This week’s interview is with India Holton, a fellow Berkley author of Deb Lyn Liao Butler. We are so excited to have India here, as she’s written one zany historical romance/fantasy crossover book! Her debut, THE WISTERIA SOCIETY OF LADY SCOUNDRELS, is so much fun, and author Jen Deluca describes it best “…easily the most delightfully bonkers historical fantasy romance of 2021!” India is also a great person and supporter of other authors, and her sense of humor and grace (just like her lady pirates) always puts a smile on my face. So without further ado, here is India!
India Holton lives in New Zealand, where she’s enjoyed the typical Kiwi lifestyle of wandering around forests, living barefoot on islands, and messing about in boats. Now she lives in a cottage near the sea, writing books about uppity women and charming rogues, and drinking too much tea.
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
I had been sitting at my desk on a rickety old dining room chair and at the end of every day was in terrible pain because of it, so I bought a proper office chair, which means I can now spend all day writing comfortably, with good support.
What time of day do you love best?
I’ve come to really love the wee small hours of the morning when all the world around me is dark and quiet, but I’m awake answering emails from the northern hemisphere, posting on social media, and chatting with my friends from around the world. The combination of peacefulness and connection is strangely lovely.
Which talent do you wish you had?
I would love to be able to draw or paint well. I come from a family of artists and have always appreciated the skill, but don’t quite have it myself.
Tell us about the title of your book. What is the story behind it?
Many people tell me that they find The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels to be a fun and enticing title, which amazes me because I always worried it would be too prosaic! I like to have a working title from the beginning as a kind of foundation for the story to come. With this one I knew I wanted a description for my ladies which encompassed not only their work as pirates but their whole attitude – ie, scoundrels. The fact they have a society actually grew from my desire to include alliteration in the title! I chose wisteria simply because I love the word, but then my research informed me wisteria is poisonous, which made it perfect!
Were you an avid reader as a child? What kinds of things did you read?
Avid is perhaps an understatement! I read everything from Enid Blyton’s Famous Five to Greek and Roman mythology. If someone put a book infront of me, I would read it. By the time I was six, my teacher was bringing in books from his own shelves at home because I’d exhausted my little country school’s library and was looking for more sophisticated fare. Reading has never been a pastime for me, but part of who I am.
ABOUT THE BOOK
A prim and proper lady thief must save her aunt from a crazed pirate and his dangerously charming henchman in this fantastical historical romance.
Cecilia Bassingwaite is the ideal Victorian lady. She’s also a thief. Like the other members of the Wisteria Society crime sorority, she flies around England drinking tea, blackmailing friends, and acquiring treasure by interesting means. Sure, she has a dark and traumatic past and an overbearing aunt, but all things considered, it’s a pleasant existence. Until the men show up.
Ned Lightbourne is a sometimes assassin who is smitten with Cecilia from the moment they meet. Unfortunately, that happens to be while he’s under direct orders to kill her. His employer, Captain Morvath, who possesses a gothic abbey bristling with cannons and an unbridled hate for the world, intends to rid England of all its presumptuous women, starting with the Wisteria Society. Ned has plans of his own. But both men have made one grave mistake. Never underestimate a woman.
When Morvath imperils the Wisteria Society, Cecilia is forced to team up with her handsome would-be assassin to save the women who raised her–hopefully proving, once and for all, that she’s as much of a scoundrel as the rest of them.