I’m delighted to welcome Beth Elliott to my blog.
Hello Beth – I’ve been looking forward to hosting you on Arabella’s Blog and Chit-Chat, and I’m eager to learn some of your writing secrets. But before we discover more about your Regency book, The Outcasts, that you are releasing later this year, here are a few questions which will hopefully give your readers and followers an insight into some of the things that matter to you.
Beth: Hello Arabella, and thank you for inviting me to chat on your Blog today.
Arabella: Authors can release books, making them available to readers in various ways…via an agent, or working directly with a traditional publisher, or they can even go the self-publishing route. Which method of publishing do you prefer, and why?
Beth: So far I’ve been happy to work directly with traditional publishers. I received lots of good advice and help from my first publisher. The covers for my stories were bright and inviting as well. Now we communicate by email, I find it reassuring to be able to settle any questions quickly. I prefer not to handle the technical side but probably will venture into self-publishing one day, and see how it works for me.
Arabella: A slice of Chocolate Cake, a piece of Fruit, or Burger and Fries?
Beth: I’m not very fond of chocolate, and I’ve cooked too many burgers and fries to want more. Any fruit – especially apricots and raspberries – would always be a treat.
Arabella: Who or what inspired you to write your soon to be published Regency novel, The Outcasts?
Beth: The Outcasts is the story of Joachim, the youngest brother in the Montailhac family. He’s too busy running the family estate to spare any time for his mother’s guest, a young lady so withdrawn he calls her Miss Dismal to himself. But both of them helping after a tragic accident at the local mine reveals another side to Nell’s character. Little by little, respect leads to friendship and love, only for them to be torn apart. It seems impossible for them to meet again, but love always finds a way.
[This story will be published later this year.]
Arabella: If the person of your dreams (husband/wife/partner/or Regency beau) were to invite you out, where would they take you, and which vehicle would they use:
Beth: I’d want to be driven from my smart lodging on Marine Parade to Brighton Racecourse in a curricle, by a Corinthian, probably Sir Waldo Hawkridge or else by my own Arnaut de Montailhac, who handles the ribbons to perfection and who has irresistible charm.
Arabella: Which is your most favourite period drama or historical film you’ve seen to date, and why is it so special?
Beth: The 1995 Pride and Prejudice is still top of my list. I can believe in this Elizabeth and Darcy and never tire of watching how they go from the initial hostility to falling so deeply in love - *sigh* - that smouldering exchange of looks across the drawing room at Pemberley. No wonder he galloped off to propose the next morning. Also, it’s one of the rare films that follows the whole book, so there’s no disappointment at any cuts or rejigging of the plot.
|Pride and Prejudice - 1995|
If you could meet someone from Regency author - Georgette Heyer’s novels, which character would it be and what would you say to them?
Beth: Rose petals, pink champagne, his own yacht, a love of travel and adventure, and a kind heart – it HAS to be Lord Damerel. I’d say that I’d appreciate his advice on making a tour of Italy and Albania... and hold my breath for an invitation to cruise the Adriatic with him.
Arabella: When writing a book or chapter, which do you concentrate on first: plot, character, or setting?
Beth: A mix of all three. I always try to make the setting visually clear but my main focus is the character and what and why s/he’s doing this at this point and what emotion is involved.
Arabella: How do you research your Regency novels and characters?
Beth: All my stories start when a photo of a person suddenly surges towards me off the page I happen to be looking at. It could be from a magazine, a fashion catalogue or an online article and it can happen any time. Immediately I see scenes of their life but have no idea in what order these take place. Once I’ve collected a group of characters, they show me what they want to do, where they live and what their relationship is to each other. My research then begins with actual events of the year in which the story needs to take place, followed by the settings involved. This usually requires a visit. So whether it’s Bath, Brighton, Istanbul or the French Pyrenees, off I go to get the details as accurate as possible. I’m often incredibly lucky and get a private tour round the place I want to use. At this charming 17th-century royal pavilion in Istanbul, for instance,
or this 18th-century chateau in the French Pyrenees.
I’d also like to mention Hartwell House, where the staff were so helpful and had tales of the time the French king, Louis XVIII and his wife lived there. In addition to field visits [including one to Troy for Scandalous Lady], I have lots of reference books and of course, sources like Jane Austen’s novels.
Even so, the characters manipulate me horribly! One story ended up needing Huguenots, smallpox, silversmithing and a frigate journey, together with spies, horses and prehistoric caverns [also visited! Gulp]. I really was banging my head on the desk before everything in that tale was properly researched. And as if that were not enough, I also like to put real people in a story, but only in a minor role.
Arabella: What advice would you give to someone who is starting out on their writing journey?
Beth: It’s easy to write those first few pages, and maybe up to two or three chapters. But then realisation dawns that the task is a big one. I’d reassure them that every writer has times when they feel what they’ve written is rubbish. Never throw anything away, just give it some time. Rewriting is always possible and improves the text.
Be determined to complete the story and keep on writing regularly, in the time slot available. It was Colin Dexter who said, ‘Write a page a day and you’ll have a novel in a year.’ I find that excellent advice.
Thank you for joining me on Arabella’s Blog and Chit-Chat, Beth. It sounds as if you’ve had some amazing book researching experiences. And if you ever need to explore prehistoric caverns again, Cheddar Gorge and Wookey Hole caves in Somerset, England are excellent places to visit.
All the best for your soon to be re-published books and The Outcasts, and wishing you a lot more Regency romance writing.
Oh…and your shout-out about Colin Dexter’s advice is spot on. A page a day...and a book will soon be written.
About Beth Elliott
|Beth Elliott - Author|
Books have always been an essential part of my life. As soon as I could read for myself, books were the door to many other worlds. Often, though, they ended too soon, so I’d make up extra chapters to complete the story to my satisfaction. Any tale of long ago and far away appealed, but once I read Pride and Prejudice, the Regency world became my favourite place. It’s no wonder my own stories are set in that elegant but dangerous era.
My Regency Tales offer an escape from the everyday world; a place to go for some adventure, intrigue and romance, together with the certainty of a happy ending – at least for the main characters. That eliminates any anxiety about the final outcome. It’s the journey to get there that provides suspense and enjoyment. For me, both as reader and writer, the more impossible the initial problems facing my characters, the more fun in the story.
For more information, visit Beth at the following links.
The Wild Card
In All Honour set in Bath in 1812.
Sarah Davenport’s brother has gambled away his entire fortune. Lord Percival implies he will accept Sarah in lieu of the debt. Major Greg Thatcham's family apparently also owes money to Lord Percival. When Greg seeks help from Sarah, attraction flares between them. But, in all honour, he is the one man she can never marry. Then Lord Percival kidnaps her. Can Greg find her before tragedy strikes again?