Category Archives: Interviews

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.
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Exploring the Creative Process, Part III: Interview with Emma Marlow

We welcome the weekend with the third instalment in our Creative Process series with an interview featuring another published author, Emma Marlow.

What type of environment do you need to write?

Emma Marlow

Emma Marlow

I prefer to write when I’m alone – that’s when I work best – but I often have to write at the kitchen table whilst my daughter covers everything in hummus. I can’t write if someone’s got music or the TV on. If my husband wants to watch TV, I have to relocate to a different part of the house.

How do your ideas come to you? Do you always write them or do you let them disappear?

Ideas usually just come to me. I tend to get one or two key “scenes” which just pop into my mind. I let the image play on repeat and then slowly flesh it out a bit until it’s something I can’t forget. I never write an idea down – even if I get an idea just after I’ve started on a new project, and it’s therefore something I won’t be able to work on for months. I find writing it down tends to sap the life out of it, and I lose my passion for the idea. So far – touch wood! – I’ve never forgotten an idea.

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?

41wZ9duZqlL._UY250_I never plan a story; I just have those one or two key scenes as landmarks. I just start writing and meander along until I get to that scene I’ve known that I wanted to write. Sometimes the scene has to change a little because of how I’ve written the story, but the premise is always the same. I never know how a story is going to end when I start writing it. I like the ending to surprise myself. I like it to naturally unfurl, rather than trying to make my writing fit something I’ve pre-planned.

Do you prefer writing easy, quick stories or long, layered stories?

I’m not keen on stories much below 90k words because I tend to feel that they’re under-developed. That said, I’m not the most concise writer ever, so other people could probably write my stories much more succinctly. No matter the length of the story, I like to always have something that’s a bit on an ensemble piece. I like to layer my stories so that there are little sub-plots, and not just the main storyline of the protagonist.

Is there anything that you won’t write or feel uncomfortable 410owESGUbL._UY250_writing?

I’d give anything a try. So far I’ve tried my hand at historical fiction, romance, chick lit, mystery/crime thrillers, sci-fi, drama and a bit of erotica. I tend to prefer writing about things that are real, past or present, so fantasy, sci-fi, monsters or talking animals… I don’t really enjoy that so much.

What do you do to cure writer’s block?

In the first instance, I quiz my husband. We are completely different creatures, so he always looks at plots etc. from an entirely different perspective. He’s helped me out a few times, and managed to get me back on track. If talking it through doesn’t solve the problem, I set the story aside, and start a new project. The story will either come or it won’t, and if I persevere when it’s just not coming to me, I’ll end up with something I’m unhappy with. It means a few stories which have been abandoned about about 90k words, but some of them I intend to come back to one day.

What advice can you give to new writers who might be scared to post their stories?

51WVDX6+qoL._UY250_Read all the time. I think the more you read, the better you’ll be at writing. If you read other people’s work – self-published or otherwise – and think that your writing is just as good, why shouldn’t you share it with people? If you’re anxious about how your writing will be received, pick a pen name. You don’t even have to tell your friends or family that you’re writing. When you can self publish eBooks, post on writer’s forums and the likes of wattpad, you have a certain anonymity which can take away the fear for a new writer. If you do decide to share your stories, don’t get too hung up on critical feedback; you can’t please everyone.

What is your favourite book and why?

For me, the best books are those I read as a teenager; books which have left a lasting impression more than a decade later: North and South, Jane Eyre, The Count of Monte Cristo, Bridget Jones’ Diary. Each story was immersive and emotionally engaging. I feel a fierce loyalty to those books and could read them time and again. The best thing I’ve read recently is probably Prue Batten’s Gisborne Saga; the history, the research, the intrigue – it’s incredible!

Visit Emma’s official siteShadow in the North

Follow her on Facebook

Get her novels from AmazonUK and AmazonUS

Sample her work, including her North & South-inspired fic Shadow in the North” on Wattpad.

