11 May 2011

Debut Author spot - Please welcome Grace Elliot

Please give a warm welcome to  historical romance author Grace Elliot, whose debut  novel, A Dead Man’s Debt’    .

Author Bio. 
Grace Elliot leads a double life as a veterinarian by day and author of historical romance by night. Grace lives near London and is addicted to cats, acting as housekeeping staff to five mischievous moggies.

Grace believes intelligent people need romantic fiction in their lives as an antidote to the modern world and as an avid reader of historicals she turned to writing as a release from the emotionally draining side of veterinary work. Her debut novel ‘A Dead Man’s Debt’ is now available from most eBook stores including Amazon price $2.99.

What created your interest in history? And why did you choose the period to write in that you have?
I discovered the wonders of history whilst pregnant with my second son. It was a difficult pregnancy and I spent a lot of time resting and reading. By chance I picked up an engrossing book by Margaret George called ‘The Autobiography of Henry VIII.’ That the novel was based on fact was a revelation…but how could this be so when the book was so interesting? I then read my first non-fiction history book outside of school, and fell in love with the past. History books became an addiction…they occupy all available wall space at home…and research is the best excuse yet to buy more!
‘A Dead Man’s Debt’ is set in the regency period. There’s just something about the late Georgian era that lends its self to romance: men’s fashions were so dashing, woman dressed in flimsy silk gowns with tiny bodices, it was a time of strict manners when reputation was everything…just ripe for the romantic novelist to take advantage of!

How much time do you spend on research before you start writing?
There are two types of research. Firstly, that general to the regency era and secondly, facts pertinent to the story I’m writing.
I constantly read non-fiction for pleasure and so the general research looks after itself. Each novel requires specific research, such as what plays were popular that year, or what style bonnets were in vogue. I keep a hardback spiral bound notebook for each WIP (Work in progress) and during the first draft note down what’s needed and research the details as I go.
I couldn’t bare not to write every day. I’ll never be a writer who researches everything first and then, with all the facts in place, starts to write.

How much plotting do you have to do before you start writing?
My writing method is that characters come first; I decide on the hero or heroine, what makes them tick and their back story. From there I decide what circumstances they fear most…and guess what….plunge them right into that situation.
My characters write themselves, my task is to get inside their heads and anticipate their feelings and reactions…getting to know them inside out is the key to letting their voices speak on the page. When I’m ‘in the zone’ to steal a sporting reference, the words flow straight from the characters mouths and my fingers are just the conduit that lets it happen.

Why did you choose historical romance?
It’s the escapism of romance, and especially historical romance, that does it for me. Real life is tough, and as a working wife and mother I’m constantly busy, with little time to myself. My work as a veterinarian is also very stressful; making life and death decisions several times a day and dealing with the emotional consequences for owners can be draining, to say the least. And that’s where both reading and writing romance comes in. It’s my escape from reality, a means of detaching myself from the cares of the present and unwinding. I’d go so far as to say that most intelligent people could do with reading romance, as an antidote to the modern world.

If you could make one life-impacting change to the historical period you write about, what would it have been?
I’d stop the practice of blood letting and make midwives wash their hands!
For so many centuries doctors were pretty useless, and for whatever misguided reasons, bled their patients (perhaps to make it look like they were doing something!). How totally crazy is the idea of draining blood out of a weak and seriously ill patient? Madness! Likewise, the importance of hygiene was appreciated and many women died needlessly after childbirth from fever, because midwives and doctor didn’t bother wash their hands before gynaecological examinations.

If you didn't write, what would you like to do?
Or, if I wasn’t allowed a book (or kindle!) I’d go for a jog. …then come back and read.

What are you working on now?
You can’t beat a good historical romance for page turning, escapism and I hope my next novel ‘Eulogy’s Secret’ lives up to this.
‘Eulogy’s Secret’ is a story about hidden identity, dangerous assumptions and prejudice. Our heroine, Eulogy Foster, has a secret that could destroy lives…but will she keep that secret if, in the telling, she could win the man she loves?
Once again set in the Regency, this book is the first in a series of three, about very different brothers, and will be available later this year.

Book Blurb: ‘A Dead Man’s Debt’ by Grace Elliot.
Celeste Armitage has a plan…and that plan doesn’t include marriage.
After deliberately humiliating a suitor, Celeste’s despairing parents exile her to the country. But once there she discovers a sketch book of daring nude studies and is shaken to find the artist is her hostess’s eldest son, Lord Ranulf Charing. This darkly cynical lord is exactly the sort of dissipated rogue she despises most…if only her blood didn’t heat at the thought of him…
Nothing is as it seems. Lord Ranulf’s life is a façade. Only he can save the Charing’s from disgrace as a blackmailer seeks to ruin his late brother’s reputation. But just as Ranulf dares to open his heart to Celeste, the fury of his nemesis is unleashed… facing him with the stark choice between true love and family duty. However when Celeste guesses the truth behind his rejection, Ranulf underestimates her resolve to clear his name and in so doing places the woman he loves in mortal danger….

