One of the great things to come out of So You Think You Can Write, is the friendships I’ve made and it give me great pleasure to have Elisabeth Hobbes as the first guest to my blog.
First of all, congratulations on your success in last year’s So You Think You Can Write contest. I’m really looking forward to seeing your book on the shelves and of course reading it!
As a historical romance writer you have some fabulous excuses for research. How do you go about researching for a new story?
Once I have an idea for a story in mind and know who the characters are I love finding locations for the story to take place. I grew up in York so was always surrounded by beautiful medieval buildings so I have a lot of memories to draw on. My degree was in History and Art History so I have that to draw on in terms of factual information.
If you could spend a few hours with any person from history, who would it be and why?
There are so many inspirational people I’d love to meet but it would have to be Eleanor of Aquitaine who managed to influence politics and ensure her daughters were also able to make influential marriages. We think of women being, until fairly recently, powerless but she ruled as regent and held her own in an incredibly male dominated society. It must have taken an incredible force of will and that is something I wanted to have Aline, the heroine of Falling for Her Captor, discovering as she finds her inner strength.
Do you have a special place for writing?
I’m not disciplined so I have to go somewhere without internet access. Luckily there are a couple of fabulous independent cafes and pubs where I live so I take myself off there (I’m in the pub as I write this) where I can get some peace and of course a nice pint or cake. I may have to dedicate my next book to them!
When I am at home it’s usually in an armchair with the laptop balanced on the arm and a cat on my lap.
Are you a plotter or punster?
I’m a bit of both. I know when I start writing where the story is going to end with essential plot points mapped out, but I end up deviating or adding things in. Sometimes the characters insist on it, however much I try to make them do what I want!
What advice would you give to other aspiring romance writers?
Know your reader expectations. I changed a fair bit of Falling for Her Captor to fit in with series guidelines for Harlequin Historical. Also, the same advice I’d give to any writer: join a writing group or website and try get some critique of your work. It’s nerve-wracking to put your work out there for people to read, especially with the sort of intimate scenes involved in the romance genre, but finding out what readers think is the only way to improve.
Finally, how did you celebrate getting ‘the call’?
I was on an early morning ferry from Calais to Dover when I got the call so I was a little seasick and tired having driven halfway across France before breakfast. I wasn’t in a position to celebrate much at the time. Once we docked I called my mum, my sister and got straight on to Facebook to tell everyone who had supported my through SYTYCW. My husband and I had been skiing (our one child free indulgence) and were heading back to pick up our children from my in-laws so it was lovely to be able to turn up with such exciting news and a few bottles of Breton cider to celebrate.
Falling for Her Captor will be released on October 1st with Harlequin Historical.