Guest Post | The Golden Hour #GuestPost #LadyEvelynMysteries #damppebblesblogtours

Kicking off a new week with a guest post from author Malia Zaidi on the challenges of writing a series.

about the book

The Golden Hour cover

London 1927

Lady Evelyn Carlisle has barely arrived in London when familial duty calls her away again. Her cousin Gemma is desperate for help with her ailing mother before her imminent wedding, which Evelyn knew nothing about! Aunt Agnes in tow, she journeys to Scotland, expecting to find Malmo Manor in turmoil. To her surprise, her Scottish family has been keeping far more secrets than the troubled state of their matriarch. Adding to the tension in the house a neighbour has opened his home, Elderbrooke Park, as a retreat for artistic veterans of the Great War. This development does not sit well with everyone in the community. Is the suspicion towards the residents a catalyst for murder? A tragedy at Elderbrooke Park’s May Day celebration awakens Evelyn’s sleuthing instinct, which is strengthened when the story of another unsolved death emerges, connected to her own family. What she uncovers on her quest to expose the truth will change several lives forever, including her own.

With the shadow of history looming over her, Evelyn must trust in her instinct and ability to comb through the past to understand the present, before the murderer can stop her and tragedy strikes again.

 

Amazon UK | Goodreads | Amazon US

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The Challenges of Writing a Series

               The Golden Hour is the fourth book in the Lady Evelyn Mysteries, and though I love returning to favorite characters again and again, there are some challenges with writing a series. With the first book, there was, of course, the anxiety of whether readers would even like the characters and story. With the following books, I wanted to remain true to the way I felt the characters would develop, while not wanting to alienate loyal readers in the process. In The Lady Evelyn Mysteries, years have gone by since the first book, A Poisonous Journey, and this latest one, The Golden Hour. People change in that time (especially if they’ve been involved in several murder investigations!) It was sometime challenging to remain true to the time, the character and to achieve development that seemed to be happening organically all at the same time. Further, their development had to be intrinsically linked to the plot line. As an author, you want the characters to be affected by what they experience in each book, while remaining true to who they are at their core. I am a very character-driven reader and I take the same approach in my writing. This can lead me to my next challenge when writing a series, the story itself.

Sometimes the hardest part when writing fiction is settling on a plotline. You have endless options, even within the context of a certain era and setting and it can be tricky to decide where to begin. I usually think about social issues that interest me and consider how they could be incorporated into a story, while making sense for the characters involved as well. It can be a bit of a juggling act at times to find the right balance, but that’s part of the fun as well. In The Golden Hour, one of the themes I knew I wanted to include was the plight of the veteran soldier of the First World war. The book is set in the 1920s, nearly a decade after the war ended, yet the soldiers who came back often struggled to become a part of a society that wanted to forget. Many were maimed, injured externally and internally and could not find a footing. After deciding this was something I wanted to be in the story, I thought about how it could be related to the characters and the setting. All these elements had to make sense together, because when you write a series, you really have to take into account everything the characters have already experienced and everything the readers already know about them.

Another challenge when writing a series, especially a historical one, is maintaining a certain tone and certain language throughout all the books. Initially, it took me a little while to adapt my writing voice when I started the second book, A Darker Shore, but by now it feels more natural, and I feel I know my characters and the language of the time better than before.

While writing a series does come with certain challenges, so does any writing. The most important part is that you still take pleasure in it, that the challenges are exciting and stimulate your imagination, which is what makes writing the Lady Evelyn books such a pleasure for me!

The Golden Hour Blog Tour

about the author

Malia Zaidi is the author of the Lady Evelyn Mysteries. She studied at the University of Pittsburgh and at the University of Oxford. Having grown up in Germany, she currently lives in Washington DC, though through her love of reading, she resides vicariously (if temporarily) in countries around the world.

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