Author Archives: trudystattle

A modern take on North and South: “Collide”

Armitage Authors is pleased to introduce fellow Armitage fan, Melanie Stanford. Melanie shares with us a little about using Richard Armitage’s John Thornton as an inspiration for her newest novel: Collide, a modern romance based on North and South.
Tell us how you found John Thornton. Were you an Armitage fan before finding N&S? 
     I was what I’d call a moderate Armitage fan before I watched North & South. Moderate meaning I thought he was incredibly talented in both Robin Hood and Spooks, the kind of actor who really loses himself in a role so you forget who it is you’re watching. And then came North & South. The funny thing is, I didn’t want to watch it at first. The whole mill owner and strike and dirty Northern town didn’t really appeal to me. My mom had a Gaskell collection and we watched Cranford and Wives & Daughters before I finally agreed to watch N&S. And then WOW. Not only did N&S become a favourite, but I was suddenly seeing Richard Armitage in a whole new (read: swoon-worthy) light.
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Were you already a writer when you discovered N&S? What have you written?
     Yep, I’ve been writing since I was a kid. I started out writing epic fantasy, but my first finished novel was a Young Adult time travel romance. I’ve also written a YA Urban Fantasy retelling of Les Mis, and a YA Mystery. My first published novel is an adult romance called Sway, a retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion. It’s the first in my Romance Revisited series, with Collide being the second. I’m currently writing the third book in the series, a modern retelling of Anne Bronte’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. (The books are in a series but can all be read as standalones.)
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Melanie’s modern version of Austen’s “Persuasion”

Tell us a bit about your book. What inspired you to create a modern version of N&S? Was Richard Armitage‘s portrayal of John Thornton a factor? Would we see elements of him in your book?
    After publishing Sway, I knew I wanted to write other romances based off of classic novels. Because N&S had become a fave by then, it seemed right to do that one next. It proved a lot more difficult to modernize than Persuasion had been. I had no clue how to include the strike in a modern-day setting. I played with different concepts, different settings, different jobs the characters might have… I knew I wanted Maggie (my Margaret) to be artistic in some way. I also saw her rejecting a proposal right off the bat, like in the original. For Mr. Thornton, what really struck me was the scene in the movie where Margaret first sees Mr. Thornton beating up Stevens because he was caught smoking. That first impression is so vivid, and so obviously horrible (I mean, it’s no wonder Margaret doesn’t like him right off the bat), it really stuck with me. So I ended up making Jay (my Mr. Thornton) a loan shark’s enforcer- someone who beats people up for a living. Of course, this meant that I was deviating from the original by not making Jay his own boss or owning a business, like Mr. Thornton, but I hope readers will forgive me this change. There are definitely moments, from the movie especially, that I included in the book because I loved them so much. And when picturing and describing my Jay, he was always Richard Armitage in my head, so I think some of that will come through the character.
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Melanie’s modern version of “North and South”

What do you love about N&S and the characters?
      I love the story as a whole- it’s like Pride & Prejudice but with so much more going on. (P&P is also a fave!) I love the contrasts- dirty and bustling northern town and slow southern paradise, worker and master, rich tradesman and poor gentleman’s daughter. Contrasting Margaret who was brought up in higher society than Fanny but is so much more down-to-earth. The differences between the two mothers. Feeling the same as Mr. Hale when he’s learning about masters and workers and how he feels for both and can’t choose a side. The deep sadness and tragedy that threads throughout the story. Watching both Margaret and John change and grow as the story progresses. The compelling secondary characters. And let’s not forget that proposal! Wowza! One of my favourite things about the movie are the actor’s facial expressions. There are so many times when you can read exactly what they’re thinking on their face with the subtlest of looks. And let’s not forget Richard Armitage and that voice of his… “she did save me. But mother, I daren’t  believe such a woman could care for me.” I mean, we all read that in his voice, right?  (By the way, I love the way he says “but” in this movie. Silly, but true.)
Darent
What would you like Armitage fans to know about you?
     There’s this meme that has pictures of John Thornton and it says, “Some women like Chippendale’s… I prefer broody, buttoned up men with cravats and top hats.” Despite writing moderns, that is 100% me.

