A Conversation with Author Regina Clarke

Today in the Library we have Regina Clarke, who has dropped in to say hello and to share some insights into her life as an author.

You are very welcome, Regina, please introduce yourself:

Hi Pam—Thanks so much for having me in the Library! I’ve switched careers three times, but now spend my days writing—just a joy. First, I taught English Lit at a university and then worked as a corporate writer, which often meant moving house, which I’ve done to date (gads) eighteen times to three coasts and overseas. But it wasn’t until I left the corporate workplace behind (happily!), that time and space came into sync and I began to send my fiction out into this real world. That was in 2012, and since then my short stories have appeared in Thrice Fiction, Kzine, Bewildering Stories, Subtle Fiction, Mad Scientist Journal, Over My Dead Body!, T. Gene Davis’s Speculative Blog, and NewMyths, among others. At one point I wanted to be a screenwriter and was a finalist in the Hollywood SCRIPTOID Screenwriter’s Feature Challenge for my script about a mother seeking the disabled child she had abandoned, in “Second Chances.” I began Indie publishing my standalone novels in 2014.

Life includes creative friends and a brilliant, talkative, and very green eclectus parrot named Harry. Home (at last) is in the evocative and hauntingly beautiful Hudson River Valley. It pleases me no end to live not very far from where Rod Serling grew up and Jane Roberts encountered Seth.

Which genre do you write in and what draws you to it?

I write in several genres, but have been most recently drawn as a writer to the cozy mystery. I’ve read them all my life but didn’t plan to write one—my usual realms are sci-fi, fantasy, and standard mystery. But I entered a cozy mystery short story contest at Reedsy last December, just for fun. And won their prize—which astonished me! They posted my story on Medium.com and I pinned the story to my Twitter page after that, but when people said I should make it into a book—I just didn’t see how. For months it wasn’t even on my radar.

Then in mid-April, thinking about what to write next, I got this sudden—it felt like a download of a cozy mystery book series, based on that short story—and the plot for Book 1, the cast of characters, including making the main character an amateur archaeologist, the expanded setting of the town and valley, even the red herrings—all of it was clear to me. And within a week I’d set up a reader’s group, created a closed group FB page, and begun writing—it was such a sudden thing. One of my readers asked if she could create a map for the town I’d invented, so I said absolutely and sent her my PowerPoint version with streets and shops and landscape (I am no artist…J ) and so Book 1 has a great map because of her. Now I’m working on the next book in the series, called Messenger Out of Time. It’s set near where I live in a real place, an abandoned state hospital/insane asylum that Ria learns might have been built over a Neolithic village.

Are you an avid reader? Do you prefer books in your own genre or are you happy to explore others?

I read many genres but for a good while I’ve been focused on reading cozy mysteries. I especially like the Maisie Dobbs mysteries by Jacqueline Winspear that were recently recommended to me, and I have found them enthralling. I also like biography a lot, and alternate history.

Are you a self-published/traditional or hybrid author?

A long time ago I had some nonfiction traditionally published, but since 2014 I have Indie-published all my books. It is SO incredible and wonderful that writers have this option, this new world to create in, thanks to the platforms out there.

Who has been the biggest influence on your writing?

Oh, so hard to narrow it down. So many grand influences teaching me and reminding me of this creative force. I guess I’d best name the ones I look at as bringing happiness over and over again—Ray Bradbury, Charles Dickens, Agatha Christie, Shakespeare, Jane Roberts (her Seth books), Stephen Donaldson’s first trilogy, the Venerable Bede, Edgar Cayce, and no question, the Star Trek universe.

Has your country of origin/culture influenced your writing?

It has, a lot. I was born in England, though I grew up in the U.S. I had an ancestral background in England—I even found my name in a 12th-century charter (of course, it was the male Reginald Clarke, not Regina Clarke, who got mentioned in those days). I’ve visited England often and find there such evocative sense of my roots and of course, the mysterious landscapes of ancient monoliths, especially in Wiltshire and Northumberland and West Riding, Yorkshire. In the U.S. which I’ve travelled through a lot, I have this sense of expansion and open spaces and a different kind of heritage, one shifted out of what Longfellow called “the forest primeval” in a poem, speaking of a New England at the time still mostly unexplored. I feel a deep affinity for all the cultures here, for the music, and the sense of a creativity that seems to exist in the land itself. Both England and the U.S. show up in my writing, one way or the other.

