One of the best parts of running this blog has been “meeting” writers whose work we’ve loved reading from the fandom and this week we had a chance to talk to one of our favorite writers, Hazel Osmond. Her most recent book, The Mysterious Miss Mayhew, was released on November 6 and we asked her about writing fan fiction, her love for Guy of Gisborne, and what she’d say to Richard Armitage if she had a chance.
Armitage Authors Network: Thank you for joining us today. You’ve been a fan of Richard’s for a long time. Can you tell us a little about how you discovered Mr. Armitage?
Hazel Osmond: I wasn’t one of the people who spotted him in North & South right from the start. I don’t know where I was, or what I was doing when the series was on, but I missed it completely. It was the BBC’s take on Robin Hood that first brought him to my attention. Who was that tall, brooding man in leather? A little bit of Googling later and I was heading for the North & South box set. I discovered that as well as being able to brood he could play an honourable and vulnerable lover to perfection. I was hooked.
AAN: Did you write fan fiction for the Armitage fandom? And was it your first attempt at writing fiction?
HO: I wrote two fan fictions – both based on his Guy of Gisborne character. While I loved the Thornton character and the way other writers portrayed him in fan fiction, it was the essentially “bad” nature of Guy that interested me, especially when it came to having love redeem him. It was more of a challenge for me to get him to give up his pursuit of power and money for a woman he loved. (I also, I’m slightly shamefaced to admit, wrote a spoof of the series because I found the scripts more than a little far-fetched at times. I called it “Robin Hood- the Am Dram Version” as I’m into Am Dram myself. You can still find it on C19).
Yes, it was my first concerted attempt at writing fiction. I had written a couple of short stories before, but I’d never experienced that overwhelming drive to write and entertain which happened because of Richard Armitage.
AAN: What impelled you to begin writing?
HO: Well I suppose it was a massive crush. So instead of constantly trying to bring the conversation round to the object of your affection like you do in real life, I translated it into writing about him. What kept me going was the way I felt when I was writing, as if I’d “come home” to something and I loved the feedback, good or bad.
AAN: What was it that made you decide to make the transition to writing original stories?
HO: I was aware that several of the people on the website I visited had started out via fan fiction and gone on to write books and find publishers. One of those, Phillipa Ashley, was kind enough to read the first chapter of my first fan fiction “Guy Meets His Match” and say I should have a go at writing a contemporary romance. I didn’t really consider what hard work that would be, just launched straight in to a story set against a backdrop of an advertising agency because that was the world I knew. A case of “Fools rush in …,” definitely.
AAN: What was your first published work?
HO: Who’s Afraid of Mr. Wolfe? and it went on to be nominated for Romantic Comedy of the Year by the Romantic Novelists’ Association. The hero, Jack Wolfe, is 80% Thornton and 20% Gisborne. Writing fan fiction also gave me the courage to try my hand at more short story writing and my confidence got a further boost when I won the Woman & Home short story competition sponsored by Costa.
AAN: Can you give us any hints as to what you might be working on next?
HO: I have three projects on the go at the moment, but I’m playing my cards close to my chest about them all. I have this theory that the more you talk about your works in progress, the less fresh they seem to you when you sit down and write them. I can tell you that love and comedy will play a big part in all three, though.
AAN: What would you say to Richard Armitage if you bumped into him today?
HO: Ah, I am one of those people who would turn around and walk away without saying anything. I went with some friend to see him in The Crucible recently and did not stay afterwards to meet him. I’m too shy in that context. Plus I’m happier admiring from a distance and keeping fantasy as fantasy.
However, what I would say should I have an influx of courage is THANK YOU. Thank you for lighting the blue touch paper on my writing. For giving me the model of a romantic hero who will always, in smaller or larger form, appear somewhere in my writing. For introducing me to a place where I could giggle and be risqué, a bit like when I was a school kid at the back of the bus. Most of all, thank you for letting me find friends via the websites who have enriched my life and who I know will be with me until we all shuffle off to the next place.
Yup, I’d have lots to thank him for before I stumbled, clumsily, into the gutter, mumbling incoherently.
The Mysterious Miss Mayhew is available on Amazon here. Her wildly popular Guy of Gisborne tale Love Is A Wound is available at Wattpad here. You can find her website here. Find her on Twitter @hosmond and Facebook here .