I think many of us are with you on that score, Melanie! Thanks for coming by our blog to tell us about your new book. There are far too few North and South fics out there! We’re glad to hear of any new additions to the Thornton list. 

You can find more about Melanie at her website, or follow her at Twitter,  Facebook, or Goodreads,

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Fan fiction – a journey into original creative writing

Kate Forrester holds the distinguished title of fan fiction queen in the Richard Armitage fandom. She has written fan fiction based upon more of Richard’s characters than anyone else we know of. She’s written stories based on Lucas North, Guy, Harry Kennedy, John Porter, John Thornton, and John Standring and a few others. (We interviewed her at The Armitage Authors Network two years ago: here. )

Today she tells us a little about her relationship with fan fiction and how it helped her move into writing her own original stories:

It’s strange, I always thought that my writing fan fiction began when I joined C19 back in 2008 – yes, that long ago. However, in writing this, I was reminded that my first piece of fan fiction was written at school for English composition – a Sherlock Holmes story about a jewel thief. I think the reason I forgot about this little story is that life interceded. I became a nurse, a wife, and a mother — and more than thirty years would pass before I returned to creative writing.

I often ponder what might have happened if a certain tall dark handsome cotton mill owner had not passed through my life. You see, I wouldn’t have joined C19. That wonderful place led me to become aware of a genre of writing called fan fiction. I was a reader first, but all too soon I was taking my first tentative steps in writing one. Mr Thornton, how much I owe you!

Pensive Thornton

It is odd to acknowledge my debt of gratitude to this literary character or at least his television incarnation, because he was the character I had the most trouble writing about. Unlike so many writers in the Richard Armitage (RA) fandom, I couldn’t and didn’t start with a North and South fan fiction. John and Margaret were too perfectly drawn by Mrs Gaskell. What did I have to say that was new about them? For a long time, the answer to that question was nothing. Instead, I followed an old adage and wrote about what I knew – medicine. Luckily for me The Golden Hour was shown about the time I entered the fandom and it was easy to write something based on a different ending to the hostage story.

Much to my utter surprise people enjoyed ‘A New Track’. Having written about one of Mr Armitage’s characters I found myself writing about another and then another. I became the RA fan who would write about most of his characters — that is, until he played Thorin. It seemed I had a new hobby and that is what fan fiction was for me — a hobby.

I get so frustrated when I read articles ridiculing and belittling fan fiction. Have the people out there sneering even read any fan fiction? There is a belief, wrongly held, if my experience is anything to go by, that if fan fiction isn’t written by obsessed teenagers, it must be written by middle-aged oddballs or sex starved housewives. Yet, the people I know who are writing fan fiction are normal folk with homes, jobs, and families. Yes, there is badly written fan fiction out there, I’ve even written some, but there is also some terrible original fiction out there as well. It could be and is argued that a lot of Shakespeare’s work is fan fiction, a retelling of old folk stories or history to suit his own purpose. Steven Moffat reimagines Conan Doyle’s Sherlock to huge critical acclaim while I reimagine Gaskell’s North and South as A Nightingale Sings and am nothing more than a fan fiction writer. The only difference is audience size and money.

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This tale takes John and Margaret’s story into WW II

 

I don’t think creating fan fiction made me a writer. Somewhere inside of me a writer always existed. Rather, fan fiction facilitated my development as an author. It helped me develop the confidence not only to write a story but to allow that story to be read because that, for me, is the difference between being a writer and an author – allowing others to read and comment on what I have written.

WhileI was writing my John Porter fiction Absolution, I realized the time had come to write an original novel. What followed was Degrees of Silence.  This was the novel I had to write – it was so personal that at times it hurt me to commit the words to paper (well, the computer screen, but you know what I mean). I think because it is so personal it struck a chord with my readers, maybe they know that the two adult characters are, in a way, both me.

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Kate’s first original novel is her most personal work

It occurred to me that my other original fiction could be thought of as fan fiction as well because it is based on a dancing show like Strictly Come Dancing or Dancing with the Stars. I think that The Best Things Happen While You’re Dancing is the most commercial thing I have written and the most romantic. It is an example of that other much maligned genre: chick lit. Maligned that is by men, who manage to say ‘chic lit’ in a slightly insulting sort of way. Why is it, I wonder, that Boy’s Own adventures are not nearly as maligned.