So be it. Ranulf gritted his teeth as he grasped the leading leg and pushed. It was like fighting against a brick wall, the calf barely moving. A lamb was difficult enough, how much more so a calf? Just as he was wondering if one man was strong enough, a shower of pebbles rattled down the bank. Concentrating on the calf, he barked.

“Don’t just stand there. Get down here!”

“I beg your pardon!” A woman’s voice answered.

With a flash of annoyance Ranulf glanced upward.

A wide eyed young woman in a straw bonnet peered down. “I say, is everything all right?”

“Does it look all right?” Muttering under his breath, all he needed was some sensitive Miss fainting on him. “Go! Fetch help from the house.”

He saw her hesitate, biting her top lip. “But you need help now.”

A contraction clamped around his arm as the cow's tail switched across his face, stinging his eyes like a cat-o-nine-tails.

In a flurry of muslin and lace the Miss slid down the bank, landing with a thud in the ditch.

“Ouch.” She rubbed her ankle. Ranulf glared back, dark eyes flashing.

“You should have gone to the house.” Damn it all, she could make herself useful then. “Hold the tail aside.”

Pulling a face she limped over. Ranulf's eye lingered for she merited a second glance. Of middle height with a tidy waist and curves where God intended them, she appeared quick witted and bright eyed. Without further ado, she stripped off her gloves throwing them onto a bramble bush. Long, sensitive fingers grasped the muddy tail. Practical, Ranulf thought, silently impressed.

“Why didn't you go for help?”

“There wasn't time.” Her bonnet slipped backwards, revealing a quirky face with a pointed chin, her lips finely drawn with an arched cupid's bow. The sort of face an artist could lose himself in, all shades of the sea to be found in deep emerald eyes framed by a tangle of chestnut hair.

Ranulf tightened his grasp and pushed. Sweat beading his brow. The calf retreated an inch.

“What are you doing?” Her voice was gentle and calm, if somewhat deep for a woman. Ranulf guessed it would be husky in bed, whispering over a pillow after a night of passion. Her eyes were on him - deep green eyes, lively and entrancing. Suddenly he remembered that he was undressed to the waist, her curious gaze on his skin as he was gripped by the idea of those lily white hands gliding over his naked chest, her almond shaped nails digging into his skin. He shook away the thought, trying to remember her question.

All innocence and interest she watched, blushing faintly in a charming way and yet, he realized, no wilting flower. He shook his head. The woman had asked a question, damn it. He would answer.

“The calf is breech.” He grunted, “I need to push her back into the womb to turn her…” He wanted to shock this stranger, to test how bold she truly was. She stared back, biting her top lip, exaggerating her snub nose.

“Ah!” Her gaze met his.

“Think of the calf as a carriage in a narrow driveway. To turn it around you push it back into the stable yard…”

“What can I do to help?”

“Nothing.” He growled.

Throwing him an angry look, she anchored the tail with a log and scrambled round to the beast's head. After a moment‟s thought, she placed her pelisse under the cow's head stroking the broad nose and crooning words of comfort.

“She's relaxing.” Ranulf's arm was numb from the contractions. He fell forward, as the first leg finally slid back into the womb. "That helps." His hair had come free from the ribbon, falling thickly about his shoulders. He glanced at the Miss. She was leaning forward, her bosom straining against a tight bodice, a satisfying cleavage between her breasts. He swallowed hard. She was odd looking, he decided, not exactly beautiful but eye catching none the less. Her face showed character, determination…and her complexion too healthy to be fashionable, rosy cheeked and peppered with freckles which with a hint of sunlight burst into a profusion.

The Miss was glaring at him now, her skin glowing bright pink. Had he been staring? His heart raced as he returned to the calving.

To find out more visit http://graceelliot-author.blogspot.com
or visit her web page http://www.graceelliot.webs.com/
You can buy A Dead Man's Debt HERE ~ HERE ~ HERE ~ HERE

:-) Grace, I love cats too. Thank you for joining us here and sharing information on your fascinating book.


Grace Elliot said...

Thanks you Sherry for making me feel so welcome.
Grace x
PS Cats rule - they so totally have their priorities sored!

Laurean Brooks said...

Hey there Sherry and Grace.

Grace, you are an interesting person and you write so vividly.

Like you, I could never be one of those writers who researches it all, then sits down to write. I'm what you call a "Pantster." (I think you are, too.) I plot by the seat of my pants. LOL.

Sherry, thank you for hosting Grace. This interview, excerpt and blurbs are intriguing.

Sherry and Grace, "May God bless the works of your hands."

Pssst! Grace, I'm a dog lover. Especially Labs.

Megan Johns said...

Great interview, Grace. I hope you continue to enjoy your writing 'escape'!