribbon” in reference to the red ribbon worn by guests at Victim’s Balls, which symbolized the guillotine. I changed the title because in the end, the red ribbon was not a major theme.