Hello Glynis – And thank you for joining me on Arabella’s Blog and Chit-Chat today. It was lovely to connect with you through the Romantic Novelists’ Association. I find the RNA to be a great group of authors and affiliate members with whom to share the writing journey. I’ve learnt so much from sharing with them, and hope you have too. But before we discover more about your latest release, ‘Cecilia or Too Tall to Love’, here are a few questions which will hopefully give your readers and followers and insight into some of the things that matter to you.
Arabella: How did you manage to get your first Regency novel published and what did you learn from the experience?
Glynis: I managed to get Imogen or Love and Money published when, like a 19th century explorer, I hacked through the impenetrable jungle that is Amazon! I had given up on the idea of traditional publishing when I realized it would take about a year for a book to come out. Since I’m 72 and have six books and counting, I thought I might be dead before I saw them all in print! Of course, it helped in the decision-making that I’d already been rejected by a couple of publishers!
Arabella: If you could choose, which would it be: A walk in the woods, a walk along a beach front to dip your toes in the sea, or a day shopping for clothes?
Glynis: Ooh! Definitely a walk along the beach. I come from Portsmouth, which is, of course, by the sea, and my boarding school was in Bournemouth – Boscombe, actually. It’s now the Royal College of Chiropracters! The nuns used to walk us two by two down the zig-zag cliff paths in our navy-blue uniforms. We’d change in one of those huts (not there any more) and swim as early as May in the freezing water. We had those sagging wool swimming costumes some of your older readers might remember. Attractive, they were not! I attribute my amazing good health to those bracing expeditions! Nowadays, I live in the USA and spend the winter in Florida, so the beach is readily available, or would be, were it not for the appalling traffic. As for clothes, I’m 6ft tall and of a build that doesn’t accord with any sizing known to man, so clothes shopping is definitely not for me!
Arabella: Who or what inspired you to write your latest Regency release, Cecilia or Too Tall to Love?
Glynis: I already talked about going to boarding school. My younger sister was with me. We used to read Georgette Heyer under the covers with a torch after lights out. Regency Romances have been a life-long passion, but I never even considered writing one, or anything. Then my dear sister died unexpectedly in 2018 and honestly, the day after her funeral, I sat up in bed and the first story came to me whole and entire. I wrote it in under a month. I’m sure it was she who inspired me, and continues to do so. Writing has been integral to my grieving process and has seen me through it. I am publishing the second book, Cecilia or Too Tall to Love in February, and the third, Rosemary or Too Clever to Love, (discern a pattern?!) in May.
Arabella: Learning the special symbolism of flowers became a popular pastime in the 1800’s.
A Pink Rose symbolises: grace, happiness and gentleness, and a Forget-Me-Not symbolises: true love memories. Do you have a favourite flower, and does it hold a special symbolic mean or sentiment for you personally?
Glynis: I love flowers and have a garden in upstate New York where something is in bloom from April till November. The winters are too cold for anything to bloom. My birth month flower is the gladiolus, which I used to seriously dislike. I thought them boring. But as I’ve got older, I’ve come to love them. They bloom all up the stem if you pick off the dead heads at the bottom. That strikes me as amazingly resilient. It’s as if they’re saying you think I’m done, well watch this! A good motto for an older woman! I also recently found out that if you give them to someone, it says that he or she pierces your heart with passion. Also a good motto for an older woman!
|A View of Glynis's Floral Garden|
Arabella: Some authors write at first light, others need a mug of coffee or a glass of wine before putting pen to paper. When writing, are there any “essentials” you need to help the words flow?
Glynis: No, I can write anywhere, any time. All I need is my keyboard and a bit of peace and quiet. I have arthritis in my fingers (thanks, Mum!) and never write longhand. We always go to Florida on the car train and I tippy-tappy all the way down. I don’t plan my books in any real way. I know where the story is going, more or less, but once my characters come to me, they tell me what I need to know.
Arabella: Are there any organizations, writing, or reader groups that you belong to? And, how do they support or help you in creating your novels?
Glynis: I belong to the wonderful RNA and love the exchanges between authors on their FB sites. The questions that come up are the ones we all face: how to query, how to attract an agent or publisher, how to market, etc. It’s a wonderfully supportive group. I also belong to two Book Groups, but, do you know, in over thirty years we’ve never discussed a Romance, until they were kind enough to choose my first novel. It’s so strange, as Romance (as a general category) is by far the best-selling category on Amazon. I think people just assume Romances, and Regencies in particular, are all fluff and totally lack gravitas. We had a very interesting discussion of Imogen or Love and Money in my Book Group, so I decided to include Conversation Starters at the end of Cecilia or Too Tall to Love. I hope people enjoy using them!
Arabella: You’re halfway through the work-in-progress, you’re about to kill off the hero and there is going to be no happy-ever-after. In other words, you’re stuck! If you had to contact an “author/publisher/editor friend” for guidance, who would it be?