What part of the writing process do you find most difficult? How do you overcome it?

That would be the element of logic—giving it a proper veneration in the plot! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to track turning points in Agatha Christie’s books to see how she worked it. And not just her—I do that with books by Carolyn Hart, Lynn Cahoon, and Kate Carlisle, among others, not to mention analyzing the plots of Murder, She Wrote, the television series. It helps me remember I really have to have it all make sense!

What was the best piece of writing advice you received when starting out?

It wasn’t “write what you know,” it was “write what matters to you.” My intent is for the stories and books I write to bring others a good read, a respite from the frenetic pace we sometimes live, and most of all, a path into other ways of seeing.

Do you have a favourite time of day to write?

I do—and discovered it is apparently embedded in me now. I write from 9:30 to 1 p.m., usually seven days a week. Afternoons for a couple of hours or in the late evening I’ll write my essays on Medium.com or edit my stories.

If you weren’t an author, what would you be up to?

I suspect I’d be a scribe in a monastery somewhere in a past life! In this life? I’d be an archaeologist, hands down. I’ve spent a lot of my life exploring quarries as a teenager and digs and monoliths in England and here.

If a movie was made of one of your books, who would you like to play the lead roles?

That’s a wonderful question—now I have stars in my eyes … I’d have Emily Blunt as Ria, Tom Welling as Gareth.

If you could live the life of an historical figure for one day, who would you choose and what would you get up to?

Merlin. Give almost anything for that. (Always better to say an “almost” when dealing with a real wizard…)

If you could travel back in time, what era would you go to? What draws you to this particular time?

The Neolithic period, 6,000 years ago. I spend a lot of time studying and imagining that world. I feel as if I know it, somehow. It played a big part in my novel The Magic Hour, and when I wrote that book I was so immersed I lost track of time completely. I’d give my eyeteeth to get back to the year 4000 B.C. and wander through the Avebury stones, among others.

You have been chosen as a member of the crew on the first one-way flight to Mars – you are allowed to bring 5 books with you. What would they be?

What would I choose? Wow. I’d have to say The New Testament. The Complete Plays of Shakespeare in one volume. Ray Bradbury’s October Country and Dandelion Wine in one volume. Melville’s Moby Dick, and Jane Roberts’ Seth books—these three in one volume: Seth Speaks, The Nature of Personal Reality, and The Unknown Reality.

Please tell us about your latest published work. 

HIDDEN IN STONE: On a cold March day, Ria Quinn, amateur archaeologist, arrives in Shokan Falls in upstate New York to claim an inheritance—but who was Aunt Harriet, her benefactor? No one she has ever heard of! Ria discovers there is a mysterious, prehistoric stone circle in the nearby woods that has an impossible connection to the girl’s boarding school her aunt attended thirty years before. Along with this, on her first day she finds a dead body in the snow, gets an anonymous call in the night, and encounters a set of quirky townspeople with too many secrets. How is she supposed to make sense of any of it? When a second victim is found, Ria wonders if she should just return to London, where until recently she had a lowly job as a film researcher with no dead bodies lying around, no real ones, anyway.

Yet against the sheriff’s orders that she stay clear of his work, Ria intends to find out who the killer is and what link the ancient stone circle has to her aunt’s past.

Hailey, the golden retriever who befriends her, is a joy to have near, reading Beowulf in Old English keeps her calm, and Ria finds the local sheriff more than easy on the eyes, even if he does find her irritating. Those things, together with the gorgeous and ancient Shawangunk and Catskill mountain ranges of the Hudson River Valley, already have a hold on her.

But Ria’s desire to get at the truth threatens someone in Shokan Falls, someone who is willing to put her life at risk.

Buy Link Amazon

LINKS:

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/RiaQuinnMysteries/

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/ReginaClarke1

Pinterest:

https://www.pinterest.com/ReginaJoyceClarke/

Medium:

https://medium.com/@regina.clarke7

Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/reginaclarkeauthor/

 

A Conversation with Author Penny Hampson

Today in the Library we have Penny Hampson, who has dropped in to say hello and to share some insights into her life as an author.

