Today I am pleased to welcome Elizabeth Gates on to the blog with a quick interview! She’s come up with some wonderful answers!
What is your favourite thing about writing books?
Escapism. No matter what is going on elsewhere in my complicated life, writing is my bolthole. I feel safe and empowered.
Who is your favourite character in your book and why?
I thought about this for some time and concluded that it is too difficult to choose just one. I like the urbanity of the villain Sir William Robinson and respond in the same way as everyone else to Adelaide de Fontenoy’s beauty. Malcolm Craig Lowrie is a force of nature and hard to resist. But – as someone courageously trying to make sense of the world – I find the teenager, Lady Emma Bamburgh, the character I empathise with most easily. Probably because even though I am much older I haven’t managed to make sense of my own world yet.
What is your favourite drink to consume while writing?
Boringly – sparkling water!
Do you have any bad habits while you’re writing?
Twisting myself round my chair. Not listening to what others are saying to me and pretending I’ve heard it all. It’s embarrassing to have to ask people to repeat what they’ve said.
How do you research your books?
Reading the internet, books and journals, primary sources. Also, travel and visiting museums and art galleries. Further education courses. Talking to experts and to ordinary folk who have a story to tell.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Writing the first draft, I don’t plot. I have a general sense of setting the scene – with problems, conflicts etc.– then the action takes off from there. When I do the main edit, working through chapter by chapter, I write the synopsis at the same time and this helps me identify inconsistencies and plot holes and establish pace. Subsequent edits are ‘tidyings up’. So the short answer is: both!
If you could live in any fictional world, which would you choose and why?
1920s Paris, 18th Century Edinburgh, and so long as you weren’t too poor, 19th Century Cornwall would be exciting. Most worlds – fictional or otherwise – would be interesting in some way but I would need to have a return ticket.
If you could befriend any fictional character, who would you choose and why?
Precious Ramotswe has more of a handle on life than I do. I could learn a lot from her.
About the Author
I wrote my first stories as the age of four, largely because no-one else had written the stories I wanted to read! And my writing life has continued to flourish and grow in much the same serendipitous way.
Between reading English Language & Literature at Bedford College, University of London, and acquiring an MA in Linguistics at the University of Essex, for example, I explored Europe as a teacher of English and Creative Writing. Then, later, I worked as a freelance journalist. Published for over twenty five years, in national, regional and local magazines and newspapers, I focussed on Public Health issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder in the armed forces and suicide among our farmers and the health of foreign seamen trapped on ships held in British ports. At this stage, I certainly had a varied and interesting writing life!
Since 2005, when I founded the Lonely Furrow Company Writing Consultancy, I have been increasingly involved in helping clients use writing to explore their hopes, fears and lives. Making sense of their lives is important to them and they can use journalling and memoir and fiction to achieve this.
I have also turned to fiction but mostly for pleasure and this has resulted in The Wolf of Dalriada Stories. These stories have grown out of my love for history, travelling and adventure – perhaps a not altogether unexpected development! And I hope you, like me, will find them totally enjoyable.
I have worked as a journalist freelancing on Public Health issues. In 2005, I founded the Lonely Furrow Company Writing Consultancy, helping many clients use writing to promote well-being. Now I also write fiction and have already published The Wolf of Dalriada, Part 1, of an historical adventure series.