An Interview with Elizabeth Hawksley

Eh_welcome Today it is my very great pleasure to introduce as our Word Wench guest historical author Elizabeth Hawksley. I discovered Elizabeth's books a while ago and they have become firm favourites of mine. Their combination of romance, adventure and history has been described as "suspenseful and satifying" by one happy reviewer and as "a real old-fashioned page-turner" by another.

Elizabeth describes herself as having a "portfolio career." She has had a dozen novels published together with Getting The Point, a punctuation guide for adults co-authored with Jenny Haddon. She also gives talks and workshops in creative writing, is a member of the UK Romantic Novelists' Association and reviews for the Historical Novel Society.

Elizabeth, welcome to the Word Wenches! First of all, I found the biography on your website riveting and was fascinated to discover that you were brought up in a Georgian manor house (Hall Garth, in the photograph below), an experience I am sure many of us envy you! Please could you tell us a little about what that was like?

I don’t think you’d like it, Nicola! Very much an Upstairs/Downstairs world. We children were banished Hall_garth to the nursery wing with Nanny and a nursery maid and saw our mother for an hour each day from 5-6 pm downstairs in the morning-room – on our best behaviour.

I didn’t eat downstairs in the dining-room until I was twelve, when, under my mother’s stern eye, I had to re-learn my table manners e.g. how to hold a soup spoon correctly (no lower-class nursery manners downstairs, thank you!), and that the butler always offered food from the left and so on.

My brothers, meanwhile, learnt to stand up when a lady entered the room and to remain standing until she was seated, and, of course, open doors for her when she left. Not to mention walking on the outside of the pavement (to shield her from any muddy splashes).

Elzabeth Paris Then there was dinner party etiquette – complicated – including the business of ladies leaving the room at the end so that the gentlemen could enjoy their port and dirty stories. We, meanwhile, powdered our noses and then the butler brought us coffee.

I wouldn’t wish my childhood on anyone. But I admit that it has come in useful with my novels; at least I know what that world was like from the inside.

I must admit that this does sound very quelling for a child. The idea of old-fashioned manners in gentlemen is very appealing though! 

The picture on the left is of you being "finished" in Paris. I'm wondering whether your background led you into your career? What were the influences that led you to become a historical novelist?

With all the above – what else could I write but historical novels?! My childhood knowledge of the outside world was very limited. We had no television and no radio. Fortunately, we  had access to my grandfather’s splendid Victorian library. I wrote my first novel at ten, set in the English Civil War – I’d been reading Margaret Irwin’s The Stranger Prince about Prince Rupert of the Rhine and Jane Lane’s The Escape of the King about Charles II’s escape after the battle of Worcester.

I think you'll find plenty of other fans of those books here on Word Wenches! What do you consider to be the qualities that make a good historical novel?

The same as for any novel: a good story, believable characters and a cracking pace. Do your research but digest it – no information dumps.

Your novels have been described as a wonderful combination of history, adventure and romance. What is it about that combination of elements that appeals to you as a writer?

I write the sort of books I like to read: heroes and heroines need their mettles tested – hence the adventure. The historical bit adds social and sexual constraints to what they can do and how they behave – I find that useful. 19th century ladies and gentlemen led pretty separate lives and met only in certain socially restricted settings. Result – increased sexual tension. 

For example, some years ago, I learnt to dance quadrilles – a dance with four couples. I quickly realized that, though you might be dancing with the dull but eligible Mr A., there were ample opportunities for eyeing the more attractive Mr B opposite. And, if your hand were squeezed discreetly by Mr B during the ‘chain’, nobody else knew – and certainly not Mama. I’m sure you can see the possibilities for yourself! My first thought was, I could use this!

You include real historical events in your books, such as the 1814 Frost Fair on the Thames. How do you decide which events to include? Is a result of your research – do some events simply shout out for inclusion?

Usually, as you say, something shouts out for inclusion. The 1814 Frost Fair is very well documented, Sfrst_fr which helps. I had a sudden picture of my villain, Balquidder, meeting a spectacularly nasty end on an unstable ice floe as the ice began to crack up …

In A Desperate Remedy, I used the arrival of four giraffes at London docks in 1836. They walked several miles to the new London Zoo and caused a sensation – again, it’s well documented. I thought: what if my heroine, Decima, sneaks out to see them and, in the crush, is coshed by two criminals who steal her clothes, purse and hair. She is dumped, unconscious, outside Drury Lane theatre, where Alexander (rich, but illegitimate) finds her. Her autocratic father promptly disowns her …

That description alone has made me want to re-read the book! Do you have a favourite amongst your books?

I’m very fond of Tempting Fortune, which has a theatre setting. I’d just done a lot of research into 19th century theatre for my MA in Victorian Studies and it seemed a pity to waste it.

The story opens on an icy January day in 1826 when a foundling, the illegitimate daughter of Lord Fulmar, is discovered – and a curse is set in motion. Twenty-seven years later, Jack Midwinter, a rake and womanizer, sets out to find her. But Sarah, now a costume designer at Sadler’s Wells Theatre, has no intention of being temped either by Jack, or the ill-fated Fulmar fortune ….

It is one of my most romantic novels. I have a very soft spot for Jack and Sarah.

One of the things that I love about your books is the unusual settings and some of the heroes of your books are out of the common style as well and are not necessarily aristocrats. What draws you to writing “different” types of heroes?

Crssng_th_tmr I like setting myself technical challenges! In Crossing the Tamar, for example, my hero, Veryan Selwood, is a reclusive, priggish Oxford don with a very rigid notion of propriety. His sexual experience comprises a couple of embarrassingly inept episodes he prefers to forget. When he unexpectedly inherits old Sir Walter’s estate in Cornwall, he is horrified to find Sir Walter’s mistress, numerous bastards and a community up to its neck in smuggling. Veryan has a lot to learn – about life, women, and, in particular, his cousin Dorothea. Could I turn such unpromising material into a Hero?

I enjoy culture clashes, for example, between wealthy mill-owner Daniel Darke, intent on moving up in the world in The Belvedere Tower, and Cassandra Hampden, niece of the last Earl of Lavington. Daniel buys the Lavington estate – and finds Cassandra living in an Elizabethan belvedere tower in the middle of it. And he can’t get her out …

My interest here is probably inspired by my own family history. A great-grandfather on one side of the family was a railway navvy on the world’s first public railway, the Stockton and Darlington line. He ended up with his own iron and steel foundry. On the other side, a great-grandmother was the daughter of Lord Dunsany of Dunsany Castle, Ireland.

You have mentioned in some of your talks and workshops that you love creating villain characters. What do you think makes a strong villain and why do these characters appeal to you?

A strong villain needs to have his own aims and objectives.

I find a villain really useful. He can be a catalyst for change: exposing the heroine’s weakest point, for example, thus giving her the opportunity to learn things and move on. He can also challenge the hero – who can stand up to him and come good. Villains bring danger – invaluable for the dreaded mid-book sag. Let him chuck in a nasty problem and, instantly, the tension will rise.

 But beware: villains can seduce the author and infiltrate any emotional vacuum. They can be dangerously attractive.

I noticed you mentioned a hero of mine, Prince Rupert of the Rhine, as one of your dream dinner party guests. Who else would you invite to join you?

I’ve always admired the Victorian traveller and explorer in Africa, Sir Samuel White Baker – handsome, strong, dashing, and blond with piercing blue eyes (sounds promising!). I think he’d be an interesting dinner guest. He bought his wife, Florence, in a slave auction in Bulgaria (she was the sole survivor of a massacre) and took her with him on his travels. He wrote that she possessed ‘a share of sang-froid admirably suited to African travel’ and, after a particularly nerve-wracking encounter in the jungle, commented admiringly, ‘Florence was not a screamer.’

 I think I’ll invite Florence, too.

I’d love to meet the American Frederick Douglass, ex-slave and campaigner for the abolition of slavery.Frederick_Douglass Interesting, charismatic and good-looking, I imagine him getting on well with Samuel and Florence.