You are very welcome, Penny, please introduce yourself:

Hi, I’m Penny, and I came rather late to writing my own stories. After working in the Civil Service for several years I became a full time mum. With time on my hands when my oldest child started school, I decided to follow my love of history by studying with the Open University, where I graduated with honours, and then went on to complete a post-graduate degree.

A family move to a different part of the country led to landing my dream role, working with rare books and historical manuscripts in a world-renowned academic library. Nearly two decades later, I took early retirement to care for a family member, but this also meant I had some free time to do something I’d always dreamed of doing – writing my own stories.

Encouraged by family and friends, and with positive feedback from professional writers, I finally published my first historical romance novel, A Gentleman’s Promise, in July 2018. My second book, An Officer’s Vow, was released in February 2019.

I live in Oxfordshire with my family and when I’m not writing, I enjoy reading, travelling, and researching for my next book. I also enjoy a gin and tonic.

[Pam says: I recently read A Gentleman’s Promise, and really enjoyed it.]

Which genre do you write in and what draws you to it?

I write romance. I love books that have a happy ending, or certainly a happy for now. Life today is challenging for many people, myself included, so I like to think my stories offer a bit of an escape to someone who is experiencing difficult times.

My intention was to write the sort of books that I enjoy reading when I’m feeling down – light and escapist, but based in a real historical landscape. I also wanted to create strong female characters, who, despite the restrictions imposed by society, were able to achieve their aims. Believe me, such women did exist in the past, their misfortune is that we are only just beginning to discover their stories

My first two books are set in England in 1810, shortly before Prince George became Regent, and when Napoleon was rampaging over Europe – turbulent times. I enjoy giving my characters a challenge and difficulties to overcome, and that period in history offered many challenges, particularly for females.

Are you an avid reader? Do you prefer books in your own genre or are you happy to explore others?

Definitely! I used to read several books a week on my commute to work. These days I don’t get as much time, but I always manage to fit in some reading before going to sleep. I enjoy romance novels, of course, but I also love crime and mysteries, and trying to guess the culprit before their identity is finally revealed.

My favourite author is Jane Austen. I love her beautifully crafted novels, with their elegant prose, memorable characters, and intricate plots. Other authors that I enjoy reading are Georgette Heyer, for her wonderful Regency novels, Ian Rankin for his deft plotting and glorious sense of place (I so want to visit Edinburgh and see all the haunts of his fictional detective Rebus), and Kate Atkinson, who understands dialogue so well, and unfailingly comes up with unusual and gripping storylines.

Are you a self-published/traditional or hybrid author?

I’m a self-published author. Although I received very positive feedback from several publishers, I was told there wasn’t much of a market for the type of stories I was writing. I therefore decided to take matters into my own hands and see for myself. I can only say that the publishers were wrong- there are lots of readers out there looking for well-written, feel-good stories.  I also enjoy being in full control of the whole process, from the professional cover design, to the look of the typesetting, and the marketing. I also ensure that my books are professionally edited and proofed – there is nothing worse than being pulled out of a story by a historical anachronism or a spelling mistake.

Who has been the biggest influence on your writing?

Georgette Heyer, without a doubt. I first read her books when I was a teenager, and discovered them again when I was looking for some escapism during a difficult period in my life. Historically accurate, intelligent, and well-written, her stories nonetheless are feel-good reads.

Has your country of origin/culture influenced your writing?

I would say so. Having always been interested in English history, I find travelling around the towns and cities of the UK an enormous source of inspiration for the settings of my stories. I live in Oxfordshire, so my first book was partly set there. I’ve used lots of real historical places in London, and my forthcoming book (also part of the Gentlemen Series) is set in Falmouth, Cornwall, a part of the world I love. Having said that, I wouldn’t rule out using foreign locations in future books. I’ve spent time in France and Italy, and recently visited Portugal for the first time. The Peninsular Wars are likely to feature in a future story.

What part of the writing process do you find most difficult? How do you overcome it? Sometimes the plotting can prove problematic. I recently spent days working out how my female protagonist could plausibly escape from a certain situation without requiring superhuman powers. I got there in the end.

Do you have a favourite time of day to write?

I’m just grateful for any time I get for myself and my writing. Sometimes I wake up early and try to write before the day catches up with me, other days I stay up late and squeeze the writing in before I get too tired.

If you weren’t an author, what would you be up to?

