Hi Laurie, thank you so much for inviting me here to your blog.
Thanks for being here and agreeing to answer some of my questions. :) Here we go.
Does travel play in the writing of your books?
The idea for "Hope's Betrayal" came to me whilst on holiday on the Isle of Wight. For those of you unfamiliar with the British coastline, the Isle of Wight is a small island in the Solent, between England and France. In the 18th century this location made it the perfect stopping-off point for smugglers illegally importing French goods. Officially the island's inhabitants made a living from fishing, but unofficially, they made much more money smuggling.
Whilst walking round one such village I spotted a wisteria-clad cottage with a blue plaque mounted on the wall. The plaque marked the fact that a certain, notorious female smuggler was born there - this whetted my appetite to find out more about this unusual woman and set a chain of research in motion that eventually ended with "Hope's Betrayal."
In "Hope's Betrayal" I explore what happens when the captain sent to stamp out a notorious smuggling ring, falls in love with one of the smugglers. Indeed, love on different sides of the law is a difficult destiny to follow when it means either court-marshal or Hope betraying her family.
What was your first sale as an author?
I shall never forget that feeling of elation (and disbelief!) when I sold my first article. As a writer I cut my teeth on non-fiction.
The first piece I sold was to the Lady magazine - which was especially thrilling as it is a journal I remember my mother reading it when I was little. The article was written to mark the 800th anniversary of the death of Eleanor of Aquitaine. She was a remarkable woman, a medieval queen who reigned in both France, then England. If you haven't heard of Eleanor, you may well be acquainted with her sons amongst whom were Richard the Lionheart (the crusader) and King John ( of Robin Hood fame.)
I still write non-fiction but these days fiction dominates the majority of my writing time.
Tell us about your family.
There is a touch of eccentricity about the Elliot household which is dominated by animals. My poor husband often jokes that to get any sympathy he'd need to have a wet nose and whiskers (actually, on reflection, perhaps he's not joking.)
The current head count is one husband, two teenage sons, five cats, one guinea pig and a bearded dragon. To give you some sense of our priorities, my youngest is currently in the bathroom giving Gravos (the bearded dragon) a wash. As I write, Widget is asleep beside me on two extra plump cushions and Gromit (one of my older cats) is asleep on a cushion with a hot water bottle underneath.
Sometimes I forget just how animal orientated our family is, and when guests come in, can't help but notice them staring at all the litter trays and food bowls. Still, it's what makes us happy….
What are the most important attributes for remaining sane as a writer?
Actually, for me it's the other way round, and writing keeps me sane! Let me explain.
My day job is that of a veterinarian and whilst it's been my calling for as long as I can remember, it is also an emotionally draining occupation. After a hard day, to come home and write is a form of meditation. My writing method is to visualise a scene and then eavesdrop on what the characters are saying, and so it puts my head in a totally different place from those niggling cases that are difficult to get to the bottom of.
What would we find under your bed?
I don’t know whether I should go public with this or not, but under my bed is a considerable quantity of books…and a cat!
Pilchard, one of my more anxious cats, set up home under the bed when she had a litter of kittens. As an aside, it was a wonderful thing to lie in bed listening to the slurps of the kittens suckling from their mum and her crescendos of purrs. However, that was several years ago but she's never moved out and now she has a bowl of food there, water beside my dressing table and her own en-suite facility (OK, a litter tray) beside a stack of books.
Entice us, what future projects are you considering?
I have several projects in the pipeline.
"Hope's Betrayal" is book two in the Huntley trilogy (and a standalone read) and book three, "Verity's Lie" is due for release in the next two to three months.
"Verity's Lie" is the story of the eldest brother, Lord Charles Huntley, who is a rake with a secret life as a secret service spy. When Charles is assigned to protect a cabinet minister's daughter, Verity Verrinder, he hasn't reckoned on falling in love with a woman who despises him…and with her life in danger, he must find a way to win her trust.
I am also working on a new series set in the (ficitional) Georgian pleasure gardens of Foxhall. These romances are different in that the hero and heroine are ordinary working people. The first book, "Percy, Persephone" is the story of a young woman's innovative act at Foxhall Gardens, which brings her fame and fortune. But when she rebuffs the lecherous advances of a lord and he sets about ruining her, she is in danger of losing everything, including the man she loves.
Do you have a Website or Blog? Newsletter.
Indeed I do! My blog, "Fall in Love With History" reflects my passion for history, romance and cats! It is updated at least once a week so it's well worth keeping an eye on. Incidentally, my eldest son designed the banner at the top - isn't it lovely? Sometimes I have to log on just to look at the banner! (Yes, I know, proud mum and all that.)
I also have a newsletter with comes out quarterly. If you sign up to the newsletter during this blog tour, your name will automatically be entered into the prize draw for a $30 Amazon voucher!
The link is here:
Grace Elliot leads a double life as a veterinarian by day and author of historical romance by night. Grace believes intelligent people need to read romance as an antidote to the modern world. As an avid reader of historicals she turned to writing as a release from the emotionally draining side of veterinary work.
Grace lives near
and is addicted to cats. The Elliot household consists of five cats, two teenage sons, one husband, a guinea pig - and the latest addition - a bearded dragon! London
One wild, winter's night two worlds collide.
Known for his ruthless efficiency, Captain George Huntley is sent to stamp out smuggling on the south coast of England. On a night raid, the Captain captures a smuggler, but finds his troubles are just beginning when the lad turns out to be a lass, Hope Tyler.
With Hope as bait, the Captain sets a trap to catch the rest of the gang. But in a battle of wills, with his reputation at stake, George Huntley starts to respect feisty, independent Hope. Challenged by her sea-green eyes and stubborn loyalty Huntley now faces a new threat - his growing attraction to a sworn enemy. But a love where either Hope betrays her own kind, or Captain Huntley is court-marshaled, is not an easy destiny to follow.