 

 

 

 

 

Exploring the Creative Process, Part II: Interview with Georgia Hill

Today we continue our series about the creative writing process by asking author Georgia Hill about how she works.

Armitage Author Georgia Hill with spaniels Bert and Georgie. Click on the picture to go to her author page at Harper Impulse

Armitage Author Georgia Hill with spaniels Bert and Georgie.

What type of environment do you need to write?

It depends what stage of writing I’m at. If it’s the first draft or I’m at the jotting ideas down stage, I can write just about anywhere and using anything! When I get to the second and subsequent drafts (which I always find far more difficult), I have to sit at my desk in my study. I have the radio on very low and hunker down. I have a huge sheet of paper stuck on the wall with a plot outline and a notebook next to me. It reminds me where I’ve got to, how each character speaks, what they look like, their mannerisms, the place names of the setting and other details which I’m inclined to forget!

How do your ideas come to you? Do you always write them or do you let them disappear?

Sometimes ideas arrive in dreams. It’s only when I write them down that they seem too crazy to work. Often a story is suggested to me by the characters turning up in my head. They won’t leave me alone until I’ve written them down. I lived with Rachel and Gabe, Hetty, Richard and Edward in While I Was Waiting for a long time. In my next book, Matt came along more or less fully formed. I know exactly what he looks and sounds like and even what he wears. The heroine is vaguer but, as I write, she’s coming into better focus. I have an image board immediately in front of me, which helps. I have a ton of notebooks full of messy jottings. I don’t let ideas for stories disappear exactly but I’m guilty of writing them down and then forgetting all about them. I found an outline for a story about two sisters at the weekend and really can’t remember recording it. Sounded quite good too!

WIWW final cover copy

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’m most definitely not a planner. It’s my undoing now I’m writing novels with more complicated plots and dual narratives. Hence the notebook and plot outline – colour co-ordinated to show the different time frames. But – I’m writing romance, so I know the beginning and the end – it’s the soggy middle I have most trouble with.

Which do you find easier to write: dialogue or description or are the equally hard/easy?

I don’t find anything particularly easy to write although novellas take less time – from the first draft through to the final edit simply because there are fewer words to wrangle. I love writing layered, more complicated novels as those are the stories I most like to read. My first draft is almost entirely comprised of dialogue. I add any necessary description in later, when I sit down and attempt the second draft. I often come across notes: ‘Add more detail here’ is usually what I’ve told myself!

Say it with sequins

What advice can you give to new writers who might be scared to post their stories?

I sympathise. Posting something the first time is terrifying. However, my advice would be to go for it. It took nine or ten years but putting my writing on a forum led to me getting a publishing contract. The first step is never easy but it can develop your writing career – and a reading audience. And, you never know, they may absolutely love your writing.

What is your favourite book and why?

I have lots of favourite books but I suppose my all time fave is Pride and Prejudice. I love Lizzy Bennet, the wit, Jane Austen’s insights into her characters – and the plotting is sublime.

 

Find Georgia’s works at her Amazon author page here.

Amazon UK page here.

Our previous interview with Georgia can be found here.

EXPLORING THE CREATIVE PROCESS- PART I: An interview with Prue Batten, author of “The Gisborne Saga”

When Trudy and Julia invited me to join their blog last April, I was thrilled about the opportunity to collaborate on an endeavour that seeks to celebrate creativity within Richard’s fandom and acknowledge with a grateful nod the man whose wonderful characters have been an inspiring muse to budding and experienced authors alike.

Being a writer myself, I’ve always been interested in the process of creation and how it’s approached by my fellow authors. Although there are dozens of manuals in the market with tips and recipes to write a novel, there’s nothing like going to the source, the novelists themselves, to unveil the magic behind the stories and characters that invite us to dream, feel and think.