I can’t think of anything else that I’d rather be doing. I enjoy creating characters, setting them challenges, and trying to work out ways they can resolve them. I think I’m in control, but somethimes a character surprises me and takes the story in a completely different direction to the one I’d originally intended. I’m passionate about history, so I enjoy all the research required too, I love learning new things.

If you could travel back in time, what era would you go to? What draws you to this particular time?

I would travel back to the Regency period, though I’d make sure I’d had all my vaccinations and a supply of antibiotics to take with me! I think life as a woman back then would be difficult – women didn’t have much say in how they lived their lives, so perhaps I’d go back disguised as a man.

The early 1800s were exciting and dangerous times – England was at war with Napoleon’s France, a war that continued until 1815, when he was finally defeated at the Battle of Waterloo. Society was changing too, with innovations in industry and agriculture making many people unable to earn a living. But if you were wealthy, life was very different. The top echelons of society were cosseted from most problems, with servants to see to their every need. It is no surprise that this was a period when the arts flourished – the rich spent their wealth on the finer things in life, such as beautiful homes, artwork, extravagant clothes, and jewelry.

Please tell us about your latest published work. 

An Officer’s Vow

The future looks bleak to Major Nate Crawford. Depressed after being sent home from the Peninsular Campaign as unfit for service, he contemplates ending it all. Then an unexpected opportunity for adventure beckons in the shape of a delightfully intriguing runaway heiress. He will prove his worth as an officer and a gentleman by offering his help. He has a plan…

Lottie Benham is desperate. Her life is in danger and she needs a place of safety until her next birthday. The unexpected proposal from this attractive, but intimidating officer could be the answer to her prayers. Not normally a risk-taker, she decides to gamble all by placing her trust in this charismatic gentleman, who she suspects might be more in need of help than she.

But the best laid plans…

Caught up in conflict, danger, and deception, will Lottie and Nate survive to find the perfect solution to their problems?

Visit Penny’s website and blog at: http://pennyhampson.co.uk/

Follow Penny on Twitter at: @penny_hampson

Find Penny’s books here: viewauthor.at/Pennysbooks

 

A Conversation with Author Mary Anne Yarde @maryanneyarde

This evening in the Library we have ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Mary Anne Yarde, who has dropped in to say hello and to share some insights into her life as an author.

You are very welcome, Mary Anne, please introduce yourself:

image002Hello everyone, and thank you, Pam, for inviting me on to your fabulous blog! My name is Mary Anne Yarde, and I hail from a village just outside of Bath, England. I grew up surrounded by the rolling Mendip Hills in Somerset.

I have been writing for around 14 years. But I didn’t really take my writing very seriously until four years ago. I published my debut novel, The Du lac Chronicles, in 2016.

Did you read much as a child? Are you an avid reader now? Do you prefer books in your own genre or are you happy to explore others?

I was the child that always had a book in her hand, and that has not changed. As a teenager, I devoured books by Austen, Hardy and Dickens. Now, I like to read a broad genre of books. But my preferred choice would always be historical fiction, although I don’t mind a good thriller or romance now and then!

Are you self-published or traditionally published?

I am self-published. I love the freedom and the control that this gives me.

Which genre do you write in and why?

I write historical fiction set in Dark Age Britain. My writing is heavily influenced by the folklore of that time as well. I thoroughly enjoy writing about this era.

Who has been the biggest influence on your writing?

I grew up with the classical writers, and then I discovered Catherine Cookson. I don’t think there is one author whom I can say really influenced my writing. Perhaps it is a combination of them all.

Has your country of origin/culture influenced your writing?

I grew up surrounded by the rolling Mendip Hills in Somerset — the famous town of Glastonbury was a mere 15 minutes from my childhood home. Glastonbury is a little bit unique iunnamedn the sense that it screams Arthurian Legend. Even the road sign that welcomes you into Glastonbury says…

“Welcome to Glastonbury. The Ancient Isle of Avalon.”

How could I grow up in such a place and not be influenced by the stories of King Arthur?

I loved the stories of King Arthur and his Knights as a child, but I always felt let down by the ending. For those not familiar, there is a big battle at a place called Camlann. Arthur is fatally wounded. He is taken to Avalon. His famous sword is thrown back into the lake. Arthur dies. His Knights, if they are not already dead, become hermits. The end.

