Saturday, July 2, 2011

❤author: Grace Elliot Interview and Giveaway!

 I'm thrilled to welcome author, Grace Elliot to the blog today. Grace, will you please share a short bio with us?

Hello Stephanie, and thank you for making me feel so welcome!

My name is Grace; by day, I am a veterinarian and by night I write historical romance. I work near London and have a wonderful husband and two teenage sons. I’m addicted to cats, I’m housekeeping staff to five moggies, and love nothing better than to read (or write) historical romance. It’s my firm belief that intelligent people need to read romance, as an antidote to the pressures of the modern world.

 Sounds absolutely splendid! I like how you think about romance; it indeed is a fantasy we all thrive upon. Tell us about your book, A Dead Man's Debt, and where it can be purchased.

I’m thrilled to say A Dead Man’s Debt has received many 5 star reviews, and was described by The Romance Reviews as, ‘historical romance at its best.’ (Merry jig round the room!)

Set in Regency England, A Dead Man’s Debt is a story of blackmail, duty, and unexpected love. It is currently available as an eBook from the following stores:

It will also be available in paperback (via Amazon) in the next few weeks.

 As a lover of historical fiction, I must say it sounds fabulous! I'll be purchasing it upon it's paperback release! When and why did you begin writing?

Since I was a small child writing has been in my blood, but ‘real life’ got in the way for a while. It was at a 20 year school reunion that I had a ‘eureka’ moment. Old friends who I hadn’t seen for decades eagerly asked if I still wrote (my stories used to be read to an enthralled class) and suddenly I remembered the satisfaction of creating my own world – I went home and started writing again.

That reunion was five years ago and now barely a day goes by without me writing something. In rediscovering my creative side I also found a way of relaxing after a tough day at work and it’s done my mental health no end of good. I hope my passion for writing comes across in my work.

 It's wonderful how you get to do something you love so much, isn't it? What inspired you to write A Dead Man's Debt and then how did you get published? Tell us your call story.

Bizarrely the idea for A Dead Man’s Debt popped into my mind during a coffee break at work! I’d seen a portrait of a young Emma Hart (she went on to marry Lord Hamilton and become Admiral Nelson’s mistress) and couldn’t get the picture of this brown, eyed beauty out of my mind. It triggered a mental game of consequences, the end result of which became, A Dead Man’s Debt.

Thanks to the wonders of the internet I submitted the manuscript to various publishers, and it was such a thrilling moment when I got that dreamed-for reply: “Yes, we want your book and think it has a lot of promise.” My family was thrilled for me, and as my youngest son succinctly put it, “Mum, you can officially feel smug!”

 Indeed you can! Getting published is a very big deal. How much of your actual life gets written into your fictional stories?

In truth very little of my actual life gets into my stories. Part of my reason for writing is as an escape and so I positively avoid writing about everyday life – hence my love for historical romance. Pretty much the only cross over example I can think of is when Ranulf and Celeste first meet: Ranulf is assisting a calving cow. OK, my veterinary knowledge crept in at this point, but on the other hand I haven’t attended any carvings dressed in a regency gown and bonnet!

 That's an excellent way to put it. When I write, everything in my life tends to creep into little things, such as types of houses, colors of bedspreads, favorite ice cream flavors. It's an odd thing. I guess they're right when they say you write about what you know! ......even though that isn't exactly what they say. Back to the interview. What are your biggest motivations for writing?

This can be answered with one word – ESCAPISM.

My job as a veterinarian has little scope for flights of imagination, plus it can be emotionally draining. It’s not unusual that I have to break bad news to owners, several times a day, and dealing with their distress and grief is a roller coaster ride in itself. Being a vet requires a blend of skills including being a counselor and psychologist, in addition to being a clinician, and so that’s where my writing comes in.

I used to brood about work when I got home, but now as I settle down at the keyboard the stress and strain dissolve away as I immerse myself in the regency. It’s a huge escape and I love plotting the intricacies of a page turning romance.

 All the more reason to keep on writing romance! Can you honestly say being an author is your ideal job? Do you ever sometimes wish you hadn't begun a writing career or had gone down a different path?

I’m a prolific writer (I’ve written five novels in five years, but A Dead Man’s Debt is the first to be sent to a publisher) but write in my spare time. Therefore I’m in the fortunate position to say that I have not one, but two, dreams jobs. Just how lucky am I?

 Just lovely! It saddens me when some authors say they wish they had started writing later, or had some other career to depend upon, because it takes all the fun out of the writing process. Luckily, you still find enjoyment in it and maintain it as both a hobby AND a job. How would you describe your writing style/tone?

Tough question!

I’ve never analyzed my writing style but I’d like to think it’s exciting and touched with humour. I have a photographic memory and when I write I ‘see’ the scene in my head first and then transfer it to the page. Above all I aim to write a gripping story that has the reader unable to put the book down.

 What’s the most interesting comment you have ever received about your books?

I’ve found reviewers can be very perceptive. Some of the most useful constructive comments have come from reviewers. My favorite comment came from Yvonne, at Fiction Books, who compared my work to that of Georgette Heyer. Now, Ms Heyer is a heroine of mine and I’m humbled to be mentioned in the same sentence, so as you can imagine I was pretty chuffed.

“This is set to be a rollicking good, period romantic saga; although the hints are there that some darker forces and undertones are just waiting in the wings. First impressions are, that this is very like a Georgette Heyer book, which can’t be bad for budding new British author Grace Elliot.”
 Kudos for that praise! What's next for you?

I’m nearly finished the final draft of another regency romance, Eulogy’s Secret. This is the first in a trilogy about the three Huntley brothers and is set to be released towards the end of this year.

 Where can you be found on the web?

Website | Blog -- reflects my love of romance, history, and cats! | Twitter -- I'm a big fan | Facebook | Goodreads

 Before we conclude this interview, is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?

It’s been lovely to chat today, and I’d love to know what your readers do as a ‘de-stress’ at the end of a busy day. Please leave a comment and one lucky person will be chosen at random to win a $10 Amazon gift voucher!

 Thank you for being here today, Grace! It was a pleasure getting to know you and your writing better :)

 You heard Grace, guys! Comment on the interview with an answer to her question for a chance to win. Be sure to leave your email address so I can contact you if you're the winner! 

Giveaway ends July 16th, 2011 at 11.59 PM EST, and is open internationally!
No need to follow my blog to enter, though it is appreciated :)
Good luck!