A few years ago, while writing for another fandom, I was asked some really interesting questions on my writing process, and they somehow made their way into my introductory interview for Armitage Authors. In the end, Trudy and I agreed on leaving them out and planned instead several articles to explore the topic with a few guest authors.

So, here we are at last, ready to share with you the first November instalment in a series of interviews devoted to published writers who’ve found inspiration in Richard’s work. I could write a long platitude about the lady that’s opening this series, but I’d rather leave her own words to speak for themselves.

Our gratitude to Ms. Prue Batten for granting our request at such short notice and being so generous with her time, and to Mindywho came up with these questions on Naughty-Seduction.net once upon a time.

Ms.Prue Batten

What type of environment do you need to write?

Just peace and quiet. I work in two separate places (city and coast) so have a little laptop that comes with me wherever I go. The amount of research I have to carry is a bit of an issue though and because I have neck issues, I also carry a wifi-keyboard and mouse so that I can set up a standing station when I need to.

How do your ideas come to you? Do you always write them or do you let them disappear?

Ideas come anytime, anywhere – often in the bath! And frequently, just before I go to sleep. I have a notebook and always try to record the idea before it becomes lost in the mists of time. One never knows when it will be handy.

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 start with an idea and once the first couple of hundred words are written, I sit and create character profiles. After writing eight novels, I realize my characters tell me what they think should happen and I’m just a cipher. There is, however, a loose plan (perhaps one A4 page) which details the story outline, but it’s fairly flexible.

Do you prefer writing easy, quick stories or long, layered stories?

I prefer to write layered novels from between 90-110,000 words. It’s strange how the story arcs itself into exactly that amount of words without any deliberate effort on my part. However, I’m sometimes commissioned to write little short stories for a miniature book press and it’s like a quick shot of caffeine and really good practice in getting an idea across with the minimum of fuss!

Which do you find easier to write: dialogue or description or are they equally hard/easy?

I love both. When I write dialogue, it feels to me as if the characters are right by my side. They say what they want to say.

As for description, I adore it. It is the colour on a black and white etching. I have an affection for the late Rosamunde Pilcher’s work and she describes things from the soul. Gorgeous!

Is there anything that you won’t write or feel uncomfortable writing? 

I have a notoriously weak stomach and hate writing violent scenes. The difficulty is that my timeframe, the twelfth century, was indeed a violent era and to exclude it from a story would so wrong and would make the storyline one-dimensional.

What do you do to cure writer’s block?

To be honest, I’ve never really had what one would call writer’s block. I write all the time, no matter how I feel. For me, it’s a kind of blessed escape, like embroidery or walking on the beach. Maybe that’s the secret. Make it a part of your life.

What advice can you give to new writers who might be scared to post their stories?

I think the main thing is to have someone read the story first and give a totally unbiased opinion. If they say it needs work, don’t be offended. Ask them in what way and then go away and work on improvement. No story should ever be posted without the most basic requisite groundwork.

Then have a good hard edit. That might be from a capable friend, or you might pay for the service. It honestly does make a difference and it also respects the reader whom you hope will read your story.

It might seem a lot to do, when all you want is to post a story, but we have all been there and it was advice given to me before I published and I honestly did heed it. I wrote a trilogy when I first decided to write seriously and it sits in the office cupboard and will never see the light of day. I worked with a London consultancy on it for an extended period and it was truly my training ground. Lots of editorial reports and advice and I learned so much.

Just remember that you birthed your story and like giving birth to a child, you owe the story the best of care.

The only other thing I would say is never be impatient. Just take your time.

What is your favourite book and why?

I have a favourite author and I love all her work. She is the late Dorothy Dunnett and wrote fourteen historical fictions that are simply breathtaking. She is my icon for her wordage, her astonishing breadth of research and knowledge, her storylines and her stupendous imagination.

Visit Prue’s Official Website: http://pruebatten.com/

Get “The Gisborne Saga” and/or any of her works from Amazon.com and AmazonUK.

