In The Chair 73: Luccia Gray

Welcome, Luccia Gray.

11102784_844407928976852_7866671121152746412_nHow would you describe your writing style in only three words?

Luccia: Imagery. Dialogue. Multi-layered.

If you could have a relationship with one of your fictional characters who would it be and why?

Luccia: Michael, of course, but he wouldn’t be interested! He’s the main character throughout The Eyre Hall Trilogy, but he is so in love with and devoted to my heroine that he would never ever be unfaithful or disloyal to her. He’s an ‘I will but love thee better after death’ type of man. A mixture of Gabriel Oak (Far From the Madding Crowd) and Captain Wentworth (Persuasion) and Pip (Great Expectations).

Luccia Gray AuthorIf you had to exist for a week in one of your books … which one would it be? Would you be a central character or simply watch the story unfold from the sidelines?

Luccia: In spite of the harshness of a servant’s life in Victorian England, I’d love to be a maid at Eyre Hall. I’d enjoy listening to the gossip, taking part in daily routines and activities, and watching the masters’ lives unfold. It would be mind-blowing to experience first-hand knowledge of the characters upstairs and downstairs. However a week would be enough, perhaps even too much!

Dead or alive literary dinner party: who would you invite, and what would you serve?

shutterstock_140166406Luccia: I’d like to listen to Charlotte Bronte and Jean Rhys discussing Bertha Mason, the madwoman in the attic created by Charlotte Bronte in Jane Eyre, and whose life story was told in the prequel, Wide Sargasso Sea (Jean Rhys). Then I’d tell them about her daughter, Annette Mason, and the rest of my sequel. None of us have big appetites, especially when we’re chatting, so I’d prepare lots of varied, bite-sized ‘tapas’, which we would nibble while sitting in my sunny Spanish garden. We’d wash it all down with chilled Rueda (Spanish white wine). Finally we’d have some hand-made chocolates, ice-cream and champagne for dessert.

If you had to write in a different genre which would it be and why?

bronte charlotte edmund B20084 21Luccia: I’ve written a neo-Victorian Trilogy, which could be classified as a gothic romance, so my first three novels have been historical.
I’m not sure what I’ll be writing next. I’d love to write more Victorian novels, but if I had to write in a different genre, which I may well do, I’d write a contemporary gothic romance.
I can’t see myself writing a novel that doesn’t include mystery, suspense, romance, and a gothic aspect.
 

What do you dislike the most about being an author?

Luccia: There’s actually nothing I dislike about being an author.
There are aspects I enjoy more, like creating, imagining, research and writing. I have fun with my blog, Facebook, and Twitter, and I love interacting with other authors, bloggers and readers. There are other aspects such as editing, and re-re-editing, which I find more tiresome, but I love the end product, so in the end it’s satisfying. I suppose marketing, advertising and promoting are difficult, because I don’t know the ropes well enough, but it’s fun too.
My greatest challenge is finding the time to write and do all the things related to being a writer, such as research, networking, advertising, writing and editing.

Favourite word? 

Luccia: Kindle. I think this word, which is just a few years old, has transformed reading and writing. It’s affected what we read, where we read, and how we read. It’s also given self-published authors an opportunity to showcase and sell their work in the previously constrained publishing world. 

Luccia Gray was in the chair, author of the Eyre Hall trilogy

Web: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Luccia-Gray/e/B00K34F28I/

My Trilogy

In The Chair 72: Catherine Hokin

Welcome, Catherine Hokin.

11102784_844407928976852_7866671121152746412_nHow would you describe your writing style in only three words?

Catherine: Character-driven, feisty, lyrical

If you could have a relationship with one of your fictional characters who would it be and why?

Catherine: My protagonist Margaret of Anjou from my debut novel Blood and Roses. She’s a tricky one: ambitious, strong-willed and potentially quite dangerous in the decisions she makes to ensure the crown stays with her family line. I’d like to be her political ally – it may be hard to be her friend as, in her position with attacks coming from all sides, trusting anyone was difficult. It would be fascinating to get close enough to see just how planned she was in the decisions she took and how much was having to react to challenges to keep her, her cause and her son alive. I’d like to see if the woman I imagine her to be is close to the reality. I think it is but I’m pretty sure she’d have some surprises up her sleeve.

CHIf you had to exist for a week in one of your books … which one would it be? Would you be a central character or simply watch the story unfold from the sidelines?