Meanwhile, Rupert and I could enjoy a quiet tête-à-tête ….

 Okay, I'd do anything to infiltrate that dinner party! What is the best part about being a writer for you? 

When it’s working as it should, there’s an intoxicating balance – a sort of objective subjectivity – where one is playing with words and watching the characters to see what they do. It reminds me of creative juggling. I also enjoy the research and, again, if it’s working, serendipity usually comes into play.

Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?

You can almost always start a conversation later and end it earlier than you think.

If you’re stuck, fling in a problem.

I follow Julie Cohen’s excellent advice: always write a scene from the point of view of the most vulnerable person there.

Elizabeth, thank you very much for sharing with us not only those fascinating details about a country house childhood but also so many useful ideas for writers both published and aspiring. Elizabeth's website is at http://www.elizabethhawksley.com/index.htm If you have any questions for Elizabeth she would be delighted to answer them!

100 thoughts on “An Interview with Elizabeth Hawksley”

  1. Elizabeth–
    Having been raised in a Yankee farmhouse, I’m fascinated to read of a contemporary who grew up with such a very Regency lifestyle! Of course, that is a British upscale style of long standing, but for me, a matter of research. For you, a life. Not maybe a lot of fun, but fabulous research. *g*
    I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve not read your books, but they sound fascinating, and a quick check reveals that at leas some are available in the US. Onto the booklist they go!
    Thanks so much for visiting Word Wenches–
    Mary Jo Putney

    Reply
  2. Elizabeth–
    Having been raised in a Yankee farmhouse, I’m fascinated to read of a contemporary who grew up with such a very Regency lifestyle! Of course, that is a British upscale style of long standing, but for me, a matter of research. For you, a life. Not maybe a lot of fun, but fabulous research. *g*
    I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve not read your books, but they sound fascinating, and a quick check reveals that at leas some are available in the US. Onto the booklist they go!
    Thanks so much for visiting Word Wenches–
    Mary Jo Putney

    Reply
  3. Elizabeth–
    Having been raised in a Yankee farmhouse, I’m fascinated to read of a contemporary who grew up with such a very Regency lifestyle! Of course, that is a British upscale style of long standing, but for me, a matter of research. For you, a life. Not maybe a lot of fun, but fabulous research. *g*
    I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve not read your books, but they sound fascinating, and a quick check reveals that at leas some are available in the US. Onto the booklist they go!
    Thanks so much for visiting Word Wenches–
    Mary Jo Putney

    Reply
  4. Elizabeth–
    Having been raised in a Yankee farmhouse, I’m fascinated to read of a contemporary who grew up with such a very Regency lifestyle! Of course, that is a British upscale style of long standing, but for me, a matter of research. For you, a life. Not maybe a lot of fun, but fabulous research. *g*
    I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve not read your books, but they sound fascinating, and a quick check reveals that at leas some are available in the US. Onto the booklist they go!
    Thanks so much for visiting Word Wenches–
    Mary Jo Putney

    Reply
  5. Elizabeth–
    Having been raised in a Yankee farmhouse, I’m fascinated to read of a contemporary who grew up with such a very Regency lifestyle! Of course, that is a British upscale style of long standing, but for me, a matter of research. For you, a life. Not maybe a lot of fun, but fabulous research. *g*
    I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve not read your books, but they sound fascinating, and a quick check reveals that at leas some are available in the US. Onto the booklist they go!
    Thanks so much for visiting Word Wenches–
    Mary Jo Putney

    Reply
  6. As if my TBR pile weren’t mountainous enough, I’ve now got a new author to add. The books look fascinating and fun. This should not come as a surprise, however, if Ms. Hawksley is a descendant of Lord Dunsany, of the delicious fantasy tales I read in my youth.

    Reply
  7. As if my TBR pile weren’t mountainous enough, I’ve now got a new author to add. The books look fascinating and fun. This should not come as a surprise, however, if Ms. Hawksley is a descendant of Lord Dunsany, of the delicious fantasy tales I read in my youth.

    Reply
  8. As if my TBR pile weren’t mountainous enough, I’ve now got a new author to add. The books look fascinating and fun. This should not come as a surprise, however, if Ms. Hawksley is a descendant of Lord Dunsany, of the delicious fantasy tales I read in my youth.

    Reply
  9. As if my TBR pile weren’t mountainous enough, I’ve now got a new author to add. The books look fascinating and fun. This should not come as a surprise, however, if Ms. Hawksley is a descendant of Lord Dunsany, of the delicious fantasy tales I read in my youth.

    Reply
  10. As if my TBR pile weren’t mountainous enough, I’ve now got a new author to add. The books look fascinating and fun. This should not come as a surprise, however, if Ms. Hawksley is a descendant of Lord Dunsany, of the delicious fantasy tales I read in my youth.

    Reply
  11. Mary Jo
    Now I am fascinated by growing up in a Yankee farmhouse! Lucky you. The picture in my head is of wide open spaces and a wooden house with a veranda, but I daresay it’s way off the mark. It probably says more about my love of American musicals!
    Susan
    My grandmother alsways called the fantasy writer Lord Dunsany ‘Cousin Edward’. I think he was her second cousin.
    It’s great to talk to you both!
    best wishes
    Elizabeth

    Reply
  12. Mary Jo
    Now I am fascinated by growing up in a Yankee farmhouse! Lucky you. The picture in my head is of wide open spaces and a wooden house with a veranda, but I daresay it’s way off the mark. It probably says more about my love of American musicals!
    Susan
    My grandmother alsways called the fantasy writer Lord Dunsany ‘Cousin Edward’. I think he was her second cousin.
    It’s great to talk to you both!
    best wishes
    Elizabeth

    Reply
  13. Mary Jo
    Now I am fascinated by growing up in a Yankee farmhouse! Lucky you. The picture in my head is of wide open spaces and a wooden house with a veranda, but I daresay it’s way off the mark. It probably says more about my love of American musicals!
    Susan
    My grandmother alsways called the fantasy writer Lord Dunsany ‘Cousin Edward’. I think he was her second cousin.
    It’s great to talk to you both!
    best wishes
    Elizabeth

    Reply
  14. Mary Jo
    Now I am fascinated by growing up in a Yankee farmhouse! Lucky you. The picture in my head is of wide open spaces and a wooden house with a veranda, but I daresay it’s way off the mark. It probably says more about my love of American musicals!
    Susan
    My grandmother alsways called the fantasy writer Lord Dunsany ‘Cousin Edward’. I think he was her second cousin.
    It’s great to talk to you both!
    best wishes
    Elizabeth

    Reply
  15. Mary Jo
    Now I am fascinated by growing up in a Yankee farmhouse! Lucky you. The picture in my head is of wide open spaces and a wooden house with a veranda, but I daresay it’s way off the mark. It probably says more about my love of American musicals!
    Susan
    My grandmother alsways called the fantasy writer Lord Dunsany ‘Cousin Edward’. I think he was her second cousin.
    It’s great to talk to you both!
    best wishes
    Elizabeth

    Reply
  16. Very much enjoyed reading bits about your life and writing, Elizabeth. The interview spawned questions in all directions. Such as: Do you still write historical fiction? (Forgive my ignorance.) You mentioned some helpful and insightful devices for adding tension, challenges, etc., for your characters and plots. How young were you when you began to analyze such things, to think “ah, this will be a useful tool in forwarding the plot” or whatever. That you could create such complete and engaging story worlds, at such a young age, is fascinating.
    I’ve ordered “Getting The Point” and look forward to having a good punctuation reference.

    Reply
  17. Very much enjoyed reading bits about your life and writing, Elizabeth. The interview spawned questions in all directions. Such as: Do you still write historical fiction? (Forgive my ignorance.) You mentioned some helpful and insightful devices for adding tension, challenges, etc., for your characters and plots. How young were you when you began to analyze such things, to think “ah, this will be a useful tool in forwarding the plot” or whatever. That you could create such complete and engaging story worlds, at such a young age, is fascinating.
    I’ve ordered “Getting The Point” and look forward to having a good punctuation reference.