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People do wonder why I no longer write fan fiction and I guess the honest answer is that it has served its purpose. I have, to a certain extent, moved on. But I have only written fan fiction based on RA’s characters, and now I cannot watch the shows he is filming. So, you never know … if he re-emerges on British television in a show I love, I may go back down the fan fiction road.

Never say never.

Marked to Die: medieval mystery with hints of Richard Armitage

Third in a series of medieval murder mysteries, Marked to Die has just been released by historical fiction author Sarah Hawkswood. Sarah’s writing is superb. The historical details she weaves into her narrative sweep the reader into the atmosphere of the era from the very first page.
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Sarah shares with us how words transport us into realms of imagination, and how a certain British actor with a sultry voice inspires her writing:
Computer. Keyboard. Action.

Fiction writing is words, but it is about images and emotions. When we read we are looking at typeface or a pen’s strokes, but we are ‘seeing’ the images those words create in our minds, feeling the emotions they initiate. Factual writing informs, moulds ideas, gives frameworks of knowledge, but fiction is about imagination. Our brains are stimulated not by the letters S U N S ET but an image of a sunset that the letters spark; the word on the page frees us from time, space, the limitations of our own abilities, and I think it can give our minds as good a ‘workout’ as a challenging sodoku or crossword puzzle. When we learn to read, the magical point is when the mind is not applying itself to the task of spelling out the letters into a word, but when it does that automatically and is freed to gambol in the wide fields of imagination.

So a novel takes one away from that cramped seat on the train with the stranger next to you jiggling slightly as they listen to the music in their earphones; the wet winter’s afternoon with a pile of ironing still to do; the snoring spouse; the everyday and humdrum. It should take you away as you read it, and it takes me away as I write. Writing as a profession, even when giving up ‘the day job’ would be impossible, has its stresses. There are days when each word emerges reluctantly, deadlines that run towards one like a charging rhino, but it is also, to me, as much escapism as reading.

When I write, I see, I feel, I hear, I taste and smell. I am there, in a world bounded only by imagination, given structure by history, given motion by plot and character. I see every scene as though through a film lens, with the ability to view the rushes immediately, move the scenery, set the actors new marks, change their lines without them throwing a hissy fit, and tweak it until it feels natural, yet crafted and as close to perfection as possible.The only difference to film is there is no Hans Zimmer or Howard Shore adding a score to it.

In this way of writing, casting is important. It does not mean that everyone in my books is based upon a particular person, actor or otherwise. Many are broad brushstrokes, ‘a small, motherly woman with deep crow’s feet at the corners of laughing grey eyes’ is casting, even if there is no name. However, real people can be a huge help, especially with major characters, even if it is one aspect of a person, a mannerism or tone of voice. Having a specific person also gives continuity, though after a while their presence is second nature. It also avoids the danger that if a character is made up of elements from too many people the author is creating not something natural but a Frankenstein’s monster. The mix may be infelicitous, show all the suture lines and fall apart before the denouement. By the same token, sticking rigidly to every aspect of one person is just teleporting a clone into your story. A muse is, I feel, a dangerous thing, a limitation.

At which point, as an author who has also been a member of the C19 Forum, I hold up my hand and admit that ‘casting’ a certain Mr Armitage, to various degrees, has been a joy. He is wonderful to work with because of the quality of his acting, the way he subsumes whoever he really is into the character he is becoming; he also has little mannerism that are easy to give as tell tales to a character, so that in a given situation the character will do a certain move of the hand, lift of the brow.