What an abrupt and unsatisfactory ending to such a wonderful story. I did not buy that ending. So my series came about not only because of my love for everything Arthurian, but also because I wanted to write an alternative ending. I wanted to explore what happened after Arthur’s death.

What part of the writing process do you find most difficult? How do you overcome it?

I find the beginning the most difficult. Staring at that blank screen can be pretty intimidating. The only way to overcome it is to write something. Anything. After that, I find the process a great deal easier!

Do you have a favourite time of day to write?

My favourite time of day to write is in the afternoons.

What is the best thing about being an author? And the flipside – what is the worst?

I love the creative journey that each book takes me on. For me, it is little like being Bilbo Baggins from The Hobbit — I know where I have to get to, I am just not sure as to what kind of adventures I shall encounter along the way. What a great way to earn a living. I go on an adventure every day, and I don’t have to leave the house! The flipside… I enjoy the promoting side of being a writer, but it does take up a considerable amount of time. Unfortunately, it goes hand in hand with publishing.

Is social media an essential chore or something you enjoy? Which forum do you prefer?

I think social media is essential for all authors, no matter how they are published. It is a great way to connect with readers. I have certainly met some really lovely people, especially in the author community, through social media. My preferred forum is Twitter, and you can usually find me on there.

If you weren’t an author, what would you be up to?

I also tutor history and music. So if you took away the writing, I would still be a tutor.

Please tell us about your latest published work. 

I have just released The Du Lac Prophecy (Book 4 of The Du Lac Chronicles), and I am now starting work on Book 5 which is taking me to Jerusalem in the late 5th Century. I am really enjoying researching the history of this fascinating city.

The Du Lac Prophecy: (Book 4 of The Du Lac Chronicles)

KINDLE The Du Lac Prophecy 7 August 2018 finalTwo Prophesies. Two Noble Households. One Throne.

Distrust and greed threaten to destroy the House of du Lac. Mordred Pendragon strengthens his hold on Brittany and the surrounding kingdoms while Alan, Mordred’s cousin, embarks on a desperate quest to find Arthur’s lost knights. Without the knights and the relics they hold in trust, they cannot defeat Arthur’s only son – but finding the knights is only half of the battle. Convincing them to fight on the side of the Du Lac’s, their sworn enemy, will not be easy.

If Alden, King of Cerniw, cannot bring unity there will be no need for Arthur’s knights. With Budic threatening to invade Alden’s Kingdom, Merton putting love before duty, and Garren disappearing to goodness knows where, what hope does Alden have? If Alden cannot get his House in order, Mordred will destroy them all.

Buy Links:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon Canada

If you would like to know more about Mary Anne and her books please check out her social media links below:

Website/Blog: https://maryanneyarde.blogspot.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/maryanneyarde/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/maryanneyarde

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Mary-Anne-Yarde/e/B01C1WFATA/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15018472.Mary_Anne_Yarde

 

 

 

A Conversation with Author Caroline E Farrell @carolineauthor

Today in the Library we have the multi-talented ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Caroline E Farrell, who has dropped in to say hello and to share some insights into her life as an author and film maker.

You are very welcome, Caroline, please introduce yourself:

37186650_10214601731649976_273695614116560896_nI’m a writer and filmmaker from Dublin, Ireland. My current novel, Lady Beth, won the Carousel Aware Prize for Best Novel, 2017. I have also written a vampire story, Arkyne, Story of A Vampire, and have recently written and directed a short film, Framed, which is currently on the film festival circuit. Several of my feature scripts have won awards, and I have written and co-produced two other short films, Adam (2013) and the multi-award winning In Ribbons (2015). Continue reading “A Conversation with Author Caroline E Farrell @carolineauthor”

In the Library with Irish Author Susie Murphy @susiemwrites

This evening in the Library we have ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Susie Murphy, who has dropped in to say hello and to share some insights into her life as a debut author.

Susie MurphyYou are very welcome, Susie, particularly as you are a fellow Irish historical fiction author. Please introduce yourself: 

I have been writing stories since I was eleven years old so publishing my first novel this week is a dream come true for me! My book, A Class Apart, is the first volume in my six-part series A Matter of Class.

Did you read much as a child? Are you an avid reader now? Do you prefer books in your own genre or are you happy to explore others?

