On this day in 1887, the US Navy begins refueling operations at Pearl Harbor. At the time of the treaty, Princess Ka'iulani was an heir to the Hawaiian throne. She studied in Scotland as her father, Archibald Cleghorn, was a Scottish businessman who married into Hawaiian royalty. Princess Ka'iulani might have felt the same isolation as Lady Darby in Anna Lee Huber's debut historical mystery, THE ANATOMIST'S WIFE.
Anna joins me for a cozy chat - her bio provided much fodder for this interview!
Kim: Star Wars and A Team - staples from my childhood! Have you modeled any of your characters after either? On a personal note, hubby refused to see the A Team movie as he didn't want to spoil the real thing. Kids and I loved it, especially the flying tank!
Anna: I have not. At least, not intentionally. But I think a little bit of Hannibal might sneak in. He was always my favorite.
I haven’t seen the movie either. I initially had the same worries as your husband, but then I tried to watch it on a long plane flight (to the UK of all places, when I was going over to do research on THE ANATOMIST’S WIFE.) I only made it about twenty minutes into it because having the screen so close to my face was giving me an awful headache, and I’ve yet to hunt it down to watch the rest. My husband has seen it though, and loved it.
|The A Team needed a helo to escape ...|
Kim: Any chance you can rewrite early manuscripts for publication as a YA novel?
Anna: Maybe. I hadn’t thought of doing that before. But they would definitely take a lot of work. And I would need to learn to write in a YA voice. Adult authors who write YA well truly have a gift for capturing the teenage voice. I don’t have a natural ability to do that. I think I would really need to work at it. But it might be fun to work on a Where in World is Carmen Sandiego? spin-off.
|These wahine are ready to sing opera!|
Kim:Opera - you are full of talent and surprises! Opera is known for its emotion and costumes. Did opera - or something else - prepare you for historical romance?
Anna: Definitely. I think music has influenced my writing in many ways. It takes a great deal of discipline to be a Music major. You spend many long hours practicing, perfecting just one aria. Getting the diction, the intonation, the rhythm, the emotion correct. And yet a song is at its most beautiful when these elements are so innate that you don’t have to think about them as you perform, but can just let the music sweep you away. Writing is not so different.
Opera, and classic music in general, has such a rich history. It’s the perfect platform to teach storytelling, particularly stories with a romantic twist. The costumes and historic settings certainly lend themselves to historical books, but there are also shows with more fantastical and paranormal elements, such as The Magic Flute or The Flying Dutchman. It’s a treasure trove of learning opportunities.
|Corgarff Castle - a remote location in the Highlands|
Kim:Tell us about THE ANATOMIST'S WIFE - what inspired it?
Anna: The Anatomist’s Wife is the first book in a new historical mystery series, and is set in Scotland 1830. It features Kiera, Lady Darby, a gifted portrait artist and the widow of a notorious anatomist, who is forced to confront her macabre past when a house guest is murdered at her sister’s remote Highland estate. She’s asked to aid the insufferable Sebastian Gage, an inexperienced inquiry agent, with the investigation, and is determined to both protect her family and clear her reputation—even as she risks becoming the killer’s next victim.
My inspiration for this book came out of the creation of Kiera. When I decided to try writing a historical mystery, I knew I wanted me female protagonist to have certain skills that would make her valuable in an investigation. So I made her a portrait artist with keen observation skills, and then decided she should also have some knowledge of human anatomy. By the time I’d finished crafting her back story so that she could feasibly have obtained this education, the plot of The Anatomist’s Wife had emerged.
|Blackness Castle, north of Edinburgh|
Kim:What's next for Anna Lee Huber? And the troublemaking tabby cat?
Anna:The second book in the Lady Darby series releases in September 2013, and will continue the story of Kiera and Gage. It’s set in a village just north of Edinburgh, and has more of a psychological element to it. I’m very excited about it.
As for our troublemaking tabby… We keep threatening to bring her home a little friend, but haven’t yet done so. She’s a solitary feline, and does not play well with others, even other humans. My husband and I are the only ones allowed near her, and she sticks to us like glue. But we love her just the way she is, troublemaking and all.
|My troublemaking cat, Zsa Zsa!|
Mahalo, Anna, for being my guest! Anna is giving away a copy of THE ANATOMIST'S WIFE to one randomly selected commenter.
Scotland, 1830. Following the death of her husband, Lady Darby has taken refuge at her sister's estate, finding solace in her passion for painting. But when her hosts throw a house party for the cream of London society, Kiera is unable to hide from the ire of those who believe her to be as unnatural as her husband, an anatomist who used her artistic talents to suit his own macabre purposes.
Kiera wants to put her past aside, but when one of the house guests is murdered, her brother-in-law asks her to utilize her knowledge of human anatomy to aid the insufferable Sebastian Gage--a fellow guest with some experience as an inquiry agent. While Gage is clearly more competent than she first assumed, Kiera isn't about to let her guard down as accusations and rumors swirl.
When Kiera and Gage's search leads them to even more gruesome discoveries, a series of disturbing notes urges Lady Darby to give up the inquiry. But Kiera is determined to both protect her family and prove her innocence, even as she risks becoming the next victim...
To enter the giveaway,
1. Leave a comment about mysteries - do you solve them along with the protagonists?
Tonight's episode of Elementary was fun as Sherlock slowly unfolded the elements of the crime, even admitting he made a miscalculation along the way.
2. Comments are open through Saturday, November 10, 10 pm in Hawaii.
3. I'll post the winner on Sunday, November 11, Veterans Day.
Kim in Hawaii
To learn more about Anna and her books, check out her website at annaleehuber.com.