Happy Monday, one and all. I hope you’ve had a lovely, restful and WARM weekend. Today, I’m excited to announce that we have another guest visiting with us – Anna Lee Huber, author of the Lady Darby mystery series.
I found out about this series in 2012 when notices about it started popping up on GoodReads. I bought the first book, The Anatomist’s Wife, for my mother for Christmas, and once she read it, she passed it along to me. I really enjoyed it – you know I adore a good historical mystery, and this one has a really unique premise. This is a great series for fellow Pink fans! Two months ago, Anna participated in a panel with Lauren (along with Tasha Alexander and Susan Elia MacNeal) at the Kerrytown Bookfest in Ann Arbor discussing the Art of Historical Romantic Suspense. I wish I could have been there! But as sad as I am to have missed out, I’m thrilled to have Anna here with us today to answer a few questions about herself and her writing. Let’s get to it!
Anna, do you have any unique talents or hobbies?
How about cataloguing historical information and interesting tidbits (including ghost stories) about castles and manor houses in the UK? My husband thinks it’s bizarre that I would want to do that in my spare time, but I find it fascinating. I keep thinking someday there might be a nonfiction book to be created from all this detritus. We’ll see. I’m also slightly crazed about maps and atlases, which includes plotting the coordinates of those castles and manor houses. This all sounds so horribly nerdy, but that’s me. I chalk it up to the analytical bent of my mind.
What are five of your favorite things?
Snickerdoodles, Inception, Les Miserables (the book or the musical), Winnie the Pooh, the sound of the ocean crashing against a rocky shore
If you stopped writing books (please don’t), what would you do for a living?
Well, my bachelor’s degree is in Music, so probably something to do with that. I almost landed a job at a record company in Nashville straight out of college. I went through three rounds of interviews and wound up being the runner-up. Every once in a while I wonder how different my life would be if I had gotten that position. I also toyed with the idea of going to law school, and later graduate school to study Speech and Language Pathology. I even took the LSAT and GRE. But, honestly, now I can’t imagine doing anything else but writing.
If I took a sneak peek into your writing space, what would I find?
Lately, I write wherever I can with my 8-month-old daughter. But my office is a small bedroom painted a pale shade of jade green. One wall is covered in two large maps—one of Scotland and the other of England-Wales. I have 6 bookshelves covered in books and assorted picture frames, awards, and knick-knacks that mean something to me, as well as Precious Moments figurines because I still haven’t bought a curio cabinet to store them in. My cork board above my desk is tacked with reminder post-its (such as “affect is a verb, effect is a noun”) and more random knick-knacks. I have an abstract painting of a sunset I created hanging behind my desk. I say “abstract” because I’m not very skilled. I also have two large black-and-white photographs of trees in winter. I love pictures like that.
What was your inspiration for Kiera Darby?
This question is always difficult for me to answer because she started out as a completely conscious creation. I knew I wanted to try my hand at writing a historical mystery series with a female protagonist set sometime during the 19th century. I wanted her to have genuine skills to bring to a murder investigation, and I decided one of those would be knowledge of anatomy, which was almost completely unheard of for a woman at that time. As I delved into creating her backstory in order to provide her that education in a believable way, she began to come to life. And when I allowed her to open her mouth and start talking as I began to write, her words just seemed to pour out of me. It was almost as if she’d been there hiding in my subconscious all along.
How important are the names of the characters in your books?
Names are extremely important to me. I cannot write a character if I don’t have their name right. I will fiddle and tweak until I’m satisfied. Otherwise, they simply don’t feel real enough to me. Sometimes I choose the name because of the way it sounds or the meaning, but above all it has to feel true to the character, as odd as that might sound. I have charts and a notebook filled with names that I’ve stumbled across in all sorts of places. I always refer to this first when attempting to name a character. Sometimes it’s easy. I wrote the name Gage in my notebook years ago, knowing someday I would use it for a hero. And when Kiera’s love interest walked onto the page in The Anatomist’s Wife I instantly knew that this was Mr. Gage. But coming up with his first name was definitely harder. I can’t tell you how many different names I tried before settling on Sebastian.
What is an interesting fact or subject you’ve come across in your research that you haven’t yet included in your books?
There are a number of secret tunnels running between different castles, buildings and landmarks in Scotland, whether for escape, smuggling, or conducting midnight trysts. I would love to craft a story around one of these hidden passages sometime.
What are you working on now?
I recently finished A Study in Death, Lady Darby Book 4, which releases July 7th, 2015. Phew! It’s the first book I’ve written since my daughter was born, and it was a struggle. Now I’m finishing up a stand-alone book I’ve been working on in bits and pieces for a couple of years now. It’s more of a traditional Gothic along the lines of Victoria Holt and Mary Stewart.
If readers would like to learn more about you and your work, how would they do that?
My website: www.annaleehuber.com
I don’t know about you, but I would LOVE to read a book about those Scottish tunnels between castles that Anna describes. I also think that a book in the style of Victoria Holt and Mary Stewart is right up my alley. Because she is a lovely person, Anna has offered to give away a signed copy of the first book in her Lady Darby series, The Anatomist’s Wife, to a lucky reader of today’s interview. To enter yourself for this giveaway, just leave a comment below. You have until midnight EST on November 20 to enter. I will announce the winner on Friday.
Want to earn extra entries for this giveaway? You can enter up to three times. Here’s how:
- Leave a comment below.
- Follow the blog! If you are already a follower, just mention that in your comment. There are links in the top right corner of this page to become a follower.
- Post a link to this giveaway on Facebook or Twitter. Again, you can just let me know in your comment that you’ve done this. I trust you.
On Friday, I will use the Random Number Generator to pick a winner. Good luck! And thanks again, Anna, for spending some time with us today.