    Reply
  18. Very much enjoyed reading bits about your life and writing, Elizabeth. The interview spawned questions in all directions. Such as: Do you still write historical fiction? (Forgive my ignorance.) You mentioned some helpful and insightful devices for adding tension, challenges, etc., for your characters and plots. How young were you when you began to analyze such things, to think “ah, this will be a useful tool in forwarding the plot” or whatever. That you could create such complete and engaging story worlds, at such a young age, is fascinating.
    I’ve ordered “Getting The Point” and look forward to having a good punctuation reference.

    Reply
  19. Very much enjoyed reading bits about your life and writing, Elizabeth. The interview spawned questions in all directions. Such as: Do you still write historical fiction? (Forgive my ignorance.) You mentioned some helpful and insightful devices for adding tension, challenges, etc., for your characters and plots. How young were you when you began to analyze such things, to think “ah, this will be a useful tool in forwarding the plot” or whatever. That you could create such complete and engaging story worlds, at such a young age, is fascinating.
    I’ve ordered “Getting The Point” and look forward to having a good punctuation reference.

    Reply
  20. Very much enjoyed reading bits about your life and writing, Elizabeth. The interview spawned questions in all directions. Such as: Do you still write historical fiction? (Forgive my ignorance.) You mentioned some helpful and insightful devices for adding tension, challenges, etc., for your characters and plots. How young were you when you began to analyze such things, to think “ah, this will be a useful tool in forwarding the plot” or whatever. That you could create such complete and engaging story worlds, at such a young age, is fascinating.
    I’ve ordered “Getting The Point” and look forward to having a good punctuation reference.

    Reply
  21. Elizabeth, thank you so much for visiting us today! I have some questions about Hall Garth, as I’m fascinated by historical buildings. Did you swim in the moat (like the characters in I Capture The Castle) or was that too bohemian? What other features of a Georgian manor were particularly interesting either architecturally or in function? I’m always looking for those extra little details that add colour to a setting so please forgive me for trading on your experience!

    Reply
  22. Elizabeth, thank you so much for visiting us today! I have some questions about Hall Garth, as I’m fascinated by historical buildings. Did you swim in the moat (like the characters in I Capture The Castle) or was that too bohemian? What other features of a Georgian manor were particularly interesting either architecturally or in function? I’m always looking for those extra little details that add colour to a setting so please forgive me for trading on your experience!

    Reply
  23. Elizabeth, thank you so much for visiting us today! I have some questions about Hall Garth, as I’m fascinated by historical buildings. Did you swim in the moat (like the characters in I Capture The Castle) or was that too bohemian? What other features of a Georgian manor were particularly interesting either architecturally or in function? I’m always looking for those extra little details that add colour to a setting so please forgive me for trading on your experience!

    Reply
  24. Elizabeth, thank you so much for visiting us today! I have some questions about Hall Garth, as I’m fascinated by historical buildings. Did you swim in the moat (like the characters in I Capture The Castle) or was that too bohemian? What other features of a Georgian manor were particularly interesting either architecturally or in function? I’m always looking for those extra little details that add colour to a setting so please forgive me for trading on your experience!

    Reply
  25. Elizabeth, thank you so much for visiting us today! I have some questions about Hall Garth, as I’m fascinated by historical buildings. Did you swim in the moat (like the characters in I Capture The Castle) or was that too bohemian? What other features of a Georgian manor were particularly interesting either architecturally or in function? I’m always looking for those extra little details that add colour to a setting so please forgive me for trading on your experience!

    Reply
  26. Thanks for visiting the Word Wenches, Elizabeth, and sharing your fascinating background.
    Do you think it shapes your writing? For example, does the formality of your childhood make you want to give your characters a less lofty future?
    How old is/was Hall Garth? I always fantasize about a childhood exploring such a place and discovering bits and pieces of all those who lived there before me.
    Jo

    Reply
  27. Thanks for visiting the Word Wenches, Elizabeth, and sharing your fascinating background.
    Do you think it shapes your writing? For example, does the formality of your childhood make you want to give your characters a less lofty future?
    How old is/was Hall Garth? I always fantasize about a childhood exploring such a place and discovering bits and pieces of all those who lived there before me.
    Jo

    Reply
  28. Thanks for visiting the Word Wenches, Elizabeth, and sharing your fascinating background.
    Do you think it shapes your writing? For example, does the formality of your childhood make you want to give your characters a less lofty future?
    How old is/was Hall Garth? I always fantasize about a childhood exploring such a place and discovering bits and pieces of all those who lived there before me.
    Jo

    Reply
  29. Thanks for visiting the Word Wenches, Elizabeth, and sharing your fascinating background.
    Do you think it shapes your writing? For example, does the formality of your childhood make you want to give your characters a less lofty future?
    How old is/was Hall Garth? I always fantasize about a childhood exploring such a place and discovering bits and pieces of all those who lived there before me.
    Jo

    Reply
  30. Thanks for visiting the Word Wenches, Elizabeth, and sharing your fascinating background.
    Do you think it shapes your writing? For example, does the formality of your childhood make you want to give your characters a less lofty future?
    How old is/was Hall Garth? I always fantasize about a childhood exploring such a place and discovering bits and pieces of all those who lived there before me.
    Jo

    Reply
  31. Elizabeth–
    American farmhouses come in many regional styles, though acres of land around are probably common in all parts of the country.
    I grew up in the north, near Buffalo (and Canada). My family’s farmhouse was built in the mid 19th century, and the cellar had a dirt floor and you could see square nails in the beams. Kind of a nasty place–a true cellar, not a cozy finished basement!
    Like most farmhouses in our area, ours was two stories high, a peaked roof to repel snow (of which there was A LOT), and entrance to the house was through the kitchen. There was a front door, but virtually never used.
    There was indeed a porch, but not one of the wide southern verandas where people sat around in the steamy summers and drank themselves unconscious. *g*
    Indeed, it was a community where there was virtually no alcohol. (Descendants of Puritans.) Good dairy country, and also good for wheat and corn.
    Which is surely much more than you wanted to know!
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  32. Elizabeth–
    American farmhouses come in many regional styles, though acres of land around are probably common in all parts of the country.
    I grew up in the north, near Buffalo (and Canada). My family’s farmhouse was built in the mid 19th century, and the cellar had a dirt floor and you could see square nails in the beams. Kind of a nasty place–a true cellar, not a cozy finished basement!
    Like most farmhouses in our area, ours was two stories high, a peaked roof to repel snow (of which there was A LOT), and entrance to the house was through the kitchen. There was a front door, but virtually never used.
    There was indeed a porch, but not one of the wide southern verandas where people sat around in the steamy summers and drank themselves unconscious. *g*
    Indeed, it was a community where there was virtually no alcohol. (Descendants of Puritans.) Good dairy country, and also good for wheat and corn.
    Which is surely much more than you wanted to know!
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  33. Elizabeth–
    American farmhouses come in many regional styles, though acres of land around are probably common in all parts of the country.
    I grew up in the north, near Buffalo (and Canada). My family’s farmhouse was built in the mid 19th century, and the cellar had a dirt floor and you could see square nails in the beams. Kind of a nasty place–a true cellar, not a cozy finished basement!
    Like most farmhouses in our area, ours was two stories high, a peaked roof to repel snow (of which there was A LOT), and entrance to the house was through the kitchen. There was a front door, but virtually never used.
    There was indeed a porch, but not one of the wide southern verandas where people sat around in the steamy summers and drank themselves unconscious. *g*
    Indeed, it was a community where there was virtually no alcohol. (Descendants of Puritans.) Good dairy country, and also good for wheat and corn.
    Which is surely much more than you wanted to know!
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  34. Elizabeth–
    American farmhouses come in many regional styles, though acres of land around are probably common in all parts of the country.
    I grew up in the north, near Buffalo (and Canada). My family’s farmhouse was built in the mid 19th century, and the cellar had a dirt floor and you could see square nails in the beams. Kind of a nasty place–a true cellar, not a cozy finished basement!
    Like most farmhouses in our area, ours was two stories high, a peaked roof to repel snow (of which there was A LOT), and entrance to the house was through the kitchen. There was a front door, but virtually never used.
    There was indeed a porch, but not one of the wide southern verandas where people sat around in the steamy summers and drank themselves unconscious. *g*
    Indeed, it was a community where there was virtually no alcohol. (Descendants of Puritans.) Good dairy country, and also good for wheat and corn.
    Which is surely much more than you wanted to know!
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  35. Elizabeth–
    American farmhouses come in many regional styles, though acres of land around are probably common in all parts of the country.
    I grew up in the north, near Buffalo (and Canada). My family’s farmhouse was built in the mid 19th century, and the cellar had a dirt floor and you could see square nails in the beams. Kind of a nasty place–a true cellar, not a cozy finished basement!
    Like most farmhouses in our area, ours was two stories high, a peaked roof to repel snow (of which there was A LOT), and entrance to the house was through the kitchen. There was a front door, but virtually never used.
    There was indeed a porch, but not one of the wide southern verandas where people sat around in the steamy summers and drank themselves unconscious. *g*
    Indeed, it was a community where there was virtually no alcohol. (Descendants of Puritans.) Good dairy country, and also good for wheat and corn.
    Which is surely much more than you wanted to know!
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  36. Lovely interview, thanks Nicola and Elizabeth.
    Parts of it brought back memories of my paternal grandmother who was very Victorian in her beliefs about children being seen but not heard and who was utterly scathing if table manners were not perfect at all times. She was, however a beautiful pianist, and after dinner she’d play, which made up for a great deal.
    I haven’t read any of your novels, but I did buy several copies of Getting the Point, one for myself and several for friends. It’s an excellent reference book and I recommend it often.
    I’m now on the hunt for your novels. They sound wonderful. I doubt they’re available in Australia. Thank goodness for on-line shopping.