I have a vivid memory of me at age seven climbing a stairs and going through big double doors into a library in Waterford. The awe that I felt in that moment was when my love of books began. I was a voracious reader in those early days (a lot of Enid Blyton and Ann M. Martin), and my mother says my most common phrase at the time was ‘I finished the book’. That carried on through my teens (I read The Lord of the Rings twice in a row in the few months running up to my Junior Cert state exams…), but college was my period of drought – I read a grand total of two books in three years. Since then, however, I am never without a book. My Kindle goes everywhere with me in my bag and I always have an audiobook in the car.

While historical fiction is my favourite genre, I do enjoy a lot of fantasy and young adult books too. I’m open to reading anything but love stories are my hook. So if the book has even a small romantic storyline you’ll have me invested in it, no matter what genre it is.

 Are you self-published or traditionally published?

I am a self-published author. I did make attempts to go down the traditional publishing route and received my fair share of rejections, all of which I value because I used the feedback to make my book better. Over time, self-publishing became the more appealing option to me as I love the idea of having full control over my book. I get the final say on the edit and cover design and promotion, and that’s very appealing to me.

Which genre do you write in and why?

I write historical fiction set in the 1800s. I find the past a truly captivating place to escape to. I especially love  the 19th century because it’s near enough to modern times to be somewhat relatable and yet is still so different to the way we live now. The customs of the time fascinate me – I adore the idea of writing a letter with a quill, stepping into a horse-drawn carriage to go to a ball, marking the name of a dashing gentleman on a dance card. Don’t get me wrong, I have no illusions about the hardships of the era! Of course there were many inequalities and poor conditions, particularly for the lower classes. But I do love to daydream…

Who has been the biggest influence on your writing?

Diana Gabaldon, author of the Outlander series. I just discovered her books in the last three years and can only wonder how I ever survived before that. Remember how I said I’m hooked by love stories? Well, I believe Outlander is the greatest love story out there. I really admire Gabaldon for the way she tells such a gripping tale, and evokes the time period with amazing detail, and makes a reader feel like they will burst if they don’t read on. I have learned so much from her about characterisation and structure and historical settings. Reading her books made me realise that I had been writing my own series in a little bubble. Outlander showed me the scale of historical fiction and gave me the encouragement to expand my series beyond the limited boundaries I had originally set for it. And Gabaldon’s writing style is exactly the kind I like – while I can’t emulate it, I can strive to make my own better because of it.

Has your country of origin/culture influenced your writing?

I’m from Ireland and my book is set in Ireland, so yes! The 19th century was a turbulent time in Irish history and I felt it served as the perfect backdrop to the story I wanted to write. They say ‘write what you know’ – I obviously haven’t lived in the 1800s, but I studied Irish history in school, and I learned how to speak Irish, and I know what it feels like to walk around my grandparents’ old Irish cottage and smell a peat fire, and those kinds of things were definitely helpful in crafting my story.

What part of the writing process do you find most difficult? How do you overcome it?

Writing without editing. When I’m drafting brand new sections, I itch to read back as I go along to make sure what I’ve written is making sense and properly punctuated. But that’s the best way to blunder to a halt and never make any forward progress. I have to just put the head down and remind myself that I can edit later. Oh, but what did I say three paragraphs ago— edit later. Oh, but just one quick look— edit LATER.

Do you have a favourite time of day to write?

I gain a certain satisfaction from writing first thing in the morning and achieving some small goal while still in my pyjamas! Then the day is off to a good start. However, I have also had some special writing sessions burning the midnight oil, when only myself and my characters are awake.

What is the best thing about being an author? And the flipside – what is the worst?

The best thing is having a reader react positively to what I’ve written, whether it’s a blog post, a short story or a novel. It makes me so happy to know I’ve accomplished something that has resonated with someone else.

The worst thing is the crippling self-doubt. Who am I to think I can write anything? But getting the type of reaction above is the boost that encourages me to keep going.

Is social media an essential chore or something you enjoy? Which forum do you prefer?

I recognise social media as an essential aspect of being an author in this day and age, but I don’t view it as a chore. I think it’s a privilege to get so close to other authors and readers in what was once quite an isolated occupation. I do wish I was better at it though! I agonise over every post and tweet before I hit send. Of all the forums, I enjoy Twitter the most as a place to discover interesting links, read entertaining tweets, and interact with lovely people!

If you weren’t an author, what would you be up to?

