My debut novel ‘A Dead Man’s Debt’ has just received a fourth ‘5 / 5’ review in a row!
‘A Dead Man’s Debt’ is a regency romance; a story of blackmail, duty and unexpected love.
Described by The Romance Reviews as ‘historical romance at its best’ .
Congrats on getting such great reviews! Where can readers connect with you online?
If you would like to find out more about my work visit:
Twitter – Grace_Elliot
Celeste Armitage has a plan...and that plan doesn't include marriage.
After deliberately humiliating a suitor, Celeste’s despairing parents exile her to the country. But once there she discovers a sketch book of daring nude studies and is shaken to find the artist is her hostess’s eldest son, Lord Ranulf Charing. This darkly cynical lord is exactly the sort of dissipated rogue she despises most…if only her blood didn’t heat at the thought of him…
Nothing is as it seems. Lord Ranulf’s life is a façade. Only he can save the Charing’s from disgrace as a blackmailer seeks to ruin his late brother’s reputation. But just as Ranulf dares to open his heart to Celeste, the fury of his nemesis is unleashed… facing him with the stark choice between true love and family duty. However when Celeste guesses the truth behind his rejection, Ranulf underestimates her resolve to clear his name and in so doing places the woman he loves in mortal danger….
I love the story already. Can't wait to read it. Where can readers find it online?
Smashwords, Fiction Books and other eBook retailers.
I’ve always loved reading; as a teenager I averaged a book a day and incorporated the walk to the library on my way home from school! When I wasn’t reading I was looking around and describing the people and streets in my head, to use later in the stories I wrote. But as often happens, a career, marriage and children distracted me and so it was twenty years later, at a school reunion that I remembered the creative satisfaction of writing, went home and started my first short story!
Can totally understand such a voracious appetite for reading. What was the inspiration for your latest work of fiction?
The idea for ‘A Dead Man’s Debt’ sprang from a painting!
I was reading ‘England’s Mistress: the Infamous Life of Emma Hamilton’ by Kate Williams when I came across a portrait of the young Emma by George Romney. The painting shows an innocent yet scantily clad young woman, staring brazenly out of the canvas with an almost hynoptic allure.
It struck me as sensational for an 18th century work, that the sitter was not prim, proper, straight backed and starchy. The painting must have been considered scandalous at the time. But who would be bold enough to commission such a portrait? (As it happened Emma nee Hart was a woman ahead of her time…but that’s another story.)
What a delicious idea for a story! What if the woman in the painting wanted to shock? What if, years later, this rebellious streak threatened to disgrace her family? What if only the son she despises can save her reputation… but at the price of his secret love…and so the scene was set for ‘A Dead Man’s Debt’.
Love that! How do you go from an idea for a book to the birth of the story? Is the process the same for every book you write? How long does it take you to write a book?
Writing a novel is a bit like knitting – you start with one thread, then knit and purl madly away until something starts to hold together. So the initial thread for ‘A Dead Man’s Debt’ was that Lady Sophia Cadnum wanted to shock because she was suffocating in a loveless marriage, bearing children she resented. Initially the characters are vague shadows, just entries on a family tree until the right names pops into my head…and that’s when each character takes on a life of their own. For me, names are the pivot around which I see what each character looks like, visualize their mannerisms and start learning how they react in different situations and then the story grows from there.
Like that analogy. What is your favorite work of literary fiction and why? Do you have a favorite literary author?
My all time favourite is ‘The Autobiography of Henry VIII’ by Margaret George.
It is because of Margaret George’s work that I was intrigued by the Tudors and just had to know more about them. Reading about the Tudors then awoke a latent passion for history that had been smothered at school because of ‘dates and treaties’ type teaching. Social history is about what people ate and how they lived and is utterly fascinating - a wealth of ideas for the novelist!
‘The Autobiography of Henry VIII’ is a joy to read, immersing the reader in period detail and atmosphere. It’s a true page turner, exciting, evocative and made all the more riveting because the events brought to life in the novel actually happened. I can’t recommend this book highly enough.
Who is your favorite contemporary author? Are you currently reading any contemporary novels?
You may have gathered by now that my favorite genre is historical romance, but I surprised myself the other day by picking up a copy of ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ by Stieg Larsson, and thoroughly enjoying it.
I think it was the sympathetic way the characters were written; none of them angels, but so believable, so drew me into the book and kept me intrigued. Who knows I may even read the remaining two books in the series… but after I’ve topped up my HR batteries first!
What’s your writing schedule like? When do you find time to write?
As a working veterinarian, wife and mother, (my motto is ‘If you want something done ask a busy person.’!) finding time to write is my biggest hurdle. After a long day at work I make a bargain that I will write for just 20 minutes, and if the muse doesn’t strike then I can stop. But what usually happens is that two hours later I realize hubby is locking up the house ready for bed and the evening has vanished completely.
I love the whole process of writing which includes reading the genre, research, planning and the actual writing itself. It’s all sheer joy, well worth forgoing an evening in front of the TV for!
I know what you mean. Do you have any writing idiosyncrasies?
I write with Widget, one of my five cats, snuggled up against my right leg. My writing space is an old sofa in a converted garage. The sofa is beneath a large window and it gets a lot of natural light, which helps my mood. Also there is no TV which means less distraction. If Widget is napping somewhere else in the house she hears the tapping keys and appears, rubs her chin against the lap top, settles down for a deep sleep, and sometimes snores which is amusing.
How have your friends and family received your career as an author? Are they supportive?
My family are totally supportive and very understanding about my need to withdraw and write. They were all immensely proud when I found a publisher, as my youngest son succinctly put it, ‘Mum, you can officially feel smug.’ I’m constantly surprised just how many people admit to loving historical romance, when they find out that’s my genre. It seems there are a lot of closet HR lovers out there!
Grace, I had a wonderful time chatting and getting to know you better. Hope to see you guest here on The Mustard Seed again.
Please feel free to visit with us. We'd love to know your thoughts on historical romance.