Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Guerilla Writer - Grace Elliot, Historical Romance Author

Grace Elliot and Widget
Historical romance author Grace Elliot features as my Author Snapshot this week. Grace begins with a quick look at her latest release, A Dead Man's Debt published by Solstice.

A Dead Man's Debt by Grace Elliot
A Dead Man’s Debt is a story of blackmail, duty and unexpected love. I’m delighted to say it has had some awesome five star reviews from people such as Night Owl Reviews, The Romance Reviews, Fiction Books, Once Upon a Chapter…and more.

Where Grace Elliot Lives and Works
I am a veterinarian in a village near London.  I work in a building that is over 500 years old, and in the 1600’s was a staging inn, a stop off for those travelling to London. A few doors up from the surgery is the cottage where the artist Lucy Kemp Welch lived (famous for the original illustrations in Anna Sewell’s book, Black Beauty).

Grace is Owned by Five Cats and One Guinea Pig
At present we are owned by five cats: Wallace, Gromit, Pilchard, Widget and Noni. For a short time, when Widget had kittens, we peaked at nine! I’m very partial to guinea pigs but at the moment we are down to one, Rimmer, who enjoys travel and regularly comes on holiday with the family.

Widget is Grace's 'Writer's Cat'

Widget the 'Writer's Cat'
 Widget is my ‘writer’s cat.’ She sits beside me and encourages productivity by stealing the warm spot when I get up. She then looks hurt and affronted when I try to reclaim my seat and in so doing, discourages me from getting up unnecessarily! I write in a converted garage on a old leopard print sofa beneath the window. I like this room because there’s no TV to distract me and on a sunny day, it’s bright and airy.

What Helps you to Write?
Widget and an addiction to typing. 

What Hinders your Writing?
Lack of time. I’d write all day, everyday, if left to my own devices.

Grace is a Guerilla Writer
I describe myself as a ‘guerilla’ writer. As a wife, mother and working woman, I take advantage of every spare moment and ruthlessly hunt down moments that would otherwise be lost to watching TV soaps, (or doing housework!) and spend them writing instead.

Writing Aspirations
First and foremost I write for myself and so it’s a wonderful bonus to be a published author. I don’t so much have aspirations, as a headful of stories that are bursting to get out. My next three books are already planned out and so if I aspire to anything, it’s keeping on writing.

Grace's Inspiration for A Dead Man's Debt
The inspiration behind A Dead Man’s Debt came from seeing a portrait of the young Emma Hart (who became Lady Hamilton, and later, Admiral Nelson’s mistress.) That picture set a whole train of thought rolling that ended with a story of blackmail, duty and unexpected love.

Has Writing been a Lifelong Interest?
Absolutely! Although I had a lull of twenty years when I was too engrossed in career and family to write. But as a child I remember asking for a toy typewriter for Christmas and wrote stories ranging from the house being flooded to wild horses. It was at a school reunion, that friends I hadn’t seen for a very long time, asked about my writing and I experienced a “Eureka” moment.

Grace Elliot's Writing Process
The birth of each novel starts with the purchase of  new hardback, spiral bound notebook. Into this all my inspiration is poured: photos of characters, notes on settings, room layouts, even the weather. For me characters come first, I decide on their names (just like naming a newborn baby, it has to be right) and then a plot situation, with a rough idea of an ending…and then I start writing.

What Would you like Readers to take from your Novels?
I write the genre I love to read. The reason historical romance appeals so strongly to me is the sheer, page turning escapism of strong characters in a wonderful setting. And that’s what I hope readers will get from ‘A Dead Man’s Debt’, some good, old fashioned escapism with a gripping book that you just can’t put down.

What can't you Write without?
A cup of chamomile tea and Widget by my side. 

Why do you Read and Write Romance?
I discovered the romance genre relatively recently. Rightly or wrongly, before I read romance, I had the perception that romance was for losers! How wrong was I! Most are well written and researched, with fantastic story lines and realistic characters that provide a welcome relief from the cares and pressures of the everyday life. That’s why I say “Smart people read romance,” because if you know what’s good for you, you’ll ignore any preconceptions and take some time out from running your world.
Blurb from A Dead Man's Debt
Celeste Armitage has a plan…and that plan doesn’t include marriage.

After deliberately humiliating a suitor, Celeste’s despairing parents exile her to the country. But once there she discovers a sketch book of daring nude studies and is shaken to find the artist is her hostess’s eldest son, Lord Ranulf Charing. This darkly cynical lord is exactly the sort of dissipated rogue she despises most…if only her blood didn’t heat at the thought of him…

Nothing is as it seems. Lord Ranulf’s life is a façade. Only he can save the Charing’s from disgrace as a blackmailer seeks to ruin his late brother’s reputation. But just as Ranulf dares to open his heart to Celeste, the fury of his nemesis is unleashed… facing him with the stark choice between true love and family duty. However when Celeste guesses the truth behind his rejection, Ranulf underestimates her resolve to clear his name and in so doing places the woman he loves in mortal danger….

A Dead Man’s Debt is available from Solstice Publishing, Smashwords, Fictionwise and Amazon.
If you have enjoyed this interview, then you might like to visit my blog (updated twice a week) at http://graceelliot-author.blogspot.com/
Or follow me on Twitter: @Grace_Elliot

Thanks so much for being my Author Snapshot this week, Grace. I love how you describe yourself as a 'Guerilla Writer'. I'm sure many of us with all the commitments of work and family would describe ourselves likewise.

Can you identify with Grace's description of herself as a Guerilla Writer? I'd love to hear from you.


  1. What a great Author Snapshot :) So fun.

    I'm following.


  2. Hi. I am a new follower. I really loved your post. Thanks. Donna

    I just posted a review of Long Drive Home on my blog. I would love a visit/follow if you have a moment. http://mylife-in-stories.blogspot.com

  3. Hi Elisabeth and Donna - thanks for commenting :)

  4. I am definitely a guerrilla writer (with four year old twins, what else would I be?) Great post, Leigh. It's always reassuring to know that other writers are encountering the same challenges.

  5. Hi Cody - thanks for visiting. I love Grace's description. I can just see us all out there baring our teeth and beating our breasts and being very active about finding time to write!

  6. Hi Grace, Hello Leigh,

    Leigh you ask some awesome questions! And it was lovely reading about you Grace. A DEAD MAN's DEBT sounds an intriguing story.

    Congrats on it's release!

  7. I am reading A Dead Man's Debt right now. I am about to start with Chapter Five. I am impressed with the use Grace can make of her career as a vet in her writing! I feel as if I could help a laboring cow after reading it.

    It is exciting to me that you work in such an old building, Grace. How cool! Nothing on our side of the pond is as ancient.

  8. Hello Nas and Debbie :)
    Nas, it's easy to ask awesome questions of interesting writers!
    Debbie - sounds like you have a whole new career ahead of you!
    Thanks so much for visiting my blog and saying 'hi'.

  9. Thank you everyone for your lovely comments, I'm glad you enjoyed the interview. It's fun writing a snapshot and I guess 'guerilla' is another word for 'multi-tasking' that we are all so good at!
    kind regards, Grace x

  10. Great interview, Grace Elliot Ruthless Guerilla writer--I love the image. Thanks for sharing your process. I love the idea of the book that you put together with the backstory before you begin writing.

  11. I love the term guerilla writer! And the book sounds like a fun read. I absolutely love historical fiction, and I admire the writers who write it and nail it. Bravo!

  12. Hi Teresa and Julie - thanks for visiting!