As my writing career is only just taking off, I still work by day as a piano teacher. One of the nicest parts of my job is walking down the school corridors and hearing music coming from every room (even if there’s still some scope for improvement…!).

For years I have devoted all my free time to developing my writing, but if I wasn’t doing that I think I’d like to join a choir for fun. I’m no opera singer but I can hold a tune and love to sing harmonies. I’ve been in choirs in school and college and there’s a great joy in hearing the different vocal parts combine to make one beautiful sound.

It’s the last day and the earth is facing oblivion – what book would you read?

 Just one? A cruel question, if ever I heard one! I have always had a huge affection for Watership Down by Richard Adams as it was my favourite book to read as a child. Although I think I would probably get some strange looks to have my nose in a book while it’s raining fire from the sky.

Please tell us about your debut novel: 

A Class Apart, is available in both ebook and paperback from July 10th. Set in Ireland in 1828, it’s the first book in my six-part historical fiction series A Matter of Class. The series follows heiress Bridget and stable hand Cormac who are on opposite sides of the class divide – and because of that, society says they shouldn’t fall in love. Keep an eye out for the second volume, A Class Entwined, coming in 2019!

Buy Link: Amazon UK

 

Thank you very much for having me today, Pam!

I am sure we would all like to wish Susie the very best of luck with her debut release tomorrow and her future writing career. It was a pleasure to chat to her this evening.

If you would like to know about Susie and her work, please check out the links below:

A Conversation with Author Patricia Asedegbega

This evening in the Library we have Patricia Asedegbega, who has dropped in to say hello and to share some insights into her life as an author.

You are very welcome, Patricia, please introduce yourself: 

24I live in sunny Spain and have been writing for about six years now. I started with a collection of cat stories to raise funds for a shelter and then moved on to my first suspense novel. I write both in Spanish and English and have series in both languages. Though I am a biologist, writing is my true passion. I feel incredibly lucky to be able to do what I love. Continue reading “A Conversation with Author Patricia Asedegbega”

A Conversation with Lorna Peel

This evening in the Library, I am delighted to welcome, Lorna Peel­­­­­­, who has dropped in to say hello and to share some insights into her life as an author.

You are very welcome Lorna, please introduce yourself:

lorna-peelThank you for inviting me into the Library and interviewing me, Pam. I am an author of historical romance and romantic suspense novels set in the UK and Ireland. I was born in England and lived in North Wales until my family moved to Ireland to become farmers, which is a book in itself! I live in rural Ireland, where I write, research my family history, and grow fruit and vegetables. I also keep chickens and a Guinea Hen called Gertrude who now thinks she’s a chicken!

Did you read much as a child? Are you an avid reader now? Do you prefer books in your own genre or are you happy to explore others?

Yes, I read a lot as a child – and I mean a LOT! My favourite author was Enid Blyton. I devoured everything she wrote and I remember saving up all my pocket money so I could buy the books from The Famous Five series at W.H. Smiths. They were 50p at the time!

I don’t read quite as much now as I simply don’t have the time. When I do read, I like to take a break from the genres I write in, so it’s mostly historical fiction, especially Sharon Penman (I’m working my way through her Richard The Lionheart novels at the moment) and C.J. Sansom’s Matthew Shardlake series.

Are you self-published or traditionally published?

Both. I have four novels with indie publishers and my two most recent novels are self-published.

Which genre do you write in and why?

I write historical romance and romantic suspense novels. I love writing romance but I don’t write insta-love. I prefer to write about relationships which develop over time, so I send my heroes and heroines on a journey in search of their happy ever after. As well as that, I’ve always had an interest in history and genealogy and I’m lucky that I have very varied ancestors – I’m of Irish, Dutch, Welsh, German and Scottish descent – so I like to combine romance with history and/or genealogy in my novels with plenty of suspenseful twists and turns to keep everyone on their toes!

Who has been the biggest influence on your writing?

A teacher (inadvertently) and myself and my own stubbornness. I was never encouraged to write imaginative essays at school and one teacher even refused to read or mark any of their class’ imaginative essays. I wasn’t going to allow that teacher to discourage me from even trying to write, but it wasn’t until I left school that I began writing and I’ve been writing ever since.

Has your country of origin/culture influenced your writing?

