Our guest today is Victoria Thompson, author of the bestselling Gaslight Mystery Series. Her new book, City of Lies, is the first in her new Counterfeit Lady Series, which releases on November 7. She’s thrilled to have this opportunity to tell you all about the new series.
Have you ever hidden your real self in order to get along or get ahead? What if your life depended on it?
My heroine, Elizabeth Miles, has made her living pretending to be someone else. As a con artist, she cheats wealthy but greedy men, but this time she got caught, and Oscar Thornton is determined to get his revenge.
This was the original premise of City of Lies, but I needed more. I needed an interesting way for Elizabeth to escape Thornton when she runs out of a hotel and down a city street. Where could she go and who would protect her?
Because writers do a lot of research for their books, they often learn things they can’t use in a particular book, so they store it away for possible use later. I’d read a lot about the early 20th Century, and I knew that in 1917, women had demonstrated outside the White House every day (every day!) for Women’s Suffrage. By November, President Wilson was pretty annoyed. He started having them arrested in an effort to scare them off, but it wasn’t working. He just made them mad, so more women than ever were demonstrating.
What if Elizabeth joined a group of women demonstrating for Women’s Suffrage to escape Thornton, but she chose the wrong day to do it? Instead of sending them to jail overnight this time, the judge sentences them to three months in a workhouse. Elizabeth must continue to be a counterfeit lady, enduring abuse and a hunger strike while pretending to believe in their cause.
Then a funny thing happens. She begins to like and respect the other women, and they begin to like and respect her, too. She can imagine a new kind of life, except that Oscar Thornton still wants to kill her and he knows exactly where she is. How can she save herself without revealing her true identity to her new friends and losing everything she has gained? Even worse, how can she trick her new, very honest friends into helping her run a con on Thornton that will finally save her life?
Like women of every age, Elizabeth wears a mask to help her safely navigate her world. Every woman understands the need to pretend in order to get by and get ahead. When this story takes place, society was changing and women were fighting to be taken seriously, to be valued, and to have a seat at the table. A hundred years later, women are still fighting for the very same things. Elizabeth lived in exciting times, and so do we. I’m looking forward to exploring her adventures in a time that eerily mirrors our own.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Edgar and Agatha Nominated author Victoria Thompson writes the Gaslight Mystery Series, set in turn-of-the-century New York City and featuring midwife Sarah Brandt. Her latest, Murder in the Bowery, was a May 2017 release. City of Lies is the first book in her new Counterfeit Lady series, a November 2017 release from Berkley. She also contributed to the award winning writing textbook Many Genres/One Craft. Victoria teaches in the Seton Hill University master’s program in writing popular fiction. She lives in Illinois with her husband and a very spoiled little dog.
ABOUT CITY OF LIES
An exciting new series featuring woman-on-the-run Elizabeth Miles—from the beloved national bestselling author of the Gaslight Mysteries.
Every woman plays a part—but some are more dangerous than others…
Like most women, Elizabeth Miles assumes many roles; unlike most, hers have made her a woman on the run. Living on the edge of society, Elizabeth uses her guile to relieve so-called respectable men of their ill-gotten gains. But brutal and greedy entrepreneur Oscar Thornton is out for blood. He’s lost a great deal of money and is not going to forgive a woman for outwitting him. With his thugs hot on her trail, Elizabeth seizes the moment to blend in with a group of women who have an agenda of their own.
She never expects to like or understand these privileged women, but she soon comes to respect their intentions, forming an unlikely bond with the wealthy matriarch of the group whose son, Gideon, is the rarest of species—an honest man in a dishonest world. Elizabeth knows she’s playing a risky game, and her deception could be revealed at any moment, possibly even by sharp-eyed Gideon. Nor has she been forgotten by Thornton, who’s biding his time, waiting to strike. Elizabeth must draw on her wits and every last ounce of courage she possesses to keep her new life from being cut short by this vicious shadow from her past.