Guest Post with Giveaway ~ A Study In Death by Anna Lee Huber


I asked my readers on social media to interview me, and these are the questions they chose as most popular:

How Lady Darby became your central character, she is so different and unusual (which is why I love her). Where did you find her?

Lady Darby is a bit of a cross between mindful intention and pure subconscious. I started out with the idea that I wanted to write a historical mystery series with a woman as my main protagonist, but I wanted her to be quite different from most of the similar series I already read. I wanted her to be awkward socially, artistic, a tad eccentric, and I thought it would be extremely interesting to give her knowledge of anatomy. Normally it’s the man, if anyone, who has this expertise, so to instead put it in the mind of an early nineteenth century woman I knew would require extraordinary circumstances. That’s how the start of her backstory emerged. I needed to find a way for her to receive anatomical training in as realistic and compelling a way as possible. However, once I had those basic details in hand and I finally sat down to write that first chapter, something kind of magical happened. I’d had this voice clambering inside my head, wanting to tell her story, and once I allowed her that freedom, she just sprang to life. It’s almost as if she lives in a separate place in my subconscious. I can feel the nerve pathways that will let me tap into her voice, where she sits quietly waiting to take her turn at the page again.

Why Scotland? It is a country that I love but I'm curious why you chose that location. Also, was writing about Ireland in book 5 challenging?

I simply adore Scotland! So that was the start. And I needed an isolated locale for Book 1, so the Highlands. And, well, it kind of just took over from there. Ireland was definitely more of a challenge to write simply because I'd done so much less research about it before I started, and I've never visited. Also, the history is fascinating but very complex in this time period. I wanted to get it right, but also not write a history paper. Nobody likes "info dumps", as writers call them. It's tricky to weave in just the right amount of history without sounding like a textbook at times.

The challenges (and how you deal with them) of writing about a place and time period that you don't live in! How do you get that "real feel" and blend accuracy with the story?

I think it starts with research. Before I delve into any time period I do an intense amount of research trying to understand the era, and not just the facts—dates, and people, and major events. I want to understand what the general mindset of the people are, how they speak and interact with one another, what is considered normal and what is beyond the pale. However, at some point you have to step away from the texts and begin to write, and for me the trick is to become truly locked inside the mind of my narrator. Since I write predominately in the first person, my stories are colored by the thoughts of my narrator. I see things through her eyes, expressing her opinions, noticing the items that interest her. If I can make the reader believe that they are listening to the narrator and not me, then I’ve gone a long way to achieving realness and authenticity. It’s definitely harder to write about places I’ve never actually been, but pictures, videos, and Google Earth help tremendously. Language can also trip me up. It’s not always easy to find the etymology of a word or phrase, and sometimes the way they would have truly spoken would baffle modern readers. There’s a fine balance.

Do you ever get tired of any of the characters?

Hmmm. I think because I delve so deeply into their psychologies, I always have some sympathy for all my characters. I see something I like about all of them. Even the villains. So I haven't gotten tired of anyone yet, or killed anyone off because of it.

I’ve read many murder mystery series with a sleuthing couple at the helm. What I like about your series is that Keira seems to be more private than the other heroines, while Gage is the more outgoing personality. What made you pick this dynamic?

I've noticed the very same thing, so I purposely wanted to switch it up. I wanted to make the characters different from other sleuthing pairs and see what evolved of that.

Can you believe you are on book five!? Do you have an end game, which I hope isn't for a long while!!

Sometimes I have to pinch myself. Didn't I just start writing these? No end game in sight yet…

Guest post provided by the publisher.

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studySeries: A Lady Darby Mystery (Book 4)
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Berkley (July 7, 2015)
Language: Cozy Mystery
ISBN-10: 0425277526
ISBN-13: 978-0425277522
Buy: Amazon, Kindle, IndieBound, The Book Depository


From the national bestselling author of A Grave Matter comes the latest riveting mystery featuring a most “unusual and romantic” (Judith Rock) sleuth…

Scotland, 1831. After a tumultuous courtship complicated by three deadly inquiries, Lady Kiera Darby is thrilled to have found both an investigative partner and a fiancé in Sebastian Gage. But with her well-meaning—and very pregnant—sister planning on making their wedding the event of the season, Kiera could use a respite from the impending madness.

Commissioned to paint the portrait of Lady Drummond, Kiera is saddened when she recognizes the pain in the baroness’s eyes. Lord Drummond is a brute, and his brusque treatment of his wife forces Kiera to think of the torment caused by her own late husband.

Kiera isn’t sure how to help, but when she finds Lady Drummond prostrate on the floor, things take a fatal turn. The physician called to the house and Lord Drummond appear satisfied to rule her death natural, but Kiera is convinced that poison is the real culprit.

Now, armed only with her knowledge of the macabre and her convictions, Kiera intends to discover the truth behind the baroness’s death—no matter what, or who, stands in her way…

post-divider leftThanks to the publisher, I have one (1) copy of A Study in Death to give away.

Giveaway open to residents of the US only.
Giveaway ends on July 23rd

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Winner will have 48 hours, from the time of notification to confirm their win or another winner will be chosen.

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annaAnna Lee Huber is the award-winning and national bestselling author of the Lady Darby Mystery series. She was born and raised in a small town in Ohio. From a young age, her imagination was boundless. She spent her summers with her four brothers and one sister playing Star Wars, wearing snow boots and her mother's old nightgowns while swinging plastic bats as light-sabers, and The A-Team hanging off the riding lawn mower (what else were they supposed to use for the van?). In the fourth grade, she penned her first story and asked her teacher to read it to the class. Sure, it was titled Prom Duty, and a ten-year-old doesn't really know much about high school dances, but she chalked it up as her first success. She went on to write several more stories, including a series featuring her own gang of mystery-solving teens, keeping her pen moving despite teenage hormones and a cross-country move to South Carolina.

Having dreamed of becoming a Rock Star, more along the lines of Amy Grant than Britney Spears, Anna attended college in Music City USA-Nashville, Tennessee. There, she met her husband while acting in a school production of Our Town. They married just before she graduated summa cum laude from Lipscomb University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music and a minor in Psychology. Discovering she was better trained to sing opera than Top 40, and uncertain where her future lay, she found work as an administrative assistant while she tried to find herself again.

While pondering her choices, Anna rediscovered her need for creative expression. She began arranging music, and returned to her love of writing fiction. She now pens the award-winning Lady Darby historical mystery series for Berkley Publishing.

Anna is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and the Historical Novel Society. She currently lives in Indiana with her husband, young daughter, and a troublemaking tabby cat named Pita. When not hard at work on her next novel, she enjoys reading, singing, travel, and spending time with her family.

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