Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Interview with debut historical fiction novelist Grace Elliot


Today it's my pleasure to welcome novelist Grace Elliot to Reviews and Interviews to chat with us a bit about herself and her debut novel, A Dead Man’s Debt (5 star rated historical romance)

Grace Elliot leads a double life as a veterinarian by day and author of historical romance by night. Grace lives near London and is addicted to cats, acting as housekeeping staff to five mischievous moggies.

Grace believes intelligent people need to read romantic fiction as an antidote to the modern world. As an avid reader, she turned to writing as a release from the emotionally draining side of veterinary work. Her debut novel A Dead Man’s Debt is now available from most eBook stores including Amazon, for $2.99

Grace, please tell us about your current release.
A Dead Man’s Debt is a story of blackmail, duty and unexpected love.

Our hero is the darkly restless Lord Ranulf Charing. He’s a complex character, raised from birth to hold honor above all else and, as heir to the Cadnum title, can never fulfill his calling to be a professional artist. But our heroine, Miss Celeste Armitage, is Ranulf’s opposite. Independent and determined, Celeste has the traits of a 21st, rather than 19th century, woman.

Celeste doesn’t care who she offends when she refuses to marry a lascivious Viscount. Sent to the country in disgrace, she meets Ranulf and falls for exactly the sort of rogue she has sworn to avoid. But Ranulf is being blackmailed over his late brother’s debts. To preserve the family’s honor he must renounce his feelings for Celeste and marry another woman…but he underestimates Celeste’s resolve to clear his name and in so doing, places his true love in mortal danger…

What inspired you to write this book?
The inspiration behind A Dead Man’s Debt sprang from a portrait of the young Emma Hart (who later married Lord Hamilton and became Horatio Nelson’s mistress)

The painting by George Romney shows an innocent yet lush young woman, scantily clad with a hint of bosom, brazenly staring out of the canvas with an allure that is quite hypnotic. It struck me as sensational for an 18th century work, that the sitter was not prim, proper, straight backed, and starchy. At the time the picture must have been utterly scandalous.

But who would be bold enough to commission such a portrait? (As it happened Emma Hart was ahead of her time…but that’s another story.)

What a delicious idea for a story!

What if the woman in the portrait wanted to shock and deliberately draw attention to herself? From this idea Lady Sophia Cadnum, Ranulf’s mother, was born. A woman who hated being an aristocratic brood mare and resented her children….

What if years later, this same portrait threatened to disgrace her son, forcing Ranulf to do the very thing she resented…and marry out of duty…

Thus the stage was set for the story of blackmail, sacrifice and redeeming love that in A Dead Man’s Debt.

What exciting story are you working on next?
In my view you can’t beat historical romance for page turning, escapism and I hope my next novel, Eulogy’s Secret will live up to this reputation.

Eulogy’s Secret is a story about hidden identity, dangerous assumptions, and prejudice. Our heroine, Eulogy Foster, has a secret that could destroy lives…but will she keep that secret if, in the telling, she could win the man she loves?

Once again set in the Regency, this book is the first in a series of three, about very different brothers, and will be available later this year.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I read somewhere that to be a writer, you need to write!

My initial reasons for writing was as a form of therapy, if you like, from the stresses of an emotionally demanding job. I would write, not even dreaming of publication, but as a conduit for an active imagination to spill out onto the page. Thus, I wrote for at least 20 minutes a day and pretty soon the habit grew to an hour…and then as long as I could carve out from looking after a house, family and working part time.

My first published piece was non-fiction for The Lady magazine – a feature on the 800th anniversary of the death of Eleanor of Aquitaine…and then I became a regular columnist in the Veterinary Times, with articles on the attitudes to animals in the past…then I turned to fiction…and the rest, as they say, is history.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I’d describe myself as a ‘guerilla’ writer. I have a job, two teenage sons, cooking, cleaning, etc., and so I have to seize whatever opportunities come my way

As to how I find the time, well my personal motto is “If you want something done, ask a busy person.” Somehow, the more you have to do, the more you get done! Is that not true ladies?

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Ahh, that would be Widget! No, not the sort you click on a computer, but one of my five cats. I write on a laptop on an old sofa in a converted garage, and she loves nothing better than to snuggle up against my thigh whilst I write. She’s my ‘Writer’s cat’ (a bit like a master criminal!) and keeps me hard at work because if I get up, she will claim the warm patch and then look hurt and affronted if I try to move her off….

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
For as long as I can remember I wanted to be a vet. As a child I was very ill for 6 months, and eventually it was my mother's bribe of riding lessons, that gave me the determination to recover. I was your typical horse-mad little girl, not to mention dogs and cats and spent my teenage years volunteering at the local dairy farm and riding stables.

Being a vet is still my dream job, but what I didnt realized as a na├»ve youngster, was that loving animals means saying goodbye to patients can be very hard indeed…I don’t think I’ll ever get used to the responsibility of making life and death decisions, but there again, it would be wrong if I took it lightly.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Thank you so much for reading this interview, and a big thank you to Lisa for hosting me.

I’d love to hear your feedback so please leave a comment below.

If you’d like to know more about me or my work visit http://graceelliot-author.blogspot.com. My blog reflects my addiction for things historical, romance and animals!

I’m also on Twitter: @Grace_Elliot.

Grace, thank you for being here today. It's so fun to have guests from 'across the pond' stop here. And all the best with your writing!

1 comment:

Suzette Stone said...

Love your interview, Grace!