Welcome to another of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. Today’s is with historical romance and mystery Elizabeth (Liz) Bailey (no relation) :). A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further.
Morgen: Hello, Liz. Please tell us something about yourself, where you’re based, and how you came to be a writer.
Liz: Hello, Morgen, and thanks for inviting me here. I’m based in Sussex in the UK, and took up writing as a secondary career after I’d been in the theatre for years. I had always written, but never thought of doing so professionally until my sister put together a co-operative to send work out. Then I got down to business and began writing historical romance.
Morgen: I’d always enjoyed English and read prolifically in my teens but it never occurred to me until I went to evening classes in 2005 that it could be a career. It took another six years for me to realise it’s what I wanted to do… and have done full-time for the past year. Isn’t it the best feeling? What genre do you generally write and what have you had published to-date? What do you think of eBooks?
Liz: I write both historical romance and mystery, and have had both published. Harlequin Mills & Boon (the UK branch) produced 18 of my historical romances, and Berkley in the US did the first two of my Lady Fan mysteries. I’m a great fan of eBooks and have started my own independent publishing with Amazon and Smashwords.
Morgen: What lead to you going your own way?
Liz: As so often happens in this business, for different reasons, I lost both my publishers. Fortunately just at the point where authors are taking control of their own careers with the growth of independent publishing. I had already self-published, or rather co-published a print novel POD called Fly the Wild Echoes, in a different genre, which hadn’t found a home. I’m now re-releasing the title on eBook.
Morgen: Do let me know how that goes. You could come back for an author spotlight. Do you have a favourite of your stories or characters? If any of your books were made into films, who would you have as the leading actor/s?
Liz: My current love is my heroine sleuth Ottilia Fanshawe (properly Lady Francis Fanshawe), and I would love Kristin Scott Thomas to play her.
Morgen: A great actress. Do you manage to write every day, and do you plot your stories or just get an idea and run with it?
Liz: In my early days, I plotted extensively, but found the story changed so much once I got into it that I was forever changing the plot. Now I put a brief amount of material together and let it run. I’m usually planned up to the next couple of chapters, but always prepared to make change. The characters tend to go their own way!
Morgen: I love it when they do that. What point of view do you find most to your liking: first person or third person? Have you ever tried second person?
Liz: I prefer third person, as it offers the chance to see the story from several aspects. I have used first person present tense, but only partially in a book with 3 viewpoints. I’ve never tried second person. I find it difficult to read and the rhythm is really off for me. I don’t think I could do it.
Morgen: I would recommend having a go for short pieces. It’s my favourite point of view but I rarely write more than a thousand words in it as it gets quite tiring (strange as that may sound). If you could invite three people from any era to dinner, who would you choose and what would you cook (or hide the takeaway containers)?
Liz: I’ve always loved Eleanor of Aquitaine. I played her in my actress days, so she’d be a definite. I would also invite Lady Jane Grey, as I think she was so badly treated, used as a pawn for the ambitions of others – tragic. Finally, to provide a little leaven, I’d ask Beau Brummell or perhaps Oscar Wilde. Yes, let’s go for Oscar, wittier and more entertaining than Brummell. I’d serve a broth, quails and pheasant, and blancmange and pretend I knew what I was doing.
Morgen: Out of the two, I would go with Oscar too, and maybe Stephen Fry who played him. 🙂 Are you involved in anything else writing-related other than actual writing or marketing of your writing?
Liz: I assess and critique manuscripts for other writers, and help them in any way they need. And in the last couple of years, I’ve taken to ghostwriting. It’s less satisfying than doing one’s own stuff as you are not only taking someone else’s ideas and cultivating them, but you are subject to their approval. I don’t think I’d want to do it full-time.
Morgen: It’s a very popular career, especially given the amount of celebrities publishing these days. Are you on any forums or networking sites? If so, how valuable do you find them?
Liz: I use Facebook a lot, and Twitter. Plus LinkedIn and Goodreads. They all have their place, but it is difficult to keep up with them all. I’d love to interact more on Goodreads with readers, FB is more for friends, LinkedIn for the business side of things, and Twitter does get a bit neglected. I find them all valuable, principally because they help to keep an online presence which is essential for any author.
Morgen: I used to not do much on Twitter (these posts are automated) but now I set up a post (for the older pieces going forward) each hour (at least a day in advance) on Tweetdeck and it definitely brings new interest. What are you working on at the moment / next?
Liz: My wip is the third in the Lady Fan series, but the poor thing has lain dormant for months while the ghostwriting took over. Ottilia is most anxious to complete the investigation – as am I! – but needs must when the devil drives, and there is so much editing and promotion to do for the ebooks that my mysteries have taken a back seat. But I’ll be getting back to it as soon as I can.
Morgen: I know that feeling, although I’ve still been writing at least a story a day (one for 5pm fiction). Where can we find out about you and your writing?
Morgen: Thank you, Liz. It’s been great chatting with you today.
If you are reading this and you write, in whatever genre, and are thinking “ooh, I’d like to do this” then you can… just email me and I’ll send you the information. They do now (January 2013) carry a fee (£10 / €12.50 / $15) for the new interviews on the mixed blog (they also subsequently get posted on this blog morgensauthorinterviews.wordpress.com and morgensauthorinterviews.blogspot.co.uk) but everything else (see Opportunities on this blog) is free.
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