Glynis: I’d email my never-met-but-good-email-friend AudreyHarrison, accomplished and well-known writer of Regency Romances, fellow member of the RNA. She has been a fount of wisdom and a patient explainer on my publishing journey. I recently also e-met Val Portelli, another RNA member who’s been really kind. We’re hoping to collaborate on an Anthology. Having said that, I’d NEVER kill off my hero!! Regencies don’t do that and anyway, I love them all too much! The odd fencing wound or gunshot, perhaps, from which the heroine lovingly nurses them back to full vigour!
Arabella: Your next Regency WIP (work in progress) is on schedule, and it’s time to take a break and relax. Which Jane Austen adaptation would you choose to watch (again J) ?
2) Pride and Prejudice
3) Northanger Abbey
4) Mansfield Park
Glynis: Definitely Pride & Prejudice, which I think I can quote practically line for line. I love all of Jane Austen but I think P & P one of the finest books ever written. The story arc, the characters, the precision of the language – absolutely wonderful. I think the TV multi-episode adaptation was the best, particularly for the casting of Mr. Collins and Lady de Bourgh, who were absolutely perfect.
Arabella: Do you have any great writing, publishing, or marketing tips you’d like to share to “want-to-be” historical authors starting out on their writing journey?
Glynis: I’m so new on the journey myself I hesitate to give advice, but I would say that if you are an indie publisher you cannot have too many reviews of your book ready to be published the minute it goes up. This is one time not be afraid of shameless self-promotion, so use all the groups, friends and contacts you have to ask people to preview your book. You can make it free for the first few days so they can get the book and give you a verified purchase review. Another thing, don’t forget to put a note in your book, asking readers to give you a review. I didn’t do either of those things with my first book, thinking, probably as we all do, This is so good people will rush to read it! Nope! It just ain’t so!
Thank you for joining me on Arabella’s Blog and Chit-Chat, Glynis.
The fact you were rejected by a few publishers when you first started out on your publishing journey…well, who hasn’t been? I think I can count on one hand the number of authors that have sailed through a book's publication without an agent’s or publisher’s rejection.
But I think what will take away with me from our ‘virtual’ Chit-Chat it that I’m so pleased you were able to tell us a little bit about your grieving process and how your sister has inspired you to write, and how writing has helped you to honour her memory. Thank you.
Good luck with your latest release, Cecilia or Too Tall to Love, and wishing you lots more happy-ever-after Regency writing.
About GL Robinson
I’m a product of a convent boarding school in the south of England in the 1950’s and early 60’s. You can probably guess I received an old-fashioned education. It actually could have been in the middle ages. We used those desks with inkwells and it was only after a year or two that we started having ink pens with refillable cartridges. I learned a great deal about the humanities and practically nothing in the sciences. I understand Latin, speak French fluently and my German isn’t bad. I read the Canterbury Tales in the original Middle English when I was 16 and Shakespeare is an open book. But the only science I remember is the ditty: Miss Cummings (our teacher) was a scientist, alas she is no more, for what she took for H2O (water) was H2SO4 (sulphuric acid). Not bad, eh? Words to live by!
I met my American husband while working in Brussels and Bonn and had three children in a foreign tongue. I’ve lived in the USA for over 40 years and retired from my job as a French professor about six years ago. I have seven grandchildren and the same husband I started with.
I began writing Regency Romances 18 months ago after the death of my beloved sister who was in the convent with me all those years ago. We used to read them under the covers with a torch after lights out. My books are dedicated to her. You can see a pic of us together at Portsmouth Dockyard in the About Us section on my website: https://romancenovelsbyglrobinson.com/
FB: GL Robinson Author https://www.facebook.com/startedwritinglate/
I don’t do Instagram yet, but soon, when I’ve recovered from the effort of the others. Bear in mind I grew up in a house with no inside plumbing, let alone a phone or television!
BOOK BLURB: Cecilia or Too Tall To Love
What does orphaned Cecilia Beaumaris, a too tall, too outspoken gentlewoman with no pretensions to beauty and no fortune, do when she is forced to leave the boarding school she has been living in for nearly fifteen years? She decides to open her own school, of course. But she can’t touch her small inheritance until she is twenty-five, so she has to live temporarily with her aunt and uncle. But they don’t want her. To get her married off, they invent a fortune she doesn’t have and she’s besieged by fortune hunters. Enter Lord Thomas Allenby, a handsome, fashionable fribble, who has his own reasons for wanting to escape the marriage mart. He persuades her to announce a faux betrothal, but it doesn’t work out quite how Cecilia expects.
Against the background of early nineteenth century London, with its fashionable Mayfair mansions, East End slums and the development of public education, this is the story of how one woman seeks to improve the lives of impoverished girls by opening a school for them. The effect on her own life is beyond her wildest imaginings.
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/GL-Robinson/e/B08113Q84K?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_2&qid=1580144556&sr=8-2
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/GL-Robinson/e/B08113Q84K?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_2&qid=1580144556&sr=8-2
You can also sign up on GL Robinson's website for a free short story...