    Reply
  37. Lovely interview, thanks Nicola and Elizabeth.
    Parts of it brought back memories of my paternal grandmother who was very Victorian in her beliefs about children being seen but not heard and who was utterly scathing if table manners were not perfect at all times. She was, however a beautiful pianist, and after dinner she’d play, which made up for a great deal.
    I haven’t read any of your novels, but I did buy several copies of Getting the Point, one for myself and several for friends. It’s an excellent reference book and I recommend it often.
    I’m now on the hunt for your novels. They sound wonderful. I doubt they’re available in Australia. Thank goodness for on-line shopping.

    Reply
  38. Lovely interview, thanks Nicola and Elizabeth.
    Parts of it brought back memories of my paternal grandmother who was very Victorian in her beliefs about children being seen but not heard and who was utterly scathing if table manners were not perfect at all times. She was, however a beautiful pianist, and after dinner she’d play, which made up for a great deal.
    I haven’t read any of your novels, but I did buy several copies of Getting the Point, one for myself and several for friends. It’s an excellent reference book and I recommend it often.
    I’m now on the hunt for your novels. They sound wonderful. I doubt they’re available in Australia. Thank goodness for on-line shopping.

    Reply
  39. Lovely interview, thanks Nicola and Elizabeth.
    Parts of it brought back memories of my paternal grandmother who was very Victorian in her beliefs about children being seen but not heard and who was utterly scathing if table manners were not perfect at all times. She was, however a beautiful pianist, and after dinner she’d play, which made up for a great deal.
    I haven’t read any of your novels, but I did buy several copies of Getting the Point, one for myself and several for friends. It’s an excellent reference book and I recommend it often.
    I’m now on the hunt for your novels. They sound wonderful. I doubt they’re available in Australia. Thank goodness for on-line shopping.

    Reply
  40. Lovely interview, thanks Nicola and Elizabeth.
    Parts of it brought back memories of my paternal grandmother who was very Victorian in her beliefs about children being seen but not heard and who was utterly scathing if table manners were not perfect at all times. She was, however a beautiful pianist, and after dinner she’d play, which made up for a great deal.
    I haven’t read any of your novels, but I did buy several copies of Getting the Point, one for myself and several for friends. It’s an excellent reference book and I recommend it often.
    I’m now on the hunt for your novels. They sound wonderful. I doubt they’re available in Australia. Thank goodness for on-line shopping.

    Reply
  41. I’m posting this on behalf of Elizabeth, who has been having trouble getting in to comment.
    Sondra
    Yes, I still write historicals. I’m just finishing ‘Tresillian’, set in Cornwall in 1820. My villain is about to get his comeuppance in a spectacularly nasty way.
    When I was a child, I just wrote – though I looked forward to the love scenes (so no change there!) Gradually, other things dawned on me, for example, that I needed to mix dialogue and narrative. By the time I was 16, I was more conscious of what I was doing. I remember re-reading a description of gas light on wet cobblestones and thinking, ‘Yes! That works.’
    I hope you find ‘Getting the Point’ helpful – and fun, Sondra. Jenny and I enjoyed writing it.

    Reply
  42. I’m posting this on behalf of Elizabeth, who has been having trouble getting in to comment.
    Sondra
    Yes, I still write historicals. I’m just finishing ‘Tresillian’, set in Cornwall in 1820. My villain is about to get his comeuppance in a spectacularly nasty way.
    When I was a child, I just wrote – though I looked forward to the love scenes (so no change there!) Gradually, other things dawned on me, for example, that I needed to mix dialogue and narrative. By the time I was 16, I was more conscious of what I was doing. I remember re-reading a description of gas light on wet cobblestones and thinking, ‘Yes! That works.’
    I hope you find ‘Getting the Point’ helpful – and fun, Sondra. Jenny and I enjoyed writing it.

    Reply
  43. I’m posting this on behalf of Elizabeth, who has been having trouble getting in to comment.
    Sondra
    Yes, I still write historicals. I’m just finishing ‘Tresillian’, set in Cornwall in 1820. My villain is about to get his comeuppance in a spectacularly nasty way.
    When I was a child, I just wrote – though I looked forward to the love scenes (so no change there!) Gradually, other things dawned on me, for example, that I needed to mix dialogue and narrative. By the time I was 16, I was more conscious of what I was doing. I remember re-reading a description of gas light on wet cobblestones and thinking, ‘Yes! That works.’
    I hope you find ‘Getting the Point’ helpful – and fun, Sondra. Jenny and I enjoyed writing it.

    Reply
  44. I’m posting this on behalf of Elizabeth, who has been having trouble getting in to comment.
    Sondra
    Yes, I still write historicals. I’m just finishing ‘Tresillian’, set in Cornwall in 1820. My villain is about to get his comeuppance in a spectacularly nasty way.
    When I was a child, I just wrote – though I looked forward to the love scenes (so no change there!) Gradually, other things dawned on me, for example, that I needed to mix dialogue and narrative. By the time I was 16, I was more conscious of what I was doing. I remember re-reading a description of gas light on wet cobblestones and thinking, ‘Yes! That works.’
    I hope you find ‘Getting the Point’ helpful – and fun, Sondra. Jenny and I enjoyed writing it.

    Reply
  45. I’m posting this on behalf of Elizabeth, who has been having trouble getting in to comment.
    Sondra
    Yes, I still write historicals. I’m just finishing ‘Tresillian’, set in Cornwall in 1820. My villain is about to get his comeuppance in a spectacularly nasty way.
    When I was a child, I just wrote – though I looked forward to the love scenes (so no change there!) Gradually, other things dawned on me, for example, that I needed to mix dialogue and narrative. By the time I was 16, I was more conscious of what I was doing. I remember re-reading a description of gas light on wet cobblestones and thinking, ‘Yes! That works.’
    I hope you find ‘Getting the Point’ helpful – and fun, Sondra. Jenny and I enjoyed writing it.

    Reply
  46. From Elizabeth:
    Nicola
    We not only swam in the moat, we regularly fell into it! I remember my brother Theo (age 2) toddling towards it holding a bunch of snowdrops he’d picked for Nanny. It was February and snowy. He fell in and all we could see was a small hand above the water holding the flowers.
    We also had an Elizabethan ice house underneath the walk-in larder. It was about 6 feet square with drainage at the bottom. You packed it with layers of straw and snow, stamped it down and then closed the trap door. It lasted until July and the larder above it was always really cold.

