The Armitage Authors Network has added a few new names to our archive (you can find them under the Other Works By Armitage Authors tab) including Sally Orr, Saralee Etter, Diana S. Long, and our interview guest this week, Lorna Peel. Lorna’s debut novel, Only You is published today and she recently took some time to talk to us about her decade in the Armitage fandom, how she uses Pintrest in writing, and what inspiration she draws from Richard Armitage.
Armitage Authors Network: Hello, Lorna and thank you for joining us today.
Lorna Peel: Thank you AAN for inviting to take part in this Q&A.
AAN: How did you discover Mr. Armitage?
LP: It was through the BBC’s adaptation of North and South back in 2004. I can’t believe it is almost ten years ago! I had read the novel and I was curious to see what the series was like. The Thornton in the first episode was very different from the Thornton in the novel and I didn’t particularly like him, but I did sit up and take notice of the actor playing him.
I joined the BBC Drama Messageboard in the week between episodes one and two and discovered that I wasn’t the only one who had noticed Mr. Armitage! I had lurked on other messageboards before but the BBC board was the first I actually took an active part in.
AAN: Has he inspired any of your characters?
LP: Yes, Robert Armstrong in Only You is based on RA and a couple of other actors, so it’s no coincidence that Robert’s initials are the same and that he is also tall, dark, handsome and has blue eyes! Their character traits are deliberately different, though. Robert Armstrong goes swimming, even though it bores him, in order to keep fit, while Mr. Armitage doesn’t like water at all.
AAN: Where was the first place that you posted something you’d written and what was it?
LP: I posted a short story on one of the messageboards. I think it may have been on the Yahoo N&S Group. It was about John Thornton and Margaret Hale’s wedding day. John is waiting for Margaret to arrive at the church but she’s very late and he begins to wonder if she’s changed her mind about marrying him.
AAN: You’ve published some non-fiction pieces, can you tell us what made you want to transition to fiction?
LP: I had always written fiction and non-fiction side by side but it took me a long time to pluck up the courage to try and get the fiction published.
AAN: What impelled you to begin writing?
LP: I have always had a good imagination but I wasn’t encouraged to write any imaginative compositions at secondary school, so it wasn’t until I was nineteen that I began to write fiction. A few years later, I did a short story writing course and I was lucky enough to have one published in Woman’s Way, an Irish women’s magazine, but it made me realise that I preferred to write novels. So the vast majority of what I write are full-length novels and the occasional long short story!
AAN: Are you a plotter or a pantser? Do you have every twist worked out ahead of time or do you just see where the story takes you?
LP: With some novels I’ve written, I’ve known exactly where the plot is going. One is an historical novel as it is structured around the second world war, but with the majority of my novels, I haven’t a clue where the plot is going!
AAN: You have Pinterest boards for your novels, can you talk a little about how you construct an inspiration board?
LP: When I first joined Pinterest, I didn’t know what to do with it! But I began to explore other author’s boards and realised that it could be a very useful tool to not only story board a book but also to tell readers a bit about me – my favourite books, music, TV, and films.
I found that I could use a Pinterest board not only for inspiration but as a book trailer of sorts, too. I find it especially useful for writing historical novels as I can add some background information or newspaper headlines, as well as choosing pictures for the board which show the settings, the characters, the clothes and uniforms of the period, and what the characters would have eaten and drank. They all help me in my research and descriptions as I’m writing.
AAN: Do you prefer e-books or print books?
LP: I like both! I try to buy books from my favourite authors in print, but I also rely on my Kindle a lot. Where I live in Ireland, bookshops are few and far between, and being able to download an e-book to my Kindle in a matter of seconds is great!
AAN: Can you tell us a little about Only You? When did you start working on it?
LP: Only You tells the story of Jane Hollinger and Robert Armstrong. Jane is divorced and teaches family history evening classes while Robert is single and an up and coming British actor. They meet when Robert joins Jane’s evening classes to help in his research for a TV role and when Jane helps him with a mystery in his family tree they can’t ignore the chemistry between them. The trouble is that Jane is a very private person, while Robert’s life is anything but private. Can Jane overcome her fear of living in the public eye to be with Robert?
I wrote Only You quite a long time ago, still in the aftermath of N&S. I loved writing it, and it took me only two months to write the first draft as I wrote it at every available opportunity. I remember finishing it sometime around four o’clock one morning!
AAN: What’s next after you publish Only You? Is there something else you’re working on that you can tell us about?
LP: I have written an historical novel set during World War Two called Into The Unknown, which I hope to submit to a publisher soon. It is a prequel of sorts to Only You as it tells the story of Robert Armstrong’s grandparents.
Only You is published by Tirgearr Publishing and is available at Amazon US here and Amazon UK here. You can find other sites linked at LornaPeel.com. Follow her on Twitter as @PeelLorna and her Facebook page here.