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The Bradecote and Catchpoll 12th century murder mysteries are into their third book on shelves, and I am ahead of the game and writing number nine in the series. I long ago reached the point where I do not have to think how any of the detecting trio will react in a scene because I know them so well. It makes writing interchanges and situations very easy and natural, and though the plot and the dialogue thread, are down to The Words, the story in my head, how they appear on paper is hugely influenced by me ‘watching them’ as I write, letting their voices guide the phrases, the nuances. Hugh Bradecote has been about 85% Mr Armitage since the first revision of the very first book, Servant of Death (though it first saw print as The Lord Bishop’s Clerk). I have been writing Bradecote, Catchpoll, and the third member of their triumvirate, Serjeanting Apprentice Walkelin, for over a decade and they are ‘my boys’. Do I consciously think ‘ah another few hours watching Richard Armitage’ when I settle to write? No, I do not, because it is just the way it is, habitual, normal. Besides, I did not see Mr Armitage when I was privileged to see The Crucible at The Old Vic in London; I only saw John Proctor. The gentleman might not appreciate being kidnapped for my purposes, even 85% of him, but he would appreciate that I am not watching R. C. Armitage but Hugh Bradecote, one subsumed into another.

Of course the reader need not know my casting, may cast for themselves, interpret characters slightly differently, because the writing has evoked different images, but if you are told, and you like watching a certain actor . . .

I account myself a very lucky woman. I have The Words (even if occasionally the wrong Words crowd my head and I have to stop what I am writing and set down fifteen thousand for a short story that will never be read except on my computer), and I have a strong imagination. The icing on the cake is that in my ‘world’ I have been able to watch a certain long stride and mobile brows, hear a certain baritone voice, for hundreds of hours not in the canon of his work, and running through what is thus far, over three quarters of a million words. Feel free to join me.

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Marked to Die, the third of Sarah Hawkswood’s Bradecote and Catchpoll novels, is out in hardback (US 2 November 2017) and ebook, published by Allison & Busby.

For more information on Sarah Hawkswood and her work visit her website at: bradecoteandcatchpoll.com

Visit Lyme Regis through “Millie Vanilla’s Cupcake Café” series.

Legacy Armitage fan Georgia Hill has recently released book two of a charming romantic series. She’s excited to share a little background on her latest series with fellow period drama lovers:

Huge thanks to The Armitage Authors Network for inviting me on again!

I’ve been busy writing a series of novellas. They’re about Millie and her battle to save her seaside café business. The newest one is the second in the Millie Vanilla set of novellas:
Millie Vanilla’s Cupcake Café Summer Loves. I loved writing these books as I really enjoyed creating the town of Berecombe and its inhabitants. It’s a completely fictional place but is loosely based on Lyme Regis, which is a little seaside town on the south coast of England, in Dorset.

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Continue reading

New Release: A Knight to the Rescue

Legacy fan Elizabeth Hanbury has recently released her 7th novel. Liz writes delightful Regency romance stories with wit and humor. I’ve read all her works, and I’m excited there’s a new short story to read — just in time for summer vacation!

This publication is special in it’s intention, however. All proceeds from the sale of the book will go to Crohn’s MAP Vaccine fund, a charity based at King’s College, London researching a cure for Crohn’s Disease.

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Life is a song, but love is the music…

Life is hard for Jessica Smeaton in Regency Bath. She lives in a shabby lodging house and struggles to survive on what she earns from teaching music, hoping that one day the waltzes she composes will sell.

When handsome artist Richard Knight moves into the room above, things start off on the wrong note but could he turn out to be her knight to the rescue?

And here’s a teaser from the opening pages…

The knocking from above didn’t disturb her at first. She was so absorbed in her composing.

The second bout of knocking wrenched her mind out of her music.

The third and much louder series of knocks rang in her ears and sent a hum of indignation flowing through her veins. A stream of plaster dust drifted down from above and settled on the music manuscript in front of her. Jessica jumped up from her battered pianoforte, raised her eyes to the ceiling and uttered a growl of fury.

This was too much. The unseen brute in the room above (no woman could knock with such disdain) disliked her playing and was letting his feelings be known using the heel of his boot. She was vaguely aware of a new tenant had moved in a week or more ago but she had not yet met the person. She was too busy earning a meagre living and now he was banging the floor to complain about her playing. How insulting!

Jessica walked back to her pianoforte, flexing her fingers. Defiantly, she struck the keys as hard as she could.

The reply from above was not long in coming: ban, bang, bang!

