Thursday, February 3, 2011
Author Interview - Dark Road to Darjeeling by Deanna Raybourn
Describe your book in five words or less.
Romantic Victorian mystery with a twist.
How did the ideas for your books come to you?
I never know! It can be a line from a poem or a song, a snippet of historical fact I’ve seen in a documentary. Something will appeal to me and I’ll seize on it and start playing the “what if?” game—what if that terrible thing was done by a woman instead of a man? What if the victim of this crime was unlikable and his murderer was justified? What if that motive drove a peaceful person to the brink of madness? Then I start putting the pieces together into a book. With a series, it’s also about keeping a certain rhythm to the books. If my characters have spent the last book abroad, maybe it’s time to bring them back to London. Or if they’ve had an urban setting, maybe it’s time to go to the country.
What is the hardest part of writing for you? What's the easiest?
The hardest was actually learning how to balance being a writer with being an author—very different energy and very different skill sets are required for both of those jobs. I am still working on that, in fact. I have never traveled in the middle of working on a draft, but I know I will have to in 2011, and that’s going to be a new step for me. I’m looking forward to it! The easiest part is the work itself. I love what I do beyond measure, and I’m very disciplined, so even on the days when I want to moan and groan about having to write, I do it anyway and pretty soon I’m relaxed into the groove of writing again.
What's next for you? Are you currently working on or have plans for future projects?
I have just turned in the fifth Lady Julia book, The Dark Enquiry, out in July, so there will be some copy editing going on this month!
Why did you choose to write for specific genre?
You should write the book you want to read. I love Elizabeth Peters and Mary Stewart and Victoria Holt, so when I started the series, it was very natural to me to write a book that is essentially a mystery with a bit of romance to sweeten the pot. I also have a Southern Gothic streak, so my books usually have some odd little twist. My books are very reflective of who I am, both as a person and a writer.
What's it like hearing that readers are eagerly awaiting your book's release date?
Fabulous! I’m always happy that they’re anticipating the new book, and I’m always thrilled to share it with them. That NEVER gets old!
What is one question that you've always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer that question?
I’ve been asked everything except my shoe size! 7 ½ , for the record.
What was your road to publications like?
Long and tedious. I wrote my first novel when I was 23; I did not get a publishing deal for 14 years! But I never quit because writing is what I do. To me, getting published didn’t make me a writer—it made me an author. When I finally landed a book deal, it was for Silent in the Grave, the first Julia Grey book, and two sequels. Very shortly after, I was offered a second deal for three more books, so I was quite suddenly a person under contract for six books, only one of them already written. It was terrifying, but exhilarating, and I am so very happy to do what I do.
A sixth-generation native Texan, Deanna Raybourn graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio with a double major in English and history and an emphasis on Shakespearean studies. She taught high school English for three years in San Antonio before leaving education to pursue a career as a novelist. Deanna makes her home in Virginia, where she lives with her husband and daughter and is hard at work on the next installment in the award-winning Lady Julia Grey series.