Oh, this one was fun, chickens! It was also TERRIFYING. SILENT IN THE SANCTUARY was my first experience in writing with abject fear, and for that reason it was a highly educational writing experience. When I finished SILENT IN THE GRAVE and sent it off, it began a two-year circuit of various publishing houses before it landed with my current publisher. During that time, we moved to Virginia and my historical research books were in storage. Desperate to write but without my resources, I wrote a novel of contemporary magical realism that to this day only my agent has seen. (It’s WITCHES, y’all. And I still have a soft spot for that book, but it needs major editorial intervention to be readable and this just isn’t the time.)
When I finished the witch book I considered writing a sequel to SILENT IN THE GRAVE. I had left SITG open for a whole raft of sequels, and it would be logical to have something on the go in case a publisher was interested. By that time we were settled and I was able to unpack my books and putter around with it. And then I sold SILENT IN THE GRAVE. It was a frantically awesome moment, no doubt, but after the champagne had all been drunk, I realized that the contract, which specified SITG and two sequels, was QUITE specific about when the next book was due.
And I infarcted on the spot. My new editor had asked to see the first 50 pages of this book before she bought three, but she didn’t realize that 50 pages were ALL I HAD. So I rolled up my sleeves and got to work. I wrote, fast and furiously, and when I handed it in I was mildly devastated when my editor liked but didn’t love it. As it turns out, my body count was too high for her, and on her advice, I took out three murders. In the end, I got exactly the book I wanted–an homage to Agatha Christie’s THE MOUSETRAP and all those wonderful country house murder mysteries I love so much. Picking up six months after SILENT IN THE GRAVE ends, SILENT IN THE SANCTUARY is a proper March family Christmas adventure, with murder and mayhem instead of peace on earth and goodwill to men…
If you haven’t read it, here’s what you’ve been missing:
Fresh from a six-month sojourn in Italy, Lady Julia returns home to Sussex to find her father’s estate crowded with family and friends. Much to her surprise, the one man she had hoped to forget—the enigmatic and compelling Nicholas Brisbane—is among her father’s houseguests…and he is not alone. Not to be outdone, Julia shows him that two can play at flirtation and promptly introduces him to her devoted, younger, titled Italian count.
But the homecoming celebrations quickly take a ghastly turn when one of the guests is found brutally murdered in the chapel. Lady Julia resumes her unlikely and deliciously intriguing partnership with Nicholas Brisbane, setting out to unravel a tangle of deceit before the killer can strike again.
All week long we’ll be revisiting SILENT IN THE SANCTUARY with a giveaway to follow!