Today I want to introduce you all to author Kim Wright. Some of you might know her from her previously released historical novel, Love in Mid Air, however she is now bringing us an exciting new series called City of Mystery! I had the opportunity to ask her a few questions about this new series and how it differed from publishing Love in Mid Air.
Your new series, City of Mystery, is very different from your previous release, Love in Mid Air. What made you change directions and go for a historical mystery series?
I’ve always loved mystery so it’s a more natural progression than it probably looks like on the surface. And I’ve always had an attraction to the macabre. I knew I wanted to do a series – to have a set circle of characters who form the basis of the first forensics unit at Scotland Yard and I plan for a different person on the team to be most prominently featured in each mystery. That way I think I can keep it fresh for both me and my readers – the five main characters will appear in each book, along with their patron, Queen Victoria, but the majority of the story will be told through the perspective of just one of them.
The first book in this series, City of Darkness, takes place in London during the time Jack the Ripper was harrowing the city. What was it that drew you to this topic/time?
My dad was an antique dealer and when I was a teenager I traveled with him to London on a buying trip and somehow ended up on one of those terrifying midnight Ripper tours. I’ll never forget it. I was clutching the tour guide with my head down the whole time.
Something about Jack is very gripping, I think – he seems to occupy the same space in our mind as vampires- because even though there have been far more extensive serial killers since his reign, he still is the emblem for faceless evil. And the late Victorian era is full of wonderful material on its own. A way of life was dying out and new more modern era was being ushered in and everyone wasn’t happy about it. It reminds me of what’s happening in publishing!
To build a little more on the previous question - I have always been fascinated with forensics (I even have my degree in criminal justice) – what is your fascination with this period of early forensics and Scotland Yard?
Forensics is endlessly interesting….when I begin doing research I have to tear myself away. But it’s amazing how little they really knew back then – fingerprinting and blood-typing came later, and were introduced first in Paris with Scotland Yard lagging behind. Detection was more of a “gentleman’s game” of interviews and inference with little science at all. When my poor detective Trevor Welles suggests they rope off the crime scene in the first book he’s mocked by his fellow detectives, who were accustomed to just tramping around looking at things with no regard for fiber evidence or blood splatter or even the position of the victim’s body.
They almost certainly would have caught the Ripper if he’d committed his crimes even twenty years later but the irony is that the fact this case remained unsolved is probably what popularized forensics. Even the most conservative members of the Yard eventually realized that in a world of serial killers, who chose their victims seemingly at random, detectives would have to rely on forensics instead of deductive reasoning.
This is an intended trilogy. Can you please tell us more about what we can expect as the series unfolds?
City of Darkness takes place in 1888 London and City of Light, which I plan to publish this summer, will take place in 1889 in Paris at the Exposition Universalle, the famous World’s Fair which debuted- among other things – Edison’s phonograph, Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, and the Eiffel Tower. The third, City of Silence, will take place in St. Petersburg when Victoria’s favorite granddaughter, Alexandra, is on the verge of marrying the young czar Nicholas. I’m thinking of expanding beyond the trilogy into a series and sending my fledgling forensics team all over the world. I have ideas for books set in Vienna, Buenos Aires, and New York!
How is the experience of publishing City of Darkness different from publishing Love in Mid Air?
Love in Mid Air was published by a giant Big Six publisher. The good news is I was given money and support. The bad news is that in exchange for that money and support, conventional publishing connects you to a whole circle of editors, publicists, etc, who have opinions about your book and every decision you make becomes a team effort. The thing that bothered me most is how long it takes…it was a full two years between the time I signed the contract for Love in Mid Air and when the book appeared in stores.
In the City of Mystery series I wanted to be able to bring them out fast because I know how mystery readers are. We gobble up one in a series and want the next….and the next. I knew the only way I could control everything about mysteries, including their publication dates, was to self-publish on Amazon. So far, I have to say, it’s been a blast.
Kim Wright has been writing about travel, food, and wine for more than 25 years and is a two-time recipient of the Lowell Thomas Award for Travel Writing. Love in Mid Air was her first novel and she is presently working on the continuation of the City of Mystery series.
Copyright © 2012 by The Maiden’s Court