Guest Post with Kim Wright, author of City of Darkness & Giveaway

April 10th, 2012

I am really excited to welcome Kim Wright, author of City of Darkness which just released recently, to Peeking Between the Pages today.  I read and reviewed Kim’s first book Love in Mid Air a few years ago and I loved it (my review).  I’ll be reading City of Darkness soon but what I find most fascinating about her new book is how different it is from her first one.  As you can tell from the title Love in Mid Air has to do with love, marriage, etc., while City of Darkness has to do with Jack the Ripper.  Very different – yes – well that’s why I’m so intrigued.  So keep an eye out for my review but in the meantime we have Kim here to talk about this very subject in Switching from Literary Fiction to a Historical Mystery Series…

 

 

Two years ago – actually two years ago yesterday, to be precise – my novel Love in Mid Air debuted and it was one of the proudest moments of my life. But in the intervening two years, things have changed. The publishing market has been turned upside down, making literary fiction a tougher sell than ever. (And, let’s face it, it never was exactly easy.) Even more to the point, my sense of myself as a writer has changed.

Literary novelists work a long time on each book, most often in isolation and without much feedback. Coming from the world of journalism, where you’re constantly doing research and interviewing interesting strangers, I had always found the “cabin in the snowy woods” environment of literary writing challenging. I like talking to people. I like going places and doing new things. I like having a reason to put on underwear!

So I had a decision to make. Was I willing to spend the next ten years immersed in a novel that would be hard to sell? Umm….no. Did I want to go back to journalism, which put me squarely in the social arena but hampered my creativity? Umm….not so much that either.

Out of my conundrum came my new career as a historical mystery novelist. It’s a natural. By setting my City of Mystery series, which is based on the first forensics unit established in Scotland Yard, in the Victorian era I was able to explore what I consider to be one of the most fascinating periods of British history. The first book, City of Darkness, deals with the famously unsolved case of Jack the Ripper, a crime spree which marked both the birth of the “modern” serial killer who chose his victims seemingly at random, and the birth of forensics, which turned detection from a game of logical deduction to one of scientific inquiry.

Within minutes of coming up with the initial concept, my mind was off and racing. The first book is set in London in 1888. The second, City of Light, will be set in Paris the next year, on the eve of the Exposition Universal, the famous World’s Fair which saw the debut of Edison’s phonograph, Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show, and the Eiffel Tower. From there my fledgling forensics team – under the direction of Queen Victoria herself, who in real life took a surprising degree of interest in crime – will travel to St. Petersburg, Buenos Aires, and New York. All great, exotic settings with more opportunities for research. Road trip!

As you can probably tell, I’m so excited about all this. I’ve always loved both historical novels and mysteries. (As a kid my two obsessions where Henry the VIII and Encyclopedia Brown, boy detective.) Combining the two gives me the freedom of a novelist and the opportunities for detail and authenticity that can only emerge from research. There’s not a muscle in my writing body that this series won’t stretch.

And I hope it resonates with readers. Just as my Scotland Yard detectives are scrambling to adjust to the new demands of the modern age, I think a lot of contemporary readers also feel themselves at a crossroads. We’re being called on to question the old ways and reinvent ourselves at every turn. I used to write characters who were more like myself in a surface sense- in other words, middle-aged middle-class American women. But I find myself totally identifying with my pudgy, pompous, Victorian-era chief detective Trevor Welles. Distilling my thoughts through his perspective has been the most interesting challenge I’ve had yet as a writer.

 

Thank you so much for this guest post Kim.  I’m so glad you’ve found a new genre that excites you so much and I’m really looking forward to delving into this series!

 

About City of Darkness by Kim Wright

City of Darkness takes place in 1888 London, where Jack the Ripper roams the streets with impunity and Scotland Yard seems helpless to stop him. The science of forensics is in its infancy but a few detectives – Trevor Welles among them – recognize that they are dealing with a different sort of killer, a “modern criminal” who chooses his victims at random. If Jack is to be caught, he won’t be caught with Scotland Yard’s normal methods of deduction for there is no logic to this madness. The question is no longer “Why was the victim killed?” but rather “How was the victim killed?” For the first time in the history of detection, science is trumping deductive reasoning.

