Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Interview with Anna Lee Huber

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, releases 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. 
Anna, it’s great to have you at Novel PASTimes today. Could you share with us some of the surprises you’ve encountered along the road to publishing?

Thank you so much for having me! I think the biggest surprise for me was how slowly everything moves. There is a lot of waiting in the publishing business. You submit your book to publishers. You wait. You receive an offer and accept. You wait. You sign your contract. You wait. And on and on. Sometimes as much as six months or a year can go by until you reach the next step of the process. It can be tough to swallow as a first time author. But eventually you learn to use that time to write and ignore the calendar.

Please tell us something about your latest novel, Mortal Arts, and your main character, Lady Kiera Darby.

Mortal Arts is the second novel in my Lady Darby mystery series. It takes place in Scotland 1830, just two months after the events in book one, The Anatomist’s Wife. Kiera, Lady Darby, is a gifted portrait artist and the widow of a famous anatomist. In Mortal Arts she sets out to help an old friend who has been locked in a lunatic asylum for ten years. He has only been recently released, and when a local girl goes missing, he instantly becomes a suspect. Kiera must employ her knowledge of the macabre and again join forces with gentleman inquiry agent—and romantic entanglement—Sebastian Gage in order to prove her friend’s innocence.

Your “Lady Darby Mystery” series is set in early 1830s Scotland. What drew you to write about this time period and the location of your story?

When I set out to write the Lady Darby series, I first began by crafting my heroine’s backstory. Once I decided to give her knowledge of anatomy, unwillingly acquired through her late husband’s enforced tutelage while she sketched his dissections for an anatomy textbook he was writing, I knew that 1830 would be the perfect year in which to set the first novel. It’s just after the trial of Burke and Hare—two Edinburgh body snatchers turned murderers—during the ensuing panic that follow the discovery of their gruesome crimes, and a few years before the passage of the Anatomy Act of 1832. It’s a fascinating time period to set a novel, with lots of juicy historical detail to utilize. Not to mention all of the other reforms happening in that time period. It’s an era of transition in the UK.

Have you found that similar themes throughout your writing? Why? Or why not?

Because the Lady Darby novels feature the same characters, I do find that similar themes overlap—acceptance, trust, courage. I also find that all my stories tend to feature heroines that don’t quite fit in and are looking for their own brand of happiness outside of their current society’s definition of what that should be. I think this is so important to me because I haven’t always followed the expected path, instead I try to follow my heart and what God is guiding me to do.

What drew you to writing historical novels?

I’m a bit of a history nerd. I’ve always loved history. It was my favorite subject in school. It lights me up to learn new and different things about our collective past. So when I decided to write my first novel as an adult, historical fiction was a no-brainer. There was no absolutely no question.

If you’re anything like I am, one favorite book is hard to pick! Do you have two or three top picks among the historical genre that you would care to recommend

More tomorrow from author Anna Lee Huber. She will be
giving away Mortal Arts, Lady Darby Book 2, this week
in our drawing. Only readers in the U.S. are eligible, please.

From Anna Lee Huber, here’s your Novel PASTimes’ question of the week to answer to be entered in the drawing:

Who are some of your favorite historical sleuths?

To be entered in this week’s drawings, please do the following:
1) Answer the question.
2) Leave your email addy in the form of name[at]domain[dot]com.
3) Leave your answer in the comments before 8:30 a.m. ET. Thank you!


Diane Scott Lewis said...

I enjoyed the interview and learning more about Anna, my new friend at the GLHNS.

Susan @ Reading World said...

My favorite sleuths are Joliffe (Margaret Frazer) and Falco (Lindsey Davis.) I just finished The Anatomist's Wife and loved it- and can't wait to read Mortal Arts. Wonderful interview!

karenk said...

favourite sleuths?...does mrs marple from Agatha Christie fame count?

a wonderful posting...thanks for the chance to read this novel.

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Susan P said...

Aren't we all history nerds? :) Great interview. And I have to fall back on the good old Sherlock Holmes as my favorite sleuth.
lattebooks (at) hotmail (dot) com

Lis said...

Dido Kent (series written by Anna Dean) and Julian Kestrel (series written by Kate Ross), both are sleuths from the regency era. Your book series totally piques my interest!


bonton said...

The only sleuths that come to mind are Sherlock Holmes, & those of Agatha Christie.


Anna Lee Huber said...

Ooh, lots of excellent historical sleuths listed above, some I'd even forgotten in making my list. I may need to do some re-reading. :)