Brought to you by OBS reviewer Angie
- Read our review for “The Husdon Diaries: The Life and Times of a Baker Street Resident” here.
- Visit author Kara L. Barney at her website here.
Angie: I absolutely loved this story. I was so sucked into the story and really felt the emotions of the characters. It was a very well written story. Thank you for sharing it. What made you decide that the perspective of the house keeper needed to be told?
Kara L. Barney: At one point I was trying very hard to write, experiencing a lot of writer’s block, and my roommate told to read to get rid of the writer’s block. I told her that I already had done so and nothing was inspiring me. Eventually I did take her advice, and started reading A Study in Scarlet, the first of the Sherlock Holmes books. Then I thought, “Nobody has done Mrs. Hudson….all of the books that I’ve read that are not the originals are new tales “discovered” by Dr. Watson or told by Sherlock himself. But she’s important too, even if she only shows up in five of the original stories. She helps save Sherlock’s life at one point…”
Angie: How did you create Mrs. Husdson’s backstory?
Kara L. Barney: When I created Mrs. Hudson’s backstory I felt like the people who had acted her part were always older than Sherlock and Watson…it is still that way with the movies and shows today, but I wanted her to be younger than them, if only slightly, so that she could learn to be a part of their lives that were already set. Also, it made it easier that she would not be married until somewhere later in the book, but that she knew Mr. Hudson (who I created–he’s never showed up anywhere in the originals, but she is always referred to as Mrs. Hudson in the original stories, so she had to be a widow) before she met Sherlock and Watson. That way I could create as well as build the relationships between the characters, some that were already given to us from the Conan Doyle works and some that I had made on my own.
Angie: Did you ever consider a “love story” between Mrs. Hudson and either Sherlock or Dr. Watson?
Kara L. Barney: I did consider a love story between Sherlock and Mrs. Hudson, but not for very long. In “A Scandal in Bohemia”, one of Conan Doyle’s most famous stories, Sherlock finally meets his match in Irene Adler, a woman who is as clever as he. This story is the only time that we see Sherlock find a person like that and the possibility of him falling in love. In fact, when Watson meets Mary Moristan (who becomes Watson’s wife) in The Sign of the Four, Sherlock spends an entire paragraph explaining how troublesome women are…but at the same time he treats all of his clients that are women very well. But again, if he has loved any woman, his love belongs to Irene, and I wanted to keep it that way.
Angie: Have you been Sherlock Holmes fan for a while or was this a recent “discovery” for you? How did you keep your writing in the style of the period? What kind of research did you do for this story?
Kara L. Barney: I had always liked the Sherlock stories, but I became a true Sherlockian as I was researching for the novella. I gathered all the books and read them as I was writing, which helped me keep the voice and feel of the characters and their historical time. Now I own all the original books, most of the movies, the soundtracks…you name it, I probably have it or have read it. 🙂 When I did research, I did want to make it as authentic as possible, and I got a lot of help from my chief editor, Jay Hartman, in this respect. He felt that the drafts would be better with more historical authenticity, and I totally agreed. It completely tightened the work and made it stronger. But I had to go back and research poisons, Victorian law, weapons, even diamonds…and all of this within the Victorian time frame. It took a lot of careful planning and time, but it was so worth it!
Angie: Are we going to see more of these kinds of short stories?
Kara L. Barney: I will definitely be doing more short stories….we’ll see if there is another Sherlock one specifically….:)
Angie: We like to get to know our authors outside of their work, and have a few fun questions we’d like to ask feel free to answer as many or few as you like.
Angie: Do you listen to music when you write or do you prefer quiet?
Kara L. Barney: I usually prefer quiet when I write, but sometimes music when I edit. Especially for Sherlock, I would listen to the Sherlock Holmes soundtrack to help my creativity as I edited. Also, when I’m about to do something daring and slightly crazy, like my last edits before I submit a piece of work, I listen to movie soundtracks…usually Pirates of the Caribbean.
Angie: What kind of music do you enjoy?
Kara L. Barney: I like all kinds of music except country and rap. The mood I’m in will determine what soundtrack or album I choose to listen to.
Angie: What people, living or dead, would you invite to your fantasy dinner party? What would you serve your guests? What would be the main topic of discussion?
Kara L. Barney: I would totally have something like the Bloomsbury group revisited at my dinner party….Agatha Christie, Arthur Conan Doyle, Jules Verne, Charles Dickens, Robert Louis Stevenson, etc. We would naturally talk about writing. That would be the best dinner party EVER! 🙂 I’ve always wanted to find out what inspired the authors that inspire me.
Angie: Who was your favorite teacher in school? What did he or she do to stand out above the rest? Have you ever told this teacher how he or she influenced or inspired you?
Kara L. Barney: My favorite teacher when I was young in school was Ms. MacDonald. She loved literature and also was the first person to recognize my writing abilities and approach me about them. Although I’ve been writing since I was six years old, she was my eighth grade English teacher. I also love history and Ms. Olson was another great teacher in high school who loved what she taught and helped us love it too. I also had some great teachers in college…can you tell I love to learn? I never told them how much they inspired me because I was much older when I realized…but I want to do that starting now.
Angie: What advice do you have for someone who is trying to become a published author?
Kara L. Barney: For people who want to become published authors, listen to your publishers and editors. The advice and mentoring they give you is to help you, not to hurt your feelings. This is your work, and it will always be, but what they tell you may be exactly what you need to make a good work great. Shout out to Jay Hartman, chief editor at Untreed Reads!
Angie: Would you prefer a vacation in the mountains, on the beach, or somewhere else?
Kara L. Barney: I would prefer a forest actually, so I’d say mountains…but then I love cities too, and my best writing has come sometimes late at night in my apartment with my reading lamp on. Vacation though would probably include a forest
Angie: Do you prefer texting, emailing, or phone calls for brief conversations with friends?
Kara L. Barney: I always prefer phone calls with friends. I love at least voice to voice contact, if not face to face.
Angie: When you were little how did you answer the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
Kara L. Barney: When I was little, I always said I would be an actor when I grew up (I even did eight years of theatre to try and prove it, but then I became a writer instead. 🙂 I enjoy what I am, and I don’t regret those eight years at all. Life’s been really good to me so far!).
Thank you to author Kara L. Barney for an amazing interview!