When a twist of fate puts Trevor in charge of the case, he hastily assembles Scotland Yard’s first forensics team: Davy Mabrey, the first bobby on the scene of the grisliest of the murders, whose working class common sense proves an invaluable asset, Rayley Abrams, a cautious intellectual whose future at the Yard is marginalized due to his Jewish heritage, Tom Bainbridge, a medical student with aristocratic connections and a secret drinking problem, and Emma Kelly, sister of the Ripper’s last victim who has a troubled past and a gift for linguistics. The team finds an unlikely ally in the form of Queen Victoria herself, who takes an unusual level of interest in the Ripper case and secretly funds the unit. But will they stop Jack in time to spare Leanna Bainbridge, the young heiress with whom Trevor has fallen madly and improbably in love?

While City of Darkness takes place in London, its sequel, City of Light, will travel to Paris on the eve of the Exposition Universalle, the ultimate World’s Fair which debuted Edison’s phonograph, Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, and the Eiffel Tower. The third book, City of Silence, will take place in St. Petersburg where Victoria’s beloved granddaughter Alexandria is on the verge of marrying the young czar Nicolas, much to her grandmother’s dismay. Throughout the series the Scotland Yard forensics team, which serves as a sort of Victorian-era CSI, will circle the world to investigate high-profile cases, most often at the urging of the Queen.

Currently you can buy a copy for your Kindle only.

 

About Kim Wright

Kim Wright has been writing about travel, food, and wine for more than 25 years and is a two-time recipient of the Lowell Thomas Award for Travel Writing. Love in Mid Air was her first novel.

Kim’s website
Find Kim on Facebook
Follow Kim on Twitter

 

 

GIVEAWAY DETAILS

I have one paperback copy of City of Darkness by Kim Wright up for grabs to my readers.  To enter…

  • For 1 entry simply leave me a comment entering the giveaway.
  • For 2 entries, follow my blog.  If you already do, please let me know so I can pass the extra entry on to you as well.
  • For 3 entries, blog or tweet this giveaway.

This giveaway is open to US & Canadian residents only (no PO boxes) and I will draw for the winner on Saturday, April 28/12.  Good luck!

42 Comments to “Guest Post with Kim Wright, author of City of Darkness & Giveaway”

  1. Linda B says:

    I have long been fascinated by Jack the Ripper. This sounds like a great book. thanks for the giveaway.

    I follow through Google Reader.

  2. Bookworm says:

    Great guest post. This sounds like a nice start to a new series! Jack the Ripper has always creeped me out and fascinated me at the same time.

  3. Anne says:

    Compelling and fascinating and intriguing. Thanks. I am an e-mail subscriber.

  4. Ellie says:

    Great post about the author, her writing and her new adventure. I subscribe via e-mail.

  5. zibilee says:

    It does seem like Kim made a great choice in focusing her energy and creativity into an area that is much loved and very popular. I loved this guest post, and would love to read this one, Dar! Please do enter me in your giveaway, and great guest post today!

    zibilee(at)figearo(dot)net

  6. Colleen Turner says:

    This sounds fascinating! I LOVE historical fiction and find Jack the Ripper to be such a scary and exhilarating subject. Thanks for the giveaway!

  7. Colleen Turner says:

    I am a GFC follower (Colleen Turner) and email subscriber.

  8. blodeuedd says:

    Very cool :) And it sure sounds different from love in Mid Air

  9. nan says:

    This sounds like a promising series. Can’t wait to get started. I’m an email follower. Thanks for the chance to win.