    Reply
  47. From Elizabeth:
    Nicola
    We not only swam in the moat, we regularly fell into it! I remember my brother Theo (age 2) toddling towards it holding a bunch of snowdrops he’d picked for Nanny. It was February and snowy. He fell in and all we could see was a small hand above the water holding the flowers.
    We also had an Elizabethan ice house underneath the walk-in larder. It was about 6 feet square with drainage at the bottom. You packed it with layers of straw and snow, stamped it down and then closed the trap door. It lasted until July and the larder above it was always really cold.

    Reply
  48. From Elizabeth:
    Nicola
    We not only swam in the moat, we regularly fell into it! I remember my brother Theo (age 2) toddling towards it holding a bunch of snowdrops he’d picked for Nanny. It was February and snowy. He fell in and all we could see was a small hand above the water holding the flowers.
    We also had an Elizabethan ice house underneath the walk-in larder. It was about 6 feet square with drainage at the bottom. You packed it with layers of straw and snow, stamped it down and then closed the trap door. It lasted until July and the larder above it was always really cold.

    Reply
  49. From Elizabeth:
    Nicola
    We not only swam in the moat, we regularly fell into it! I remember my brother Theo (age 2) toddling towards it holding a bunch of snowdrops he’d picked for Nanny. It was February and snowy. He fell in and all we could see was a small hand above the water holding the flowers.
    We also had an Elizabethan ice house underneath the walk-in larder. It was about 6 feet square with drainage at the bottom. You packed it with layers of straw and snow, stamped it down and then closed the trap door. It lasted until July and the larder above it was always really cold.

    Reply
  50. From Elizabeth:
    Nicola
    We not only swam in the moat, we regularly fell into it! I remember my brother Theo (age 2) toddling towards it holding a bunch of snowdrops he’d picked for Nanny. It was February and snowy. He fell in and all we could see was a small hand above the water holding the flowers.
    We also had an Elizabethan ice house underneath the walk-in larder. It was about 6 feet square with drainage at the bottom. You packed it with layers of straw and snow, stamped it down and then closed the trap door. It lasted until July and the larder above it was always really cold.

    Reply
  51. From Elizabeth:
    Jo
    A less lofty future? An interesting question, Jo. I think what my heroines really want is to count. If you grow up in the nursery wing of a big house (day nursery, night nursery, bathroom) and see your parents infrequently, it’s hard to think of yourself as mattering very much. We even had separate holidays. Chilly British seaside for us. France for my parents.
    My heroines have things they want to do. Emilia, in ‘Frost Fair’, for example, supports herself by writing Gothic novels. They want a future where they can be themselves. My heroes accept that – even if it takes them most of the book to learn to do so!
    Hall Garth is basically an Elizabethan farm house which has had various makeovers over the centuries, e.g. the Georgian façade in the photo. It also has a park with a folly – a small battlemented building with arrow slit windows. In my childhood it was used by cows – a bit of a come down. Surely some Regency gentleman should be penning a sonnet or two there!

    Reply
  52. From Elizabeth:
    Jo
    A less lofty future? An interesting question, Jo. I think what my heroines really want is to count. If you grow up in the nursery wing of a big house (day nursery, night nursery, bathroom) and see your parents infrequently, it’s hard to think of yourself as mattering very much. We even had separate holidays. Chilly British seaside for us. France for my parents.
    My heroines have things they want to do. Emilia, in ‘Frost Fair’, for example, supports herself by writing Gothic novels. They want a future where they can be themselves. My heroes accept that – even if it takes them most of the book to learn to do so!
    Hall Garth is basically an Elizabethan farm house which has had various makeovers over the centuries, e.g. the Georgian façade in the photo. It also has a park with a folly – a small battlemented building with arrow slit windows. In my childhood it was used by cows – a bit of a come down. Surely some Regency gentleman should be penning a sonnet or two there!

    Reply
  53. From Elizabeth:
    Jo
    A less lofty future? An interesting question, Jo. I think what my heroines really want is to count. If you grow up in the nursery wing of a big house (day nursery, night nursery, bathroom) and see your parents infrequently, it’s hard to think of yourself as mattering very much. We even had separate holidays. Chilly British seaside for us. France for my parents.
    My heroines have things they want to do. Emilia, in ‘Frost Fair’, for example, supports herself by writing Gothic novels. They want a future where they can be themselves. My heroes accept that – even if it takes them most of the book to learn to do so!
    Hall Garth is basically an Elizabethan farm house which has had various makeovers over the centuries, e.g. the Georgian façade in the photo. It also has a park with a folly – a small battlemented building with arrow slit windows. In my childhood it was used by cows – a bit of a come down. Surely some Regency gentleman should be penning a sonnet or two there!

    Reply
  54. From Elizabeth:
    Jo
    A less lofty future? An interesting question, Jo. I think what my heroines really want is to count. If you grow up in the nursery wing of a big house (day nursery, night nursery, bathroom) and see your parents infrequently, it’s hard to think of yourself as mattering very much. We even had separate holidays. Chilly British seaside for us. France for my parents.
    My heroines have things they want to do. Emilia, in ‘Frost Fair’, for example, supports herself by writing Gothic novels. They want a future where they can be themselves. My heroes accept that – even if it takes them most of the book to learn to do so!
    Hall Garth is basically an Elizabethan farm house which has had various makeovers over the centuries, e.g. the Georgian façade in the photo. It also has a park with a folly – a small battlemented building with arrow slit windows. In my childhood it was used by cows – a bit of a come down. Surely some Regency gentleman should be penning a sonnet or two there!

    Reply
  55. From Elizabeth:
    Jo
    A less lofty future? An interesting question, Jo. I think what my heroines really want is to count. If you grow up in the nursery wing of a big house (day nursery, night nursery, bathroom) and see your parents infrequently, it’s hard to think of yourself as mattering very much. We even had separate holidays. Chilly British seaside for us. France for my parents.
    My heroines have things they want to do. Emilia, in ‘Frost Fair’, for example, supports herself by writing Gothic novels. They want a future where they can be themselves. My heroes accept that – even if it takes them most of the book to learn to do so!
    Hall Garth is basically an Elizabethan farm house which has had various makeovers over the centuries, e.g. the Georgian façade in the photo. It also has a park with a folly – a small battlemented building with arrow slit windows. In my childhood it was used by cows – a bit of a come down. Surely some Regency gentleman should be penning a sonnet or two there!

    Reply
  56. Here’s another comment from Elizabeth – TypePad has not been kind and won’t let her in to comment!
    Mary Jo
    How fascinating! I’ve now stopped thinking Oklahoma! Actually, it sounds pretty similar to farmhouses in the north of England – also dairy and arable.
    I have great respect for those intrepid Puritan pioneers.
    I’m enjoying this! It’s 11.30pm here – so good-night to you all.
    Elizabeth.

    Reply
  57. Here’s another comment from Elizabeth – TypePad has not been kind and won’t let her in to comment!
    Mary Jo
    How fascinating! I’ve now stopped thinking Oklahoma! Actually, it sounds pretty similar to farmhouses in the north of England – also dairy and arable.
    I have great respect for those intrepid Puritan pioneers.
    I’m enjoying this! It’s 11.30pm here – so good-night to you all.
    Elizabeth.

    Reply
  58. Here’s another comment from Elizabeth – TypePad has not been kind and won’t let her in to comment!
    Mary Jo
    How fascinating! I’ve now stopped thinking Oklahoma! Actually, it sounds pretty similar to farmhouses in the north of England – also dairy and arable.
    I have great respect for those intrepid Puritan pioneers.
    I’m enjoying this! It’s 11.30pm here – so good-night to you all.
    Elizabeth.

