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February 2, 2016

Book 101: Alison Goodman & Lady Helen - The Dark Days Club

The Dark Days Club
Lady Helen 1
Alison Goodman
Viking Books
January 26, 2016
Young Adult | Historical | Fantasy

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?

I was fortunate enough to read Alison Goodman's latest novel, The Dark Days Club, a few weeks ago. I have to say, this is my favorite novel of the year so far. It's so decadent and such a gorgeous series debut! You can read my review here.

I also had the opportunity to chat with Ms. Goodman about Lady Helen, read up to learn more.



Hi Alison! Thanks for stopping by Talk Supe, and congratulations on The Dark Days Club. I've read the book, ADORE it to bits, and my fellow bloggers who were fortunate enough to get a copy are loving it too!

I read that you are a Regency enthusiast, thanks to your mom. Can you briefly share how you fell in love with the era? Was it because of a book, movie, historic trivia?

ALISON GOODMAN: When I was a teenager, my Mum (the Australian version of mom!) always gave me a book as part of my Christmas present. One year she gave me a Georgette Heyer book called These Old Shades. Although it is not one of Heyer’s famous Regency novels, I was besotted by the blend of adventure, history and romance. I spent that Christmas summer holiday curled up on the sofa reading as many of Georgette Heyer’s books as I could get my hands on. The novels that are set in the Regency quickly became my favorites, mainly because it is such a delight to see high society characters who are rigidly polite but at the same time coming undone by love. I moved on to reading Jane Austen, which I adored as well, and then along came the 1995 BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth as Darcy and Jennifer Ehle as Lizzie. It was huge at the time—like Downton Abbey—and that just fuelled my Regency love fire!


Colin Firth will be forever my Mr. Darcy and I have seen that adaptation and love it too! I've also read that you really went all out with your research in writing The Dark Days Club. Aside from the things that we'll find in the book, what other fascinating/quirky/weird things can you share about the Regency era that we won't normally read in historical fiction?

  1. Older ladies would sometimes plump out their cheek by positioning thin cork balls inside their mouth. An early form of cosmetic filler!
  2. Some people died of what was called “night air” but which we now know were poisonous fumes from the accumulated excrement in cesspits. *Eww!*
  3. Cheeses were often infested with cheese mites or maggots and served with their livestock intact, which were duly eaten alongside the cheese. Eww! *Double Eww!*

Now I kinda regret asking you that question. I'm thankful I'm born in this century that's for sure! 

The Dark Days Club is a fascinating historical fiction. What inspired the supernatural slant of the book?

ALISON GOODMAN:  I think many things have gone into the making of my supernatural slant. I saw the original Star Wars when it first came out, and that blew my mind and got me in to science fiction and fantasy. Buffy was also a big influence, as is all of Joss Whedon’s work—he is the master at mashing genres together in new and exciting ways. I also love the magical realism of Isabelle Allende and Gabriel García Márquez. The way they blend the real with the uncanny is so beautiful.


Ha! All the more reason for me to love you because I am an Allende and Márquez fan too! 

I love how you constructed Helen's character, I really got invested in her journey in becoming a Reclaimer. For the sake of those who haven't read The Dark Days Club yet, can you tell them more about Helen Wrexhall?

ALISON GOODMAN:  When I was thinking about creating Lady Helen, I didn’t want to just dump a modern girl into a Regency ballroom. I wanted her to be a young woman of her time, but also to have the modern qualities that I admire. Helen is brave and she doesn’t rush into things; she’s thoughtful and clever in the way that she approaches problems. She’s also a kind person and, for a woman of her rank in society, quite fair-minded. She’s willing to learn, which is lucky because she has a lot to learn along the way. She also has a rather dry sense of humor and can be a bit stubborn. She values loyalty and intelligence and wit, and quite likes a nice gown and a good pair of shoes too.


And I have to pick your brains about Lord Carlston. I have to admit, I thought him a villainous rogue at first. But like Helen, his Lordship won me over. It's kinda hard not to at least like the guy. Who inspired his character and what was your motive or process as you shaped his character? Like did you intend for him to be this anti-hero?