  10. Susan says:

    Darlene, it sounds as if you’ll enjoy this book a great deal. I think I would, too. Please enter me in this great giveaway. I’m a follower of your fabulous blog, and I’ll post this giveaway in my blog’s sidebar. :)

    suko95(at)gmail(dot)com

  11. Patricia N says:

    I love historical fiction and have a penchant for books set in London. Thanks for the giveaway!
    PMNSL95 at triad dot rr dot com

  12. Patricia N says:

    I follow your blog via GFC as Patricia N
    PMNSL95 at triad dot rr dot com

  13. ANN* says:

    enter me in the contest for this historical mystery
    I enjoy these type of reading

  14. ANN* says:

    email subscriber of yours
    amhengst at verizon dot net

  15. rhonda says:

    I am subscriber and twitter Follower at rhondareads will tweet.

  16. Karen B says:

    This sounds like a wonderful beginning to a great series – can’t wait!
    kpbarnett1941[at]aol.com

  17. Karen B says:

    Networked blogs follower, email subscriber.
    kpbarnett1941[at]aol.com

  18. Diane B. says:

    This time period fascinates me. It’s so hard to immagine how some people seemed to be rich yet others had nothing. Plus the idea of living with JacK the Ripper is spooky. Sounds like a great book. Thanks for the giveaway. ;-)
    I’m a follower
    https://twitter.com/#!/Dyniy/status/189781092155404288

  19. Liz says:

    A long overdue, new take on Jack the Ripper.

    Thanks for the giveaway.

  20. Mary Ann Woods says:

    The story of Jack the Ripper has always fascinated me. The book sounds like just the thing for me! I follow via email.

  21. Staci@LifeintheThumb says:

    There are a few Jack the Ripper books out there lately and this one sounds pretty cool!

  22. Sandra K321 says:

    I enjoy historical fiction, so a historical mystery should be great!

  23. Sandra K321 says:

    I subscribe to your blog via Google as Sandra K321.

  24. Kim Wright says:

    Thanks for the comments everyone! I’m glad to know I’m not the only Ripper fan in the world. The funny thing is I bought so many crime books from Amazon while I was doing my research that I’m now in a very strange recommendations queue. I’m almost afraid to open my email from them and I expect the FBI to be knocking on my door any moment.

  25. Ellis Shuman says:

    Kim is a great author and an inspiration for aspiring writers. I look forward to reading this book. I just posted an interview with Kim on my blog, where she talks about her books and the changing world of publishing.

  26. Rachel W. says:

    This looks great- thanks for the giveaway! I’m a follower!

    Rachelhwallen@gmail.com

  27. donnas says:

    Sounds interesting. Thanks for the chance!

    blog follower

    tweet – https://twitter.com/#!/DonnaS1/status/190300599689031680

    bacchus76 at myself dot com

  28. carla says:

    I like history, and I like mysteries so I think this one would combine the best of both.

    I follow you on email Darlene.

    cjay (at) iavalley (dot) edu

  29. Carol M says:

    I really enjoy historical mysteries. This one sounds good!
    mittens0831 at aol dot com

  30. Carol M says:

    I follow on GFC – Carol M
    mittens0831 at aol dot com

  31. bn100 says:

    Very nice post.

  32. bn100 says:

    I follow the blog.

  33. Anita Yancey says:

    Sounds like a wonderful book. I just love mystery, and would enjoy reading this. Please enter me. Thanks!
    ayancey(at)dishmail(dot)net

  34. Anita Yancey says:

    Follow on GFC as Anita Yancey.
    ayancey(at)dishmail(dot)net

  35. Anita Yancey says:

    Tweeted giveaway.
    Twitter Name:@Anita Yancey
    ayancey(at)dishmail(dot)net

  36. pamela james says:

    This novel sounds so interesting-forensics in Jack the Rippers time!

    pjames330 at aol dot com
    TY for the giveaway!

  37. pamela james says:

    gfc follower
    pjames330 at aol dot com

  38. pamela james says:

    networked blogs follower
    pjames330 at aol dot com

  39. Maureen says:

    It sounds like an interesting book.
    I follow on GFC
    Tweet: https://twitter.com/#!/MaureenCE/status/193444672734105600

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