Hello, hello! It’s been a long time since we’ve had an author here on IceyBooks, and I’m thrilled to have one of my faaaavorite authors: Alison Goodman, here today. THE DARK DAYS PACT (and its predecessor, THE DARK DAYS CLUB) are two of my favorite books, so to have a little insight into the author’s process was quite lovely. Read on for some words from Alison, a little bit about the book, and a giveaway!
To state the obvious, writing a novel is complicated. Writing a novel set in an accurately recreated 1812 with an original demon mythology and true historical events folded in to the fictional adventure is mind-bogglingly complicated. So, where did I start and how did I build Lady Helen’s Regency world?
I always start by research reading: books about Regency fashion, the Enlightenment, 19th century crime, dancing, manners, beauty through the ages, and Georgian architecture to name a few. I also read newspapers, magazines, guidebooks, novels and travel memoirs from 1812. I read for about 8 months, full-time before I started writing. I wanted to have a good working knowledge of all things Regency so that when Lady Helen walked into a room, I would know how it was lit, what kind of furniture would be in it, what the servants would be wearing, and the current events that my characters would be talking about.
Alongside all this book research, I watched documentaries. Two of my favorites are Regency House Party, a social experiment in which five men and five women “go back in time” to live as they would have in the Regency, and Pride and Prejudice: Having a Ball which accurately recreates the ball at Netherfield Hall. Happily, researching the Lady Helen series also required me to watch ALL the Jane Austen movies and TV adaptations again (and again and again). Seriously, have you seen Jonny Lee Miller as Mr. Knightley in Emma? So good!
My next step in creating a vivid fictional world is called immersive research. If you peek inside the wardrobe in my work room you will see a collection of historically accurate Regency gowns, stays, pelisses and spencer jackets that I have had made by a professional seamstress—a very Regency hiring in itself. I have worn them for whole days to understand what it felt like to wear such restrictive clothing, and how Helen would feel trying to run and kick demons in a muslin gown. I have also learned how to dance in the Regency style, wield a sword, and curtsy properly to a Queen. I’ve made my own bonnets, attended a Regency ball, cooked and tasted Regency dishes, and taken a glorious ride in a horse drawn carriage in one of my local parks. This kind of immersive research is all in the aid of collecting sensory impressions that I can layer into my descriptions to create a living, breathing Regency world.
For me, the senses are the bridge between those sometimes-dry historical facts and my fictional world. If my readers can taste the salt on the air at Brighton beach, smell the sour breath of a man in a London crowd, and feel the hem of a muslin gown constrict their stride, then they will be living alongside Helen in an 1812 that can also—quite believably—hold the threat of a terrifying demonic enemy.
If you are interested in taking a look at some of my book, film and TV research material, you can find a list on the Research page of my website at www.darkdaysclub.com. But beware, the Regency many consume you too!
About the Book
June 1812. Just weeks after her catastrophic coming-out ball, Lady Helen Wrexhall—now disowned by her uncle—is a full member of the demon-hunting Dark Days Club.
Her mentor, Lord Carlston, has arranged for Helen to spend the summer season in Brighton so that he can train her new Reclaimer powers. However, the long-term effects of Carlston’s Reclaimer work have taken hold, and his sanity is beginning to slip. At the same time, Carlston’s Dark Days Club colleague and nemesis will stop at nothing to bring Helen over to his side—and the Duke of Selburn is determined to marry her.
The stakes are even higher for Helen as she struggles to become the warrior that everyone expects her to be.
About the Author
Alison is the author of the upcoming Lady Helen series, a trilogy of historical supernatural adventures set in the Regency. The first book–The Dark Days Club–is due for release in January 2016. Alison is best known for her New York Times bestselling fantasy duololgy EON and EONA, and her ability to dance a mean English contra-dance. She also writes award winning science fiction and crime fiction, and lives with her lovely husband and their machiavellian Jack Russell Terrier in Melbourne, Australia.
Enter for a chance to win either one (1) grand prize set of Lady Helen books, including a paperback of The Dark Days Club and a hardcover of The Dark Days Pact by Alison Goodman (ARV: $28.98), or to be one of five (5) second prize winners to receive paperback copies of The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman (ARV: $10.99).
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on January 23, 2017 and 12:00 AM on February 13, 2017. Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about February 14, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.