Today’s guest is historical romance author Alison Stuart as she tours her newest novel, Secrets in Time.
Alison will be awarding e-copies of her two previously published books The King’s Man and the award-winning By the Sword, which are set in the same period as this story, to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. To be entered for a chance to win, leave an e-mail address with your comment below. And for more chances to win, visit other stops Alison is making and leave comments there.
Alison Stuart is an award winning Australian writer of historicals with heart. Whether duelling with dashing cavaliers or waywards ghosts, her books provide a reader with a meaty plot and characters who have to strive against adversity, always with the promise of happiness together. Alison is a lapsed lawyer who has worked in the military and fire service, which may explain a predisposition to soldier heroes. She lives with her own personal hero and two needy cats and likes nothing more than a stiff gin and tonic and a walk along the sea front of her home town. She loves to hear from her readers and can be found at her website, Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads. Her latest book, Secrets in Time, is a romantic historical time travel with a done of those dashing cavaliers, a thoroughly modern doctor and a splash of witchcraft.
Welcome, Alison. Please tell us about your current release.
Hi Lisa, thanks for having me here.
In a departure from my darker stories, Secrets in Time is all about romance – a 42,000 word time travel featuring a dashing cavalier, a thoroughly modern doctor and a hint of witchcraft.
What inspired you to write this book?
I have always wanted to write a time travel and this story began as a writing exercise for a writing group I was involved. It lingered in the cyber sock drawer for a few years and I came upon it by accident. I have a passion for the English Civil War so it was the perfect story to play with my favourite period in history and an experiment in time travel.
Alan and I went through his clothing but found nothing that gave any indication of his identity, either in this century or the seventeenth. The only hint was the finely wrought initials NP in the guard of his sword.
“NP, Nathaniel Preston,” Alan said.
“It doesn’t prove anything. He has a sword with initials that match the name he gave us.” I traced the intricate fretwork on the hilt of the sword with my finger. “What do you know about the seventeenth century Nathaniel Preston?”
“He’s dead,” Alan replied with a wry smile. I pulled a face at him and Alan shrugged. “At the start of the war he formed his own local regiment and declared for the king. He fought at Edgehill but spent most of the rest of the war in local defense of this area. A few days before Naseby, he was instrumental in deflecting the parliamentary advance at the battle of Chesham Bridge.” He stopped. “I am not sure going to Heatherhill Hall is such a great idea.”
“Because he may not like what he finds out.” Alan looked into the depths of his coffee mug.
“Like what? That he’s dead? I think even he may have worked that out.”
Alan looked up at me. “That he died at the battle of Chesham Bridge.”
“Oh.” A cold shiver ran down my spine. Even I knew the date of the battle of Chesham Bridge--12 June, 1645--its anniversary would be in nine days time. I tried not to think what it would be like to know the exact date of your death.
What exciting story are you working on next?
That’s a surprisingly hard question! I have two stories out in submission land at the moment – one a Regency murder mystery and the other an English Civil War romance. The next cab off the rank is a little series I am working on – a “cosy” detective story set in Singapore in 1910. I think I am turning to crime!
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I dislocated a shoulder in a skiing accident and found myself stuck in a ski chalet with nothing but a notebook computer for company. With a view of snow gums and crystal white snow, I started writing the book that is By the Sword. As the desire to finish it gripped me, I knew then that this was what I wanted to do.
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 wrote full time for a year after finding myself unexpectedly thrown off the corporate treadmill. I went from being a senior executive to a full time writer and I loved it, but I have decided I am better with a bit of discipline in my life (and a bit of regular income is nice) so I work for about 2 days a week as a Company Secretary for a “not for profit” organisation. I love it. I travel quite a bit and I do find the “business” of writing and life in general very distracting so finding time to actually write is a problematical! However last time I travelled I put “writer” on my immigration form and found it provokes interesting discussions (of the positive kind) with customs officials.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
My computers are set up on a large (much battered) Victorian cedar writing desk that I have had since I was 16. It fails every test for being ergonomic but I love it and can’t imagine myself writing in any other space. It comes complete with a large furry nuisance of a cat, called Oliver Kat, who likes to park himself between the keyboard and the screen, shedding fur everywhere and nipping at my mouse hand. Sigh…
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I desperately wanted to be an archaeologist…and a writer (that one goes back a long, long way!). The one thing I definitely didn’t want to be was a lawyer. Strange where life takes you.
Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
If you want to be a writer then be prepared to work at your craft -- join writing organizations, enter competitions, submit to respected publishers and agents and learn from your rejections.
Readers, don’t forget that Alison will be awarding e-copies of her two previously published books The King’s Man and the award-winning By the Sword, which are set in the same period as this story, to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. To be entered for a chance to win, leave an e-mail address with your comment below. And for more chances to win, visit other stops Alison is making and leave comments there.