Tag Archives: Guy of Gisborne

Exploring the Creative Process-Part VII: Interview with Charlotte Hawkins

The TempestHere’s a new instalment of our Writing Process Series to inaugurate our 2016 posts. This time we get some insight into the matter from Charlotte Hawkins, the published author of a well-known Gisborne trilogy.

Enjoy and get ready for more interviews in the coming weeks.


What type of environment do you need to write?

 
Solitude and quiet. I find it impossible to work when other people are around, and most any noise breaks my concentration.

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

 
They just pop into my head. I have to write them down or they vanish.

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 plan everything as it comes to me. My “Muse” dictates everything, so I rarely have a set path to follow.

Do you prefer writing easy, quick stories or long, layered stories?
 
Layered stories, for sure. When a story comes into my head, there are so many images and details floating around in my brain that I can’t contain them all in a short story. I just have too much to say.

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

I think I’m much better at writing dialogue. It’s not that I dislike writing description. I love it just as much. But I find that the voices of the characters speak to me in my head. They’re alive and say exactly what they need to. I just write it down.

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

 
I don’t think I would ever write mysteries or thrillers. I have little interest in the darker topics those kinds of stories sometimes take. I feel there’s too much darkness in the world already.

What do you do to cure writer’s block?

I wish I had a real cure. Some writer’s have it, but I don’t. I just have to wait it out.

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

Find a good beta, preferably a fellow writer. Keep your work between the two of you until you feel comfortable sharing. Then, move on to writing groups. You’ll most likely find that your fellow writers are your best cheering section and your greatest sources of advice. After all, they’re in the same boat as you.

What is your favorite book and why? 

 
Jane Eyre, bar none. I’ve never felt such a spiritual connection to another story.

Visit Charlotte’s official blog: https://fromthequilltip.wordpress.com/

Contact her on Twitter or Facebook.

Get her books from AmazonUs or AmazonUK.

Sample the first Chapters of her latest book, The Grace Emancipation, on her blog: https://fromthequilltip.wordpress.com/the-grace-emancipation/ (updates are found on the blog’s homepage).

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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.

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.

Interview with the unsurpassable Kate Forrester

If you have spent pleasurable hours diving into Armitage-related fan fiction but haven’t yet run into Kate Forrester (alias Khandy), then you’re in for a wonderful treat! When it comes to Richard’s various roles, Kate is the queen of versatility and volume. She has written stories for at least 8 of his characters, including the good doctor, Alec Track.

Dr Track

Your interest in fan fiction need reviving? Dr Track is here to help.

However, it’s not versatility or volume alone that gives her claim to fan fiction fame. Kate is a gifted storyteller, whose work pulses with real emotions and drama. She’s also proved she can create compelling original work. The Armitage Authors Network is happy to showcase Kate and her talent.

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

Kate: My daughter was given a box set of BBC dramas, North and South was one of them, for Christmas in 2006.  We sat down one Sunday afternoon to watch one episode and four hours later we finished having been unable to stop watching. My ovaries didn’t explode but there was a loud thud.

AA: You have written fan fiction for such a wide range of Richard’s characters. Do you have a favorite?

Kate: That’s tough. I like different ones for different reasons. A New Track because it I proved to myself I could write a story. Black Knight’s Redemption because I began to learn about how to construct a plot. The Gruinard Project because I set myself the task of writing a novel length story that would hold the readers interest. I suppose looking back on them all there were two where it all comes together in a way I was really pleased with. The characters, plot, story, the actual writing – all of it, just seemed to gel perfectly in Let Right Be Done and Absolution.  But my own favourite was Redemption of a Haunted Man. I loved writing about Peter MacDuff. Richard had very little screen time but he blew me away and I wanted to explore MacDuff further.

[All the above-mentioned stories can be found on her Wattpad page.]

I have to mention North and South because it so loved. Of all the things I have written A Nightingale Sang was the hardest I think because the characters were so loved I felt this enormous amount of responsibility to the original that I felt a little restricted.