Slowly and deliberately she closed the lid. Heat seeped into her cheeks and she tilted her chin: the light of battle had entered her soul. She’d had a dreadful week and now this. Enough was enough. Stopping only to tidy her hair in the mirror and make sure she had no plaster dust on her face, she wrenched open the door, crossed the hallway and started to climb the stairs. For once she dod not notice the peeling paintwork and faded wallpaper of the rambling old lodging house. 

Jessica didn’t consider the impropriety of tackling the idiot in his lair. The landlady Miss Cardew took an unconventional and bohemian attitude to stifling society rules. She believed it helped her tenants” artistic muse to deal with each other as they saw fit with only a few rules to keep the right side of respectable Bath society, the lodging house being tucked away in a quiet street off Queen Square. Miss Cardew loved to encourage artists and offered low rents to such types, for which Jessica was extremely grateful.

Today even the benignly vague Mis Cardew would have scuttled our of the way and felt a pang of pity for the wretch about to get a piece of Jessica’s mind. She reached the door and was tempted to bang on it with her clenched first, but her old teacher’s edict to always be a lady no matter what provocation is offered flashed before her and instead she drew a steadying breath, tapped firmly and waited.

‘Come in,’ said a voice.

She was forced to admit it was a very pleasant, silky voice even if its owner lacked an taste in music.

Jessica entered. The room was scantily furnished, as were most of the rooms in Miss Cardew’s lodging house.  A few threadbare rugs were scattered over the floor. A small fire burned in the grate. Paints and Brushes were spread out over the table under the large window, through which streamed a bright afternoon sun. Various canvases were popped up around the walls. In the centre was an easel, behind which Jessica could see top boots and a pain of breeches covering muscular thighs.

Distracting. Very distracting.

She pulled herself together. ‘I have come–‘ began Jessica.

‘I don’t need any models at present. You can leave your card on the table,’ announced the silky voice.

She felt her cheeks grow pinker, her indignation deepen. ‘I am not a model,’ she said in icy tones, ‘I cam to–‘

At this the brute emerged from behind his easel, wiping his hands. Jessica stared, her mouth falling open a little.

She might have guessed how it would be. Fate delights in playing tricks. Not only did The Brute have a voice as smooth as hot chocolate, he had  devilishly handsome exterior. Broad shouldered and of athletic build, along with the breeches, he wore a white shirt with sleeves rolled up the elbows to reveal strong forearms sprinkled with soft dark hair. his shirt was splattered here and there with paint and open at the neck to reveal a tantalising glimpse of chest hair. He was clean-shaven but his colouring meant late afternoon stubble was already shading his jaw. Beautiful brown eyes were fixed on her in a disconcerting manner. His hair was disheveled and standing up on end as if he had run his fingers through it often. Jessica felt an inconvenient urge to do the same, admitting to herself that he was one of the most attractive men she had ever seen. She might be furious but she was always fair.

I think Liz must have been remembering a certain train scene as she wrote this!

For more about Liz Hanbury’s long history as an Armitage fan, check out our earlier interview with her  here and her post about North and South‘s ten year anniversary here.

 

Armitage Authors interview with Nicole Clarkston

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Did you miss us? After a year-long reprieve, The Armitage Authors Network is happy to be back! Our first duty upon our return is to interview fellow Armitage adorer and N&S fiction writer, Nicole Clarkston. If you haven’t already discovered Nicole’s work, then we’re doubly pleased to introduce you to her!

Armitage Authors: You’ve been a fan of Richard’s for a good while. Tell us a little about how you discovered Mr. Armitage.

Nicole Clarkston: North and South! I was stripping and refinishing my wood floors one week in the summer of 2011, when my husband was out of town. I had small children and I would put them to bed and work all night, so I needed something for noise while I worked. I had moved all the furniture out of the downstairs, so I dragged my laptop around the house and queued up my Netflix account. I found this miniseries I’d been wanting to watch, and immediately I was sorry that I had waited so long to see it. What a glorious piece of fim-making!

