Tag Archives: North and South

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.

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.

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.

Master of the Mill by Cate Toward – a retelling of North and South

A fantastic reader review of Cate Toward’s MASTER OF THE MILL by Fanny Thornton! Check it out at DistRActed Musings!

DistRActed in ReAlity

As part of the celebration of North and South I am contributing my review of Master of the Mill by Cate Toward.

Caty and I had a chat awhile back discussing her take on Thornton.

I started reading this story when it was first serialized and the way she wrote Thornton had me visualizing Armitage as Guy of Gisborne.
When it was published last January I was able to read it all the way through and appreciate her take on the story.

We find ourselves at the beginning of this story in Northern Milton. Margaret has lost her mother, Mr. Hale his wife and they are in dire straits due to the loss of Mrs. Hale’s annuity. Nevertheless Margaret is determined to supplement their income instead of relying on relatives.  Mr. Bell had suggested Milton but left for the West Indies upon their arrival.

This is the North and South…

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#NS10 My Favorite N&S fanfiction

Meek Margaret

Romantic tension between would-be lovers. Thornton with his book. He loves to read, too!

 

After watching North & South for the very first time, I was desperate to talk about the story with others because I simply couldn’t stop thinking about it. I found C19 within a few days. It saved me from certain lunacy (or did it?). What a relief to know that I wasn’t the only one suffering from the effects of watching a Victorian cotton mill owner smolder for nearly four hours. Finally I could discuss and ask questions … but that was not all. There were stories there! Other people, whom the gods had allowed to find N&S years before me, had written stories about John and Margaret.

I had discovered fan fiction! Cue the music from on high.

I spent hours upon hours immersing myself in Milton again through the creative talents of many fellow fans. I devoured all the stories set in the Victorian Era and then, still hungry for more, tried those that transferred the romance to a modern setting.

Eventually, I turned to writing my own stories. It’s the most effective way of getting the story fleshed out in exactly the way you see it playing in your head.

But what if you’re not inclined to write your own N&S story? There are plenty of tales to get lost in, written by those who couldn’t leave the images of Margaret and John swirling in their heads until they had attempted to transcribe it for others to enjoy.

Here are some of my favorites, heavily influenced by my long-term love for and connection to the C19 forum:

Traditional continuation stories

Pack Clouds Away My all-time favorite continuation from the book. So Gaskellesque: tender and passionate all at once.

True North Wonderful continuation from the mini-series written with historical detail and a little spice.

Mistress of Marlborough  Unfinished, but a favorite at C19. They go to Cadiz to visit Fred!

Variations stories / What-ifs

Fate & Circumstance  Unfinished, but so worth it anyway! The prose is incredible. I’m left with my jaw hanging every time. And the sexual tension is staggering. A must-read, but be prepared for a grinding halt to the story.

How Far the World Will Bend (also available at Amazon) Creative time-travel with spine-tingling romantic tension. I’ve reviewed it on another post here.

Under Compulsion Margaret is pressured to marry Thornton to save her reputation after the riot. Margaret warms to John as his wife.

Bring the Heart to Earth The premise is tough to take, but the reconciliation involved is a slow-burn delight.

Modern setting

Past and Present There’s a magnetic attraction between Milton hotel owner John Thornton and the girl who’s just moved into town. Intense! I love this author’s writing.

East and West Sweet story based on N&S although the names are changed. ‘Margaret’ is a California liberal who moves to NYC where she meets the conservative financial executive ‘John Thornton.’

Come Back to Me  Maggie and Jon endure a tumultuous relationship that includes crossing social classes.

Alternate Universe

Deep Blue Sea  Fantastic Regency world story based on N&S. The names have been changed, but ‘John Thornton’ is a sea captain! A creative and spicy spin on the story.

For Laughs

North and Spoof  This is a hilarious spoof that throws a little Thorin in with the stolid Mr Thornton. It takes a special skill and a little inherent wackiness to create a brilliant parody. The author talks about her craft and inspiration on another post here.

North and South for Dummies Who doesn’t need a good laugh now and then? A zany look at a few of the episodes in N&S.

 

You’re welcome to tell us your favorites!