Armitage Authors interview with Georgia Hill

The Armitage Authors Network is pleased to have Georgia Hill back on the site with us. Georgia shared with us some of the impact of Richard Armitage’s first entrance into the world as John Thornton in our post about the BBC mini-series’ tenth anniversary here.

Thornton

Armitage Authors Network: You’ve been a fan of Richard’s for quite a long time. Tell us a little about how you discovered Mr. Armitage.

Georgia Hill: Like many fans, I discovered Richard Armitage when he played John Thornton in North and South. I have to admit to hating the character in the first episode but, by the end of the second, I was in love! I caught the last two episodes on a drama channel recently and it hasn’t lost any of its impact. I loved the book and adored the miniseries.

AAN: Did you write fan fiction for the Armitage fandom? And was it your first attempt at writing fiction?

GH: I didn’t exactly write fan fiction but found I was basing male characters on John Thornton and their physical characteristics were definitely inspired by Richard! Also, I found little details from the television series found their way into whatever I was writing. In In a Class of His Own, Nicky Hathaway has a bouquet given to her and they’re yellow roses of course!

AAN: Oh, I read In a Class of His Own and remember some of the North and South similarities I recognized in the story!

Geogria Hill

Link

If you didn’t write fan fiction, what impelled you to begin writing?

GH:  I had two characters who refused to leave my head. I had to write them down. They became Perdita and the gorgeous Nick Wainwright in Pursued by Love, my first book. I began posting chapters on the website C19 and things have evolved from there. It’s been amazing.

AAN: C19 has helped nurture a flock of budding writers over the past decade. For many of these authors, John Thornton or North and South was a big influence.

GH:  North and South has definitely had a big influence on my writing.

AAN:  When did you publish your first book?

GH:  My first book was Pursued by Love. It came out in 2009 and is about a troubled actor making a new television version of Pride and Prejudice. Jane Austen is another huge influence!

AAN:  I know you’ve just released a new book. What is it about?

GH:  I’m so excited about this! While I Was Waiting is my first historical novel. It was just released July 2nd. Rachel moves to a rundown cottage in the country and finds a tin full of letters and diaries. They document the story of Hetty who lived and loved during World War One. Rachel gradually pieces together the details of Hetty’s life and, in doing so, learns how to love the man she’s just met. It’s tragic in parts but ultimately life-affirming. I’m very proud of it. (And, by the way, one of the characters is called Richard!)

WIWW final cover copy

Link

AAN:  I love historical fiction. I’m excited that you’ve entered this genre. You have to love history to write historical fiction.

GH:  I love history and have a degree in it. One of the reasons I love living in my part of the UK is its rich history. A mile away is the remains of a major ancient Roman fort, the village I live in is mentioned in the Domesday Book and a hill not far away is rumoured to be where King Arthur slayed a giant! It’s very inspiring. For my next book, I’ve looked to the Jurassic Coast of Devon and Dorset. It’s all about family secrets and fossils – oh and a hunky boat-builder. He’s tall and dark-haired. Must be the North and South influence yet again!

Thank you so much for having me on. Happy reading!

 

For a full list of Georgia’s works, visit her website. Follow her on Twitter as @georgiawrites. On Facebook here. And at Pinterest.

New Vitality for the Blog – Introducing Lillianschild!

Lorraine-Mar13-02

Hello! We’re Back!

Thought we’d vanished? No such thing. The Armitage Authors Network is back with a new assistant administrator and contributor: Lillianschild (also known as Lexie171170 in some venues).

Lillianschild has been active in the RA fandom for five years and has rather extensive knowledge of the fan fiction out there. She’s agreed to help Jazzbaby and me introduce our blog readers to stories and writers that make up this fantastically creative fan world.

We hope you’ll welcome Lillianschild to the blog.  If you don’t already know her, you’ll enjoy reading about her discovery of Richard and some of how her writing takes form. Links to her stories are found at the end of our interview. Enjoy getting to know our new assistant blog administrator!