    Reply
  59. Here’s another comment from Elizabeth – TypePad has not been kind and won’t let her in to comment!
    Mary Jo
    How fascinating! I’ve now stopped thinking Oklahoma! Actually, it sounds pretty similar to farmhouses in the north of England – also dairy and arable.
    I have great respect for those intrepid Puritan pioneers.
    I’m enjoying this! It’s 11.30pm here – so good-night to you all.
    Elizabeth.

    Reply
  60. Here’s another comment from Elizabeth – TypePad has not been kind and won’t let her in to comment!
    Mary Jo
    How fascinating! I’ve now stopped thinking Oklahoma! Actually, it sounds pretty similar to farmhouses in the north of England – also dairy and arable.
    I have great respect for those intrepid Puritan pioneers.
    I’m enjoying this! It’s 11.30pm here – so good-night to you all.
    Elizabeth.

    Reply
  61. Elizabeth, thank you for sharing your “inside” look at life in a manor house. I certainly envy the library . . . but can’t say I would have wanted to lead such a regimented childhood. We Americans tend to be a bit informal anyway, and I fear I would have chafed under all those rules.
    I love the fact that you use small historical incidents, like the giraffes, to spark a whole story idea (must read that one!) That’s another good pointer for aspiring writers—take real happening and let your imagination run with it in unexpected ways.
    I also find your comments about villains fascinating. It’s so true that in creating one with enough complex motivation to make him/her an interesting foil for the hero, one can end up creating a dangerous attraction. I love books where there’s a possibility that the bad guy can redeem himself, (Sethos in the Amelia Peabody books makes me swoon!)
    Now. I’m off to the bookstore for “Crossing The Tamar” which sounds absolutely wonderful!

    Reply
  62. Elizabeth, thank you for sharing your “inside” look at life in a manor house. I certainly envy the library . . . but can’t say I would have wanted to lead such a regimented childhood. We Americans tend to be a bit informal anyway, and I fear I would have chafed under all those rules.
    I love the fact that you use small historical incidents, like the giraffes, to spark a whole story idea (must read that one!) That’s another good pointer for aspiring writers—take real happening and let your imagination run with it in unexpected ways.
    I also find your comments about villains fascinating. It’s so true that in creating one with enough complex motivation to make him/her an interesting foil for the hero, one can end up creating a dangerous attraction. I love books where there’s a possibility that the bad guy can redeem himself, (Sethos in the Amelia Peabody books makes me swoon!)
    Now. I’m off to the bookstore for “Crossing The Tamar” which sounds absolutely wonderful!

    Reply
  63. Elizabeth, thank you for sharing your “inside” look at life in a manor house. I certainly envy the library . . . but can’t say I would have wanted to lead such a regimented childhood. We Americans tend to be a bit informal anyway, and I fear I would have chafed under all those rules.
    I love the fact that you use small historical incidents, like the giraffes, to spark a whole story idea (must read that one!) That’s another good pointer for aspiring writers—take real happening and let your imagination run with it in unexpected ways.
    I also find your comments about villains fascinating. It’s so true that in creating one with enough complex motivation to make him/her an interesting foil for the hero, one can end up creating a dangerous attraction. I love books where there’s a possibility that the bad guy can redeem himself, (Sethos in the Amelia Peabody books makes me swoon!)
    Now. I’m off to the bookstore for “Crossing The Tamar” which sounds absolutely wonderful!

    Reply
  64. Elizabeth, thank you for sharing your “inside” look at life in a manor house. I certainly envy the library . . . but can’t say I would have wanted to lead such a regimented childhood. We Americans tend to be a bit informal anyway, and I fear I would have chafed under all those rules.
    I love the fact that you use small historical incidents, like the giraffes, to spark a whole story idea (must read that one!) That’s another good pointer for aspiring writers—take real happening and let your imagination run with it in unexpected ways.
    I also find your comments about villains fascinating. It’s so true that in creating one with enough complex motivation to make him/her an interesting foil for the hero, one can end up creating a dangerous attraction. I love books where there’s a possibility that the bad guy can redeem himself, (Sethos in the Amelia Peabody books makes me swoon!)
    Now. I’m off to the bookstore for “Crossing The Tamar” which sounds absolutely wonderful!

    Reply
  65. Elizabeth, thank you for sharing your “inside” look at life in a manor house. I certainly envy the library . . . but can’t say I would have wanted to lead such a regimented childhood. We Americans tend to be a bit informal anyway, and I fear I would have chafed under all those rules.
    I love the fact that you use small historical incidents, like the giraffes, to spark a whole story idea (must read that one!) That’s another good pointer for aspiring writers—take real happening and let your imagination run with it in unexpected ways.
    I also find your comments about villains fascinating. It’s so true that in creating one with enough complex motivation to make him/her an interesting foil for the hero, one can end up creating a dangerous attraction. I love books where there’s a possibility that the bad guy can redeem himself, (Sethos in the Amelia Peabody books makes me swoon!)
    Now. I’m off to the bookstore for “Crossing The Tamar” which sounds absolutely wonderful!

    Reply
  66. Anne
    Your grandmother sounds what Georgette Heyer would have called ‘a tartar’! Still, as you say, the beautiful piano playing would make up for a lot. I’m sure she was so insistant on correct manners ‘for your own good’.
    Thank you for your comments on ‘Getting the Point’. Jenny and I particularly enjoyed creating Belinda Bubblewit, the aspiring author whose ‘Love and Lucasta’s Lord’ so clearly demonstrates What Not To Do. We both felt that the book should entertain as well as be a How to guide.
    Thank you for recommending it.
    Elizabeth
    Cara/Andrea
    You’re right; it was a childhood full of rules. I wrote to escape into a world where my heroines were free to have interesting lives.
    In the novels I wrote between the ages of 10 and 16, my heroines had some thrilling adventures. Judith in ‘The Black Arrow’ went to live with some outlaws in the forest (as one does).
    The eponymous heroine of ‘Philippa’ (14th century)was ship-wrecked, abducted by pirates, and rescued by the dashing hero, Sir Rupert de Fontaine.
    Tasgetia in ‘A Circle of Stones’, was enslaved in the Gallic wars against the Romans, had all sorts of adventures in Rome and married a young Roman nobleman. (I was doing ‘O’ level Latin and studying Caesar’s Gallic Wars.)
    ‘Gideon de Triste’ was a mediaeval time-slip story with battles galore (I discovered I liked writing action scenes,).
    ‘The Sound of the Sea’, started off as Daphne de Maurier (I’d been reading ‘Frenchman’s Creek’) and ended up as Georgette Heyer. My heroine, Bronze, fell in love with two men – I hadn’t meant her to fall for the second one but, stupidly, I’d left the French smuggler Roland de la Tour back in Cornwall while Bronze had a Season in London. Result – disaster! I had to yank the story back on track and send the kind but dull Miles off to the Peninsular War to be killed heroically.
    So your commments about ‘creating a dangerous attraction’ are spot on!
    I would like to thank everyone for their interesting comments.
    Elizabeth

    Reply
  67. Anne
    Your grandmother sounds what Georgette Heyer would have called ‘a tartar’! Still, as you say, the beautiful piano playing would make up for a lot. I’m sure she was so insistant on correct manners ‘for your own good’.
    Thank you for your comments on ‘Getting the Point’. Jenny and I particularly enjoyed creating Belinda Bubblewit, the aspiring author whose ‘Love and Lucasta’s Lord’ so clearly demonstrates What Not To Do. We both felt that the book should entertain as well as be a How to guide.
    Thank you for recommending it.
    Elizabeth
    Cara/Andrea
    You’re right; it was a childhood full of rules. I wrote to escape into a world where my heroines were free to have interesting lives.
    In the novels I wrote between the ages of 10 and 16, my heroines had some thrilling adventures. Judith in ‘The Black Arrow’ went to live with some outlaws in the forest (as one does).
    The eponymous heroine of ‘Philippa’ (14th century)was ship-wrecked, abducted by pirates, and rescued by the dashing hero, Sir Rupert de Fontaine.
    Tasgetia in ‘A Circle of Stones’, was enslaved in the Gallic wars against the Romans, had all sorts of adventures in Rome and married a young Roman nobleman. (I was doing ‘O’ level Latin and studying Caesar’s Gallic Wars.)
    ‘Gideon de Triste’ was a mediaeval time-slip story with battles galore (I discovered I liked writing action scenes,).
    ‘The Sound of the Sea’, started off as Daphne de Maurier (I’d been reading ‘Frenchman’s Creek’) and ended up as Georgette Heyer. My heroine, Bronze, fell in love with two men – I hadn’t meant her to fall for the second one but, stupidly, I’d left the French smuggler Roland de la Tour back in Cornwall while Bronze had a Season in London. Result – disaster! I had to yank the story back on track and send the kind but dull Miles off to the Peninsular War to be killed heroically.
    So your commments about ‘creating a dangerous attraction’ are spot on!
    I would like to thank everyone for their interesting comments.
    Elizabeth