ALISON GOODMAN:  I love an anti-hero! It is always much more interesting to write a “hero” who has a dark past and is dealing with his own demons (hahaha—see what I did there?). Lord Carlston is not inspired by anyone in particular but I grew up when the anti-hero was very much in vogue in films and on TV. Some of my favorites were Bodie in The Professionals, Avon in Blakes Seven and Callan in the series of the same name (all British shows—the Brits do great anti-heroes). I don’t think I could ever create a down-the-line-white-hat kind of hero; writing that character doesn’t appeal to me. The heroes in my books will always be troubled, morally dubious and more often than not, sarcastic (but kinda hot, too).


We seldom see the Royal Family get involved in these historical books. Are we going to see more of the Queen, the Prince Regent, and their court?

ALISON GOODMAN:  I don’t want to give too many spoilers, but the Royal Family will be involved in one way or another in Books 2 and 3.


Fantastic and exciting tease! Aside from these demons, are we going to meet other creatures along the way? Vampires, werewolves, the usual players in this genre?

ALISON GOODMAN:  No, none of the usual players in the Lady Helen series! The demons are created from my own twisted mind, and are only going to get meaner and more devious.


Wow, tease us so more will you?! How many books are you planning for The Dark Days Club?

ALISON GOODMAN:  Three books at first, and if readers like the series, then maybe more. I can see myself living in the 1800’s for a while yet.


We bloggers should definitely help make this series more popular. I wouldn't mind MORE Lady Helen and Lord Carlston for sure! 

I'm super excited, but I have to know what's in store for us in book 2? Do you have a working title yet and do you have an idea if it's going to be as long as TDDC?

ALISON GOODMAN:  Book 2 is already finished and with the publisher! I had a working title but it was a tad too long to fit on the cover, so I’m rethinking it. Book 2 is the same length as The Dark Days Club. You get your money’s worth with one of my books––hahaha!


For sure, the hardback is very pretty too! In 140 characters, why should readers pick up The Dark Days Club?

ALISON GOODMAN:  Want to read Jane Austen goes demon hunting? Come dance with a devil in The Dark Days Club.


Very timely, what with the upcoming P&P Zombie adaptation. Lastly, where can fans catch you?

ALISON GOODMAN:  I’m very excited because I’m going on tour in the USA! I will get a chance to say hi to my readers, chat about The Dark Days Club and sign books in various cities across the US from March 22nd until April 1st with four other wonderful authors. The tour is being finalized at the moment and I will post the cities and events on my website at www.darkdaysclub.com and on Twitter at @AlisonGoodman.


Thanks, Alison, write faster so we can get our books sooner :)





Alison is the author of EON and EONA, a New York Times Bestselling fantasy duology. Her latest novel --The Dark Days Club-- is Book 1 in a new trilogy, and will be published in the USA and UK in January 2016, and December 2015 in Australia. It has been reviewed by Publishers Weekly as "a delicious collision of Regency romance and dark fantasy". Alison calls it "Pride and Prejudice meets Buffy in English high society".

EON was short-listed for Victorian, NSW, and WA Premier’s Literary awards, and won the 2008 Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Novel. It was also listed as an American Library Association Best Young Adult Book (2010), a James Tiptree Jr. Honour book, and a CBCA Notable Book.

Alison’s first novel, Singing the Dogstar Blues, won the 1998 Aurealis Award for Best Young Adult Novel, and was also listed as an American Library Association Best Book (2004) and CBCA Notable Book. Her second novel, a crime thriller titled Killing the Rabbit, was published in the USA and shortlisted for the 2007 Davitt Award.

Alison was a D.J. O’Hearn Memorial Fellow at the University of Melbourne and holds a Master of Arts. She lives in Australia with her husband and their Machiavellian Jack Russell Terrier, and is currently working on Book 2 and 3 or The Lady Helen series.


