In which it’s time for a dark road…

I’ve heard from several of you how much you’re enjoying the retrospective project here on the blog—me too! It’s been fun to revisit the books and think about what I was pondering as I wrote each one. This week we’re featuring DARK ROAD TO DARJEELING, the fourth title in the Lady Julia series. If you’re keeping track, that means we’re technically taking this one out of order. My fourth release was actually THE DEAD TRAVEL FAST, but I thought I’d group the Julia books together and then move onto the stand alones.


So, unlike the previous books, I wasn’t riding the wave of Julia and Nicholas stories. I had just challenged myself by writing my first stand along—a HARROWING experience—and it was time to pick up where the Brisbanes had left off. The terrifying part was wondering if I could find them again, if I could retrieve the voice, the feel, the chemistry of these two characters. Added to that was the hurdle of taking them out of England for the first time. My publisher had requested a larger setting, something exotic, and after batting around a few options, my suggestion of India was met with resounding approval. So I immersed myself in research and realized that, for the first time, I wasn’t going to have the chance to read all the research before I started writing. Schedule constraints meant that I was going to have to plunge directly into writing the book, and that’s when I learned to make friends with the bracket. I knew enough of the characters and conflict to start the book. As I wrote, when I came to a bit I needed more information about, I simply opened brackets, jotted the fact I would have to find, then closed brackets and powered on. What I discovered was that this was MILES more efficient than my previous method of trying to learn everything ahead of time. Instead of reading an entire book about flora/fauna, I could just dash off {INSERT TREE} and make a note to go find an appropriate tree—a research task of perhaps a few minutes. Now, when I have time, I do still make an effort to read a great deal of background information for my writing, but no longer do I stress over knowing every physical detail ahead of time. With my current book, I’m even experimenting with {ADD NAME} or {FIND INTERESTING BIT OF FOLKLORE TO INCORPORATE}. As I have the chance, I can putter through my research notes later in the day or even weeks after to fill in the blanks, and since I have a running list in my head of what to look for, I find I’m much more effective at noticing the exact detail I need.


So, if you’re new to DARK ROAD TO DARJEELING, here’s what you’ve been missing:


After eight idyllic months in the Mediterranean, Lady Julia Grey and her detective husband are ready to put their investigative talents to work once more. At the urging of Julia’s eccentric family, they hurry to India to aid an old friend, the newly widowed Jane Cavendish. Living on the Cavendish tea plantation with the remnants of her husband’s family, Jane is consumed with the impending birth of her child—and with discovering the truth about her husband’s death. Was he murdered for his estate? And if he was, could Jane and her unborn child be next?

Amid the lush foothills of the Himalayas, dark deeds are buried and malicious thoughts flourish. The Brisbanes uncover secrets and scandal, illicit affairs and twisted legacies. In this remote and exotic place, exploration is perilous and discovery, deadly. The danger is palpable and, if they are not careful, Julia and Nicholas will not live to celebrate their first anniversary.

 And don’t miss the book trailer for DARK ROAD TO DARJEELING!

3 thoughts on “In which it’s time for a dark road…”

  1. Kim says:

    This book has a fabulous villain that I hope pops up in future Lady Julia books. I think of this person as the Moriarty to Nicholas’ Sherlock Holmes.

  2. I soooo need to finish reading Dark Road to Darjeeling and the next books. I’m soooo far behind on them. I absolutely LOVE the Lady Julia Grey series. My favorite era and genres in a book series! I can say this as a fact: There’s definitely no other books like these in the world. I am incredibly pleased.

  3. Jaye says:

    Would you please consider writing about why Nicholas is always called Brisbane? Pretty please? 😉

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