Please welcome my fellow cat lover, Grace Elliot this morning.
Writing is such a challenging endeavor. What got you started on it and what keeps you doing it?
I started writing after friends at a school reunion nagged me to do so! My ex-classmates assumed I’d ‘grown up’ to become a novelist, which confused me no end. What they had remembered and I had forgotten, were my homework stories being read out to a hushed class. In a rare moment of enlightenment I realised there was nothing to stop me rediscovering the satisfaction of crafting words and so after a gap of twenty years, started writing again.
As to what keeps me writing, well that’s down to addiction, pure and simple. Writing gives me an escape from the stress of everyday life. Writing allows me to vent my frustrations and gives a huge sense of satisfaction. If for any reason I’m prevented from writing I get tetchy and irritable – classic withdraw symptoms from an addiction.
What did you do with your earliest efforts? Did anyone read them? Did you still have them?
My earliest effort coincided with the birth of the digital age (well, OK, I caught up and bought a computer!) so any work of significance is safely snuggled away on my laptop. When it comes to paper I’m not a hoarder, the opposite in fact in as I’m always having clear outs; so it’s interesting psychology, that I’m fine keeping ‘virtual’ work. I keep meaning to re-read the first novel I wrote. The more optimistic part of me thinks that it was quite a good story, whilst the pessimistic part cringes slightly at my naivety.
Who are your partners in crime? What are their superpowers?
This would have to be Widget, one of my five cats.
She has the super power of making me concentrate! She does this by cuddling up to my leg whilst I write. The disadvantage is that when I take a break she immediately pinches the warm spot and when I return, assumes such a mournful expression that I feel guilty for disturbing her. The result: I take fewer breaks and am a more productive writer.
Where is your secret lair and what does it look like?
I wish I had a secret lair – that sounds wonderfully indulgent. In truth, my writing cave is where ever it happens to be the quietest in the house. My favoured spot is our dining room, which is a converted garage and therefore tucked out of the way. The room has a wide window and I sit on an old leopard print sofa with the light behind me, Widget by my side and laptop on knee…and off I travel back to the Regency.
What made you choose to write in the genres/time periods you write in?
I had to think about this answer, because my first novel (unpublished) was set in the Victorian era. However, my latest release is based in the Regency, and my next series further back still in the Georgian period. As to why I set the books in these time periods – it’s all to do with the story and the most appropriate setting.
My debut novel, A Dead Man’s Debt, was inspired by a portrait painted at the beginning of the 19th century and the story naturally flowed from there. However, my WIP (work in progress) takes places in a pleasure garden of the sort immensely popular in the mid 1770’s – and so it followed the setting should be then.
What do you enjoy most in the writing process? What parts of it do you really dislike?
It may sound disingenuous but I absolutely love every part of the writing process. From dreaming up conflicts to creating characters, from first draft to beta reading, from editing to sending the manuscript to the formatter – I love the whole thing.
Historical fiction takes a lot of research. What is the most memorable or interesting thing you’ve learned along the way?
I’m passionate about history but I H.A.T.E.D the topic at school. The most important thing that I’ve learnt is that history IS interesting, despite the school curriculum making it deadly dull. What I’ve discovered is that social history and how real people lived and died, is completely fascinating – as compared to the dates and treaties type history taught in my day. I hope I’ve brought a little of this fascination with the past to light in my blog, Fall in Love with History, and the historical trivia posted there each week.
What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever gotten?
This isn’t so much advice, as an observation which appeals to me. I read somewhere these words by a best-selling author:
“It’s not so much that I’m talented, more that I’m lucky. And the harder I work, the luckier I become.”
There’s hope for all of us!
What have been your most memorable experiences along the way?
Being an author means working constantly and never giving up. I’m always learning and (hopefully) improving and with that come lots of little triumphs along the way. There are defining moments I can clearly recall, such as my first publishing contract, but more importantly are the emotional highs from the small successes along the way, such as reading a glowing review or chatting to a fan online. Finding out that people appreciate my work is the best buzz ever.
Tell us a little about your current project.
My latest release is Verity’s Lie. This is another regency romance, a standalone read and also #3 in the Huntley Trilogy. This is the story of the eldest Huntley brother, Charles, Lord Ryevale and how his exploits as a spy get in the way of true love.
What’s up next for you?
I am currently working on The Foxhall Series. Set in Georgian England, these books are linked by a common setting, Foxhall Pleasure Gardens, and follow the romantic entanglements of people who work in or visit the gardens. Book #1, The Ringmaster’s Daughter, should be available in the Fall 2013.
Grace Elliot leads a double life as a veterinarian by day and author of historical romance by night. Grace lives near London and is passionate about history, romance and cats! She is housekeeping staff to five cats, two sons, one husband and a bearded dragon (not necessarily listed in order of importance). “Verity’s Lie” is Grace’s fourth novel.
You can find Grace online:
Subscribe to Grace’s quarterly newsletter here:
Grace’s blog ‘Fall in Love With History’
Grace on Twitter: @Grace_Elliot
Find Grace’s Books:
Amazon .com http://amzn.to/13CxrN1