Retired housewife, Pauline Morgan, relocated to her native Northern Ireland. She has been writing since 2000 and decided to write about her experiences in various houses she lived in and, as a result, self-published the paranormal Special Houses. Pauline previously joined the Romantic Novelist Association and participated in their New Writers Scheme and she is also a member of an online writing group, Writers Ink VIP. Pauline has written four short stories which have been published in Woman’s Way magazine and a further two have been published in the iconic Ireland’s Own Magazine. She enjoys entering Flash Fiction competitions and was long-listed in the Kanturt Flash Fiction. Her first poem, Airborne, was posted on the Pendemic.ie website, in March 2020.… New Release from Pauline Morgan
Today in the library we have Amy Maroney, who has dropped in to say hello and to share some insights into her life as an author.
Thank you for having me on the blog, Pam! I live in the Pacific Northwest of the United States with my family, and spent many years as a writer and editor of nonfiction before turning my hand to historical fiction. When I’m not diving down research rabbit holes, I enjoy hiking, drawing, dancing, traveling, and reading. I am the author of the Miramonde Series, a trilogy about a Renaissance-era female artist and the modern-day scholar on her trail.… A Conversation with Author Amy Maroney
Today in the Library we have Sharon Dempsey, who has dropped in to say hello and to share some insights into her life as an author.
You are very welcome, Sharon, please introduce yourself:
I’m a Belfast based crime writer. The first in my new crime series, ‘Who Took Eden Mulligan?’ was published in February by Avon Harper Collins. I am also a PhD researcher at Queen’s University, exploring class and gender in crime fiction.… A Conversation with Author Sharon Dempsey
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:
Thank you for inviting me to your blog, Pam. It’s great to be able to chat. I’ll start by telling you a little about myself.
I came to writing rather late in life, having spent most of my adult years bringing up my family and then working as researcher in an academic library. It was only when I made the difficult decision to give up working full time to enable me to care for a close family member that I decided to write my first novel. I’d been juggling both caring and work for ten years and it was beginning to get too much.
Of course, being a historian meant my first book was going to be an historical novel. I joined the New Writers’ Scheme of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, who were very helpful in critiquing my work and introducing me to other authors. A Gentleman’s Promise was eventually published in 2018. I’ve now written three historical novels, and one contemporary mystery/romance novel, with more to follow. I feel I’ve got a lot of catching up to do having started so late!
I live in Oxfordshire with my family, and when I’m not writing, I enjoy reading, walking, swimming, and the odd gin and tonic (not all at the same time).… A Conversation with Penny Hampson
Happy Publication Day, Sharon!
Today I am delighted to share details of this fabulous new release from Belfast based crime writer, Sharon Dempsey. Who Took Eden Mulligan? is the first in her new crime series and is published by Avon Harper Collins. When not writing, Sharon is a PhD researcher at Queens, exploring class and gender in crime fiction.
Who took Eden Mulligan? is a modern day murder investigation wrapped in a historical cold case.… New Release from Sharon Dempsey
Sharon Thompson is a best-selling, Irish author who writes historical novels, with plenty of criminal elements for Bloodhound Books UK. When she is not plotting gritty manuscripts (like ‘The Abandoned’ and ‘The Healer’) Sharon enjoys conjuring light-hearted short stories for magazines like Woman’s Way. Living in rural Donegal, Sharon loves binge-watching movies and TV programmes, walking on the beach with her dog, and making time for coffee or a glass of wine with friends. An avid tweeter, Sharon runs a trending tweet-chat #WritersWise, and can be found online, chatting on messenger or typing out a new idea. ‘The Quiet Truth’ is due for release on 9th Dec 2020. Sharon has also signed with Poolbeg Books Ireland. Her historical, crime novel called ‘The Murdering Wives Club’ from the Sinful Roses series will launch in January 2021. … New Release from Sharon Thompson
Today in the Library we have Elizabeth St. John , who has dropped in to say hello and to share some insights into her life as an author.
Here’s a little bit about Elizabeth:
Elizabeth St.John spends her time between California, England, and the past. An acclaimed author, historian, and genealogist, she has tracked down family papers and residences from Lydiard Park and Nottingham Castle to Richmond Palace and the Tower of London to inspire her novels. Although the family sold a few country homes along the way (it’s hard to keep a good castle going these days), Elizabeth’s family still occupy them in the form of portraits, memoirs, and gardens that carry their legacy. And the occasional ghost. But that’s a different story.
Having spent a significant part of her life with her seventeenth-century family while writing The Lydiard Chronicles trilogy and Counterpoint series, Elizabeth St.John is now discovering new family stories with her fifteenth-century namesake Elysabeth St.John Scrope, and her half-sister, Margaret Beaufort. … A Conversation with Author Elizabeth St. John
Today, I am delighted to welcome Emma Lombard into the Library. She has dropped in to say hello and to share some insights into her life as an author.
Before becoming a historical fiction author, Emma was an editor in the corporate world across various industries—aviation, aquatic ecology, education and the world of academia.
Her blog series Twitter Tips for Newbies is popular in Twitter’s #WritingCommunity for helping writers (new to Twitter) navigate the platform and find their professional voices on social media. She also writes a monthly column for ENVIE Magazine, in which she shares publishing industry resources for authors.… A Conversation with Author Emma Lombard
Today, I am delighted to welcome into the Library fellow historical fiction author Carolyn Hughes. She has dropped in to say hello and to share some insights into her life as an author.
