Alison Goodman first hit the New York Times Best Seller list with the Eon books. Now she’s back with Lady Helen and The Dark Days Club.
From the blurb – “London, April 1812. On the eve of eighteen-year-old Lady Helen Wrexhall’s presentation to the queen, one of her family’s housemaids disappears-and Helen is drawn into the shadows of Regency London. There, she meets Lord Carlston, one of the few who can stop the perpetrators: a cabal of demons infiltrating every level of society. Dare she ask for his help, when his reputation is almost as black as his lingering eyes? And will her intelligence and headstrong curiosity wind up leading them into a death trap?”
If you like the sound of this, read on …
Tell us about The Dark Days Club.
The Dark Days Club (the Australian title is Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club) is the first book in a supernatural adventure trilogy set in the Regency. I think of it as Georgette Heyer meets the paranormal girl power of Buffy. Each book is set in one of the society seasons during 1812: Book 1 is set in London for The Season; Book 2 is in Brighton during the summer Season; and book 3 is in Bath for the winter Season. The trilogy is also historically accurate with some cameos from historical figures such as Lord Byron and Beau Brummell. However, I have to admit that the demons I have created, called Deceivers, may not be so historically accurate.
What initially inspired you to write it?
The idea for the book came to me while I was on a tram coming home from a writers’ conference. I had been to a session about researching the Regency era, and as I sat looking out of the tram window, I idly asked myself what kind of Regency novel would I like to read now? The answer came in a rush: a mix of everything I loved about Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer together with the excitement and delight of a supernatural adventure. I scrabbled for a pen and paper and by the time I got to my tram stop, I had the outline of The Dark Days Club.
What are you currently working on?
At the moment, I’m waiting for the copy edit of The Dark Days Pact, Book 2 in the series, which is due for release this coming Christmas/New Year. I’m also working on Book 3, and I’ve just completed a novelette from Lord Carlston’s point of view (the main male character in the series), which will be available soon.
How do you start out with your stories? In the middle, beginning or end?
I write from beginning to end, and don’t jump ahead. My books always have an element of suspense to them and I find that I can build that more effectively if I write the book chronologically.
What’s your writing process for your solo books? Do you throw a lot away? Do you write every day? Are you a planner or do you fly by the seat of the pants?
Before I actually start writing, I spend a lot of time working on structure and building a strong through-line of cause and effect. Alongside that, I also spend quite a while researching. In fact, for the Lady Helen series, I researched the Regency era full-time for over eight months before I began writing the first book. So, while I am working out structure and doing my research, I also write the first chapter to develop voice and build a solid launching point for the novel. Once all of these three elements are in place then I am ready to roll. Generally, I write every day, even if life gets in the way and I only have time to fiddle with a few sentences. That way I keep the momentum. Of course, when a deadline is approaching, then I can be at the computer for ten hours!
I remember hearing your talk about your interest in gender relations in the Regency Romance. Did you manage to explore it in The Dark Days club?
Yes, female empowerment and gender relations are two of my passions, and the Regency is a great setting in which to explore these themes. Women were, legally, chattels and were thought to have little intellectual capacity although there were many women at that time whose writings, art and social endeavours countered these misogynistic beliefs. In The Dark Days Club, the character of Helen’s uncle is a man who holds these beliefs, and I have based his attitudes on the writings about women that appeared in major newspapers and journals of the time. They are at once hilarious and absolutely awful.
How do you go with social media? What do you do to increase interest in your work and how much time do you spend on it? Any tips?
I have a website, a Twitter account, an Instagram account and Facebook author page. I’m not constantly on any of these platforms, but I do offer a writing tip of the day on Twitter, and post photos regularly on Instagram. I also post a journal of what’s been happening, book wise, on my website as well as maintaining a calendar of upcoming appearances. I don’t like to post minutiae about my life (I don’t want to bore everyone senseless) so I generally post when I have some news or I have an interesting picture to share. My focus is on writing the books. My tip would be to choose which of the platforms suit you best and post on those rather than try do them all. Also, if possible link the accounts so that posting on one will post on the others as well.
For anyone interested, here are my platforms:
Twitter: @Alison Goodman
What 3 artworks (books, music, visual arts, films) have most inspired you?
Only three? Okay, let me try and narrow it down.
Anything by Joss Whedon, but in particular the Buffy TV series and Firefly. Genre blending at its best.
Georgette Heyer’s Regency novels. So much fun.
The art of Francis Bacon, which is seriously disturbing, and the beautiful Regency portraits of Lawrence.