Please tell us a little about yourself Elayne.
Hi, I live in the north of England, with my husband, two dogs, cat and two horses. My kids are grown and flown. I enjoy the telling of a story and love researching for background. I used to write for my kids when they were small. I enjoy the nascent of a story when it flits around your head like mosquitoes on the scent of bare flesh. I sent my manuscript to publishers but they said....'not fashionable' so I thought maybe as I have never been into fashion, I would go for self publishing; personally I think if classics can still sell and be enjoyed, perhaps readers of historical novels might enjoy mine.
What 7 words would you use to describe yourself?
Imaginative, lazy, indulgent. Generous, forgiving, caring, honest.
Please tell me about your current novel. Who or what was your inspiration behind it?
Factory Bride is set around the turn of the 19th C and starts off in a small village in Cheshire, England following the journey taken by Elizabeth, to a home on the other side of the world as a convicted murderer transported to Australia. She has a tempestuous journey when she leaves home. She finds she is pregnant at sixteen and raises her child with the help of a dumb girl. Prostitution secures a way of staying out of the workhouse. During her story she is both comfortable and poor and she has good and bad luck. Throughout the story she is helped by good people and hurt by those she thought better of. To read this you just have to go along with the narrative and enjoy the journey.
I began thinking about it when we were looking for a house a good while ago now, and we came across a dilapidated Georgian farmhouse. I got to wondering about the people over the years, who had lived there and what they might have got up to. That was the birth of Elizabeth.
Which is your favorite character in your book and why?
There is only one really. Elizabeth just keeps picking herself up and dusting herself down. She is very naïve and caring but she is prone to temper outbursts, maybe she is a little more like me than I care to admit……
What authors inspired you to write this particular novel? Why?
Robert Hughes. I had read his book ‘The Fatal Shore’ and was in the early stages of an idea for a story. So it all came together from then on. His book is the factual story of transportation to Australia and how the settlers faired. It starts out with stories of some of the people sent out there and the crimes they committed. It is an amazing piece of work which sits well alongside Thomas Keneally.
Who are your favorite authors?
Oh wow, there are lots. Agatha Christie, Patterson, Clive Cussler, Neville Shute, Howard Spring, I used to like Patricia Cornwell but have been disappointed in her last few but still read them.. Crichton, Wheatley, Rankin.
What genre are you most looking forward to exploring during your writing career? Why?
I would like to write a crime thriller, I have to be honest I am trying to stop myself from putting a criminal twist in my new one.
What do you listen to when you write? Do you find one type of music over another that inspires you to write? Why?
It depends on what character I am working with or part of the story. I love classical in the background, but if I have golden oldies on, say from the 1960’s my writing perks up a bit. Never heavy rock though, it disturbs my thought pattern. I like something that flows with the speed I am writing and for romantic interludes or powerful scenes you can’t beat Puccini…
What has been your favorite part of being an author? What has been your least favorite?
Two things really; I am not sure that I have control of the story once it starts, it seems to take a life of its own, and I am just as enthralled as if I am reading a book by someone else. In relation to that, I have the ability to make the story change as I would want it to if I really was reading someone else’s work.. What power is that.
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What was the biggest compliment? Did those change how or what you did in your next novel?
The toughest criticism was one where the reader could not finish the book. I can understand that some scenes are upsetting but I just don’t think she got me or the story or my style. Starting a story and not being able to finish suggests that the book in itself is rubbish. However, I did make some changes because at the base of her review was a tiny piece of constructive criticism.
I took on board that to be too realistic and graphic can be difficult for some people to read so in my latest novel I have toned down the graphic details.
The best was when a reviewer revealed that she had been moved to tears at some of the passages because one or two are intended to be heartbreaking.
I also rate the reviews which comment on the accuracy of my historical setting because I go to a great deal of trouble to make sure that it is always accurate. I continue to do so with my new novel.
Besides writing and reading, what is your most favorite thing to do?
I have two horses, I love to ride or just look after them. They are wonderfully calming creatures.
On a typical weekend, what can we find you doing? Who are you with?
With my dogs and horses out in the fields. Fresh air, mounds of horse muck and companions that never argue back.
Is there anything else that you would like to share or say to those who will read this interview?
I guess the hardest thing I had to do was let my mother read this book. Most people would consider me to be prudish and there are things I wrote that shocked me let alone her. She said it was very good but a bit rude. I also think that ‘saga’ style books are viewed a little bit old fashioned but personally I think that there are far too many fantasy and vampire novels around at the moment. Having said that there ought to be room for every taste to be satisfied.
Thank you Elayne for taking the time out of your busy day to interview with me. I wish you the best of luck in your writing career. Have a wonderful day.