    Reply
  68. Anne
    Your grandmother sounds what Georgette Heyer would have called ‘a tartar’! Still, as you say, the beautiful piano playing would make up for a lot. I’m sure she was so insistant on correct manners ‘for your own good’.
    Thank you for your comments on ‘Getting the Point’. Jenny and I particularly enjoyed creating Belinda Bubblewit, the aspiring author whose ‘Love and Lucasta’s Lord’ so clearly demonstrates What Not To Do. We both felt that the book should entertain as well as be a How to guide.
    Thank you for recommending it.
    Elizabeth
    Cara/Andrea
    You’re right; it was a childhood full of rules. I wrote to escape into a world where my heroines were free to have interesting lives.
    In the novels I wrote between the ages of 10 and 16, my heroines had some thrilling adventures. Judith in ‘The Black Arrow’ went to live with some outlaws in the forest (as one does).
    The eponymous heroine of ‘Philippa’ (14th century)was ship-wrecked, abducted by pirates, and rescued by the dashing hero, Sir Rupert de Fontaine.
    Tasgetia in ‘A Circle of Stones’, was enslaved in the Gallic wars against the Romans, had all sorts of adventures in Rome and married a young Roman nobleman. (I was doing ‘O’ level Latin and studying Caesar’s Gallic Wars.)
    ‘Gideon de Triste’ was a mediaeval time-slip story with battles galore (I discovered I liked writing action scenes,).
    ‘The Sound of the Sea’, started off as Daphne de Maurier (I’d been reading ‘Frenchman’s Creek’) and ended up as Georgette Heyer. My heroine, Bronze, fell in love with two men – I hadn’t meant her to fall for the second one but, stupidly, I’d left the French smuggler Roland de la Tour back in Cornwall while Bronze had a Season in London. Result – disaster! I had to yank the story back on track and send the kind but dull Miles off to the Peninsular War to be killed heroically.
    So your commments about ‘creating a dangerous attraction’ are spot on!
    I would like to thank everyone for their interesting comments.
    Elizabeth

    Reply
  69. Anne
    Your grandmother sounds what Georgette Heyer would have called ‘a tartar’! Still, as you say, the beautiful piano playing would make up for a lot. I’m sure she was so insistant on correct manners ‘for your own good’.
    Thank you for your comments on ‘Getting the Point’. Jenny and I particularly enjoyed creating Belinda Bubblewit, the aspiring author whose ‘Love and Lucasta’s Lord’ so clearly demonstrates What Not To Do. We both felt that the book should entertain as well as be a How to guide.
    Thank you for recommending it.
    Elizabeth
    Cara/Andrea
    You’re right; it was a childhood full of rules. I wrote to escape into a world where my heroines were free to have interesting lives.
    In the novels I wrote between the ages of 10 and 16, my heroines had some thrilling adventures. Judith in ‘The Black Arrow’ went to live with some outlaws in the forest (as one does).
    The eponymous heroine of ‘Philippa’ (14th century)was ship-wrecked, abducted by pirates, and rescued by the dashing hero, Sir Rupert de Fontaine.
    Tasgetia in ‘A Circle of Stones’, was enslaved in the Gallic wars against the Romans, had all sorts of adventures in Rome and married a young Roman nobleman. (I was doing ‘O’ level Latin and studying Caesar’s Gallic Wars.)
    ‘Gideon de Triste’ was a mediaeval time-slip story with battles galore (I discovered I liked writing action scenes,).
    ‘The Sound of the Sea’, started off as Daphne de Maurier (I’d been reading ‘Frenchman’s Creek’) and ended up as Georgette Heyer. My heroine, Bronze, fell in love with two men – I hadn’t meant her to fall for the second one but, stupidly, I’d left the French smuggler Roland de la Tour back in Cornwall while Bronze had a Season in London. Result – disaster! I had to yank the story back on track and send the kind but dull Miles off to the Peninsular War to be killed heroically.
    So your commments about ‘creating a dangerous attraction’ are spot on!
    I would like to thank everyone for their interesting comments.
    Elizabeth

    Reply
  70. Anne
    Your grandmother sounds what Georgette Heyer would have called ‘a tartar’! Still, as you say, the beautiful piano playing would make up for a lot. I’m sure she was so insistant on correct manners ‘for your own good’.
    Thank you for your comments on ‘Getting the Point’. Jenny and I particularly enjoyed creating Belinda Bubblewit, the aspiring author whose ‘Love and Lucasta’s Lord’ so clearly demonstrates What Not To Do. We both felt that the book should entertain as well as be a How to guide.
    Thank you for recommending it.
    Elizabeth
    Cara/Andrea
    You’re right; it was a childhood full of rules. I wrote to escape into a world where my heroines were free to have interesting lives.
    In the novels I wrote between the ages of 10 and 16, my heroines had some thrilling adventures. Judith in ‘The Black Arrow’ went to live with some outlaws in the forest (as one does).
    The eponymous heroine of ‘Philippa’ (14th century)was ship-wrecked, abducted by pirates, and rescued by the dashing hero, Sir Rupert de Fontaine.
    Tasgetia in ‘A Circle of Stones’, was enslaved in the Gallic wars against the Romans, had all sorts of adventures in Rome and married a young Roman nobleman. (I was doing ‘O’ level Latin and studying Caesar’s Gallic Wars.)
    ‘Gideon de Triste’ was a mediaeval time-slip story with battles galore (I discovered I liked writing action scenes,).
    ‘The Sound of the Sea’, started off as Daphne de Maurier (I’d been reading ‘Frenchman’s Creek’) and ended up as Georgette Heyer. My heroine, Bronze, fell in love with two men – I hadn’t meant her to fall for the second one but, stupidly, I’d left the French smuggler Roland de la Tour back in Cornwall while Bronze had a Season in London. Result – disaster! I had to yank the story back on track and send the kind but dull Miles off to the Peninsular War to be killed heroically.
    So your commments about ‘creating a dangerous attraction’ are spot on!
    I would like to thank everyone for their interesting comments.
    Elizabeth

    Reply
  71. What a wonderful and interesting post. I went to your site for a further look. I found The Changeling most interesting and hope you finish it. I’ll be looking for your books. I like books with adventure and characters that are a bit different. Sweet isn’t all that satisfying if you don’t have the tart for balance and interest.
    Have a great holiday season.

    Reply
  72. What a wonderful and interesting post. I went to your site for a further look. I found The Changeling most interesting and hope you finish it. I’ll be looking for your books. I like books with adventure and characters that are a bit different. Sweet isn’t all that satisfying if you don’t have the tart for balance and interest.
    Have a great holiday season.

    Reply
  73. What a wonderful and interesting post. I went to your site for a further look. I found The Changeling most interesting and hope you finish it. I’ll be looking for your books. I like books with adventure and characters that are a bit different. Sweet isn’t all that satisfying if you don’t have the tart for balance and interest.
    Have a great holiday season.

    Reply
  74. What a wonderful and interesting post. I went to your site for a further look. I found The Changeling most interesting and hope you finish it. I’ll be looking for your books. I like books with adventure and characters that are a bit different. Sweet isn’t all that satisfying if you don’t have the tart for balance and interest.
    Have a great holiday season.