AA: What is it about Richard’s work that is compelling to you?

Kate: It’s his attention to detail. He invests so much in each character and that makes them so compelling. Like Peter Jackson I’m drawn to his stillness. I find it absorbing. It makes his explosions all the more interesting. I also love the breadth of his work. He has played everything from posh boys, poor boys, soldiers, spies, teachers, doctors, real people, fantasy, drug dealers, philanders, murderers, pedophiles, comedy, drama, ancient, modern, lover, husband, and father. He has done all this on stage, small screen and big screen. I guess what I’m saying is I love his versatility

AA: Were you a writer before you discovered Mr Armitage? If not, did writing fanfiction encourage you to write your own original stories?

Kate: No, I wasn’t a writer but, I was a dreamer and so when I discovered fanfiction on C19 I decided to try my hand at it. I feel that fanfiction allowed me to develop the skills to be a writer. It provided not only an audience of readers but, also critics and editors as well. It gave me the courage to publish something of my own.

AA: What was your first published work?

Kate: My first published work is called: Weathering the Storm which I adapted from my fanfiction In the Bleak MidwinterIt tells the story of a lonely Yorkshire farmer and the women who literally crashes into his life. Like all my novels it is available at Amazon.

AA: Tell us about your most recent release.

Kate: My latest novel is called The Best Things Happen While You’re Dancing. It is set around a celebrity dance show and tells how shy, gauche, red haired Molly Cole is paired with Oscar winning actor, Adam Elliot. As the couple dance through each chapter, a troubled past is exposed and secrets are laid bared before they find the courage to realise that the best things really do happen while you dance.

Kate's Book

AA: Is there a work of yours that is particularly close to your heart?

Kate: Obviously Degrees of Silence is very close to my heart, as a lot of Sabrina’s experiences as a deaf person are actually my experiences – for example, in the book, there is horrible incident in a shop which is based on something that happened to me.

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

Kate: Most people know that I am deaf but not many know that I was twenty–two years old before it was picked up. I had been through school and nurse training and nobody realised not even my parents.

I’m also colour blind which is very unusual in girls. I never buy clothes on my own because I worry about what they will look like. So two of the hardest things I have to write about are sounds and colour. And my deafness means I cannot really hear Richards voice that well.

My dog Rufus is the hero of Redemption of a Haunted Man

I am a nurse but after A New Track I swore I would not write another medical romance but, my characters do suffer a lot and there is normally a hospital scene in my work somewhere.

I’m working on a new novel:  In the Shadow of the Games a re-working of The Gruinard Project set round the 2012 Olympics. I also have a new project in the planning stage about a detective in WW2 based in Cornwall.

Through the Looking Glass

In Einstein’s equation, time is a river. It speeds up, meanders, and slows down. The new wrinkle is that it can have whirlpools and fork into two rivers. So, if time-travel-clockthe river of time can be bent into a pretzel, create whirlpools and fork into two rivers, then time travel cannot be ruled out.
Michio Kaku

A few weeks ago, wholly immersed in the heartbreaking and horrific journey of Richard’s latest creation for the small screen, I couldn’t help but wish I could conjure up H.G.Wells’ proverbial time machine to have grown-up Dolarhyde meet Reba before there was no turning back or to provide baby Francis with the loving and nurting family he was denied.

Let’s face it, how many times during our exploration of Mr. Armitage’s body of work have we asked ourselves “What if?” or yearned to rewrite painful, implausible, sloppy or out-of-character storylines?

Life might not give us a chance to rewrite the past, but if we let ourselves believe, we can pour ourselves a cuppa, sit back and enjoy a good story in which our favourite character gets the lady of his dreams, takes a different path and lives to see the final credits roll.

To get you started, I have put together a list of stories featuring some of Richard’s best-loved creations- and one that is seldom written about. There are both time-travelling journeys and plots where past and present juxtapose and characters from different shows cross paths.