Catherine: Both my debut novel Blood and Roses and my second novel which is just coming through editing are set in medieval England at very turbulent times. Crowns were switching, heads were falling and gobby women like me would probably have ended up facing a witchcraft charge! I’d keep to the side-lines, chronicling events and trying to avoid a Game of Thrones style assassination plot. Unless, of course, I could plan a few of those myself…

Dead or alive literary dinner party: who would you invite, and what would you serve?

83524d844fd1bfd4ef609560f06c7fbeCatherine: I’m going to for dead people – I spend most of my life in the fourteenth century so I’m better at talking to them than live ones. I love magical realism so I want Gabriel Garcia Marquez – hopefully he can talk me through 100 Years of Solitude: I’ve read it, taught it and love it but I’m still confused! I also want the fabulous Angela Carter who is my favourite author and then I’d like Chaucer as I think an update of The Canterbury Tales with some of our modern tribes would be brilliant. I love to cook but I’m going to ask Heston Blumenthal to do us a magical medieval feast. There’s better be cockatrice.

If you had to write in a different genre which would it be and why?

cockatrice_by_artstainCatherine: Something twisted – horror and speculative. I’ve written a couple of short stories in this vein that have been published – I like a chill rather than gore and a bit of dark humour. I’m also playing with magical realism in another group of stories – shorter stories are great as you can play with styles. I do find people find my stories more twisted than I expect sometimes, my sense of humour can be a bit black.

What do you dislike the most about being an author?

Catherine: It can be a solitary thing and I’m quite gregarious which means outbreaks of over-socialising and a fear I might be turning into a Californication-style writer! To be honest, there’s not much to dislike as long as I can keep putting out words people seem to like to read.

Favourite word? Catherine: Drink! (in a Father Ted accent)

Catherine Hokin was in the chair, author of: Blood and Roses

Web: https://www.catherinehokin.com/

10329102_10154032866507953_7115553229951667733_n

In The Chair 71: Claire L Brown

Welcome, Claire L Brown

11102784_844407928976852_7866671121152746412_nHow would you describe your writing style in only three words?

Claire: From the heart.

If you could have a relationship with one of your fictional characters who would it be and why?

Claire: Probably, Henry Conrad Taylor from Jonah Axe and the Weeping Bride. He’s an English gent taken out of his time and now travels through history ‘fixing’ things. He’s got an amazing heart and drive to do good, he’s a little stubborn when he’s wrong but he’s growing with every challenge that comes his way. He’s honest and trustworthy and really good-looking!

If you had to exist for a week in one of your books … which one would it be? Would you be a central character or simply watch the story unfold from the sidelines?

Claire: I’m an observer and I’m constantly watching stories in my mind, it’s how I write the books play out like movies in my head.  I’m not really the center of attention type of person, but I think I can be quite strong willed when I believe in something.  So I guess I’d be a bit like Sky in The Poppy Garden, she takes care of everyone putting them first and fighting for what she wants in the long term despite the compromises and hard work it takes along the way.

Dead or alive literary dinner party: who would you invite, and what would you serve?

Sharing-roast-beef-and-yorkshire-puddingClaire: I love to cook, I think I’d do a traditional Roast beef dinner with Yorkshire Puddings! I would love to chat to some of my favorite authors, Agatha Christie, Gaston Lerox, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Shakespeare. It would be amazing to discuss writing with them and how they lived as authors. I would also love to invite Julian Fellowes and Lucy Worsley, as I love their historical outlook.

If you had to write in a different genre which would it be and why?

Claire: My latest novel The Poppy Garden is a departure for me. It’s not a story I intended to write, but it was an idea that wouldn’t stop niggling at me. So I started writing a romantic drama, which isn’t really my style. Its been extremely challenging and it’s taken a lot for me to see it through. I hope readers like it and that I’ve captured the elements of the genre the best way I can. I hope to publish the The Poppy Garden in the autumn so I guess I’ll find out how well I’ve managed a genre that’s outside my comfort zone soon enough!     

IMG_1665What do you dislike the most about being an author?

Claire: I read a lot of social media articles about how people want books for free.   You wouldn’t go to a restaurant and expect not to pay for your meal.  But a lot of people expect authors to give away their work despite the time, effort, love, sweat and tears that goes in to arranging those words in that way to entertain the mind and the heart. It almost feels like creative works have lost so much value over the years, which to me is an extremely sad situation to be in.