 Tell us a little about how you discovered Mr. Armitage.

Although I’d seen his first jobs on the screen- including Cats- just like most of Richard’s earliest well-wishers, I truly “discovered” him and started following his career with interest when I saw his portrayal of Mr Thornton in North & South.

Living in South America means I didn’t get to see his breakthrough performance back in 2004 but some five years later. Actually, I stumbled upon it on a now defunct blog written by an anglophile and devoted to shows and films from the UK. It had a special section focusing on programmes inspired on literature and had a great directory of BBC costume dramas, amongst which was North & South.

I was already familiar with Gaskell, whose Milton tale I’d read as part of one of the four British Literature courses I attended to get my English teaching degree. Having a huge soft spot for Victorianism and the Industrial Age and being an incurable romantic, I was pleasantly surprised when I learnt the novel had been adapted by the BBC… and well, the brooding, tall, dark and handsome man on the DVD cover sealed the deal for me.

Mr Armitage grabbed my attention the minute he appeared on the screen for the first time and stood on that platform surveying his “kingdom”. I just knew I was about to witness something really special. And oh, he won my heart over with his “No one loves me – no one cares for me, but you, mother”!

Needless to say, I too am amongst the besotted well-wishers who devoured the show in one sitting and stayed up until the wee small hours of the morning to see John and Margaret’s love story unfold. And that was just the beginning, I binged on it several times in a row- once with my Mum, who insisted on my playing the second DVD when episode II finished even though I had to get up for work four hours later.

I’ve lost count of how many copies of North & South I’ve given away as presents to my friends and my parents’, all of whom have had nothing but words of praise for the production and the wonderful cast, including our lovely Mr Armitage. Of course, I’ve taken pity on the males from time to time and supplied them with copies of Spooks and Strike Back.:)

Oh, my, that was long-winded! I’ve just remembered the phrase ” a little” was part of the original question. 😀

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

That’d be Smallville’s Lex Luthor.

I suppose what attracted me to this particular portrayal of Superman’s nemesis is what also won me over when I saw Sir Guy of Gisborne in Dominic Minghella’s Robin Hood. Both are survivors with a tragic childhood, constantly fighting to find their place in the world while struggling with the darkness within them. Both take morally questionable decisions that send them into a downward spiral from which they try to emerge when love unexpectedly comes knocking at their door; a love that becomes a destructive obsession when the only woman capable of seeing beyond their protective armour chooses their nemesis over them.

I loved Lex’s humanity as portrayed by Michael Rosenbaum on that show just as much as Richard’s incarnation of Sir Guy. They’re both very gifted actors, who managed to elevate a cartoonish character off the page and turn him into a fascinating multi-layered creation. Both Lex and Guy are so human in their flaws and therefore, so relatable- they’re perfect embodiments of humankind’s duality.

The reason why I decided to put pen to paper and write my first fanfic was pretty much the same that led me to create my first story for RA’s fandom, the need to set right what I felt the writers had messed up. It was also my way to honour the painstaking and loving labour of two actors whose creations were often maligned with capricious and unbelievable retcons or OoC storylines- a karma for many a character portrayed by Mr Armitage (Lucas North, anyone?).

I wrote fifty-four fanfics with Lex as an inpiration before activity in the fandom started to dwindle when the show went off the air and my Luthor Muse stopped whispering into my ear.

Were you a writer before you found Richard Armitage?

Yes. I’ve always been fond of telling stories- I remember having my mum put them on paper when I was too young to write on my own.

I began writing fanfic almost nine years ago. After having read fanfiction for two years, I told myself it was high time I gave it a try. 2006 was the breaking point for me; I realized I had spent too much time correcting other people’s essays and papers- an English teacher’s karma- and I asked myself: why not put pen to paper and do it for fun?

Although Richard wasn’t the first actor to ignite my creativity, he was the one responsible for reawakening my Muse after almost a year of inactivity.