    Reply
  75. What a wonderful and interesting post. I went to your site for a further look. I found The Changeling most interesting and hope you finish it. I’ll be looking for your books. I like books with adventure and characters that are a bit different. Sweet isn’t all that satisfying if you don’t have the tart for balance and interest.
    Have a great holiday season.

    Reply
  76. I’m very late here, so I won’t ask any questions. I’ve greatly enjoyed reading the interview and comments from everyone. It’s easy to romanticize what one has never experienced in real life.
    I, for one, am eager to start reading your books, Elizabeth, solely from “meeting” you here.
    Thanks for the introduction, Nicola.

    Reply
  77. I’m very late here, so I won’t ask any questions. I’ve greatly enjoyed reading the interview and comments from everyone. It’s easy to romanticize what one has never experienced in real life.
    I, for one, am eager to start reading your books, Elizabeth, solely from “meeting” you here.
    Thanks for the introduction, Nicola.

    Reply
  78. I’m very late here, so I won’t ask any questions. I’ve greatly enjoyed reading the interview and comments from everyone. It’s easy to romanticize what one has never experienced in real life.
    I, for one, am eager to start reading your books, Elizabeth, solely from “meeting” you here.
    Thanks for the introduction, Nicola.

    Reply
  79. I’m very late here, so I won’t ask any questions. I’ve greatly enjoyed reading the interview and comments from everyone. It’s easy to romanticize what one has never experienced in real life.
    I, for one, am eager to start reading your books, Elizabeth, solely from “meeting” you here.
    Thanks for the introduction, Nicola.

    Reply
  80. I’m very late here, so I won’t ask any questions. I’ve greatly enjoyed reading the interview and comments from everyone. It’s easy to romanticize what one has never experienced in real life.
    I, for one, am eager to start reading your books, Elizabeth, solely from “meeting” you here.
    Thanks for the introduction, Nicola.

    Reply
  81. To: Patricia
    Re: The Changeling. Writing a children’s book is a new thing for me and it’s certainly not the easy option. I had a lot to learn, so I joined the Islington Children’s Writers’ Group – all published children’s authors. I’m very much the beginner. We critique each other’s work and I’ve found it really helpful; you’ve got to cut the cackle and get on with the action.
    I’m so pleased you enjoyed it, Patricia. It’s made my day!
    Elizabeth
    __________________________________
    To Keira:
    Thank you, Keira. I, too, have enjoyed it immensely. What nice, intelligent people you all are!
    I’d love to know what anyone reading this thinks of my books. I’m sure your comments would be stimulating. My email adress is on my website.
    My very best wishes to all of you.
    Elizabeth

    Reply
  82. To: Patricia
    Re: The Changeling. Writing a children’s book is a new thing for me and it’s certainly not the easy option. I had a lot to learn, so I joined the Islington Children’s Writers’ Group – all published children’s authors. I’m very much the beginner. We critique each other’s work and I’ve found it really helpful; you’ve got to cut the cackle and get on with the action.
    I’m so pleased you enjoyed it, Patricia. It’s made my day!
    Elizabeth
    __________________________________
    To Keira:
    Thank you, Keira. I, too, have enjoyed it immensely. What nice, intelligent people you all are!
    I’d love to know what anyone reading this thinks of my books. I’m sure your comments would be stimulating. My email adress is on my website.
    My very best wishes to all of you.
    Elizabeth

    Reply
  83. To: Patricia
    Re: The Changeling. Writing a children’s book is a new thing for me and it’s certainly not the easy option. I had a lot to learn, so I joined the Islington Children’s Writers’ Group – all published children’s authors. I’m very much the beginner. We critique each other’s work and I’ve found it really helpful; you’ve got to cut the cackle and get on with the action.
    I’m so pleased you enjoyed it, Patricia. It’s made my day!
    Elizabeth
    __________________________________
    To Keira:
    Thank you, Keira. I, too, have enjoyed it immensely. What nice, intelligent people you all are!
    I’d love to know what anyone reading this thinks of my books. I’m sure your comments would be stimulating. My email adress is on my website.
    My very best wishes to all of you.
    Elizabeth

    Reply
  84. To: Patricia
    Re: The Changeling. Writing a children’s book is a new thing for me and it’s certainly not the easy option. I had a lot to learn, so I joined the Islington Children’s Writers’ Group – all published children’s authors. I’m very much the beginner. We critique each other’s work and I’ve found it really helpful; you’ve got to cut the cackle and get on with the action.
    I’m so pleased you enjoyed it, Patricia. It’s made my day!
    Elizabeth
    __________________________________
    To Keira:
    Thank you, Keira. I, too, have enjoyed it immensely. What nice, intelligent people you all are!
    I’d love to know what anyone reading this thinks of my books. I’m sure your comments would be stimulating. My email adress is on my website.
    My very best wishes to all of you.
    Elizabeth

    Reply
  85. To: Patricia
    Re: The Changeling. Writing a children’s book is a new thing for me and it’s certainly not the easy option. I had a lot to learn, so I joined the Islington Children’s Writers’ Group – all published children’s authors. I’m very much the beginner. We critique each other’s work and I’ve found it really helpful; you’ve got to cut the cackle and get on with the action.
    I’m so pleased you enjoyed it, Patricia. It’s made my day!
    Elizabeth
    __________________________________
    To Keira:
    Thank you, Keira. I, too, have enjoyed it immensely. What nice, intelligent people you all are!
    I’d love to know what anyone reading this thinks of my books. I’m sure your comments would be stimulating. My email adress is on my website.
    My very best wishes to all of you.
    Elizabeth

    Reply
  86. Elizabeth – I was delighted to discover on your website that you’re also Rachel Summerson. I read the two RS books years ago and always wished there were more. Looking forward to devouring your backlist!

    Reply
  87. Elizabeth – I was delighted to discover on your website that you’re also Rachel Summerson. I read the two RS books years ago and always wished there were more. Looking forward to devouring your backlist!

    Reply
  88. Elizabeth – I was delighted to discover on your website that you’re also Rachel Summerson. I read the two RS books years ago and always wished there were more. Looking forward to devouring your backlist!

    Reply
  89. Elizabeth – I was delighted to discover on your website that you’re also Rachel Summerson. I read the two RS books years ago and always wished there were more. Looking forward to devouring your backlist!

    Reply
  90. Elizabeth – I was delighted to discover on your website that you’re also Rachel Summerson. I read the two RS books years ago and always wished there were more. Looking forward to devouring your backlist!

    Reply
  91. To Suzanna
    Bless you, Suzanna! I thought my Rachel Summerson novels had faded into complete darkness.
    You will find my early Elizabeth Hawksleys much more traditional Regency romances. The later ones have become more and more like Rachel Summersons!
    best wishes
    Elizabeth (and Rachel, too!)

    Reply
  92. To Suzanna
    Bless you, Suzanna! I thought my Rachel Summerson novels had faded into complete darkness.
    You will find my early Elizabeth Hawksleys much more traditional Regency romances. The later ones have become more and more like Rachel Summersons!
    best wishes
    Elizabeth (and Rachel, too!)

    Reply
  93. To Suzanna
    Bless you, Suzanna! I thought my Rachel Summerson novels had faded into complete darkness.
    You will find my early Elizabeth Hawksleys much more traditional Regency romances. The later ones have become more and more like Rachel Summersons!
    best wishes
    Elizabeth (and Rachel, too!)

    Reply
  94. To Suzanna
    Bless you, Suzanna! I thought my Rachel Summerson novels had faded into complete darkness.
    You will find my early Elizabeth Hawksleys much more traditional Regency romances. The later ones have become more and more like Rachel Summersons!
    best wishes
    Elizabeth (and Rachel, too!)

    Reply
  95. To Suzanna
    Bless you, Suzanna! I thought my Rachel Summerson novels had faded into complete darkness.
    You will find my early Elizabeth Hawksleys much more traditional Regency romances. The later ones have become more and more like Rachel Summersons!
    best wishes
    Elizabeth (and Rachel, too!)

    Reply

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