Welcome to the first Writers' Wednesday of 2008! I have some terrific authors lined up for interviews in the upcoming months, so be sure to stop by each week to see who's featured!
Today I'm chatting with Hazel Statham, whose Regency romance, My Dearest Friend, just released yesterday!
Welcome, Hazel. Can you tell us a little about your background?
I live in the UK and am now 'officially' retired. When I am not reading or writing, my other ruling passion is animals and until recently I was the treasurer of an organisation that raised funds for animal charities. We currently share our home with a lovely Labrador named Lucy although, over the years, we have owned everying from hamsters to horses.
I have always been fascinated by history and write mainly in the Regency and Georgian eras, although I have been known to stray into medieval times. I have written on and off since I was fifteen but only recently plucked up the courage to submit my work to a publisher.
When did you first begin writing? Was there an event or moment in your life that triggered your desire to write?
I only know that it was a compulsion. I was inspired by authors such as Charlotte Bronte, Georgette Heyer and Jane Austen and wanted to recreate my own historical world. I wrote three novels between the age of fifteen and eighteen. I only wish I had those novels now so that I could compare them with my current work.
Tell us about your latest writing project or published title.
'My Dearest Friend' just released with Wings ePress on January 1st and will be available both as an e-book and in print. Here's a brief blurb:
Devastated and wracked with guilt by the death of his younger brother, Stafan, in the Peninsular War, Robert Blake, Duke of Lear, readily agrees to aid Jane Chandler to bring her seriously wounded brother back from Portugal.
Much against Jane’s wishes, he decides to accompany her and together they embark on the hazardous mission to retrieve the young soldier. However, the journey holds many revelations, not least of all the abiding friendship and growing love between the two travelers.
That special love is put severley to the test by the treachery that awaits them upon their return to England, when a tenant of Jane's former home invades their lives, maliciously creating jealousy and misunderstandings for his own nefarious reasons.
Can their friendship and love conquer the emotions that threaten to tear them asunder?
Sounds like a winner! So how do you go about developing your characters?
I live with the characters in my mind and get to know them before actually putting pen to paper. I start with the hero first and know exactly the kind of person I want him to be and how he will react in different circumstances. Sometimes they have several layers that are only revealed as the story unfolds although, on the whole, they are strong men.
I know many people are using the new year as an incentive to finally start writing, or finally finish that first work-in-progress. What advice would you give to new writers just starting out?
Enjoy your writing. Write what you know and feel you have an afinity to. Whether you write for yourself or aspire to become a published author, there is a great satisfaction in completing your work.
OK, the tough questions now: What do you find most challenging about writing? What do you find most exciting or rewarding?
For me, writing is like watching a play unfold or listening in on other people's conversations. Quite often, someone will say something I never expected and it will take the plot off at a tangent. However, this just enriches the storyline and adds more depth to the characters.
How do you balance writing with the rest of your life?
Now that I no longer work, my time is more or less my own although I prefer to write when the house is empty and quiet. I have always written for myself alone and it is just an added bonus to have my work accepted by a publisher.
Do you ever suffer from writer's block? If so, what do you do about it?
Yes, occasionally I suffer from writer's block but I just find something else to do until it resolves itself. Usually it doesn't take long before it is resolved.
Can you tell us about your writing space?
I wish I was one of the lucky few who had a room they could dedicate to their work, but unfortunately. I am not. I have a desk in the corner of the diningroom where all is organised chaos. I try to keep everything in its place but rarely succeed. Thank goodness I have an understanding husband who rarely complains.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I read or spend time with my lovely grandson, Daniel. Lucy is my constant companion and she adores Daniel too.
When you write, do you use the computer or compose by hand, oral dictation, or some other method?
I write mainly on the computer but sometimes inspiration comes as I'm just dropping off to sleep and if I waited to boot up the computer, I would have lost the thought, so I then write by hand. A few Christmases ago, my daughter bought me a dictaphone, but my messages were so garbled that I gave up the idea and reverted to pen and paper.
Anything else you’d like to mention?
I love to hear from my readers and respond to all my mail. On my website, http://www.hazel-statham.co.uk/ you will find excerpts and reviews of all my published and upcoming works.
Thanks so much for your time today, Hazel! And may you sell many books in 2008!
Thank you, Allie.