The city of Dublin plays a large part in my family history so I’ve always wanted to write some novels set there. My paternal ancestors were from Dublin and I’ve done a lot of research on the family tree as well as research into the areas where they lived and also into what they did for a living. I’ve also lived in Dublin, so having all that work done and being able to visualise streets and buildings and know how long it takes to walk from A to B was a great help to me when I sat down to write A Scarlet Woman. I still had to undertake a great deal of research for the novel but the groundwork was already complete.

What part of the writing process do you find most difficult? How do you overcome it?

The difficult part is finding the time to actually sit down and write something, especially in Summer. Summer is so short in Ireland (if we get one at all!) that I’m outside in the vegetable garden as much as possible or cleaning out the henhouse, whether I’m in the humour for it or not! To keep on top of my writing, and so that I continue to produce new novels, I now edit during the Summer months and write during Winter. 

Do you have a favourite time of day to write?

I used to write very late at night as I’m a night owl. More recently, it’s been in the afternoon (when possible) and in the evening. I must be getting old!

What is the best thing about being an author? And the flipside – what is the worst?

The best thing is when someone you don’t know tells you they enjoyed reading your novel(s). That makes all the hard work worthwhile. The worst is promotion. It has to be done, but I’d rather be writing.

Is social media an essential chore or something you enjoy? Which forum do you prefer?

I do find social media an essential chore. I don’t like Facebook, it’s far too Big Brother-like IMO, but I need a Facebook Author Page. I much prefer Twitter as tweets are short and to the point (for now!) and, so far, Twitter doesn’t restrict who can see them.

I recently joined Instagram, but my favourite social media platform is Pinterest. I can spend hours there. I have boards for all my novels, one board with some great old photos of Dublin (which was an enormous help to me in writing A Scarlet Woman) and many more, including my favourite TV series, films, music etc. 

If you weren’t an author, what would you be up to?

Something involving historical research. I love research! I’m a research nerd!

It’s the last day and the earth is facing oblivion – what book would you read?

If the earth is facing imminent oblivion, I don’t think I would be reading! I would be saying goodbye to family and friends instead. But if I was stuck on a desert island, my books of choice would be Sharon Penman’s Welsh Princes Trilogy – Here Be Dragons, Falls The Shadow and The Reckoning. I was brought up in North Wales so I’ve either been to or know of the places mentioned in the novels.

Please tell us about your latest published work.

A Scarlet Woman by Lorna Peel eBook CoverMy latest novel is an historical romance called A Scarlet Woman and it is the first in The Fitzgeralds of Dublin Series. A Scarlet Woman is set in Dublin, Ireland in 1880 and tells the story of Will Fitzgerald, an idealistic young doctor and Isobel Stevens, a fallen woman.

Will left his father’s prosperous medical practice to live and practise medicine in the poorer Liberties area of Dublin because he was tired of treating rich hypochondriacs and he wanted to do some good elsewhere. His parents were appalled and his fiancée broke off their engagement and married a rich barrister instead. So, when the novel opens, Will is nursing a broken heart and is expecting to be a poor, lonely bachelor doctor for the rest of his life. But when Will reluctantly spends a night in a brothel on the eve of his best friend’s wedding, little does he know that the disgraced young woman he meets there will alter the course of his life.

Isobel Stevens is the daughter of a cruel and vindictive clergyman from Co. Galway who ruled his family with an iron fist. Isobel was well educated and her father hoped to secure a good marriage for her but she was seduced and deserted by a neighbour’s son, leaving her viewed by society as a fallen woman through no fault of her own. Isobel’s father threw her out, so she travelled to Dublin and fell into prostitution, doing what she must to survive. On the advice of a handsome young doctor, Isobel leaves the brothel and finds work as a parlourmaid in a house on Merrion Square. Isobel never expected to see Will again, but their paths cross and their lives become intertwined and they find themselves falling in love. But is Will and Isobel’s love strong enough to flout convention and challenge the expectations of Victorian society?

A Scarlet Woman: The Fitzgeralds of Dublin Book One is out now on Kindle, in paperback and on Kindle Unlimited.  Buy Link: Purchase on Amazon

If you would like to know  more about Lorna and her work please check out her links below:

http://lornapeel.com

http://plus.google.com/+LornaPeel

https://www.instagram.com/lornapeelauthor

http://www.facebook.com/LornaPeelAuthor

http://www.goodreads.com/LornaPeel

http://author.to/LornaPeel