Author: Dara England
ISBN: No ISBN but Amazon ASIN is B004SUOZTA
Page count: 17,000 word novelette (ebook)
Genre: Historical Mystery
Dara England is the author of the “Accomplished” books, a series of historical mystery novelettes set in Victorian England. She has also written several works in the fantasy and chicklit genres. A graphic designer and SAHM of two girls, Dara loves her Kindle, her husband, and her Yorkshire terrier.
If you’d like to get to know her a little better you can find her on Facebook or Twitter or visit her home on the web at: http://www.daraenglandauthor.com.
Tell us about your book:
Murder was never so refined…
When her holiday on the coast of Cornwall takes a deadly turn, it is up to Drucilla Winterbourne to uncover the dangerous secrets the inhabitants of Blackridge House will do anything to conceal. But can a proper young lady from London society comprehend the dark motives of a killer?
Accomplished In Murder is the first in a series of historical mystery novellas featuring intrepid Victorian heroines up to their bustles in crime. These works are only loosely connected and can be read in any order.
How long did it take to write the book?
I’d been playing with the idea of writing a Victorian mystery for some time, so the characters were already in my head. That meant I just had to figure out the plot and put it on paper in a way that made sense. Since this is a fairly short read (the digital version is roughly equivalent to about fifty pages from a print novel) it only took me around a month to write the first draft. After that, there were some rewrites, before I sent the story out to my editor, who suggested still more changes. In all, I’d say the entire process took around two months to complete.
What inspired you to write the book?
I’ve always been a huge fan of historical mysteries, long before I ever thought of writing them myself. From Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot, to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, I just love a good detective story in a non-modern setting.
Talk about the writing process. Did you have a writing routine? Did you do any research, and if so, what did that involve?
Due to a bit of stress in my life, I had allowed myself to take the previous year off writing, the only rule being that I had to spend that time doing something at least writing related. So, because I had long been feeling the urge to write in a historical era, I devoted my year long break to researching the Victorian era, specifically Victorian London during the latter part of the century. I was particularly interested in middle class people and day to day life. I’m a research nerd anyway, so I loved finding out random facts about what people were eating and drinking, how their postal system worked, and what ingredients they used to make detergent for their laundry. Not much of that made its way into the actual book but I think it helped me get a stronger grasp of the world my characters would inhabit.
What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?
I hope they come away feeling entertained and intrigued enough by the characters and setting to dive right into the next novelette in the Accomplished series.
Where can we go to buy your book?
Accomplished In Murder is available from Amazon at: http://www.amazon.com/Accomplished-in-Murder-ebook/dp/B004SUOZTA or from B&N at: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/accomplished-in-murder-dara-england/1030528615
Any other links or info you’d like to share?
Excerpt from book:
Celeste shivered as the wind cut through her hastily donned shawl. Overhead, thunder rumbled and dark clouds blotted out the moon, casting the empty rooftop where she waited into sinister shadow.
All at once, she became aware of another presence, one whose footfalls were so soft she hadn’t heard them over the wail of the wind. The familiarity of the approaching figure did nothing to still the sense of dread within her. If anything, her heart pounded a little harder.
“You’re late.” How she hated the way her voice trembled! Not that it mattered. Not that he didn’t already know she feared him. His mocking eyes said as much. She had never trusted those eyes.
He raised a dark brow. “You were so eager for my arrival?”
She refused to rise to the bait this time.
“Of course I’ve been impatient. It is positively frigid out here; I think it’s about to rain. Whatever possessed you to suggest a meeting in such a place?”
He moved nearer and leaned casually against the rail beside her. Together they peered out into the darkness, down to where the craggy rocks met the angry surf far below.
He said, “This was the only rendezvous point I could think of where I could be certain we would not be observed alone together.”
Celeste wiped suddenly sweaty palms against her skirts and tried to smother her rising alarm. She raised her voice above the gale. “And what have we to say to one another that must be kept secret? This had better be urgent, a matter of life and death.”
“Oh it is,” he assured, his eyes glinting in the darkness. “For one of us.”
There was something dangerous in his voice. An intensity Celeste had never heard from him before.
Before she could do more than draw in a startled breath, he had taken her up swiftly in his arms and she found herself held in the air.
“Good-bye, dear Celeste,” he said. “I cannot claim ours has ever been a friendly association but I think I shall miss you, in a way.”
“What are you talking about? Put me down at once!”
She wriggled in his grip but it was too late. She felt herself hoisted over the rough stone railing, skirts dragging behind her. For a terrifying moment, she was suspended between heaven and earth and only then did she remember to scream.
He released her and she clutched at him, grabbed for the railing, anything. But some frantic part of her knew it was too late.