I am excited to welcome today author Anna Lee Huber to The Maiden’s Court! I had the chance to meet her at HNS this year and am excited about her books – the covers are gorgeous! I wanted to take this opportunity to help you get to know a little more about her and her books!
How do you balance your time between your writing and work/life/family? Do you set yourself a schedule for writing or fit it in as available? What do you do when you are not writing?
Balance is not always easy, and it’s something I definitely need to get better at. I have a regular set of hours I schedule myself to work, and I also set a word count goal for myself for each week. I like giving myself that flexibility. Plus it allows for the inevitable interruptions of life. So if I meet my goal early in the week, then I can choose not to work the other days or work ahead. Of course, there are also weeks where I haven’t met my goal by the last day and I end up chained to my desk. But, once again, this also depends on how close to my deadline I am. I tend to cheat more when the deadline is far off. Just being honest.
When I’m not writing, I love to read. I think most writers do. I’m also a musician and a music fan, so I sing, play the piano, compose and arrange music for my own enjoyment, and attend concerts. I like to travel and see new places, and I have a large family I like to spend time with.
Mortal Arts is the second book in historical mystery series that began with The Anatomist’s Wife. How do you plan out this series? Is it something where you have set out a general outline of what will occur over the course of the books, or does each book sort of build the plot as you go?
When I began writing The Anatomist’s Wife, I had no plans beyond that immediate book and the fact that I wanted it to be the beginning of a series. But by the time I finished it I had a general outline of where I wanted the series to go, at least in terms of the character arcs and the relationship between my two main protagonists, Lady Darby & Mr. Gage. Further research into the time period gave me ideas for real historical events I wanted my characters to encounter, so that by the time I finished Mortal Arts , I had a general story arc for the series through Book seven. And I hope to continue writing the series even beyond that. Each book has about a page worth of plot and character points, and when it comes time to write each individual book I flesh them out even more, which, of course, also affects the plots in later books. So it’s an evolving process.
What has been the most exciting thing about the writing/publishing process? What has been the worst/most difficult?
Simply seeing the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. Nothing is more thrilling than knowing I’ve accomplished it, and holding the book in my hands. It’s an absolutely amazing feeling. The most difficult has been learning the marketing and promotion side of the business. M&P has never been my forte, but nowadays it’s necessary to any writer’s success.
Do you have any plans for writing anything outside of the Lady Darby series?
I do. I currently have a Regency-set Gothic suspense novel that is about half finished. It’s the beginning novel in a proposed trilogy, and I hope to have it completed by the end of the year. I also have a Contemporary Mystery series idea I would like to find some time to play around with.
Do you have anything you do to get the creative thoughts flowing? Any strategies you use when you get stuck writing?
When I’m having trouble getting the creative juices flowing, exercise or just getting outside away from my house and my office for a little while often helps. Water is also magical for me. Taking a shower or a bath, or going swimming often gets my thoughts flowing again. When I’m well and truly stuck, I often find it’s because I’ve made a wrong turn somewhere in my story. So I make myself back up and try different things until I can get going again. Sometimes this means scrapping three or more chapters of a manuscript, but if it better serves the story, it’s absolutely worth it.
What are you working on now? Anything you can tell us about it?
I’m currently finishing up the third novel in the Lady Darby series, titled A Grave Matter, which will be released in July 2014. It opens on Hogmanay—New Year’s Eve—1830. After the events in Mortal Arts, Kiera, Lady Darby has retreated to her childhood home in the Borders region to attempt to heal. She hopes to be cheered by the merriment of the Hogmanay Ball, but when a young man covered in blood interrupts the festivities, she is suddenly pulled into another deadly mystery. A caretaker at nearby Dryburgh Abbey has been murdered, and an old grave disturbed—the bones of its occupant stolen. And it’s not the first. Some fiend is digging up old bones and holding them for ransom. Now Kiera must join forces with Sebastian Gage yet again to catch the culprit, and untangle the complicated emotions that lie between them before one of them winds up six feet under.
Anna Lee Huber is the award-winning author of the Lady Darby historical mystery series. Her debut, The Anatomist’s Wife, has won and been nominated for numerous awards, including two 2013 RITA® Awards and a 2013 Daphne du Maurier Award. Her second novel, Mortal Arts, released September 3rd. She was born and raised in a small town in Ohio, and graduated from Lipscomb University in Nashville, TN with a degree in music and a minor in psychology. She currently lives in Indiana, and enjoys reading, singing, traveling and spending time with her family.
About Mortal Arts:
Scotland, 1830. Lady Kiera Darby is no stranger to intrigue-in fact, it seems to follow wherever she goes. After her foray into murder investigation, Kiera must journey to Edinburgh with her family so that her pregnant sister can be close to proper medical care. But the city is full of many things Kiera isn't quite ready to face: the society ladies keen on judging her, her fellow investigator-and romantic entanglement-Sebastian Gage, and ultimately, another deadly mystery.
Kiera's old friend Michael Dalmay is about to be married, but the arrival of his older brother-and Kiera's childhood art tutor-William, has thrown everything into chaos. For ten years Will has been missing, committed to an insane asylum by his own father. Kiera is sympathetic to her mentor's plight, especially when rumors swirl about a local girl gone missing. Now Kiera must once again employ her knowledge of the macabre and join forces with Gage in order to prove the innocence of a beloved family friend-and save the marriage of another...
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