Welcome to Dames of Dialogue, Grace. Tell us about your latest book.

Hello and thank you making me feel so welcome! I write historical romance and my last release is “Eulogy’s Secret” (Book 1 in The Huntley Trilogy) – a story of greed, prejudice and a stolen identity. The inspiration behind the novel came from one word “eulogy” which I saw on a poster advertising a memorial concert at the Royal Albert Hall; Eulogy struck me as a fantastic name for a heroine.

A ‘eulogy’ is a song or speech in praise of a dead person, and it set me thinking what circumstances would lead a parent to name their child that; perhaps the mother died in childbirth, or another, and altogether more sinister reason. Anyhow, the reason why Eulogy has such an enigmatic name is part of her secret…. So you’ll have to read the book to find out!

Now that’s original. I really like that. What’s next?

“Hope’s Betrayal” (Book 2 in The Huntley Trilogy) is set for a June release. This book tells the story of the middle brother, Captain George Huntley. The idea behind the book came from the true story of a female smuggler, who legend had it was so beautiful that the excise officer sent to arrest her fell in love instead….What a cracking start for a historical romance!

Indeed in ‘Hope’s Betrayal’, Captain Huntley is tasked with breaking up a smuggling ring, but when he captures one of the gang, a woman, his troubles are just beginning. Hope Tyler is unlike any woman he has met before; she is brave, resourceful and loyal…qualities Captain Huntley admires and respects. But Hope was seriously injured in the raid, and if Huntley wants information, his must first keep her alive.

With her father too ill to fish, Hope Tyler has a choice – smuggle or starve. When a landing goes wrong and she is captured by the arrogant, overbearing Captain Huntley little does she realize just how much their values overlap. They both believe in justice – but from opposite sides of the law. As she is nursed back to health, a battle of wills ensues that ends with them falling in love. But a love where either Hope betrays her own people, or the Captain is court-marshalled, is a difficult destiny to follow…

What a hook. Makes me want to rush out and buy the book. I’ll make a note for June when it’s released. I note you write historical fiction. Is this your favorite genre to read as well?

Absolutely! My aim is to write the sort of page-turning historical that I love to read. There’s something about the escapism of the past that makes this genre special for me.  For me, reading is about leaving the stresses of the modern world and losing myself in the past. I understand that for some people, paranormals work for them, but for me it’s historicals every time.

I, too, love historical romance thanks to Katherine Woodiwiss, who pioneered this genre. Do you have plans to write in another genre in the future? If so, which one?

I’ve thought about it but always come back to historical romance, precisely because it’s the genre I read. I have toyed with the idea of more ‘worthy’ historical fiction, but because I write for fun, why burden myself with angst and woe, and instead stick to heroes with toned thighs and heroines in shockingly small bodices?

LOL. Sounds good to me! Tell us about your day job.

I’m in the fortune position of having a dream job, or more correctly, two dream jobs; as a veterinarian by day and author of historical romance by night. Strange as it sounds the two occupations go hand in hand, because writing is my way of coping with the emotional demands of veterinary work.

I work in a companion animal practice on the outskirts of London; in fact the surgery is in a listed building; a converted 16th coaching Inn – how fabulous is that? I’ve been in the same job for close on 15 years now, which has the advantage of getting to know the clients personally, but the disadvantage of watching their pets age and overseeing the inevitable departure of old friends.

As a rescue worker, animal rights advocate and owner of more than a few rescued pets over the years, thank you for what you do to help our furry companions. I empathize with you regarding their inevitable departure. To me, it’s akin to losing a beloved family member. Back to writing. What works best for you re; promoting?

Perhaps it’s a coincidence but the two things that work best for me, as the two things I most enjoy – twitter and blogging. When I was at school my math’s teacher once told me I had a mind full of useless information – well that ‘useless information’ has found a home on twitter and my blog!

Useless information. Hmmmm. But I’m glad you put it to good use! Do you have a writing regimen? If so, share that with us.

My writing regime is to write in every spare minute! I used to set a target of writing for twenty minutes a day and get so absorbed that time would stretch to two hours. However, last November I took part in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) which sets a daily word target of 1,670 words. This revolutionised my writing! Before NaNoWriMo I had no idea how much time I wasted in distractions and procrastination whilst thinking I was working. There’s nowhere to hide with NaNoWriMo and boy did my productivity improve. That’s the way forward now – a daily word count.

Each year, I debate participating in NaNo but chicken out. I admire any writer who can produce that many words in a day. What do you like most about writing? What do you dislike most?

That’s a hard question to answer because I love writing and everything about it, from research to brainstorming, from actually writing the story to blogging about the finished book. OK, if I’m honest I’m not 100% a fan of editing (it gives me a migraine, all those little dots and annotations) and also, when I sit at the keyboard for too long my knees lock up!

I’m one of those weird authors who likes editing most, although used to hate it. Don’t know why the change…What book(s) are you reading now?

I’m currently reading SJ Watson’s “Before I Go To Sleep” and it’s spellbinding. It’s the story of a woman with amnesia who wakes up every morning having to learn who she is afresh, and then slowly bits and pieces of the past start coming back to her. I’m holding my breath to find out if her loving husband is truly a hero or possibly the villain – edge of the seat stuff!

Sounds fascinating. Kind of reminds me of that movie Fifty First Dates. I do hope her husband turns out to be a hero. Who are your favorite authors?

My all-time favourite author is Margaret George. I owe her so much because it was through reading her books, especially ‘The Autobiography of Henry VIII’ that I discovered a love of history. My other favourites are Lisa Keyplas, Gaelen Foley and Mary Balogh.

All great writers. I note you’re a cat lover. Do you have any pets? If so, tell us about them.

You are going to regret asking this question because I can talk for hours about my cats! So (deep breath) here goes….

I currently have five cats, although I peeked a few years ago at nine. They are: Wallace, Gromit (brothers), Pilchard, Widget and Noni (mother and daughter). Widget may be familiar to you because she’s in my author photo and Twitter avatar. She’s an ex-stray who thinks she’s human – did I mention she’s also my writer’s cat in that she sits beside me whilst I write? In fact she’s sitting beside me now washing her tummy, which may take quite a while as it’s a very ample stomach. She’s helps my word count because when I get up for a comfort break she pinches the warm spot and then looks hurt when I try to reclaim it. The result is I try and get up as little as possible!

How cute! I love the picture of you with Widget.  Cats are special animals, each with their own unique personality. Our last one died a couple of years ago and I miss having a cat in the house. Tell us about your part of the country.

As I mentioned earlier, I live on the outskirts of London, in what is officially a village – although from the amount of traffic passing through, you’d never guess. I live a five minute walk away from were I work, which is opposite a village green, complete with duck pond and a church dating back to Norman times. Just along the road is the cottage where artist Lucy Kemp Walsh lived when she was alive. Lucy was the lady who did the original line drawings for my favourite childhood book, Black Beauty by Anna Sewell.

Sounds absolutely gorgeous. What a wonderful setting for working and writing, Grace. Thanks so much for joining us today. For more information about Grace and her works:

http://graceelliot-author.blogspot.com

www.wix.com/graceelliot/grace-elliot