You are very welcome, Carolyn, please introduce yourself:
Hello, I’m Carolyn and I write historical fiction. (Sounds like we’re in a meeting for Writers Anonymous…) I’ve been writing all my adult life, but have come to publication only relatively recently when I am, alas, quite old! … A Conversation with Author Carolyn Hughes
It’s great to have you back in the Library, John, can you tell us a little about yourself for anyone not familiar with your books?
Hi Pam, thanks for having me. I live in southern New Jersey in the U.S., very close to the city of Philadelphia. I’ve been writing professionally for about six years, and Sinner, Saint, or Serpent is my seventh novel.
What motivates you to write?
I think the motivation for me is learning about the imaginary world I’m creating, which takes quite a bit of research. I love to learn.
Do you ever have writers block? If so, how do you overcome it?
For me, rather than writer’s block, it’s getting stuck on a scene or character that isn’t turning out the way I want. I usually move on to something else, maybe research another aspect of the book or a completely different book, or go for a walk. The distraction normally brings the solution.
How do you go about researching the history behind your books?
Once I determine a period to write about, I choose the location. I think the location, if described well enough, is really a character, often as important as the protagonist. Then I devise the plot. I have dozens swirling around in my head, and need only to find the one that interests me – and potential readers – the most. I often round out the characters last, and I usually find that they turn out far different in the end than I had envisioned in the beginning.
I research everything from clothing to hairstyles to food to military maneuvers. I read books about the time period, books written during the time period, and I research websites. The BBC website for WWI and WWII, for example, is a wealth of information, including personal stories.
I continue to research until the book is completed. The first draft is just that – a bit of a mess with notes to myself for future enhancements. But each revision shapes the story, the research bringing both the scenes and characters to life.
With so many different ideas, how many will make it into future books?
I have about twenty different ideas at any one time, many of which will become books. I don’t discard any of them, but if I start on a topic and lose interest in the research, I usually pick something else and move the abandoned idea lower on the list. I have a file for different topics, plots, titles, false starts and various interests that I go through when starting a book. Sometimes I choose one, combine it with another or change the time period, and that gives me a fresh perspective and the motivation to finish it.
Once you have a solid idea, how long does it take you do get to the final product?
It usually takes me 9 months to complete the draft that I send to my agent (which is after 5 or 6 revisions). The draft is then sent to fact-checkers and advanced readers, after which I reconcile any comments – either make changes or explain why changes are not required. That typically takes a month or two. The book is then sent to the publisher, who takes anywhere from 6- 15 months to issue it. There are different editing processes during that publishing timeline, as well as cover design.
Do you have any advice for someone just starting out?
Yes – I have two suggestions. First, try to write every day once you start a book– even if it’s fifteen or twenty minutes, or just scribbling ideas about a character in a notebook. I think the routine and consistency are important. Second, don’t let family and friends discourage you with negative comments. I’m sure they mean well, but some people will not take you seriously until you show them a publishing contract. Write for yourself first, the public second.
Which genre do you write in and what draws you to it?
I like to cross genres, using thrillers, historical fiction, and mysteries, primarily. I think having a multi-genre plot is much more interesting, with unlimited possibilities for subplots and secondary characters that are often as exciting as the protagonist.
If you could travel back in time, what era would you go to? What draws you to this particular time?
I would definitely choose late-Victorian through the early part of the twentieth century. I’m drawn to the British Empire, upon which the sun never set, the twilight of Victorian England, the dawn of a new century, the utter destruction of WWI, and the roaring ‘20’s.
How do you come up with the names for your characters?
When I’m doing the initial research for the book, and I’ve determined in what time period it’ll take place, I search on the internet for the most popular baby names in the country and year that the book takes place. For example, Sinner, Saint or Serpent takes place in New Orleans in 1926. I researched the most popular male names, female names and surnames in the U.S at that time. I fill the left-hand side of a notebook with female names I like, the centre with male names, the right with surnames. Then, I match them up.
Please tell us about your latest published work.
My seventh novel, Sinner, Saint or Serpent, has just been issued. It’s a historical murder mystery set in New Orleans in 1926. Justice Harper and Remy Morel are two reporters investigating the murder of August Chevalier, a ruthless businessman with dozens of enemies. Police identify three suspects, prominent women in New Orleans society: a sinner – Blaze Barbeau, accused of having an affair with the deceased, a saint – the charitable Lucinda Boyd, whose family business was stolen by Chevalier, and a serpent – Belladonna Dede, the local voodoo queen.
Harper has an impeccable reputation, while his assistant Remy Morel is a sassy newcomer with more mouth than she can control. They unravel the mystery, battling anonymous threats and increasing danger the closer they come to cornering the culprit. The clues lead them to more suspects: Mimi Menard – Chevalier’s housekeeper, Nicky the Knife – a lunatic gangster, Serenity Dupree – a sultry jazz singer and Harper’s lover, and even Remy Morel – her family wronged by a ruthless Chevalier.
My goal was to keep the reader constantly confused by the killer’s identity, and totally fooled when the identity is revealed. Hopefully I accomplished that.
LINKS TO PURCHASE:
Thanks so much, Pam, for the opportunity to chat.