Favourite word? Claire: Serendipity

Claire L Brown was in the chair, author of: Jonah Axe & the Weeping Bride, and Draco.

Web: http://amzn.to/1L86LHd

12814661_534920023355553_684046953488081262_n

In The Chair 53: Juliet Greenwood

Merry Christmas, Juliet Greenwood!

SantaToymakerChair

How would you describe your Christmas in only three words? Juliet: Quiet, peaceful, reflective.

If you could have a relationship with a literary festive character who would it be and why? Juliet: It would be Scrooge, just because he learns to enjoy life, and the simple pleasures of good food and family and those you love. And he learns to enjoy Christmas too!

If you had to exist for a week in a Christmas story … which one would it be?

Juliet: It would have to be Narnia of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. As a child, I loved the ice-bound world struggling between good and evil – and I’d love to have Christmas with Mr and Mrs Beaver.

cerdyn-nadolig-portmeirion-33268-blaen-550

If I’m being very cheeky, I would say it was a magazine short story by my good friend Heather Pardoe (okay, yes she is me), which was set in Portmeirion at Christmas. Just because I would love to spend a week in Portmeirion – and Christmas there would be magical! (I’ve twisted Heather’s arm, and she’s putting it up on her website for Christmas).

Dead or alive literary Christmas lunch: who would you invite, and what would you serve?

Juliet: George Elliot (except I’d probably faint with adoration), Elizabeth Gaskell (I love ‘Wives and Daughters’), and Agatha Christie – nothing like a good murder mystery at Christmas!

3e3e35448d056914ee6f1f6119fa5ae5What would I serve? Mmm, well I’m not sure I’d be popular. I’m a lifelong vegetarian, so haven’t a clue about cooking a traditional Christmas dinner. I can do salmon (as long as it comes in a packet) for starters. I do a mean chestnut and cashew roast, carrots in white sauce, and sprouts and chestnuts in garlic butter. Followed by Christmas pudding and brandy sauce. And plenty of homemade sloe gin. That will keep them all happy, and knock them out before anyone can start a fight. (I’ve lived through many Christmasses …..)

If you had to write a Christmas themed story in your current genre, what would the title be?  Juliet: ‘The Lost Christmas Rose Garden’. Although Heather (who’s into cozy crime) would probably insist on ‘The Body in the Lost Christmas Rose Garden’.

What do you dislike the most about Christmas? Juliet: Explaining what vegetarians eat for Christmas dinner, and that it’s not sackcloth and ashes but really rather nice – and leaves more room for pudding afterwards!! When I was a kid, there were fourteen or more of the extended family sitting down to a veggie dinner, and none of us felt deprived, and you don’t have to get up at dawn, and isn’t it about sharing what you love to eat with those you love to be with, in the darkness of midwinter, rather than a competition in perfection?

Juliet's AngelFavourite Festive Word?  Juliet: In Dulce Jubilo

Because I loved singing carols when I was little, and I loved the sound of that. It always has the ring of Christmas (yes, I know it’s three words, but it always sounded like one to me).

Julia Greenwood was in the Christmas chair: Author of: We That Are Left & Eden’s Garden.

Web: http://www.julietgreenwood.co.uk/

In The Chair 45: Christoph Fisher

Welcome, Christoph Fischer.

How would you describe your writing style in only three words? 

Christoph: Compassionate. Character driven. Involved.

11102784_844407928976852_7866671121152746412_n

If you could have a relationship with one of your fictional characters who would it be and why?

Christoph: Robert Sheridan from CONDITIONED a principled, caring and intelligent man who is kind-hearted, idealistic and enlightened; an individualist who becomes attractive at second sight but then all the more disarming.

If you had to exist for a week in one of your books … which one would it be? Would you be a central character or simply watch the story unfold from the sidelines?

Christoph: So many of my books are set in war times, so I would chose CONDITIONED – It is set at a wedding with a colourful circle of friends who all more or less try to help each other.  I’d mingle happily with the characters but would also enjoy watching them sort things out their way.

922159_10151345337037132_1303709604_oDead or alive literary dinner party: who would you invite, and what would you serve?

