Elizabeth Keysian is an international bestselling author of heart-pounding Regency romances, set mostly in the West of England. She is working on a fresh series for Dragonblade Publishing called Trysts and Treachery, which is set in the Tudor era. Though primarily a writer of romance, she loves to put a bit of mystery, adventure, and suspense into her stories, and refuses to let her characters take themselves too seriously.
Elizabeth likes to write from experience, not easy when her works range from the medieval to the Victorian eras. However, her passion for re-enactment has helped, as have the many years she spent working in museums and British archaeology. If you find some detail in her work you’ve never come across before, you can bet she either dug it up, quite literally, or found it on a museum shelf.
Which genre do you write in and what draws you to it?
I write historical fiction, essentially romances, from the High Medieval to the Victorian era, all set in England. I knew when I decided to write, it had to be romance, because I’ve always been a terrible one for getting crushes on people (I’ve grown up now, I promise!). My stories had to be historical too, because that’s what I studied, and I’ve worked in history and heritage for most of my career, so I guess that suggests I like the subject. Although I don’t write romantic comedy, I have always tried to make people chuckle, so some of my stories include moments when the characters do ridiculous things. And occasionally a reader will find funny something I never meant them to, but that’s all part of the magic of imagination.
Has your country of origin/culture influenced your writing?
It most certainly has. Ever since I was young, I’ve been fascinated by British history, and loved going to castles, museums and archaeological sites. I then developed a fascination with folk traditions, folk medicine and folksong—I was even a singer in a folk band for a little while. But it wasn’t enough to be interested in the past; I wanted to LIVE it. So, having learned a bit about the English Civil War at school, I joined the Sealed Knot and had fun not only recreating Seventeenth Century battles, but also learning the language, the songs, the music and the dances of those times.
Then I became even braver, and took on the role of a Tudor person at Kentwell Hall in Suffolk, which is like live action role play, only in front of visiting schoolchildren, so you have to work really hard at being authentic in order to be convincing. It was fabulous being able to do everyday activities the same way Tudor folk used to do them; I loved cooking up feasts and simple fare, making costume, making cheese, processing and spinning wool, shooting my own longbow, performing a masque and mixing up medicines. And, of course, there was sword fighting, music, singing and dancing as well. And drinking. Just a little bit of drinking. But I swear to you, what you miss most when being a Tudor for 8-9 hours a day is a good old British cup of tea. Not permitted in front of the visitors, because of course, tea wasn’t being drunk in England in the Tudor period, nor coffee, and we had no potatoes, or tomatoes, or tobacco.
What was the best piece of writing advice you received when starting out?
That’s surprisingly easy to answer. I was working with a museum curator who wanted to be a scriptwriter. His advice was not to spend ages agonising over your work, but to just get it down on paper, even if you thought you were writing rubbish. He felt that editing as you go slowed down the creative process too much, and I find I agree. But if you are going to write like that, and get the story down before you edit, it’s a good idea to have planned everything meticulously in advance.
If you weren’t an author, what would you be up to?
Well, I’m too plagued by chronic illnesses to return to work, sadly, so if I wasn’t writing, I’d be pursuing my hobbies. I have a lot of family history research to do; admittedly, being able to get back as far as a Scandinavian royal family that traces its origins back to Odin is quite impressive. However, some more recent ancestors are proving most elusive, so I’d love to fill in the gaps in the family tree.
I also have many craft activities I have always been meaning to get around to, only I never have the time. I am so naughty—I buy kits to make things and then never do. I should be making lace, weaving a little basket, making a corn dolly and enamelling copper jewellery made by my father to make it more appealing to modern tastes. I also need to get on with my bookbinding; I have several antiquarian books I bought as “projects” and I still have all the kit. So, I guess you could say if I took time out from writing, I’d be a lady of (creative) leisure.
Please tell us about your latest published work.
When you’re an archaeologist, you’re never far away from the material culture of your ancestors. So, I was influenced by this, and the fact I spent 7 years living on a former Knights Templar site in Essex called Cressing Temple. It was essentially a massive farm back in the medieval period, raising crops to sell and fund the Knights when they went on crusade. The two early thirteenth century barns built by the Templars remain to this day. I was very much influenced by all I learned and experienced on that site, and have used it to provide a context for my current Tudor romance, LORD OF MISTRUST, which is set in the 1550s, after the Temple had ceased to be a religious site.
Following their hearts could destroy the monarchy
Headstrong Chloe dresses as a boy and runs away to her birth mother to escape a horrendous marriage. She’s shocked to discover that her parent owns a bawdy house, and is in no position to help – nor will she reveal the identity of Chloe’s father. When a street accident throws Chloe into the lap of the tempting Robert Mallory, he offers distraction and adventure, but his stubborn refusal to trust her endangers them both.
Hot-headed Robert Mallory is battling to protect his sister, his livelihood, and his honor. He’s a spy who can’t follow the rules and distrusts everyone, particularly the delectable young woman from the bordello. Having endangered her, then rescued her from a nest of traitors, he learns that Chloe is the natural daughter of the one man he can’t afford to upset, Sir Mortimer Fowler. Offering marriage to save Chloe’s reputation is out of the question, as Fowler needs her for bait in a deadly trap.
Robert is faced with an impossible choice. He’s desperate to save Chloe, but if he follows his heart, the security of the entire realm is at risk.
Buy Link: http://mybook.to/mistrust
If you would like to know more about Elizabeth and her work, please check out her links below:
Newsletter sign-up: http://eepurl.com/cxe369
Amazon page: https://www.amazon.com/Elizabeth-Keysian/e/B06VVL9JMB/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1
Fascinating. No wonder that Elizabeth is best-selling!
LikeLiked by 1 person
How wonderful to be able to put your career expertise and knowledge into your stories, Elizabeth. Your enacting experience must also lend authenticity to your descriptions. I’m in awe at how you immerse yourself in the past!
LikeLiked by 1 person