Q&A With Anna Lee Huber
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Q&A With Anna Lee Huber
Today I have the honor of doing a Q&A with the author of the USA Today Bestselling Lady Darby Mystery Series, Verity Kent Mystery Series, Gothic Myths series and the anthology The Deadly Hours & coming out on February 20th 2024 is her historical fiction novel Sisters Of Fortune.
Q: Anna for the readers of the blog and I would you care to tell us a little bit about Sisters Of Fortune?
A: Sure! Sisters of Fortune is inspired by the real story of the Fortune sisters from Winnipeg, who journeyed on the ill-fated voyage of the Titanic. It came about when one of my editors approached me about writing a novel set aboard the Titanic, and once I started doing research I stumbled across the Fortune sisters, who I’d never heard of. They were sailing home after three months of traveling on their Grand Tour with their millionaire father, mother, and younger brother. All three sisters were unwed and in their twenties, and there were enough interesting anecdotes about them to intrigue me. Each sister is at a crossroads, and the journey will transform and alter their lives in more ways than they can imagine.
Q: What was the research and writing process like for Sisters Of Fortune?
A: In a word, intense! I agreed to write Sisters of Fortune on a condensed timeline, yet I knew I had to do an extensive amount of research about the Titanic in addition to uncovering as much as I could about the Fortunes. People who know Titanic, really KNOW Titanic, so I realized I had to be as intimate with that ship and all the events that occurred during its voyage as possible. And the Fortunes proved to be more elusive than I’d anticipated. The sisters were notoriously reticent about sharing their experiences aboard the Titanic. Much of what we know about them comes from other passengers’ testimonies. This was both a headache and a blessing. It was frustrating not to be able to find more, but also freeing to be able to write their stories as I wanted within the known frame, which is why the book is inspired by them, and not intended to be an exact representation.
Plotting also turned out to be incredibly tricky as I was trying to weave four characters’ stories into the known framework of the Titanic’s story, and move them about the ship to enable them to witness certain events and conversations. It was also not only my first attempt to write a straight historical fiction novel, but also one written from multiple viewpoints in third-person narrative. I normally write from a single first-person viewpoint. It was an immense challenge, and one I’m tremendously proud to have accomplished. I definitely stretched myself and grew as a writer through the entire process.
Q: How did you come up with the ideas for Lady Darby Mystery Series, Verity Kent Mystery Series, Gothic Myths series? What is your advice for anyone wanting to write great historical murder mysteries?
A: Lady Darby came to me when I was still struggling to land an agent and publisher. I had been writing some other things, but I’d always wanted to try my hand at writing a historical mystery. Then this woman started talking to me in my subconscious, telling me her story. I then had to stop and figure out who she was. Her era, back story, the journey she would take. She turned into Kiera, Lady Darby – a gifted portrait artist and widow of an anatomist, with a macabre reputation and a talent for detection.
The inspiration for the Verity Kent Mysteries came from MI6 – British Intelligence’s website. I had long wanted to write a series set during the First World War, but I hadn’t found my heroine. Then I started reading the History page of MI6’s website and discovered thousands of women had worked for British Intelligence during WWI, both at home and abroad, and as part of resistance networks behind enemy lines. I had known women served with British Intelligence during World War II, but not the earlier conflict. I began a deep dive into research and the genesis of Verity was born – a whip-smart, stylish spy who worked for the British during WWI, and is still called upon to use her skills even though the war is technically over.
The Gothic Myths series was inspired by my love of Gothic fiction. The goal is for the series to explore various historical myths and folklore throughout Britain. The myths cause problems for my heroines and their heroes, leaving them with no choice but to uncover what the truth may be behind them, and how they will ultimately affect their lives.
My best advice for anyone wanting to write historical mysteries is to read widely in the genre, choose your era and protagonist wisely, do an extensive amount of research, but also remember that you’re writing fiction and ultimately the facts have to serve the story, not the other way around.
Q: Does Hollywood have the rights to your work? The entertainment industry needs great content again. I could see Lady Darby Mystery Series, Verity Kent Mystery Series, Gothic Myths series, be great television series on PBS Masterpiece.
A: They currently do not, but I would LOVE to see one of my series made into a television series for PBS Masterpiece, etc. So, if anyone has connections, please point them toward my books. 😊
Q: I know Sisters Of Fortune comes out in 2024. Is it too early to ask if you’re writing a new book in your existing series, another standalone historical fiction or the beginning of a new series?
A: Yes, 2024 is going to be a busy year for me. Sisters of Fortune releases on February 20th. I just turned in A Deceptive Composition, Lady Darby Book 12 to my editor, and it is slated for release in June 2024. And I am now working on Verity Kent Book 7 – The Cold Light of Day, which is set to be released in autumn 2024 so, three books in one year. 😊 I am contracted to write more Lady Darby and Verity Kent books, but I also have some more historical fiction ideas up my sleeve, as well as thoughts for a new mystery series, so much more to come.
Q: Where is your favorite place to plot, research, write and edit your work?
A: My home office. For many years, I did not have a dedicated space to work in. So when we moved into our current home a few years ago, I made sure my office was cozy and inviting and suited to me. Though, I do occasionally like to switch it up and work in my living room or a coffee shop or the library. I find it particularly stimulating to plot in a different space. It activates different parts of my brain.