Christoph: Henry Miller, Charles Bukowsky, Virginia Wolfe, Ernest Hemingway, Arthur Miller and E.M Forster are the first names that sprang to my mind. They were all passionate writers and I would love to find out what they were like as people. As for food: I’d start with tomato and mozzarella salad, make vegetarian and chicken Thai curry and finish with chocolate mousse. Whiskeys and cigars are probably a must with these guys.
(I chose dead writers since I haven’t given up all hope that I might meet the live ones in my time.)

If you had to write in a different genre which would it be and why?

Christoph: I’d love to write a good comedy. Laughter is so good for us and yet we don’t do it enough. I’m working on a humorous detective story but I’m worried that I have already written in too many different genres (historical fiction, contemporary family dramas and thrillers) to establish a solid enough ‘brand’

What do you dislike the most about being an author?

Christoph: Telling people that my books are great. I wish readers could find that out on their own. I want them to be pleasantly surprised when they open my books rather than having to hold them at gun point just so that they buy my books.

51OSxd6QQeL._UY250_

Favourite word?

Christoph: Cwtch

Christoph Fischer was in the chair: Author of Conditions, The Gamblers, In Search of a Revolution, The Healer, Time to Let Go, The Three Nations Trilogy, Sebastian, The Black Eagle Inn. 

Web: http://www.christophfischerbooks.com/

Authors: Fancy pulling out a chair? Send your answers to the same set of questions with a profile pic and one web link to jan@janruth.com

In The Chair 38: Jane Davis

Welcome, Jane Davis.

How would you describe your writing style in only three words? 

Jane: Authentic, honest, character-driven.

11102784_844407928976852_7866671121152746412_n

If you could have a relationship with one of your fictional characters who would it be and why?

Jane: I feel that I have a relationship with each and every one of my characters. Each of my books has been between one and four years in the writing, so I’ve spent far more time with my fictional characters than I have with family, friends or colleagues. I once spent an evening at an Elbow gig at the Roundhouse in Camden trailing a man who I was absolutely convinced was Tommy Fellows, one of the central characters from Half-truths and White Lies. I didn’t have a model in mind when I wrote Tommy, but he is one of the few characters I describe in some detail, and there he was! Fortunately I have a very understanding partner who was in total agreement with me. The man had the shoulder-length hair, the jawline – he even had the leather jacket with the picture of the eagle on the back.

If you had to exist for a week in one of your books … which one would it be? Would you be a central character or simply watch the story unfold from the sidelines?

Jane: Again, I write largely fact-based fiction and, since I don’t have money for research trips, the backdrops are places I know well (although I may take the liberty of moving the location of a particular house). A Funeral for an Owl is set in the streets and parks that I walk daily. In the early 1990s, I lived on the High Path Estate in South Wimbledon. The flat that Jim lived in was my flat. I transported the entire estate to Carshalton for the sake of the story. Many of the anecdotal stories I tell are my own, or are based on fears that I had. The boxer who ended up in the wheelchair was my neighbour. JD Bench 034He used to bang on the wall when he fell out of his chair and I would arranged for some of the local lads to ‘break into’ the flat so that we could rescue him and, without fail, he would say something abusive. I regularly hauled the five-year-old boy who used to lie beside the speedbumps out of the way of oncoming cars. The fear that you would be jumped in the stairwell – that was real. My own house is Jim’s granddad’s house. It has a central chimney that acts as a loudspeaker and every day a pigeon sits on the roof and wakes us up at 4.30am – and every day we threaten to light a fire under it. Aimee’s house is the house I grew up in. I am always in character when I write, and often act out lines. My approach is to make it personal. In An Unknown Woman I used my own house again, except that I burn it to the ground in the first chapter. For authors who imagine themselves as the director of action, it might be possible to watch from the sidelines, but I am in the middle of the action as I write.

Dead or alive literary dinner party: who would you invite, and what would you serve?

Jane: Edith Sitwell, because she looked the way that all poets should look. Hilary Mantel, for exactly the same reason, because her own story is equally extraordinary as her fiction and I’m sure she could be relied upon to say something quote-worthy. (It goes without saying that I’d want to blog about the dinner party.) Khaled Hosseini, because he is one of the most humble, charming and wise men I have ever met. Ken Kesey to shake things up a bit. Churchill for his opinion of current world events. And Jill Marsh, simply because we always say that we will get together and drink tequila, but have never managed to find the opportunity. Since I will have started drinking early to calm my nerves, I will keep the food simple and fall back on staples. Focaccia, Buffalo mozzarella and tomatoes with lots of fresh basil and good olive oil; Fish pie with peas and leeks (because Nigel Slater says that it’s what everyone really wants to eat at a dinner party, and I agree) followed by Nigella’s chocolate cloud cake.

