posted on February 7, 2014 by Deanna Raybourn

Familiar Faces

In my May 2013 release, A SPEAR OF SUMMER GRASS, I introduced Delilah Drummond, a heroine who is not for the faint of heart. Her story starts off in her own words and gives you a pretty good idea of who she is: Don’t believe the stories you have heard about me. I have never killed anyone, and I have never stolen another woman’s husband. Oh, if I find one lying around unattended, I might climb on, but I never took one that didn’t want taking. And I never meant to go to Africa. See what I mean? She’s irreverent and outrageous, the kind of woman who has a lot of baggage to cart around and not all of it is matching Vuitton. Through the course of the book, we learn a little about the triumphs and tragedies that have shaped her—in particular the searing loss of her husband, Johnny, in World War I.

Delilah was a glorious character to write—she’s green satin and bathtub gin, scarlet lipstick and scathing remarks. But she was also exhausting! When it came time to write my next novel, CITY OF JASMINE, I chose another adventuress, but this one is a little more buttoned up. Like Delilah, she’s suffered loss, but she hasn’t chosen raucous hedonism as her escape—Evangeline Starke has chosen the sky. She’s a pioneering aviatrix, determined to make her way in the world as she puts her past behind her. But the past comes calling in more ways than one. In both of these novels I’ve toyed with the question of whether the dead really can stay dead when they live on in our imaginations. And when I went to write a prequel  novella to CITY OF JASMINE, I immediately knew I wanted to go back to a common past—a shared night when Delilah still had Johnny and Evie’s adventures in romance were just beginning. The idea of two such different women being friends was hugely appealing. They admire each other’s spirit and verve, and I like the idea that they feel a bit of recognition at finding a kindred spirit in each other. We get a peek at Delilah before time and circumstance have hardened her, and we see Evie before her girlish illusions are stripped away. It’s a romantic night, full of music and fireworks, with Delilah’s knockout punch and Evie’s jasmine perfume setting the stage for an evening none of them will ever forget as the specter of war hangs over them all. And if you read closely, you might just spot a familiar face from Lady Julia Grey’s circle in the crowd…

And did I mention it’s FREE? Right now you can download WHISPER OF JASMINE absolutely free—just in time to get the prequel read before CITY OF JASMINE is out on March 1!

Deanna Raybourn

Deanna Raybourn

A sixth-generation native Texan, New York Times bestselling author Deanna Raybourn graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio with a double major in English and history and an emphasis on Shakespearean studies. She taught high school English for three years in San Antonio before leaving education to pursue a career as a novelist. Deanna makes her home in Virginia, where she lives with her husband and daughter and is hard at work on her next novel.

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