Shadow of the Raven Q&A
At the end of The Lazarus Curse you left your readers hanging on a cliff. Is that situation resolved in Shadow of the Raven?
Yes. In fact a few readers asked me to tell them what happens next! Obviously I’m not going to let on, save to say that while the course of true love does not run smoothly in Shadow of the Raven, it comes a little closer to a resolution.
Romantic Times said: “The twists and turns never stop, making Shadow of the Raven impossible to put down”. How do you keep your plots boiling?
There’s some careful planning, but there’s also an element of chance, too. A word, a phrase or a situation may trigger something completely different in my mind. The plot has sometimes turned on a sixpence and gone off in another direction. I very often start off with a murderer, only to change the identity of the culprit at the end. It certainly makes the writing process exciting for me and, I hope, it keeps the reader guessing all the time, too.
Each novel seems to have a different theme or backdrop. What is it in Shadow of the Raven?
The latter half of the 18th century was a time of incredible social upheaval in the countryside. In England it also saw the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution. The villagers and commoners on the Boughton estate face eviction in this novel, as well as having to deal with the fall-out from at least one murder deep in the woods, as well as being rocked by some shattering news.
Your research appears very detailed. How do you go about it?
Most authors of historical novels will tell you that the research is absolutely the best bit! For ‘Shadow’ I visited some wonderful open air museums that focused on rural crafts and traditions. I talked to people who practice the ancient crafts of coppicing and charcoal making, too. I also went on a tour of mills in the Cotswolds, as well as trawling through lots of old documents. Fascinating stuff!
What’s next for Dr Silkstone?
I’m currently working on the sixth novel in this series. The past comes back to haunt Thomas and Lydia in this one. Fans of The Anatomist’s Apprentice will recognize some of the characters and it’s going to get very nasty!
Ensconced in the woods of rural England, 1784, American anatomist Dr. Thomas Silkstone hunts for justice amid a maelstrom of madness, murder, and social upheaval…
In the notorious mental hospital known as Bedlam, Dr. Thomas Silkstone seeks out a patient with whom he is on intimate terms. But he is unprepared for the state in which he finds Lady Lydia Farrell. Shocked into action, Thomas vows to help free Lydia by appealing to the custodian of her affairs, Mr. Nicholas Lupton. But when Silkstone arrives at the Boughton Estate to speak to Lupton, he finds that another form of madness has taken over the village…
Sweeping changes to the Boughton Estate threaten to leave many villagers, who are rightfully angry, destitute. After a single shot rings out and a man dies in the woods, it appears that the desperate villagers have turned to murder to avenge their cause. But for Thomas, a post-mortem on the victim raises more questions than answers. Although he manages to save an innocent man from the gallows, a second murder warns him of his potentially fatal situation. Soon he discovers a conspiracy far more sinister than anything he has ever faced…
Outstanding praise for Tessa Harris and her Dr. Thomas Silkstone Mysteries!
The Devil’s Breath
“Excellent…Both literally and figuratively atmospheric, this will appeal to fans of Imogen Robertson’s series during the same period.”
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Stunning…perfect book club fodder.”
“A fascinating series…Harris is at her vivid best describing in precise, fearsome detail the ‘Great Fogg’.” —The New York Times Book Review
The Dead Shall Not Rest
—Historical Novel Reviews
“Outstanding…well-rounded characters, cleverly concealed evidence and an assured prose style point to a long run for this historical series.”
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Populated with real historical characters and admirably researched, Harris’s novel features a complex and engrossing plot. A touch of romance makes this sophomore outing even more enticing. Savvy readers will also recall Hilary Mantel’s The Giant, O’Brien.”
The Anatomist's Apprentice
“Densely plotted… We await—indeed, demand—the sequel.”
—The New York Times Book Review
“An absorbing debut… Harris has more than a few tricks up her sleeve and even veteran armchair puzzle solvers are likely to be surprised.”
“Smart misdirection and time-period appropriate medical details make for a promising start to a new series. A strong choice for readers of Ariana Franklin and Caleb Carr.”