Who has superpowers fueled by banana bread and tea? Read on and find out more…
If you were to write the ‘origin’s episode’ of your writing what would be the most important scenes?
The early scenes of my blogging career would consist of me spouting interesting facts and stories of Georgian history to my colonial gentleman and him undertaking a thrilling journey from genuine enthusiasm to glazed-eyed nodding. I was inspired to begin my blog by a friend who is also a blogger and who introduced me to the platform and software; from there, it was just a case of working up the nerve to take that first plunge.
What did your early efforts look like? Are they still around to be used as bribes and blackmail material?
The early evidence of my blog is certainly still around and it’s there on the Guide in all its sketchy, short glory. I am going to revisit and rework those early posts at some point but I’ll keep the originals there too.
The early efforts of my writing career are also in existence but only on my own hard drive! I was convinced I had a contemporary horror novel in me at the age of 17 and trust me, it should probably have stayed in me, because it’s hundreds of ungoverned pages and far from my finest hour!
All super heroes have their mild-mannered secret identity, what is yours? I promise we won’t tell.
Since it’s just between you and me…
By day I am an unassuming sort, pottering about here and there visiting country houses with my hound and gentleman; by night, I blog about the great and not so great of the Georgian era and wallow in 18th century grit and sauce.
Who are your partners in crime? What are their superpowers?
My greatest partner in crime is my rakish gentleman, whose superpower is his ability to help me cut to the heart of any writing woes simply by letting me pour my heart out at him. He also has a knack for baking wonderful banana bread and supplying endless cups of tea to fuel me into the night.
I must also mention Pippa, my constant canine companion, Nelly, my feline partner in crime and Gabrielle, a rodent of exquisite and mischievous character.
Where do you get your superpowers from?
When I was growing up, my grandfather was the storyteller of the family. The tales he told were rarely of nobles and monarchs, but more often of the beggar and troubadour; he wove local myth and legend into his stories and kept us all enthralled. He has always been my inspiration in writing and without his influence in my childhood, I don’t know if I would have found the confidence in myself to write or blog.
Where is your secret lair and what does it look like?
It looks suspiciously like a very comfy chair, my laptop and an enormous cup of tea.
What kind of training do you do to keep your superpowers in world saving form?
I walk with Pippa and take in the fresh air of the lovely part of England where we reside. I also listen to lots and lots of music, I can’t write without it.
How do you insure your superpowers are used only for good?
I rely on my sharp editing eye, not always successfully!
Granted, you probably don’t’ get to wear your superhero costume a lot, but if you did, what would it look like?
Much as I would love to detail something impossibly glamorous and elaborate, it is probably something resembling very comfy pyjamas. I should also mention my fab and snuggly black poncho, which I have virtually lived in all winter and would wear every day if I could get away with it!
What is your kryptonite? What are the biggest challenges faced with in your writing?
Over the top doses of self-doubt, second guessing and procrastination!
What was the supervillian that threatened to stop your latest project and how did you vanquish it?
See above. When I started blogging, I just sat and waited for the criticisms, corrections and scary comments to roll in; instead, I’ve received encouragement, kind words and met some utterly amazing people.
What important lessons have you learned along the way?
Don’t be afraid of telling the stories that you want to tell in the way you want to tell it but, crucially, don’t be afraid to listen to constructive criticism, because it may open a whole new avenue to you!
What have been the best/most memorable experiences along the way?
About six months after I began blogging, I received an email from a regular reader who told me that they had been a seasoned traveller but had become housebound by a serious illness. They explained that my blog was their way of reconnecting with the history of Europe and sites of interest that they could no longer visit in person. I was so touched by that message that I can hardly put it into words; it will always stay with me.
If you did this again what would you do differently and what would you not change?
I wish I had started blogging much earlier, as I would have met so many wonderful people so much earlier too!
What is the best (writing or otherwise) advice you have ever gotten and why.
It’s an old chestnut, but treat everybody as you’d like them to treat you.
Tell us about you new projects and why we need to drop everything and get it now.
I wouldn’t recommend getting it right now because it’s not exactly finished but I’m working hard on The Mistress of Blackstairs, my novel set among the brothels of 1785 Covent Garden. It has a dash of grit, a splash of romance and some fabulous frocks!
What’s in store for you in the future? Do you have any other big projects on the horizon?
I have another novel waiting for my attention in the shape of The Master of Magdalene Hall and though it’s clamouring at me, I have to tell Moineau’s story in Blackstairs first. To be so inspired is a wonderful feeling and I owe it all to the readers of my blog, who have really changed my writing life!
Catherine Gilflurt blogs daily at A Covent Garden Gilflurt’s Guide to Life with gossip and colourful life stories from the long 18th century. She can be found gadding about on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest and is always happy to welcome new visitors to the salon!
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