Tuesday, November 22, 2011

New interview with historical fiction author Grace Elliot

I'm happy to welcome Grace Elliot back to Reviews and Interviews. We first met her in May when she stopped by to talk about her debut historical romance novel. Now with a new novel out, titled Eulogy's Secret, she's here to tell us some more.

Grace Elliot leads a double life as a veterinarian by day and author of historical romance by night. Grace works in a companion animal practice near London and is housekeeping staff to five moggies, two teenage sons, and a guinea pig. She turned to writing as an antidote to the stress of modern life and believes intelligent people have the greatest need to read romance!

Welcome back to Reviews and Interviews, Grace. Please tell us about your newest release.
Set in regency London, Eulogy’s Secret is a story of greed, prejudice and a stolen identity.

In the four weeks since her guardians’ death, Eulogy Foster has lost everything. Penniless and alone she seeks the help of her estranged brother, Lord Lucien Devlin. But Devlin throws Eulogy onto the streets and the mercy of a passing stranger, Jack Huntley. As Eulogy seeks the truth behind her birth, she is drawn into the world of art and artists, where her morals are challenged and all is deception.

Jack Huntley: bitter, cynical and betrayed in love. He believes women are devious, scheming, untrustworthy creatures - and when he rescues a na├»ve Miss from being raped, his life is about to change forever. As his attraction to Eulogy grows, caught in a deadlock with both denying their true feelings, events take a sinister turn as someone seeks to silence Eulogy….forever.

What inspired you to write this book?
I’m a writing addict and always looking for inspiration for the next story. Eulogy’s Secret came about after seeing a poster on the London Underground for a memorial concert at the Royal Albert Hall. One word on that poster stuck in my mind - “Eulogy” - and it struck me what an enigmatic name Eulogy would make for a character. I wondered what would lead a parent to call their child ‘Eulogy’ - perhaps the death of the mother in childbirth, or another and even more tragic circumstance….But to answer ‘why’ and find out what Eulogy’s secret is….you’ll have to read the book!

One of the themes explored in this book is that people are not always what they appear, and personal prejudice can blind you to the truth - be it good or bad. Although set in Georgian London with its strict social hierarchy, prejudice is alive and well in the 21st century and therefore a theme still pertinent today.

What’s the next writing project?
I’m hard at work at book two in The Huntley Trilogy (working title Hope’s Betrayal.) Each book features one of the three Huntley brothers and the hero in Hope’s Betrayal is the dashing naval captain, George Huntley. I know when the writing is going well when I dream about the characters - and even if I say so myself, Captain George Huntley is a humdinger of a man, whom I’m totally in love with. I can’t wait to finish writing this book so that I can unleash Captain Huntley on the world and spread the infatuation!

Hope’s Betrayal is going to be an action packed historical romance with smuggling skullduggery, treachery and of course….a love that brings Captain Huntley to his knees.

What is your biggest challenge when writing a new book? (or the biggest challenge with this book)
The biggest challenge to me is easily - time! Finding time to write in amongst going to work, being a taxi driver to my two sons, cleaning, cooking, ironing, and the million other things that a woman has to do, can be challenging in the extreme! That said, lack of time does focus the mind wonderfully and can be a great motivator. I’ve noticed that I can be at my least productive when I have all day - something to do, I suspect, with procrastination being a default setting.

If your novels require research – please talk about the process. Do you do the research first and then write, while you’re writing, after the novel is complete and you need to fill in the gaps?
Research is an organic process that involves constant growth. I always have a non-fiction (history) book on the go, alongside whatever novel I’m currently reading - this helps give me a broad sweep of knowledge for background, manners, etc.

The first draught of a novel involves writing at full pelt and underlining any passages that need checking for historical accuracy. I also have a special file for noting areas where research is needed, so as the second draught takes shape I know where the work has to be done. That said, I love research, and each novel has its own A4 notebook where I draw costumes and annotate them, sketch street plans for Georgian London and other such details that make the piece truly alive on the page.

What’s your writing space like? Do you have a particular spot to write where the muse is more active? Please tell us about it.
I write in a converted garage that is now our dining room. It’s a light and bright space with a window that takes up the width of the room. Beneath that window is an old leopard-print sofa which doubles as ‘my writing space.’

I work best here because it’s away from the distraction of TV and there’s plenty of room for Widget, one of my five cats, to snuggle against my leg. Widget helps my writing productivity no end because when I get up for a comfort break she will pinch the warm spot - so unless I want to risk one of her long suffering looks by moving her when I get back, it’s best to stay put for as long as possible.

What authors do you enjoy reading within or outside of your genre?
I read anything and everything, but my first love will always be historical romance. That said, having an ereader has broadened out my reading tastes because the price makes trying new authors less of a risk. I recently read The Hunger Games (because I’d heard good things…and they were cheap!) and loved them. I’m currently rediscovering some books I loved in the 80’s - the Poldark series by Winston Graham (anybody remember the TV series?) and I love discovering new and independent authors such as Rose Gordon (Regency romances) and Elizabeth Marshall (historical fantasy, reminiscent of Diane Gabaldon.)

Anything additional you want to share with the readers today?
Any of your readers who have visited my blog will recognize my fascination for historical trivia. This minor obsession has triggered a non-fiction book to be launched in December 2011.

Cat Pies is a compilation of light-hearted but interested articles about feline-related historical trivia - such as did the Victorian’s eat cat meat, who invented the cat flap, and what links cats to Jack the Ripper?

Well that’s me done. Thank you for reading and thanks especially to Lisa for hosting me today!

Buy links for my book include:
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Barnes and Noble

Thanks for stopping by again, Grace. Keep on writing!


Grace Elliot said...

Thank you so much for hosting me (again!) Lisa! It's always a pleasure to visit your blog and chat to your readers.
Grace x

Yvonne @ Fiction Books Reviews said...

Hi Lisa and Grace,

Great interview, a fantastic lot of interesting background information.

Having been able to enjoy the privilege of reading and reviewing 'A Dead Man's Debt' and 'Eulogy's Secret', it is good to know that 'Hope's Betrayal' is on the drawing board and underway.

I can't wait to find out just what the rest of the Huntley family are really like.


award-winning writer said...

Thanks for hosting me and my book, AN INNOCENT MURDERED. I love your blog and would like to recommend it to my followers.