The moment I saw that stern glower from the scaffolding of the cotton mill, I could see that this actor truly lived and breathed his role. He could do more with a flicker of an eyelash than most actors can do with explosive emoting. He is so subtle and powerful that he brought John Thornton to life in a way that I do not think any other could have. He began the movie scarcely likeable, but by the end he had so masterfully filled the part and grown the character that I had ceased all my work just to stare at the screen. I think I may have even been drooling. Just a little.

What character was it that first impelled you to write fan fiction? 

I believe it was Thornton. I found him inspiring because of what he had overcome to position himself at the peak of his world, but he is also so vulnerable when he discovers that he can’t earn his way into what he desires most.

One of the things I loved about Mr Armitage’s portrayal is his artless, honest expressions. I grew up the daughter of a simple, hardworking man who speaks little but clearly, and he reinforces his words with deeds. I learned to value those qualities, and Armitage-as-Thornton possesses such strength and dignity that I instantly felt that his was a character to be trusted and respected.

Atop these other virtues we then add the rare glimmer of his heart-stopping smiles, and we can easily see that this is a character of depth and passion as well. Armitage captures this complex man with both precision and power, recognizing that the industrial titan of a man carried around with him a wound which had never healed and an ache for more from this life.

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One of Nicole’s favorite Thornton smiles

What was your first published work?

The first book I ever wrote was No Such Thing as Luck, a variation which picks up during the time after Mr Hale’s death. Margaret has gone to live in London, and she and Thornton never expect to see one another again. The alteration to this story is Mr Bell’s machinations, setting both Margaret and Thornton off to Spain- coincidentally at the same time.

No Such Thing

While I was working on No Such Thing as Luck, I had also started writing Rumours and Recklessness, a Pride and Prejudice variation. By the time it published a few months after my first book, I was already working on Northern Rain, another N&S story. I seem to like alternating, so The Courtship of Edward Gardiner, another P&P story followed Northern Rain.

I am currently continuing that pattern, of always having both a N&S story and a P&P story in the works. The two worlds reflect well off one another in my mind. Thornton and Darcy are of different characters and backgrounds, but share the same integrity and passionate love. Margaret and Elizabeth are likewise dissimilar in personality, but in essentials they possess a common strength and dignity.

My current N&S story is a format I have never before tried. The main narrative flows concurrently with a series of flashbacks, if you will, mirroring the past into the present and shining light on the depths of these character-building moments. I am absolutely loving getting to know Thornton in his developmental years, and I keep picturing a very youthful Richard in the role. He was pretty cute at age 16, if you ask me!

Were you a writer before you found Richard Armitage?

I suppose that would depend upon how you define “writer”. At age 8 I would lie in bed after watching Walt Disney’s Robin Hood and spin further yarns about the characters in my head. In Jr High I was constantly toting around a notebook full of stories I was writing, but I never allowed anyone to read them. In my freshman year of college, I took a writing class from the most detail-oriented professor on campus and loved every minute of it. By the time I was a young mom, my writing had taken the form of anecdotal emails composed to amuse my family members (usually after some horribly embarrassing parenting episode had taken place and there was nothing left to do but laugh about it). I continued to daydream my own fictional adventures, but though I always had this desire to write a book, I never had the courage to do so.

Perhaps it was Richard’s performance, perhaps it was the timing, but eventually I couldn’t stand it any longer. I kept seeing John Thornton and Margaret Hale’s story playing over and over, in so many different ways, and I was distractingly obsessed with them for well over three years before I finally gave in. The idea for No Such Thing As Luck had been tormenting me for days, until I couldn’t sleep one night, so I crept out of bed and opened up my laptop. I tried to tell myself that I would “just” try writing one book, and I wouldn’t allow any of my friends to read it. I was terrified of showing it to anyone I knew because I was just certain that it wouldn’t be their “thing”. It was better in my mind to present my writing instead to total strangers who already knew and loved North and South.

You must know by now that I have overcome my initial fears. Since that first terrifying night at my laptop, I have published a second North and South inspired novel, Northern Rain, as well as two Pride and Prejudice inspired stories (Rumours and Recklessness and The Courtship of Edward Gardiner). I also have a third North and South story in the works entitled Nowhere but North, as well as a third Pride and Prejudice book titled These Dreams. Both are on track to be published in 2017.