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

I consider writing the perfect means of escapism. Still, I won’t deny I’d love to go further with it. Starting a story from scratch with characters that you infuse life to and whose backgrounds you invent can be liberating, but I haven’t reached that point yet.

I’ve toyed with the idea of a Guy of Gisborne or North & South-novel. I love their historical periods and both leading men have a very special place in my heart; plus, they’re in the Public Domain.

However, publishing a book in paper or digital format – even independently- would be a venture I can’t afford right now. Writing in English means I’d have to commercialise the novel via the UK or America, and my country has no royalty or tax agrements with either of them. In short, I’d have to pay taxes everywhere and charge an astronomic price to my readers in order to make it worthwhile. And then there’s the nightmare of how to cash in my sales.

It’d take a whole book to explain to you all the intricacies of Argentina’s current economic and copyright/royalty policies, all of which violate rights protected by our Constitution. And I guarantee once finished you’d still be completely at a loss.

In short, I’d love to. But, unless things change dramatically here, it’ll remain just a dream.

What type of environment do you need to write?

I’ve been known to write in the oddest of places – from a bench in the park to the waiting room at my dentist’s. I don’t need to be anywhere in particular to be able to write. I’ve always been a multi-tasking kind of person and can work even with background noise. I’ve got the ability to create my own bubble at will even when I’m not alone, to the point that sometimes I don’t know what’s going on around me.

The best time for me to sit down with paper and pen are the summer holidays. As a teacher/tutor I get a forty-day summer holiday every year, and I try to take as much advantage of it as I can so as to have enough material to post throughout the year. Unfortunately, for my readers, that routine was disturbed the last couple of years when I travelled to the UK. There was just too much to see and absorb for me to be able to focus on my writing.

How do your ideas come to you? Do you always write them or do you let them disappear?

There isn’t a fixed pattern. The germ of a story may be triggered by a line of poetry, a few chords, a photo or a particular scene of either a show or film. More often than not ideas seem to come out of the blue; it’s as if someone were whispering them into my ear.

I always start writing when an idea comes to me. I don’t keep a notebook with notes, though, I begin the story right away. 

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 only planned a fic in detail once, and I have to say it was the least satisfying of my works. Considering a large number of the stories I’ve written have an element of mystery in them, I prefer not to know what will happen beforehand. It’s the best approach to surprise readers when the enigma is solved since, in all certainly, I’ll have been the first one to be suprised when writing the twists and turns and the ultimate ending my Muse has come up with.

Do you prefer writing easy, quick stories or long, layered stories?

Long stories used to come easier to me than one-shots when I began writing fanfic. I imagine this is only natural; one can’t expect to run before crawling. The ability to create a scene with a few strokes of the brush comes to a painter after having spent hundreds of hours in front of an easel, and so it is for an amateur or professional writer when writing a brief piece. You can’t paint or write in abstracts without mastering the art of painting or writing with great attention to detail. It’s only after you’ve been through such a descriptive phase that you’ll be able to tell a whole story with a few simple strokes of a brush or a pen.

Writing vignettes or one-shots has been my safe haven during my tutoring months, particularly when the second semester arrives and my workload increases exponentially. Brief pieces allow me to keep my creative juices flowing and my Muse satisfied without keeping my readers hanging. As a matter of fact, that’s how one of my best-received RA-inspired series was born- Guy & Marian’s Acrostic Series.

Guy and Marian

Quick stories are also the perfect vehicle to delve into the mind and heart of a character. I also find this format the most appropriate to deviate from the typical third person omniscient narrator, and it’s the one I’ve chosen for most of my Guy or Guy & Marian fics, the POV being that of the Black Knight. These works have often been described as my most powerful and lyrical, which I suppose is due to the extra care one has to take when choosing the right words and imagery to convey so much in such a small package.