Take your pick and  let yourself be led to the fourth dimension by some of our fandom’s most creative authors.

  • Elizabeth Gaskell’s North & South

Kleindog’s “How Far the World Will Bend”

After having her fortune told by a gypsy, Meg Armstrong moves through a mirror from 1920s England to 1850 Milton–and finds out she has stepped into the shoes of Margaret Hale. She has been sent back in time with a mission to fulfill–to save John Thornton’s life. But will she be able to fulfill her mission without losing her heart?

Longhairedtoad’s “Once Upon a Time”

Based on the classic novel North & South by Elizabeth Gaskell, this modern story of John and Margaret takes them on a magical adventure filled with intrique, suspense, and romance.

John Thornton spends all his waking hours working in the family business. In his leisure time, he hunts for antique books. When one literally falls on him, he is shocked to find the ancient looking text is written about him.

Margaret Hale has no time for love. Having started a bakery with her best friend Tara, she needs to concentrate fully on that venture for now. But at her cousin’s wedding reception, a stranger approaches and explains he is the man she will marry in three months time.

Julia Daniels’ “Master of Her Heart: A Time-Twisted Tale of North & South”

Modern day Margaret Bryce is in a jam. Her graduate dissertation is due in mere weeks, and despite the enormous help her adviser, J. Whitman Bell has provided, there’s something missing from her paper. Dr. Bell decides the best option is for her to travel back in time to a Victorian mill town, so she can better understand the struggles–both economic and personal–people of that era faced. She agrees to his insane scheme, knowing it’s only a joke, a way for her to dig deeper within herself to find the answers. Only, when she wakes up in Milton, and finds the year to be 1851, she knows she’s in trouble…

  • Agatha Christie’s “Ordeal by Innocence”

theearth’s “What if? Philip Durrant”

Philip looked around. He found himself on the bed in the shabby guesthouse from yesterday’s dream. He could feel his body, he could feel his legs! The same old carpet he remembered from back then, faded and wrinkly. Even the stain from the glass of red whine he had knocked over a day before. No, not a day before. In truth he was sitting in his wheelchair in the library of his house a few years later, reading a book. He’d wake up later, but wake up from what? What was that?

  • Robin Hood

Therapne’s “The Tale of the Hologram”

A student takes a step too far when she plays with her friend’s ‘hologram’ and finds herself thrown into a strange medieval world. But that experience is nothing compared to the problems she encounters when she escapes the ‘hologram’s’ clutches and has to face the music with the authorities.

  • Robin Hood/Spooks

VelocityGirl1980’s “A Matter of Life and Death”

Lucas North’s life is unraveling fast and the walls are closing in. Alone and cornered, his flashbacks take on a new intensity, including new visions of a strange time gone by. But he has no time to work out what they mean. He plunges to his end from the Enver Tower, but ends up somewhere else. Full summary inside. Not entirely serious. Mostly RH fic.

VelocityGirl1980’s “A Fate Worse than Death”

A life taken in violence is like a shout in the mountains: it leaves an echo. A life left un-lived cannot pass on in peace, especially when a destiny is as important as Marian Knighton’s. Murdered by a man who would rather see her dead than with the one she truly loves, something somewhere blocks her passage to the dead, and she wakes up somewhere far away.

Smithylass’ “Coming Home”

Set in the Charente valley in France right after the end of Series 8 of Spooks.

(Present Day) Marian Knighton sat bolt upright in her bed, panting for breath. Her emerald green eyes were wide with fear and exhilaration. She was soaked with sweat and shaking in reaction to the dream. It had happened again – he haunted her dreams and she had no idea who he was…

“Hello…” a deep husky voice broke the silence, making Marian jump. She turned at the sound and nearly dropped to the ground in shock. Standing in the doorway was the Domaine’s house guest – Marian stared into the stunningly beautiful face and piercing blue eyes of the black knight of her dream.

time-machine

A/N: The first two stories mentioned on this list are also published novels.

