Grace Elliot

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Interview By: Tamazon

Date: December 01, 2010

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A Dead Man's Debt | Solstice publishing | Historical Romance | released 10/10/10 | Book detail - B0046REKBS

Please tell us your latest news!

Hello there, what a thrill to be here and share my news with you at Night Owl Reviews! The big story in my part of the world is that it's snowing - here, just outside London. I'm so glad that last week I took advantage of the last of the autumn weather and brought the guinea pig indoors. At least he's snug now out of the wind and cold. Having said that winter is my favorite season, mainly because when it's wet the cats spend more time sleeping on the bed and I get to see them.

My boys were so excited, waking to snow, but equally as disappointed that school stayed open. Let's just hope that the snow doesn't stop Santa getting through when its time.

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

What a tough question! So many authors who have given me so much pleasure - who to choose? I suppose by a whisker, if I was forced to confess a favorite, the author I go back to again and again is Lisa Kleypas.

The reason I love her work so much is because she writes characters so well. They are totally believable and she gets you rooting for them from the first chapter.

Recently I finished `Dreaming of You' and from the beginning I wanted Sara and Derek to get together, even thought they were from different backgrounds and disliked each other intensely. Through Lisa's skill the reader was able to spot they were perfect for each other, even though they didn't know it themselves. She also has such a lovely way with words, `hollow with longing' `heart driving hard', that really show me where the characters are at and keep me wanting more.

Do you have a specific writing style?

My aim is to write the sort of page turning, lump in the throat romances that I love to read. I would hate the reader to be aware of any particular `style' since this means its got in the way of a romping good read. If someone reads `A Dead Man's Debt' and feels they have escaped the modern world to be carried away on an adventure of discovery and romance, then I am happy.

Do you see writing as a career?

To me writing is so much more than a career - it's an addiction. Whilst seeing my work in print is totally thrilling, between you and me, I'd write even if I wasn't published! I would go so far as to describe my writing as therapy - as a release from the demands of an emotionally draining job.

When I write time flows by, the present is forgotten and I escape into another world where men ride stallions and women wear silk gowns, where manners were important and society had rules. As well as my longer fiction works I have also had short stories and non-fiction articles published but my first love is novels and the indulgence of having the space experience the characters conflict and emotions. and then throw hurdles in their path and watch how they react.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

I clearly remember a `Eureka' moment at a school reunion eight years ago when the idea of writing was born.

It was twenty years since I had seen many of these old school friends; we'd gone our different ways - I qualified as a veterinarian, married, had children, and they had pursued their own career paths. But to my surprise, the question I was asked over and over was; `Do you still write those fantastic stories?'

The first time someone asked, I frowned, for it seemed a strange thing to ask someone you hadn't seen for twenty years. But slowly it came back to me; the piles of dog eared notebooks, the essays that turned into novellas, the English teacher reading out my homework while the class silently hung on every word.

I went home from that reunion with an exciting thought running round my head. Why not? Why don't I start writing again? And as the saying goes, I haven't looked back since, and what's more I've written every day since then.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Firstly write what you love to read. Only then will you properly immerse yourself in the story and the passion come shining through.

Secondly, write for yourself, for the pleasure of molding words and creating worlds. If your main motivation for writing is to be published then good luck, because you have a long punishing road ahead of you.

But more than anything, sit down and write everyday. It doesn't matter if its rubbish, just let the words spill out, go back and edit later.but you cant edit words that aren't on the page!

Do you write full time? What did you do before you became a writer? Or Still do?

I have fortunate enough to have two jobs - as a veterinarian by day, and a writer by night. The two careers are complimentary, the writing gives creative outflow for bottled up emotions and my professional life gives me lots of interesting insight into differing personalities and reactions.perhaps the least said about that the better!

I'm quite a driven person, when I set my mind to something I make it happen, and this is how I approach my careers. My most precious commodity is time and to create time I rarely watch TV.except for `I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here', the X Factor and perhaps the odd soap.

What is your writing process? Do you outline, fly by the seat of your pants or a combination of both?

The first step is the all important buying of a new notebook. Almost like getting engaged, or starting a family, this is a momentous event.

Over the coming months I will become intimately acquainted with that notebook and so I must love the feel and weight of it. It must have a cover of sufficient gravitas to reflect what's inside, but without being dull.

The paper must take pen, pencil and glue without buckling or shadowing through, and the book must be it hard wearing enough to cope with travel and pushed to the bottom of a holdall. Oh, and did I mention that it mustn't be the same style as any of the other notebooks I've acquired?

Well, after finding the right notebook, birthing characters, plotting and the actual writing is easy peasy. My best ideas usually happen while I'm drifting off to sleep so I have another notebook by the bedside and I have become adept at scribbling in total darkness.

Do you have a favorite object that is pertinent to your writing? If so what is it and please describe it. (Pen, Coffee Cup, Pet, Blanket, Chair)

My favorite writing object (or more accurately, writing companion) is one of my five cats, Widget. She loves my writing routine and as soon as she spots the laptop come out she jumps on the sofa to press up against my leg. The only problem is that sometimes she curls up so tightly that she snores, which can be a little distracting. I like to fool myself that she loves me so much she just has to be close, but realistically I suspect its more that I'm warm and she likes to bask between me and the radiator. Hey ho. All the same she's very restful and it seems such a shame to get up and disturb her, perhaps I'll carry on working rather than take that break.

Do you have a ritual when it comes to writing? Example..get coffee, blanket, paper, pen and a comfy place

Before I start writing I finish all the chores - that way I can reward myself and not feel guilty or get distracted. Once the chores are done I put the kettle on while the laptop boots up. I write on a laptop; I love the freedom to slouch on a sofa whilst pouring out my thoughts. Equipped with a mug of hot tea I settle down on the sofa beneath the dining room window and wait for Widget to pop up beside me. The light is good there, cheerful even on dull days, and besides I'm next to a radiator when its cold. Tea in hand, cat by my leg and alls right with the world and I check my emails, again so that I don't distract myself wondering what's in the in-box. That done and tea drunk, excuses over and its down to the next few hours flash past.

What main genre do you write in?


Grace Elliot

How does your family feel about having a writer in the family? Do they read your books?

My family is fantastically supportive and tickled that their Mum is a published author. Having said that, my boys are too young to read `A Dead Man's Debt' and will have to judge my talents objectively when they are older!

They have however read some of my short stories and non-fiction articles. I once wrote a story about my eldest son and the stray cat he convinced me to adopt - that was the keenest he's ever been to read my work. I suspect because he wanted to check out that I hadn't portrayed him as too soppy - if ever there was such a thing when it comes to men and animals!