Northern Rain

I continue to refuse to allow my personal friends to read my work because I am such a bashful writer. The joy I have found in other North and South lovers, however, more than makes up for any lack of courage on my part. I have met friends in nearly all corners of the world through the magic of self-publishing and social media, and it has been a privilege to share in their enjoyment of Gaskell’s amazing story and the talented actor who carried the torch.

 Is fanfic just a hobby for you or do you hope to go further with your writing?

I think there is a stigma attached to the word “fanfic” and yes, perhaps someday I would like to write a completely original story just to say that I did it. I write what I love, however, and what I love most right now is these characters. I enjoy spending time with them and reading other works about them, so at the moment I am wholeheartedly devoted to the world of fanfic.

What would you ask Richard Armitage if you bumped into him today?

Oh, my, I think I would be too bashful to say anything at all! I wouldn’t want to pry into his personal life, so if I had the courage to speak, I would probably ask something ridiculous, like, “What it was like to go galumphing across the wilds of New Zealand wearing those massive boots in The Hobbit?” Or perhaps I would ask, “Exactly how many takes were required to film ‘The Kiss,’ and who was the lucky woman who taught you to do that?” Or, in reality, I would probably just offer him a cup of coffee, and would probably spill it on him. He’s probably safer if I never bump into him.

Nicole

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Nicole-Clarkston-1730162270587796/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/N_Clarkston

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14175642.Nicole_Clarkst

Exploring the Creative Process, Part IV: Interview with Nancy Klein

We invited Thornton and Guy fan fiction  author Nancy Klein to share how she works and offer some advice.

GWIW

What type of environment do you need to write?

Quiet helps. A cup of coffee. I’ll often sit down to write after I’ve just exercised or done a bit of meditation and my mind is quiet.

 
How do your ideas come to you? Do you always write them or do you let them disappear?
A lot of my ideas come when I’m doing my daily walk. I’ll just go along day dreaming and things will often pop into my head and I’ll play with them. I try to write them down when I get home-this works sometimes, and sometimes the ideas are gone. Ideas also come to me in my sleep, but I never remember to keep pen and paper by the bed.
Nancy Klein
Nancy Klein
Do you plan a story from the beginning to end or start with an idea and let the chapters come to you as they do?
I have to have a plan from beginning to end–not every detail, but just to know where the main thrust of the story is going to go.
 
Do you prefer writing easy, quick stories or long, layered stories?
Long, layered stories are what I write, even when I think I’m going to create a quick story. Ideas end up branching off one another, and the story sometimes takes a detour or two.
 
Which do you find easier to write: dialogue or description or are the equally hard/easy?
Dialogue is by far the easiest for me–my betas often have to prod me to put more details in my descriptions.
 
Is there anything that you won’t write or feel uncomfortable writing?
I won’t write detailed sex scenes–I feel silly doing it. 
[Armitage Authors note: Don’t believe that her stories lack passion, however! Nancy’s sex scenes pack a powerful punch without all the mechanical details.]
 
What do you do to cure writer’s block? What advice can you give to new writers who might be scared to post their stories?
Just keep writing, even if you do a few pages and throw them away. Keep at it. Write descriptions of your characters, things they might say. Try writing the last chapter first, just for fun. Everyone is afraid of posting their stories–I still am, and I’ve posted three pretty long ones. Ask someone else who writes to look at your story. I have the best betas in the world–they make sure I stay true to the characters and details, and nag me when I’ve gone too long without posting (like now, ahem). Also, reading helps me. I will read something wonderful–often poetry–and it will inspire me to get in front of the computer again.
 
What is your favorite book and why?
I don’t have a favorite book–it seems like every fifth book I read is my new favorite. But there are some that I read over and over again, and I feel like they are fresh that 20th, 30th time–North and South, Wives and Daughters, Persuasion, Jane Eyre, Shirley. Right now I am in love with Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being. What she does with point of view and plot is amazing.
 
howfartheworldwillbend
Nancy’s North and South story, How Far the World Will Bend, is available at Amazon here.
And don’t miss her fantastic Guy and Marian story, Grant What I Wish, at Wattpad.com here.