Grace: Hi Jen, it’s lovely to be here at Romancing the Book and to meet your readers.
My name is Grace Elliot; during the day I am a veterinarian and by night I write historical romance. I live just outside London and I am married with two teenage sons, five cats and a guinea pig. It doesn’t take much to make me happy: a sunny day, reading a good book with a cat on my knee… . comes near the top of my list!
Grace: My debut novel is a historical romance titled A Dead Man’s Debt. It is a story of blackmail, duty and unexpected love. I’m thrilled at how its been received with awesome 5 star reviews from sites such as Night Owl Reviews, The Romance Reviews, Fiction Books, the Pen and Muse…to name but a few!
Grace: Most importantly and obvious as it sounds, I write every day. I’ve never suffered from writer’s block and writing is necessary for my mental well being. I get cranky and twitchy if kept away from a keyboard. My writing method is that characters come first; I decide on the hero or heroine, what makes them tick and their back story. From there I decide what circumstances they fear most…and guess what….plunge them right into that situation.
In A Dead Man’s Debt, the hero Lord Ranulf Charing dreams of being an artist and his nightmare is being forbidden to paint…so of course, that is exactly what his mother the formidable Lady Cadnum does . Likewise, the heroine, Celeste Armitage, longs for the independence to travel…directly against her parents wish for her to marry a lecherous Viscount…
Grace: In my house it’s a running joke that my ability to multi-tasking extends to writing in the dark! I often get my best ideas whilst drifting off to sleep and so keep a notebook and pen beside the bed. It’s quite usual for me to be scribbling away in total darkness, much to my husband’s amusement…and thankfully my writing is just legible enough to jog my memory in the morning!
Grace: It’s the escapism of romance, and especially historical romance, that does it for me. Real life is tough, and as a working wife and mother I’m constantly busy, with little time to myself. My work as a veterinarian is also very stressful; making life and death decisions several times a day and dealing with the emotional consequences for owners can be draining, to say the least. And that’s where both reading and writing romance comes in. It’s my escape from reality, a means of detaching myself from the cares of the present and unwinding. I’d go so far as to say that most intelligent people could do with reading romance, as an antidote to the modern world.
Grace: Most definitely! Sometimes I get confused as to whether I’m remembering a conversation with a real or fictional person! My characters write themselves, my task is to get inside their heads and anticipate their feelings and reactions…getting to know them inside out is the key to letting their voices speak on the page. When I’m ‘in the zone’ to steal a sporting reference, the words flow straight from the characters mouths and my fingers are just the conduit that lets it happen.
Grace: I just love the work of Margaret George. I read her book, The Autobiography of Henry VIII in the late 1980’s and I can still remember the total engrossment of her writing. It was Margaret George that first awoke my interest in history (I loathed the subject at school.) She inspired me to read about the Tudors and from there I discovered the joy that is social history; of learning about ordinary lives in times gone by, how people ate and slept, what they wore and what they hoped for.
Margaret George’s books are sheer joy and if I had a fraction of her talent for bringing the past to life, then I would be a happy woman.
Grace: Oh, this is a good question.
The short answer is no I don’t celebrate in a big way, other than to jig around the room with a silly grin on my face and tell anyone that will listen! Each sale or positive review is a thumbs up for my writing addiction and it spurs me on! I love the ‘high’ that comes with learning a total stranger has enjoyed my book, it gives me an inner glow. If I’m down in the dumps then a sale or nice comment can lift my mood for days, for which my husband is very grateful….
Grace: My favourite comment was when my writing style was compared [in a review by Yvonne from Fiction Books] to Georgette Heyer – author of The Regency Buck, Cotillion, Black Sheep and numerous classic regency romances. Georgette Heyer is one of my all time favourite authors and to be mentioned in the same sentence as her is both awesome and humbling .
Grace: I’m on the final draft of another regency romance, with the working title ‘Eulogy’s Secret’ – a story of hidden identity, prejudice and assumption. For news of the release date keep an eye on my website and blog!
This book is the first in a series about three very different brothers. All three books are mapped out, with the remaining two working titles being ‘The Smuggler’s Daughter’ and ‘The Innocent Siren.’
Grace: My blog reflects my love of romance, history and cats! I post twice a week (sometimes more often!) on topics of historical trivia or romantic interest. I’d love you to pop over and investigate, just follow the link: http://graceelliot-author.blogspot.com/. I can also be found on my website at http://www.graceelliot.webs.com/
I’m also addicted to twitter, please follow me as: Grace_Elliot
Grace: I’m curious to know how much a book cover influences your readers purchasing habits. The reason being is that for many years I was bashful about some romance covers, and too embarrassed to leave them on public view. Since I got a Kindle my reading tastes have broadened out because I no longer feel inhibited by a lascivious clinch on the cover.
Do you think some of the cover art does the genre a disservice, or do you delight in ripped shirts and bulging biceps? How much does the cover influence what you buy and what do you like to see on the cover?
Grace: I’d like to offer the prize of a $10 Amazon eVoucher.
For a chance to win simply leave a comment on the topic of book covers (see above) and Jen will pick the lucky winner at random. Because this is an eVoucher, you will need to leave an email address where your prize can be sent. The winner will be chosen on Sunday, May 8.