ALH Anna Lee Huber - USA Today Bestselling Author

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An Interview with Lady Darby - Part I
September 1, 2014

For this post, I turned to my readers, asking them what questions they would pose to my heroine—Kiera, Lady Darby—if they had the opportunity to interview her. So without further ado, let’s settle down for a cozy chat.

Anna Lee Huber: Thank you for joining us today, Lady Darby. I know you were hesitant to speak with us.
Lady Darby: Yes. I’m not really accustomed to such things. (She fidgets in her chair.) Perhaps it would be best if you spoke with Mr. Gage instead.
ALH: Maybe later. But we really want to hear from you.
LD: I see.
ALH: The last time we heard from you (in Mortal Arts), you were leaving Edinburgh to stay with your brother at your childhood home in the Borders region of Scotland. You were quite distressed. Did you find what you were looking for?
LD: (She hesitates.) Yes and no. I was glad to escape the bustle of the city and the meddling of certain loved ones. (Her eyebrows lift significantly and I nod, understanding she refers to her sister.) But I’m afraid the peace I sought has eluded me.
ALH: You’ve dealt with and survived a significant amount of turmoil in the recent past, which has somewhat freed you from the traditional path and expectations of an aristocratic lady. Where do you hope to find yourself a year from now? Five years from now?
LD: (She glances down at her lap.) I’m not sure. I suppose comfortably situated, painting portraits. Maybe sharing my life with someone. (She blushes.) Really I just hope to be content, happy.
ALH: Considering the harsh judgments and gossip that have surrounded you since your husband’s death, I must say you’re admirably optimistic. What advice do you have for women who fall from society’s good graces? How does a lady rise above it?
LD: I’m not certain you truly can. I think perhaps the key is to accept responsibility for your actions, but not those of other people (she stresses), and then forgive yourself and try to build a life that makes you happy and fulfilled. Perhaps you will never have society’s approval—they can be appallingly hypocritical—but the people who really matter will never abandon you.
ALH: If you had to do your life over again, where would you start? What is the pivotal moment or choice?
LD: (She considers the question carefully.) I would like to say that I wouldn’t marry Sir Anthony (her deceased husband). But had I not, then certain people might never have entered my life. (She contemplates the question further.) I do wish I had stood up for myself sooner instead of cowering in fear and hiding away at my brother-in-law’s castle.
ALH: Do you regret asking your father to find a husband for you? Do you feel that he failed you?
LD: (Her face closes off.) It’s complicated.
I realize I’ve miss-stepped, so I end with a lighter question.
ALH: You are a gifted portrait painter. Why do you choose to paint portraits instead of, say landscapes, especially when so many in society still treat you with disdain?
LD: It’s what I’m drawn to. Capturing that essence of what makes a person unique, be it in the twinkle in their eye or the quirk of their lip. I can’t help it really. I just seem to see more than others do. Landscapes and still lifes simply don’t hold the same appeal.

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