If you’re looking for a fun summer read full of villains, plots, flying houses, and a heroine you’ll want to root for, The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels could be just what you’re looking for. The title was what first captured my attention, and after listening to a few chapters of the audiobook, I was hooked. The line “murdering three husbands and misplacing a fourth” made me laugh right in the middle of ordering my morning Starbucks, which I’m sure perplexed the barista on the other side of the drive-thru intercom.
In this interview, India Holton makes an interesting revelation about the title of the novel, what drew her to the Victorian era and a sneak peek of her next novel that will have you rushing to pre-order post haste!
When did you first come up with the idea for The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels?
I was minding my own business one afternoon when an image of two ladies sitting at an elegant tea table and cleaning their pistols appeared suddenly in my mind. I wanted to know who they were, so wrote the book to find out.
I love the title! When did you come up with it (before or after you’d finished writing the novel)?
I always saw the title as a placeholder. I thought it was too prosaic and expected it would be changed at some point in the production process. But it remained, and now I have many people tell me they find it funny and engaging. I’m bemused but pleased!
How do your surroundings inspire your writing?
I am very interior with my writing process and deliberately turn away from my surroundings so I’m not distracted. Even the wall of my office is mostly blank.
What drew you to the Victorian era?
Many things came into play when choosing this particular era, from politics to technology to fashion. I needed a period that was quaint but not too distant from our own society. Also, literature plays a major part in the story, and I needed a time when there was a wide range to reference. For example, the dichotomy between Romanticism and Neoclassicism is something I wanted to explore through the characters, and the late Victorian era allowed me a wealth of material to do so. Some people think the book is a gaslamp fantasy because of the setting, but actually, the only magic involved is the ability to fly houses. I prefer one description of it being a “post-modern historical romance.” The Victorian era and the tradition of humor from that time suited it perfectly.
What is your typical writing day like and where is your favorite spot to write?
I usually start writing late morning then pause for lunch before continuing on all afternoon. I sometimes also write into the night if inspired. I tend to take a lot of mini-breaks through the day because it’s not easy to slog away for hours at humor! I write at a desk facing away from the window since as I mentioned above I like a calm, quiet space to help me focus.
Out of all of the characters throughout the story, which character’s storyline did you enjoy writing the most?
That’s hard to say because I had fun with everyone. I loved Cecilia most of all, but Constantinopla gave me a real run for my money; she was only supposed to be a brief appearance but insisted on having as much of the story as she could wrangle.
Do you have a favorite scene from the book?
I love best the scene where Cecilia and Ned meet in Bath.
What is one of the books you’ve enjoyed reading lately?
I’ve been lucky to get several ARCs for books coming out this year. Alanna Martin’s Paws and Prejudice, Lynn Painter’s Mr. Wrong Number, and Amy Lea’s Set On You were all romance novels I’ve loved recently and I can’t wait for other people to experience them too!
If the book was turned into a feature film who would you want to play Cecilia?
I don’t really know modern-day actresses so this is a hard one to answer! Someone like Pheobe Dyvenor I guess, with that combination of delicacy and strength.
Are you currently working on the next book in the series, and if so can we get a sneak peek?
Yes, the next book in the series is a fantastical historical rom-com called The League of Gentlewomen Witches. It’s due out March 15th, 2022, and is already available for preorder here. In it, a witch as proper as a Jane Austen heroine and a pirate who is no Mr. Darcy race across Victorian England in pursuit of a magical amulet. Here’s a little sneak peek:
“All her life she had been bound by one rule. Well, that is to say, several dozen rules, such as never put the milk in before the tea, never slouch on the sofa, and always brush one’s hair a hundred times before bed. But beneath the petty requirements that governed a woman’s existence, there was one particular to the circumstances of a witch. Never do magic in public.”
About the Author
India Holton lives in a small seaside village in New Zealand, where she writes historical fantasy romcoms about unconventional women and the men who love them. India’s writing is fuelled by tea, scones, and thunderstorms.