Thanks to Robin Sumnmers for tagging me in the Blog Hop! This is week 28. I’ll be tagging a few authors myself to continue the hop next week. Until then, here are my answers!

1. What is the working title of your book? The Left Hand of Justice.

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?

While researching the history of Scotland Yard for my first novel, The Affair of the Porcelain Dog, I started reading about the development of the Sûreté in Paris. The origins of the first modern police force are fascinating for many reasons, not the least of which is that as early as 1812, there were female Agents de la Sûreté. I knew I had to write about one of them.

3. What is the genre of the book? Historical suspense (Paris, late 1820s).

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Joni Mitchell isn’t an actress, but when I picture INSPECTOR CORBEAU in my mind’s eye, she looks a lot like a world-weary Joni Mitchell in her early thirties.

When I see MARIA KALDERASH in my mind’s eye, she looks like someone I used to know a long time ago. I’ll leave it at that.

HERMINE BOUCHER would be well played by a young, platinum-blond Meg Ryan. As for CHIEF INSPECTOR JAVERT, he could be played by a younger, hairier DAVID SUCHET.

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Paris is burning, and the only one who can put out the flames is Detective Inspector Elise Corbeau…whose boss wants her dead.

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency/publisher?

The Left Hand of Justice will be published by Bold Strokes Books in March 2013.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?



Hard to say. It took about nine months to write the first half of the first draft, at which point I went back and rewrote it. Then it took about nine months to get the rest of it to submission-quality. But I’m never working on only one thing at the time. I started noodling with the idea for Left Hand while I was still working on Porcelain Dog.

8. Which other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Hmmmm….that’s difficult. It shares the elements of a steampunk setting and strong female main character with some of Cherie Priest’s books, but the tone is substantially different, and there’s a strong romantic subplot.

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?

The characters. Maria Kalderash, the inventor with the mechanical eye, presented herself one day and challenged me to write a story about her. About the same time, the aforementioned research gave me the character of Inspector Elise Corbeau. They were adversaries from the beginning—the possibly mad, possibly criminal scientist and the police detective trying to prove herself by solving a tough case—but it took a while to decide what the setting would be. In addition to steampunk France, I’d also considered 19th century London and the post-apocalyptic desert southwest.

10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

It’s an adventure/crime story, but instead of merely solving the crime, Inspector Corbeau has to look at everyone’s motivations, including her own. She has to decide who are the real criminals, the real victims, and what justice means—not just for them, but for herself. And it’s not what one thinks at the outset.

1. What is the working title of your book? Turnbull House.

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?

At the end of my first novel, THE AFFAIR OF THE PORCELAIN DOG, the main characters—reformed criminal IRA ADLER and doctor TIM LAZARUS—set up a youth shelter, which they call TURNBULL HOUSE, in honor of a third character.

Setting up the shelter was the conclusion of ADLER’s moral coming-of-age at the end of PORCELAIN DOG. It would have been nice to assume that once ADLER gave up his life of crime, everything would be nonstop wine, roses, and puppies. But we all know that nothing’s that easy. I wanted to test ADLER’S new moral resolve—not only that, but to put him in positions where he needed to be someone else’s conscience, in addition to keeping his own nose clean.

The youth shelter, where ADLER is tasked with keeping his charges—street kids with criminal pasts—out of trouble, seemed to be a perfect place to do that.

3. What is the genre of the book? Historical suspense (London, 1891).

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Jack White isn’t primarily an actor, but I always thought IRA ADLER would look a lot like him, only perhaps taller, thinner, and more dapper.

I have a very specific image of TIM LAZARUS in my mind, but can’t think of any actors who fit the bill. The facial features and moustache are similar to Jude Law’s Watson, but LAZARUS is brunette—also he is shorter and more muscular.

BESS LAZARUS would be a combination of Elizabeth McGovern and Selena Griffiths.
I can also picture CAIN GODDARD very clearly, but can’t really think of an actor who looks like the picture in my mind. He’s brunette, mustachioed, clean-cut, and short of stature. He is also well muscled and very dignified.

PEARL BRANDT is absolutely, positively Angela Baddeley in her Upstairs, Downstairs years.

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Reformed criminal IRA ADLER has turned over a new leaf, but will financial desperation bring him back to a life of crime?

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency/publisher?
Turnbull House will be published by Bold Strokes Books.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?



Hard to say. It took about three months to write the first 2/3, after which I took two months off to work on two other projects. The first 2/3 is now in final-draft form, and now I need to finish it.

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I like to think of Ira Adler as Jack Burton in a Sherlock Holmes story. All of Adler’s stories have a whiff of The Vesuvius Club about them in tone, but are substantially less mean-spirited.

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?

The characters. They let me know from the beginning that they wouldn’t be done with me after just one book.

10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

There are romantic entanglements and misunderstandings, mistaken identities, star-crossed lovers, and lovers who were always meant to be. And probably none of them are who you might guess they are.

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