Nancy Klein’s “How Far the World will Bend”

M.Liza Marte’s “More than Words”

Please, feel free to leave your own recommendations in the comments.

Of Knights and Monks

I’d like to start my first post by expressing my gratitute to both Trudy and Jazzbaby for inviting me to join them in this project. I’m truly honoured to be able to share in our love for the talented and beautiful human being that is Mr Armitage- our Muse and inspiration in more ways than one.

I’ve spent the last few weeks browsing my archives in search of a few stories that I thought would be the perfect vehicle to celebrate Richard’s latest Medieval project- “Pilgrimage”, which has just wrapped up. All of them have Sir Guy of Gisborne as the protagonist and feature our favourite Black Knight in dealings with monks or considering a future in the Church.

Guy at prayer

From the moment Richard announced he was going to take part in this Irish project during that interview he granted Omelette at Comic Con Experience’s (Saõ Paolo, Brazil), the fandom started speculating about his future role. Would he play a knight or a monk? Although most people seemed to be convinced he’d don a robe, my bet was on him playing a knight once again- after all, there was some pretty reliable evidence to tip the scales in that direction and, eventually, I was proven right.

Ultimately, it was fun to spend several months discussing the project, researching about religious orders in the Middle Ages and seeing our fandoms’ creative minds at work.

Guy on horsebackThis post is meant to have us immerse ourselves in the world Richard’s been living in for the past month and also to reminisce about a character who, despite the years that have elapsed, is still firmly entrenched in our hearts.

Enjoy!

P.S.: I’ve tried to keep the descriptions to a minimum to avoid spoilers.

medieval_scribe’s “To Cozen Fortune”: Pre-canon. Guy and Isabella in exile find refuge in a French monastery. Guy’s offered a place as a postulant. Is religious life his true destiny?

http://archiveofourown.org/works/266230

Therapne’s “The Apothecary’s Daughter”: In which Guy considers taking holy orders.

http://armitagearmy.proboards.com/thread/15401/apothecarys-daughter-new-guy-story

http://armitagearmy.proboards.com/thread/15402/apothecarys-daughter-chapter-1

Jayarjay’s “And from the Darkness Comes the Light that Heals” (still a WIP but beautifully written and well-worth the read): Post-series 2. Guy returns to the Holy Land intent on paying his dues by serving his fellowmen, but a surprise is awaiting him.

http://www.dreamerfiction.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=212&t=6012

hjcrane’s “Guy Meets his Match”: Post-Series 1. Jilted by Lady Marian, with nothing to lose and everything to gain, Guy accepts taking part in Vasey’s latest scheme. Will it be his making or final undoing?

http://c19.proboards.com/thread/31713/guy-meets-match-chapters-1

Marianne aka theearth’s “Illusions”: Late Series 2. Guy opens his eyes to the truth and makes a life-changing decision.

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/4165396/1/Illusions

Khandy’s “Black Knight’s Deception”: Appearances are sometimes deceptive, and Nottingham’s about to be shaken by the best-kept secret in town.

http://c19.proboards.com/thread/36463/black-knights-deception-ch1?page=1

velocityGirl1980’s “Everything but the Girl”: Everything’s a choice and Guy of Gisborne knows that as well as Robin Hood. What happens then when Guy chooses to act against the Sheriff to save Marian from the Earl of Winchester after all? Set in Series II- Episode 6 (up to a point), but then completely AU. [This fic made it to the list because there’s a good portion involving Guy & Marian in dealings with monks.]

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/9169952/1/Everything-But-The-Girl

Jayarjay ‘s “Three Hearts”: Post-Series III. Guy’s pilgrimage to the Holy Land to bring two hearts together and set his to rest.

http://www.dreamerfiction.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=238

EndlessBlue’s “Bound Home”: Post-Series III. A beautifully-written fanfic with an unusual pairing on their own private pilgrimage.

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/8126083/1/Bound-Home

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