A Lady’s Plight is the first in a series of books that introduces the reader to the year 1815. With Napoleon on the march, the clouds of war gather over Belgium. With so many of the male aristocracy joining Wellington in his fight against the little Corsican, many of the ton moved as well. Life was one tremendous social whirl, with morning rides in the famous park, racing with phaetons and curricles, games of cricket and croquet and amorous assignations. It became famous for dancing in the afternoon, sumptuous dinners and lavish balls. As Nick Foujlkes writes, the ton ‘Danced its way into Battle.’ On the eve of the battle of Waterloo, people flocked to the most famous dance in history, the Duchess of Richmond’s ball. Against this background, four young women each have their own story, as to how they reached Brussels, and once there, their journey of love, despair, passion and…. I won’t say anymore, as it will introduce spoilers.
Where did the idea for the book come from?
I was writing my first book, a Sci Fi a few years ago, when I went on holiday, with my husband to Suffolk. We rented a cottage ideal for writing; the study overlooked the river. It also had a couple of bookcases filled with books. The first morning my husband woke me up, saying he’d found something special. I got up and went downstairs to have a coffee, vital first thing. He then showed me a book he found in one of the bookcases, written by a Captain Herbert Rees Gronow who wrote in the Regency period. It caught his eye, as Gronow was my mother’s family name in South Wales. We looked through the book to find it was an account of his experiences in the Peninsula Wars and the Battle of Waterloo. His books are very popular even today. The peculiar thing was, it was his first book and I was writing my first book. Weeks later, to our astonishment, we discovered he was part of my ancestral family. I was actually related to him. That was when it got spooky. Inspired I wrote a short story and then put it away. Last year, I brought it out and the series was born.
Who and what inspired you to write?
I have always written from a child. I first wrote for my sister who was younger than me by only seventeen months. She suffered from TB and I would write stories to cheer her up when she was away in Sanatoriums.
What has been the most pleasant surprise about writing? How about an unexpected down side?
….The most pleasant has been to experience the words flowing from the key board. I believe I am what is called a pantser. I have a vague idea, and when I sit down at the keyboard I have no idea what I am going to write. Then the characters begin to appear and the scenery or a particular setting, and I am swept away into another reality. If I wake up during the night, usually about 3.00 am. I lie there mulling over the plot before drifting off to sleep again.
Do you have any writing rituals?
Yes, get up, give my golden retriever Lily, her treat, a dentix chew which she takes out to the garden, whether it’s raining or not. Taking my coffee up into the study, I switch on the music, which is a must, and then, I usually write for about three hours before taking a break. I then take my dog Lily for a walk, have lunch and then start again.
Do you write your books in order?
Not always, I took time out of writing an historical paranormal series to write a couple of crime books. I gave into the urge. I do love writing in different genres as well as Regency. But, I try to write in order. Sometimes though, a character in a book yet to be written will clamour to be first, There is a particular character Lady Venetia from the fourth book in this series, who rises up now and again demanding to be heard, even though I only have the vague idea of a plot. The characters come alive first, not the story, and then they start telling it their way.
Any favorite writing snacks?
Hmm, yes, four cubes of dark chocolate with fruit and nuts and Chili rice snacks.
What advice would you give writers who aspire to be published?
I actually love independent publishing. I did have a publisher but won’t comment too much on that, just to add, I got out of the contract. Having said, that I would advise a writer to be wary. Do research the publisher, don’t get carried away like I did. I was so excited, I didn’t do the research on them. For both publishing for Indie or traditional publisher, be sure to have a good grounding in grammaAfter my stream of consciousness writing, I always go back and structure the book, polishing the theme as well as the plot. A writer should make sure to edit and proof read. Research is also so important, I spend hours and hours researching, also immersing myself in the genre and the timeline as well. This is important, as it will take the reader into the true world of the characters and settings.
Are you working on anything new right now?
Yes, ‘Lady Phillipa’s Peril’, the third book in the series.
Who is your favorite character in your current book?
I am only three chapters in and the characters are beginning to raise their voices, as to what they are doing or not doing, or whom they like and don’t like. Yet others are still emerging. I try not to have favourites, I have to be careful they might be listening. J I will say that I cried my eyes out over one character in the last book. Another had me laughing out loud.
I would like to say Anna Karennia, or Gone with the Wind, but it’s a toss up between Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep and Little Women. As a child, my favourite was Heidi.
Tell us in one sentence why we should read your book. …..
I write with my heart and I hope the book touches yours. I mean that, as my characters are so looking forward to meeting the readers. Thank you so much for having me.