Follow Alison Goodman

37 comments:

  1. I missed this one when it was on NG but I was so curious as soon as I saw the reviews and now I really want to try it as well. thanks for the interview!

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    1. It's wonderful! I hope you get the chance to read it at some point :)

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  2. That's a great cover. Loved the interview.

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    1. The pages inside the book is very pretty too albeit heavy

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  3. Fantastic interview Braine! I also interviewed Alison for my blog and she was lovely! Ewww the cheese thing sounds so disgusting. I enjoyed Lady Helen, I just finished reading it.

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    1. She's so game! I heard she was flooded with interviews, I'm lucky I got her to guest here. Looking forward to your chitchat :)

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    2. She's so game! I heard she was flooded with interviews, I'm lucky I got her to guest here. Looking forward to your chitchat :)

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    3. She is so game! I heard she got a lot of interview requests, we're both lucky we got her to answer some Q's! Happy to see you had fun with it too :)

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  4. Oh this does sound great. I'm a huge Heyer and Austen fan so for those to be influences makes me more than eager.

    Great interview, ladies!

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  5. All this talk of Darcy (Colin Firth *swoon*) has me vibrating with excitement - I will try to get to TDDC THIS MONTH! I'm a fan of Regency era lit and Lady Helen sounds like my kind of heroine. Thanks for sharing your chat and series 101!

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    1. Oh yes, Firth is The Darcy as far as I'm concerned. He captured Darcy's spirit perfectly IMO.

      Thanks, Brandee!

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  6. Alright i'm convinced. Great review and wonderful interview. I love great interviews!!!
    She doesn't have any sites listed yet for her tour but if she's in my neck o the woods I'm there. Thanks Braine this post was fantastic!

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    1. You should feature her on your blog and review her book at some point, it's really awesome. Literary fantasy at its finest ;)

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  7. Ewww to the cheese bit! And I love the "Jane Austen goes demon hunting", that would have me intrigued if I saw it for the first time. Already intrigued because of Braine's review though hehe

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    1. Right?! Good lord, I don't know how they managed to eat that cheese! Ugh!

      I hope you find the chance to read/listen to it at some point

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  8. Colin Firth will always be Darcy. ;)

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    1. Hi5! Hugh Grant tried, but failed. He lacks the brooding vibe Firth has

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  9. I can't wait to read this book! Ewww to the historical things she found while researching. LOL

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    1. I'm glad those three things didn't make it to the book. lol

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  10. I really must read this one. I have read some great reviews for it. Those historical facts were just Ewww..... thanks for sharing. Adding this one to my list.

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    1. I hope you enjoy it, Heidi. And don't worry, those three things didn't make it to the book :)

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  11. As you know, I loved this book! This this interview was fantastic! I have this book sitting next to the register at the bookstore I work at and am hand selling it. Though the cover kind of does the work on it's own. So beautiful!

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    1. I hope more people buy it, love it, review it, so she writes more than three for the series!

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  12. Nice interview :D
    The book sounds interesting too

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    1. It is, thanks for checking it out, melissa!

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  14. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this interview so much- it made my day! I still find myself thinking about this book, and the sequel can't get here fast enough. I NEED more Lady Helen and Lord Carlston ASAP!

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  15. Oh this such a great interview!! I love the small details of history too! :D Thank you!!!!

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  16. Good to see an author "living in the 1800's". Great interview ladies!

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  17. Interesting! I'm adding this to my list. Great interview and most definitely a motivator. Looking forward to it.
    Thanks Braine

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  18. Great interview!! Oh goodness, those facts. I'm glad I live when I do too. I really need to read this one. It sounds fantastic! I think the tour she mentioned is coming near me too, so I hope I can go and get a book signed!

    -Lauren
    www.letsgetbeyondtolerance.blogspot.com

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  19. This interview totally makes me wanna read this book soon...I love historical fiction, and am a huge fan of Pride and Prejudice and Downton Abbey. And lol at those facts...Like you, I’m so glad I’m part of this century, haha. And YES, GGM is amazingggg. Great interview! Need to pick up this one soon :)

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