About The Book
New York Times bestseller Alison Goodman’s eagerly awaited new project: a Regency adventure starring a stylish and intrepid demon-hunter!
London, April 1812. On the eve of eighteen-year-old Lady Helen Wrexhall’s presentation to the queen, one of her family’s housemaids disappears-and Helen is drawn into the shadows of Regency London. There, she meets Lord Carlston, one of the few who can stop the perpetrators: a cabal of demons infiltrating every level of society. Dare she ask for his help, when his reputation is almost as black as his lingering eyes? And will her intelligence and headstrong curiosity wind up leading them into a death trap?
An Interview with Alison1. I was so excited to read THE DARK DAYS CLUB because I loved EON and EONA so much. How did the writing process for the two series differ?
My writing process didn’t really differ that much– I write from the beginning of the book to the end without jumping ahead. My research process, however, was a bit different. The Dark Days Club is historically accurate so I did a lot more cross-checking of facts and reading newspapers and magazines from 1812, the year the book is set. I also read over forty books about the Regency, found moon phase charts for the time, checked weather reports for each day in the book, searched for paintings of real people and places to help my descriptions, and estimated travel times using an old Regency atlas. I also visited London and walked the same streets that Lady Helen walks in the book and visited some of the same shops and parks. I even stayed in her Georgian house at 12 Half Moon Street, which is now a boutique hotel.
2. Speaking of which, where did the idea for this series come from? I can honestly say I have never encountered creatures quite like this before.
It was a chain of events that inspired The Dark Days Club. I actually got the idea for the series on a tram in Melbourne. I was going home from a writing conference where I had attended a session called “Researching the Regency”. I have always loved the Regency era—I’m a big fan of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer-- but I had it fixed in my mind that the research would be a bit out of my league. However, the session made me realize that I could, in fact, do it. So with that revelation buzzing through me, I got on the tram, stared out of the window and started to think about the kind of Regency novel that I would like to read now. The answer came very quickly: Pride and Prejudice meets Buffy. I grabbed a pen and paper and started writing down the outline of The Dark Days Club. I don’t want to say too much about the creatures in the novel– spoilers!—but I based them on human yearnings, and they are attracted to certain types of energy within humans such as bloodlust and the desire for pleasure!
3. Do you think Eona and Lady Helen would get along?
Interesting question. I think that, initially, the class difference would make things a bit awkward; Lady Helen is a noblewoman and Eona grew up in servitude. However, both Eona and Lady Helen are, at their core, very fair-minded and curious young women, so I think that they would soon start conversing and recognize the essential integrity and courage within each other. They also have a similar dry sense of humour, so that would help too.
4. What is your favorite thing that you have learned while doing research for THE DARK DAYS CLUB?
I think my absolute favorite would have to be learning how to Regency dance. When I started going to class, I was so surprised – the dances are far more robust and faster than you see in a lot of the Austen movies and TV adaptations. There is also a lovely sense of camaraderie, and a real sense of achievement when you get the dance figures right. We do a lot of whooping when we get through a whole quadrille (a very complicated dance for four couples). In one of the 1800’s dance books I’ve studied, the dancing instructor made it clear that “whooping and hollering” were not proper behavior for assemblies and balls, so even in those times people celebrated loudly when they got a dance right.
5. How did you come up with the name THE DARK DAYS CLUB anyway? I’d definitely be drawn to it on a bookshelf.
In the Regency era, there were a lot of clubs and societies set up for different interests that ranged from gambling , eating beef and drinking port, to more socially useful clubs that helped the poor and educated children. I thought, why not a club for demon hunters too? In my novel, Henry Fielding, the real-life novelist and magistrate, created the Dark Days Club to protect humanity. It is probably a bit cheeky of me to make him the founder, but part of the fun of writing the Lady Helen series is weaving together real historical events and people into my fictional Regency England.
6. I fall in love with your worlds every time I read them. Can you share any writing advice for aspiring fantasy writers out there?
Thank you! For me, building a believable world always starts with research. In the case of Eon and Eona, I used the research as a jumping off point to help me create a mythical China and the twelve energy dragons of good fortune. For The Dark Days Club, my research helped me develop a vivid picture of Regency England in my mind so that when I began to write, I had a solid foundation of historically accurate information from which to build my 1812 London. So my first world-building tip would be to research your world. If you decide to have flying horses, then research how that would work so that when you describe one of those flying horses soaring through the air, you have the authority of knowledge behind it. I would also advise aspiring fantasy writers to avoid pages of flat information that have no character action. These are called info dumps and are the fastest way to bore a reader. Instead, drip feed your world and how it works through the way your characters interact with their environment. As we walk through our lives, we don’t notice everything around us; we only focus on what is important to us at the time. The same goes for our characters. Funnel your world through them. Show them picking up a quill pen and realizing that the nib needs to be recut, or walking along a beach and feeling the sharp rocks through their thin soled shoes. Each thing they note or use or have an opinion about helps build up a picture of the world for your reader. Use all five senses –not just sight—so that your reader not only sees the world but can also feel it, smell it, hear it and taste it. It is through the senses that you can create a vivid and truly engaging fictional world.
7. And for the most important question of all…Iron Man, Captain America, or Thor?
Thor, hands down. I have to admit Chris Hemsworth might have something to do with that choice…but seriously, Iron Man (Tony Stark) is charming but way too full of himself, and Captain America is so upright and way too uptight. Give me a demi-god with a big hammer any day!
Thank you so much for stopping by, Alison! I had an amazing time interviewing you!
PenguinTeen is giving away a hardcover of this lovely novel to one lucky winner. Enter below, and may the odds be ever in your favor!