I love writing long, layered stories as well. However, my very busy teaching and tutoring schedule- my working day sometimes lasts twelve hours- leaves me very little time to work on them. So far, I’ve only completed one multi-chaptered fic for RA’s fandom, an Alternate Series 7 Lucas North story called “A Voice in the Dark”.

At present, I’m writing and posting two long fics, “To be Worthy” (a what-if story which explores what impact an earlier acquaintance with Marian and another mentor might have had on Gisborne’s life and ultimate fate) and “From Russia with Love” (another alternate Season 7 fic; this time focusing on Lucas and Vyeta’s marriage).

You can find Lillianschild’s stories at Wattpad and at an Archive of Our Own

 

 

 

 

The Armitage Authors Network Interview With Elizabeth Hanbury

This week Armitage Authors Network is thrilled to bring you our interview with Elizabeth Hanbury, who tells us about her most recent book, Christmas At Rakehell Manor, which Georgette Heyer hero she’d love to hear Richard Armitage read, and what she likes most about Armitage’s fandom.

Armitage Authors Network: Tell us about your connection to Mr. Armitage. When did you discover him?

Elizabeth Hanbury: As I mentioned in the recent 10 year North & South anniversary post, I started watching the 2004 BBC adaptation of North & South. I’d always enjoyed period drama and had read the book so I’d probably have watched anyway but there was very little pre-publicity; I happened to catch a trailer and there was an article in the Radio Times.

I was hooked immediately and wanted to find out more. The intensity of that response still astonishes me. Yes, we all fell in love with John Thornton/Richard Armitage but it was more profound than that. It was this adaptation, with this cast, this script, this director, this soundtrack…. Sounds a cliché but I felt a connection. It was just one of those ‘wow’ moments when everything comes together perfectly to create a moment of magic. It happened again last summer with The Crucible in which Richard played John Proctor. I was lucky enough to see it and it turned out to be another sublime combination of cast, play, director, venue, sound, lighting etc. Like N&S, it will live long in the memory as a result. I’m so pleased it was captured on film.

I’ve followed his career closely since N&S, something I’ve not done with any other actor. Why? I’m going to go into more detail here than I have before because it’s something I’ve been reflecting on since the anniversary; ten years is a long time to stay interested in someone I’ve never met.

I guess it started with him sending that message to the BBC message board. He appreciated us appreciating his work and took the trouble to let us know. Remember, this was in 2004 long before social media like Twitter or even Facebook. Most of us were internet neophytes and Richard probably was too. But he took time out to get in touch. I liked that and liked him as a result, what he had to say and the humourous, self-deprecating way he said it (Brad Pitt in the flesh LOL). So, as much as you can ever know someone you only ‘know’ through his messages (more’s the pity, I’d love to sit down and have a chat although I’d have a list of questions as long as his legs haha!), his responses to fan mail, letters, requests for signatures, charity raffle prizes, interviews, articles and so on, he hasn’t done anything since to fundamentally change my opinion of him, forged when reading his first message.

Apart from being a great actor, he seems a charming, funny, intelligent, generous, genuinely nice guy. He’s not perfect – who is? – but he always tries to do the right thing as far as I can see and for me that’s what matters.

I’m loyal too, so unless fame and success change him and he stops appreciating his well-wishers, then I’ll continue to follow his career and hope he goes from strength to strength, finding both professional and personal fulfillment.

AAN: Were you already writing fiction at that time? What impelled you to write?

EH: Yes, unlike most other authors you’ve featured on here, I had already written fiction before North & South. I started writing because I needed an outlet, something to channel my creative energy into. I enjoy art, and draw and paint, but I also love reading, especially historical fiction.

I’d written some original fiction but, as so often happens, I had put it away in a drawer. North & South, then C19, made me take it out, dust it off and look at it again. I posted some of it on the writing board on C19 and having immediate positive feedback encouraged me to post more and it went from there. It was scary initially to share what I’d written but over time I’ve realised it’s important because there are people out there who enjoy it, and perhaps even find it an escape from their own difficulties and encourage them to be creative in turn.