If you had to write in a different genre which would it be and why?

Jane: I write in two different genres: contemporary and historical, sometimes combining the two for a time-lapse effect. True-life is more extraordinary than anything I could invent (read The Queen of Whale Cay by Kate Summerscale if you don’t believe me), and I adore big biographies, so I think that I would abandon fiction for a while and write a biography. The bigger the better. I might gather some good material for it at my dinner party!

20120_858537530855698_6991366493521944218_n

What do you dislike the most about being an author?

Jane: All of the parts that aren’t the writing. At the moment it’s formatting files to various requirements for different eBook publishing platforms – and all the dreaded version control that goes with it. We used to be encouraged to keep various versions of manuscripts during their development, in case there was a dispute about who wrote the book. No more! I am in the middle of producing bookshop editions (paperbacks) of all of my novels and, at the same time, have made a number of updates. Change one or two words, and the publishing platform rejects the entire document. I have had to go through the process of clearing all of the formatting and starting again from scratch. It’s horribly time-consuming. And very dull!

Favourite word?

Jane: Discombobulate. I’ve never managed to put it in a sentence.

Jane Davis was in the chair: Author of I stopped Time, These Fragile Things, A Funeral for an Owl, An Unchoreographed Life, Second Chapter, An Unknown Woman.

Web: To sign up for pre-launch specials and notifications about future projects, or for suggested questions for book clubs visit www.jane-davis.co.uk.

In The Chair 33: Edward Ruadh

Welcome, Edward Ruadh Butler.

How would you describe your writing style in only three words?

Edward: Normans. Celts. Vikings.

11102784_844407928976852_7866671121152746412_n

If you could have a relationship with one of your fictional characters who would it be and why?

Edward: I’m working on a new book called Lord of the Sea Castle at the moment. Set in summer 1170, one of the main characters is called Alice of Abergavenny. While based on a historical figure (and has no familial connection to me!) she really is entirely fictional. She knows what she wants and is determined to get it despite being born into a society that increasingly wants to take position and influence away from her. Also, this Welsh lass is good with an axe and a bit of a looker!

If you had to exist for a week in one of your books … which one would it be? Would you be a central character or simply watch the story unfold from the sidelines?

Edward: In Swordland my main character, Robert FitzStephen, builds a motte and bailey castle just north of Wexford (the site can still be visited at the Irish National Heritage Park). In the book he predicts that a castle can be finished in a week and I, history geek that I am, would love to see if it could actually be accomplished. So a week spent working all day in the twelfth century sunshine and drinking into the night would be marvellous.

Edward Ruadh Butler (15)

Dead or alive literary dinner party: who would you invite, and what would you serve?

Edward: I make a mean prawn curry, but I’m afraid my culinary expertise stops there. Drinks a-plenty to make up for that failing! I’m already picturing a medieval feasting hall so Gerald of Wales will have to be the first guest I invite. Daniel Defoe, Roald Dahl, Alexandre Dumas, Patrick O’Brian, and Robert Louis Stevenson would keep even Gerald in good humour, I would imagine. I’ll also throw in Wilde and his Café Royal chums as they would be a hoot. All the Accent Press writers would get invites too! And so would the members of the Historical Writers’ Association. Ply everyone with drinks, encourage them to eat too much and see what happens!

If you had to write in a different genre which would it be and why?

Edward: Disregarding ability to do so, I’d love to have a bash at the crime genre. I was introduced to Henning Mankell’s books by Anthony J. Quinn (author of Disappeared) a few years ago and loved them. I think that the crime genre is a great backdrop for the study of society today as you are forced to take a hard look at those the detective is investigating, and to uncover their motivations, desires and fears to make the story plausible.

What do you dislike the most about being an author?

Edward: The alone time.

 Favourite word? Edward: Converse

Edward Ruadh Butler was in the chair: Author of  Swordland.

Published by Accent Press.

Web: https://www.facebook.com/ruadhbutler?fref=ts

FB ad image new JPEG