About the Author
First of all, thanks so much for having me. As with most authors, I've been writing since I was a child. What or whom inspired you? When much older, my sister inspired me to become serious. She and I always considered ourselves intellectual snobs, but one evening over glasses of wine, we admitted (which will never be repeated, right?) that we were closet historical romance readers. We had another glass of wine, and over that, decided to write a historical romance novel. I mean, how hard could it be? So, we chose a period of history and started writing. My sister got tired. (It was harder than we both thought.) But I was inspired and continued. My London novels are a result, and they are not romances. Oh, there are traces of romance. Jasper's Lament has a little more than a trace.
2. How many books have you written and in what genres?
I've written 5 novels, all historical fiction. It's almost a series, in that I've a novel each year of the 1660's in London. Jasper's Lament is my latest, 1664. I'll continue in this vein until 1666 when most of London burns to the ground.
3. What writing projects are you currently working on?
I'm in the midst of researching my London 1665 novel, the year of the plague. What can you tell us about these projects? This one will be a problem. The 1665 Plague in London has been written about too much, the subject saturating readers, but I started this series with King Charles II's Restoration, and have told a story each year, non-royalty mind you, that I can't just skip 1665. I'll have to make certain the plague is part of the background rather than the subject matter. It'll be hard, though, since so many died.
I'd have my character leave town, start anew, but my stories are about 'Elizabethan London' which is gone, now. I want the reader to feel they've walked those old streets, smelled the coal smoke. I want them to know what it's like to meet a crowd who cannot go farther. The narrow lane is blocked by horse-drawn drays that face each other, their drivers not willing to let the other pass.
4. What does your writing process look like?
In the mornings, I'll go through email, facebook and twitter, do some promo; then critique chapters from my writer's group. After this, I'm free to write. I take a deep breath, and go into a 'place', like meditation.
5. Where is your favorite place to write?
I always sit at my desk where I can see outside.
Pretty important. Jasper is a Puritan and Puritan names at this time were very long. For instance, Nicolas Barbon's (17th century economist & physician) real name was: If-Christ-had-not-died-for-thee-thou-hadst-been-damned Barebone. In the light of this, Jasper's full name is Jasper Praise-God Pitt. His father's: Holy-Grail-Lament Pitt, and his uncle's: Peter-the-Baptist Pitt. How do you choose names for your characters? In the case of my most recent release, names came naturally. Lament Pitt dies, and Jasper finds out his father was not as he seemed, thus Jasper's Lament, a bit of a play on words. Usually, though, my selection comes from a list I've created of 17th century names, both male and female. Do you have any name resources you would suggest? Most come from my many sources of research.
7. What authors/novels that you enjoy would you recommend?
Some novelists have books that strike at your heart. One of these is A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. I enjoyed Hawthorne's A Marble Fawn, too. Another standby is The Count of Monte Cristo by Dumas (I tried to read it in French once. Didn't work too well.)
8. Where is your favorite place to read and why?
I like to read on a ratty chair on the patio of my backyard. The pic shows damp but we do live in Seattle. (Can I get a picture of this?) Please see attached.
The 17th century London, England.
10. If you could choose someone famous to star in one of your books made to a movie, who would you choose and for which character?
At the moment, I'd choose Jasper's Lament, and I'd love a young Kenneth Branagh to play his part (since Jasper is 25). Mr Branagh's talent is all encompassing who could play a flawed man such as Jasper.
11. What inspired the idea for Jasper’s Lament? History inspired Jasper's Lament. The fact I write a novel per year, London 1664 is filled with innuendo, gossip, and fears that war with the Dutch is imminent. The heads of state are ambivalent until the London merchants press their case before Parliament & King Charles II. So, I made my character a merchant. History shows since the Restoration, not everyone wanted the king's return & there were plots against him, so I made my character an unwilling participant in a plot.
12. What other hobbies do you enjoy when you are not writing? Husband and I like to travel, explore different parts of the country that are so incredibly beautiful.