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Q&A with Alison Goodman Author of The Lady Helen series for YA readers

By PeterC on 16th January 2017

Humaira Kauser - Lovereading4kids Reader Review Panel Member recently interviewed Alison Goodman. I had the opportunity to ask a few questions to the author herself but due to being in the midst of writing book three I was limited to asking five questions. I hope you like the questions I have chosen and enjoy the answers that Alison Goodman replied with! It was great fun thinking of and asking these questions so enjoy!   1. Who would be your dream cast if ever your book was adapted to a film? I love making up dream casts! Let’s see now…first pick for Lady Helen would be Daisy Ridley, from Star Wars  She has a great face – strong, angular and fiercely intelligent -- and the  athleticism that Lady Helen needs.  For Lord Carlston, I would cast Aidan Turner from Poldark: dark,  brooding and so, so handsome. He also looks great in period costume. When I first imagined the Duke of Selburn, I thought of Laurence Fox (D.I. Hathaway in Lewis) – he has so much charisma and is a brilliant actor. A friend of mine also suggested Tom Hiddleston, and let’s face it, you can’t go past a bit of Tom and he would make a superb Duke. I think Nell Hudson from Outlander would be a great Darby, and Dwayne Johnson would be a truly magnificent Quinn, although his star quality might be rather overpowering in a supporting  role. Mr Hammond would be beautifully portrayed by Nicholas Hoult and Emilia Clarke  would be an awesome Lady Margaret. 2. Is there any particular reasoning or meaning behind names? For me, the ‘music’  of a name  is very important – I listen to the  number of syllables and how they run together. I also prefer strong endings such as the hard n in Helen and Carlston because, for me,  it  gives a sense of strength and boldness to the name. I  also try to marry the name to the personality of the  character  e.g. I think of  Hammond as a  straightforward, reliable kind of name, which is how I think of Michael Hammond in the books.  In terms of finding names, I collect them from all over the place -- street names that I pass, people I meet (I’ve discovered some great names in the signing lines for my books!), and most productively, the end credits of movies 3.What do you like most about the Regency setting? I like the veneer of civility over raw human emotions, the elegant and opulent surroundings, the fashion,  the dancing, and how meeting the eyes of someone or the fleeting touch of their hand can take on enormous meaning. As a writer of historical fiction, I also love  how the Regency is like a mirror for today’s society- excessive consumerism, huge divide between rich and poor, and a lot of civil unrest. 4. Aside from being in a modern Dark Days Club, what would Lady Helen be doing now in today’s world? I think Helen would be studying Chemical Engineering at Oxford University and fencing on the University team! 5. Which of the new characters are your favourite and why? I think my favourite new character is Sprat, a twelve year old girl living  in a bawdy-house. She is sly and funny and a bit of a hustler –so  much fun to write! I also really like Martha Gunn, who was a real dipper at Brighton Beach during the Regency. A dipper’s job was to hold on to a lady who could not swim, and literally dip  her into  the sea and out again, rather like a tea bag, so that the lady could  “take the waters” for her health. Martha Gunn was the most famous dipper in England  and was a favourite of the Prince Regent. She is in a sea-bathing scene with Lady Helen, and it is my favourite scene in the whole of The Dark Days Pact.

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