That’s right, lads and lassies… it’s one week until Christmas! And I have 100 followers! So that means:
I have a number of nifty little things lined up for you, so come back all week to see what’s up next on the List ‘o Goodies.
To start us off, I have an interview (and giveaway, yes) with UK author and law professor Rosy Thorton, who was kind enough to offer a copy of her latest book, The Tapestry of Love, for one of you, dear readers! Haven’t heard of Rosy’s work before? Well, never fear! Read on below…
My questions are in bold, and Rosy’s answers follow!
Hi, Rosy! Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions today, and allowing my readers to get to know a little bit more about you. I have a number of North American readers who, I suspect, may not be familiar with your work, so it’s wonderful to be able to learn a little more about an author ‘across the way’, if you will! Let’s start off with an easy one:
F: How long did it take you between realizing you wanted to write a novel, to actually sitting down and writing it?
R: No time at all. To quote Mr Darcy completely out of context, “I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun”. I started by writing fanfic, and I thought I’d just try a few experimental chapters, with no idea of carrying on further – and before I knew it I had written a complete novel.
F: So have you always wanted to be an author, or did the urge simply smack you upside the head one morning?
R: I never wanted to be a novelist, or to write fiction at all (although writing non-fiction is a large part of my day job as a legal academic). But then I watched the BBC’s adaptation of Elizabeth Gaskell’s classic novel, ‘North and South’ on television at the end of 2004. I had loved the novel as a teenager, and now as a 40-something adult I fell head over heels in love with actor Richard Armitage who played the lead rôle of millowner John Thornton. I went online to chat about the series – and discovered the world of internet fanfiction.
Why not have a bash myself, I thought? And three months later I found I had completed a full-length pastiche sequel to Gaskell’s novel! It was utter tripe, of course – but by now I had caught the writing bug, and went straight on to write my own first independent novel, ‘More Than Love Letters’, which was published in 2006.
F: Speaking of previously published novels… the Tapestry of Love is your fourth published novel (congratulations on that, by the way), but where did your inspiration for this novel in particular come from?
R: The inspiration was a place I went on holiday – Mont Lozère in the Cévennes region of France. I only spent two weeks there, back in 1990, but the place was so beautiful that it somehow got under my skin, and twenty years later I found I had to write a book about it. Take a look for yourselves, and you’ll see why:
F: You’re not kidding about it being a beautiful place! It can’t be easy to draw on memory from so long ago – I’d be scouring travel books to try and remember what went where! But description has always been my weakness. What have you found to be the biggest challenge in writing?
R: Plotting. I find the process of writing comes easily and naturally, and characters seem to emerge and develop almost by themselves. But I am terrible at plots – simply terrible. That’s the part I really have to work at.
F: How about your greatest joy, or the thing that has made it all worthwhile?
R: The best thing is when people tell me that my books have given them pleasure. It can be friends and family, or complete strangers who get in touch via my website – but it is always a fillip. The urge to write, after all, is the urge to communicate – and it is wonderful when I can feel I’ve made a connection through my books.
A colleague of mine who has had a difficult time in her family life recently told me that reading ‘The Tapestry of Love’ had been an escape for her when things were tough. That was very special – feeling that my book had made a difference to her.
F: How wonderful! And do you have a writing schedule? Or a special location where you feel particularly inspired?
R: I have a full-time job and a family, so writing fiction has to be squeezed into borrowed time. My usual pattern is to work on my novels in the early mornings before I get the children up – say from 5.30 to 7am. When you’re trying to fit in so much, there’s no time for the luxury of waiting to feel ‘inspired’ – you have to seize the chance to write when you can!
F: 5:30am!!! Yikes! I know what I’d be drinking at that hour, but what is your writing food and/or beverage of choice?
R: Coffee – I invariably have a cup of coffee at my elbow. My brain wouldn’t function at 5.30am without a good dose of caffeine! Food, though, is generally a mistake – it usually ends in raspberry jam gumming up the keyboard.
F: Ahh… coffee… the writer’s lifeblood. What are you reading right now?
R: Lorrie Moore’s ‘A Gate at the Stairs’ – and I’m loving it. It’s the first one of hers I’ve read, and I’m entranced by the fresh, sharp, witty voice.
F: And finally, any advice for the writers reading this interview?
R: Keep writing. Write a little every day, and try not to listen to that voice in your head (which all writers have) telling you it’s self-indulgent rubbish. Write for yourself, for enjoyment – and meanwhile read and read and read a wide range of good quality fiction, because that’s the best way to learn how it’s done.
F: Great advice! Reading great fiction can make all the difference in a writer’s own work. What’s next for Rosy Thornton? Are you working on anything right now that you can give us a sneak hint about?
R: I have one more completed novel which is currently with my agent. I don’t want to say anything about it for fear of jinxing it! And I have some preliminary ideas for the one after… but I am not writing anything right now.
F: Fair enough! Thanks Rosy!
Isn’t she sweet? I’m so grateful that she contacted me, and I’m really happy to be able to share this interview and her work with you. I highly recommend that you check out her website and read her bio and take a look at the books she’s written. There are some excellent testimonials for each book if you’re interested, and links to places where you can purchase each book.
But, you might be able to receive a copy of her latest book right now! Okay, not this minute, exactly, but Rosy has offered a copy to one lucky reader of this interview… so what are you waiting for?
Leave a comment below with your thoughts or questions for Rosy (or let us know if you’ve read one of her books before!), and include your name and email address (use a format that spammers can’t grab!). Yes, I’m really making it that easy to enter!
Contest is open Internationally, and I’ll leave entries open until December 24th. Then I’ll draw a name and, once I have your address, Rosy will send you your book!
**Good luck, and Merry Christmas… and come back later this week for more
Christmas Week/100 Followers giveaways!**