Today we’re welcoming Beth Elliott to the blog, author of fabulous regency romances!
Hi Beth, tell me a bit about you and your latest work.
Books have always been an essential part of my life. I loved stories about other places and times, and the adventure of travelling. My own life has also involved travelling and living in several different cultures. All good experience for a writer. My Regency tales are stories of adventure, intrigue and romance, and a dash of exotic on occasion.
With my Montailhac family series, what started as one story developed into separate tales for three brothers, the sons of a French marquis who lives in the Pyrenees.
The Rake and his Honour is about Arnaut, the second son, irresistible to women, but who longs to prove his true worth. In the summer of 1813, he and Louise, from a family of Huguenot silversmiths, must smuggle letters between the French king in exile at Hartwell House in Buckinghamshire and Arnaut’s father in the Pyrenees. Each struggling with personal dilemmas as they travel, the unlikely pair hurry across France and England, with Napoleon’s vengeful agents never more than one step behind. In the desperate race to succeed in this mission, how can a rake find time for love?
Describe yourself in 3 words.
Traveller, storyteller, linguist.
What are your top 3 tips for aspiring writers?
Never throw any of your writing away, save and edit it later.
Give your characters’ obsessions and a wide variety of activities.
Only send work out after it has been carefully checked for grammar and spelling.
Are you a panster or plotter?
Mainly a pantser. The story begins when a picture of someone’s face suddenly springs to life as I look at it. Scenes involving that person whirl around in my head although it’s not clear where they happen in the story until later on, as more characters demand to join in. Eventually it becomes coherent and gains a theme.
How do you choose your character names?
I use a range of Georgian era names, and always check titles and estate names via Google to be sure they’re not real people or places.
What do you do when you get stuck with your writing?
I try rewriting the scene from a different POV, or else altering some elements in it. If that doesn’t work I wait for a few days, well…weeks maybe… using the time to read, write a new blog post or go out somewhere. Eventually one of the characters will indicate the way forward.
How long does it take you to write a book?
It varies but what with polishing and rewrites, research, including visits to the places concerned, probably about eighteen months.
What do you find hardest/easiest about writing?
I’m obsessive about polishing what I’ve already written, which slows me down. But on those days when the story simply flows along, my characters can advance several chapters in a few hours.
Describe your writing process in 3 words.
Slog, revise, trim
If one of your books got made into a film, who would play the main roles?
The Rake and his Honour is the story of a desperate race against time. Handsome, half French and half Turkish, with raven black hair and smouldering eyes, Arnaut’s charming smile and exquisite manners are irresistible. Luke Pasqualino would be my choice to play him, especially as Luke has that wonderful voice to add the final luscious touch. Brave, practical and physically tough, Louise is the other half of this unlikely pair of adventurers. Lily Loveless would play this character well.
Do you prefer pen and paper, or is everything on the computer?
Timeline, character bios, routes and distances, plotlines are all handwritten, and go into a file with photos, maps, any useful leaflets and so on. The story develops on the computer but I always print off the day’s output and add pencil notes to change, move chunks or develop it.
Who’s your favourite author and why?
Jane Austen is the first among about ten favourites. With her, there is always some other detail to enjoy when you reread a novel. And when her heroes propose on the page, they do it so well.
What’s your favourite book?
Please may I name two. Loretta Chase’s Mr Impossible and Georgette Heyer’s Venetia. The heroines in both are inspirational, and I so love that the heroes take time to reveal their positive qualities. Both books sparkle with humour. Both are a guaranteed good place to go for an escape.
And now for some silly questions just for fun…
Tea or coffee?
Coffee, Turkish style and according to their saying : ‘Black as hell, strong as death and sweet as love’, [and having my fortune read in the grounds after drinking it.]
Beer or wine?
After all my years in France, it has to be wine
Chips or curly fries?
Neither. I’ve cooked too many for the family ever to want any more
Puppies or kittens?
Kittens. I like their mood swings
Summer or winter?
Always summer, please.
Blurb for The Rake and His Honour
1813 Napoleon is
on the rampage through France.
The exiled French King Louis XVIII lives at Hartwell House in Buckinghamshire, plotting to overthrow Napoleon and reclaim the French throne for himself. His key supporter in southern France is the Marquis de Fontanes. However sending messages is difficult and dangerous.
One messenger is Louise Fauriel, from a family of talented silversmiths in London. An excellent rider, Louise is almost at her destination when she is pursued by Napoleon’s Secret Police. She avoids capture thanks to help from handsome Arnaut, son of the marquis.
Later, Arnaut reaches London with letters for King Louis and
meets up again with Louise. They travel to Hartwell House safely and the king
gives Arnaut a vital document to take back to his father.
Louise is kidnapped by one of Napoleon’s elite spies. Arnaut trades the precious letter he is carrying for her life. But the pursuit continues in France. Attacked again by Napoleon’s agents, Arnaut’s leg is badly injured. It falls to Louise to carry a letter through dangerous territory to the marquis. As Louise embarks on her mission, she starts to question whether she will ever get what her heart truly desires. Besides, what is love between two people when so much is at stake…?
Set during a time of intrigue and uncertainty, The Rake and His Honour is a must for fans of French history.
Beth loves speaking different languages and travelling to out of the way places. A Welsh mother and a Lancashire father gave her a complicated mix of imagination and practical common sense. A childhood spent in a small village with only two other children meant that books featured hugely in Beth’s young life for companionship.
When she had to join the real world, perhaps it’s not surprising she became a Languages teacher and worked in several different countries. After a number of years abroad, Beth now lives in the Thames Valley and writes her own stories. She is the author of six Regency Tales, which are stories of intrigue, adventure and romance. There are a few real people in among the cast of characters who find themselves caught up in events rather outside their normal lives. She hasn’t yet put Napoleon in a story, but he’s on the waiting list. On the principle of ladies first, especially in the Regency era, Lady Hester Stanhope played a small but vital role in ‘Scandalous Lady.’
From her own experience of life in Turkey, Beth likes to add a touch of exotic to some of her stories. But adventure and romance can just as easily occur in London, Bath or Brighton.
For more information, visit her at www.regencytales.co.uk
I love a good hist fic novel. If you fancy having a read, you can get yours now.
Thanks so much for joining us, Beth!
Thank you so much for inviting me along, Katie. I enjoyed answering your questions.