AAN: Did you ever try your hand at writing fan fiction? Did you read it?

EH: I never wrote fan fiction – never felt compelled to as I liked creating my own characters – but I read a lot of it! The standard was amazingly high.

Elizabeth Hanbury, photo used with her permission

Elizabeth Hanbury, photo used with her permission

AAN: You’re an avid fan of Georgette Heyer. You must love Richard’s audio work of her works. Which Heyer hero would you absolutely love to see Richard play?

EH: Ah yes…I’ll always be grateful to him for narrating those audiobooks which combined two of my favourite things. He did it beautifully, too.

Heyer is a vastly underrated author. Her phrasing, her dialogue, her research, her style and her plot structure are wonderful. She made it look easy which is a sign of her skill. I think her contemporary critics were dismissive because she wrote romance, a genre that has never achieved the status it deserves, but she was actually read by as many men as women.

Which Heyer hero? There are many but it would have be Sir Waldo Hawkridge from The Nonesuch. He’s handsome, intelligent, romantic, humourous, a gentleman, a philanthropist, and he has some great put-down lines – what’s not to like? Kudos to Heyer for making me love a guy called Waldo! He may not be everyone’s cup of tea but he’s three-dimensional without being rude, unpleasant or overbearing.  There are few romantic heroes you’d want to meet, let alone live with, outside the pages of a novel, but Sir Waldo is an exception and I’d love to hear Richard voice him.

AAN: Tell us about your writing genre and some of your works.

EA: The Regency period is endlessly fascinating to me. It’s become synonymous with elegance and refinement but it was also a dynamic time of innovation in science and technology (which I’m also really interested in) as well as advancements in the arts. It was a society on the cusp of reform on all levels including social welfare.

I love the paradoxes of the era and believe they make the genre enduringly popular.

I’ve written five novels and several short stories, published with both UK and US publishers.

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AAN: What’s you most recent release?

Christmas at Rakehell Manor. It started off as a novella but ended up as a novel because I had heaps of fun throwing together a deeply conflicted and troubled hero with a practical heroine who disrupts his carefully planned Christmas!

AAN: Can you give us any hints about what you might be working on next?

EH: A short story about a mysterious man who lives upstairs from the heroine. Then I’ll move on to the next book in the Cavanagh Family series, which will feature a Duke as the hero. I know, I know, Dukes have been done to death in historical romance ;0) but I couldn’t resist and he will be based in fact.

AAN: How would you sum up your experience as a long-time fan of Richard’s? What has been most enjoyable or rewarding in being connected to other fans?

EH: It’s been a blast and I’d like to thank him for being the catalyst for many positive things. I’ve made some fantastic friendships because the overwhelming majority of people who follow Richard’s career are warm, friendly and very generous. You can’t help but enjoy spending time and exchanging ideas with them, be it in real life or simply on line.

Also the creative energy he sparks is amazing. I saw it from the start with the fan fiction and my own writing, but it’s continued and now there is so much wonderful fan art, fan fiction, original fiction and artwork to enjoy. It’s something unique as far as I know, and I’m sure he must be secretly delighted, as any artist or performer would be.

Last but not least, I rarely mention personal stuff on line for various reasons but I have a close family member with a chronic health condition so being able to interact with other fans has helped me through some difficult times.

AAN: What would you like Armitage fans to know about you or your work?

EH: I find it a bit weird and difficult to talk about myself – it seems self indulgent and conceited – and therefore sometimes I think I come over as reserved. But people who know me in real life know that I’m an inveterate giggler with a wicked and mischievous sense of humour. I’ve been told that side of me comes through in my writing and I hope it does.

Elizabeth Hanbury’s works are archived here. She blogs at Elizabeth Hanbury: Wickedly Captivating Historical Romance. Follow her on Twitter @Liz_Hanbury and her Facebook page here.