Today's Hump Day Interview is the lovely Elin Gregory, welcome Elin...
What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?
“Artistic process” sounds a bit grand for what I do. First of all I get the inkling of an idea and mull it over for a year or two. Then some scene will pop into my head that sets the tone for the whole thing. Other scenes follow until I have them settled like a beads strung on a thread of narrative. But the thread is flimsy and easily altered. At this point the whole story is in my head. Then the hard part – actually making the time to write. It often comes down to choosing between sleeping and cranking out poorly spelled, inconsidered words a few hundred at a time. Eventually the story is finished and then comes the other really difficult part – acknowledging that it’s pants and needs to be rewritten adding a bit of this and a LOAD more of that. Once I’ve got the first draft done I can usually see the story through to a point where I can at least offer it to beta readers but there are times when I get bogged down in the soggy middle and give up in despair.
Masses, both on paper and on my hard drive. Some will, I hope, never see the light of day, but there are others that have a sound core and could be redrafted into decent reads.
· There’s part of a Regency historical, an attempt at m/f romance that I abandoned in 1990 when I realised the male protagonist was paying more attention to the heroine’s brother [I had NO idea that there might be people other than me interested in reading such things].
· There’s 350k words of contemporary paranormal romance, co-written with a friend, about an ancient vampire, a very troubled vampire hunter and the last months before the US borders were closed to all paranormal entities. Just for fun it was set in Key West, a place neither of us had ever been. It also sparked off an ‘origin’ story set in Ukraine.
· Neither of us had ever been to the area between Whitefish, Montana, and the Glacier National Park where we set a werewolf adventure – we managed 95k words of that.
· Then we wrote 95k words of medieval/Renaissance fantasy about jousting, travelling players and Florentian banking houses.
· I have 70k words of a story set in the Hen Gogledd – the Old North – in the early 7th century CE when Welsh was still being spoken on the Scottish borders and the King in Edinburgh made an ill-advised attempt to drive back the Saxons. Just think of “300” only with horses and more clothing. I’m determined to finish that one.
· The sequel to Eleventh Hour is at about 7 thousand words and I have three more Pemberland stories partly written to follow up The Bones of Our Fathers.
· I also have many scraps and scenes where I’ve tried out characters to see if they have a voice. One of those will be appearing in Manifold Press’s Call To Arms anthology of World War 2 stories and features Sam Hobb, a character I’ve had around for a while. I like Sam and hope his story will be written because, amongst others, it will feature Peter Fleming, Ian Fleming’s big bro’.
What are the ethics of writing about historical figures?
I think a lot depends on how well known they are and in how much affection they are held by potential readers. For instance, Peter Fleming is barely known at all outside of the UK and only a little by people who aren’t interested in travel writers of the 1930s [of the two Fleming boys, Peter was the great author at this time] or WW2 defence measures. As long as I stick fairly closely to the time line of WW2 I can probably get away with quite a lot when he appears as a secondary character.
On the other hand are those historical entities who are very well known – or who have a mythology that gives the illusion that they are well known. Let’s take “Honest Abe” Lincoln as an example.
My favourite childhood book has remained one of my favourites. It concerns a young man of the artisan class who abandons his work to go for a walk and meets an affable gentleman of independent means with an enthralling hobby. Seduced, the young man moves in with the gentleman and is introduced to a whole new world. There are picnics and visits to crusty old scholars and a nice but dim, enthusiastic aristocrat desperate to keep up with all the latest fads. They suffer loss and heartbreak together, come to the aid of their friends, endure spiritual crises, and finally achieve a blissful peace in each other’s company. *clutches heart*
Right now I’m jonesing to read The Wind in the Willows again, but I have books to read for beta, and a few ARCs. I’m reading books about 1930s politics to add detail to the Eleventh Hour sequel[s], I’ve got a fantastic book called 1421 on my nightstand, about the first circumnavigation of the world and the colonisation of America by the Chinese LONG before Christopher Columbus.
However, in the genre, I’ve recently downloaded the Sanguine books by Lou Harper and am looking forward to trying those and I’m working my way through the Portkennack books from Riptide. Spectred Isle – Oh God I love that title SO much – by K J Charles is probably the book I’m most looking forward to. Only a week to wait now!
For your chance to win an ebook of Elin's latest release, The Bones of Our Fathers answer the question...What is your favourite childhood book?
The Bones of Our Fathers
Malcolm Bright, brand new museum curator in a small Welsh Border town, is a little lonely until – acting as emergency archaeological consultant on a new housing development – he crosses the path of Rob Escley, aka Dirty Rob, who makes Mal’s earth move in more ways than one.
Then Rob discovers something wonderful, and together they must combat greedy developers and a treasure hunter determined to get his hands on the find. Are desperate measures justified to save the bones of our fathers? Will Dirty Rob live up to his reputation? Do museum curators really do it meticulously?
Answers must be found for the sake of Mal’s future, his happiness and his heart.
Elin usually writes on historical subjects, and enjoys weaving the weird and wonderful facts she comes across in her research into her plots. She likes her heroes hard as nails but capable of tenderness when circumstances allow. Often they are in danger, frequently they have to make hard choices, but happy endings are always assured.
Current works in progress include one set during the Great War, another in WW2, one set in the Dark Ages and a series of contemporary romances set in a small town on the Welsh border.
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