Today's Hump Day Interview is the lovely Elin Gregory, welcome Elin…
Thank you so much for inviting me to contribute to your Humpday interviews, especially so close to one of my infrequent releases! Also thanks for the interesting question set. 🙂
What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
Masses, both on paper and on my hard drive. Some will, I hope, never see the light of day, but there are others that have a sound core and could be redrafted into decent reads.
· There’s part of a Regency historical, an attempt at m/f romance that I abandoned in 1990 when I realised the male protagonist was paying more attention to the heroine’s brother [I had NO idea that there might be people other than me interested in reading such things].
· There’s 350k words of contemporary paranormal romance, co-written with a friend, about an ancient vampire, a very troubled vampire hunter and the last months before the US borders were closed to all paranormal entities. Just for fun it was set in Key West, a place neither of us had ever been. It also sparked off an ‘origin’ story set in Ukraine.
· Neither of us had ever been to the area between Whitefish, Montana, and the Glacier National Park where we set a werewolf adventure – we managed 95k words of that.
· Then we wrote 95k words of medieval/Renaissance fantasy about jousting, travelling players and Florentian banking houses.
· I have 70k words of a story set in the Hen Gogledd – the Old North – in the early 7th century CE when Welsh was still being spoken on the Scottish borders and the King in Edinburgh made an ill-advised attempt to drive back the Saxons. Just think of “300” only with horses and more clothing. I’m determined to finish that one.
· The sequel to Eleventh Hour is at about 7 thousand words and I have three more Pemberland stories partly written to follow up The Bones of Our Fathers.
· I also have many scraps and scenes where I’ve tried out characters to see if they have a voice. One of those will be appearing in Manifold Press’s Call To Arms anthology of World War 2 stories and features Sam Hobb, a character I’ve had around for a while. I like Sam and hope his story will be written because, amongst others, it will feature Peter Fleming, Ian Fleming’s big bro’.
What are the ethics of writing about historical figures?
I think a lot depends on how well known they are and in how much affection they are held by potential readers. For instance, Peter Fleming is barely known at all outside of the UK and only a little by people who aren’t interested in travel writers of the 1930s [of the two Fleming boys, Peter was the great author at this time] or WW2 defence measures. As long as I stick fairly closely to the time line of WW2 I can probably get away with quite a lot when he appears as a secondary character.
On the other hand are those historical entities who are very well known – or who have a mythology that gives the illusion that they are well known. Let’s take “Honest Abe” Lincoln as an example.
There has been some speculation that Lincoln may have been gay or bisexual. In scholarly circles this has been greeted either with hurrumphs of outrage and the argument that, since Lincoln was married and had children, he couldn’t possibly have been, or with enthusiasm and a mining of Lincolniana for possible evidence. I don’t know enough about the man to come to a definite conclusion but I think we all know, or know of, people who married because ‘that’s what one did’ and how much more imperative that would be if one wanted to run for office? So, I think one could get away with writing an angst-ridden historical about Abraham Lincoln’s struggles to balance his reputation for utmost honesty with his secret bisexuality but one probably couldn’t get away with making him a wife beater. One can believe the great man might have a huge secret that could destroy him if it was discovered, and that his lovers cared enough for him to keep his secret, but smacking Mary around out of frustrated misogyny? No, that wouldn’t work at all.
What is your favourite childhood book?
My favourite childhood book has remained one of my favourites. It concerns a young man of the artisan class who abandons his work to go for a walk and meets an affable gentleman of independent means with an enthralling hobby. Seduced, the young man moves in with the gentleman and is introduced to a whole new world. There are picnics and visits to crusty old scholars and a nice but dim, enthusiastic aristocrat desperate to keep up with all the latest fads. They suffer loss and heartbreak together, come to the aid of their friends, endure spiritual crises, and finally achieve a blissful peace in each other’s company. *clutches heart*
I’m talking of course about The Wind in the Willows. Ratty/Moley OTP. The book also has moments that make me snivel. Ratty’s encounter with the Seafaring Rat, a matelot with a roving eye who nearly wrecks Rat and Moley’s idyll and leaves Rat grieving for something he can never, and should never, have and Moley’s sudden catastrophic bout of homesickness that almost wrecks Christmas, are points where one weeps out of fellow feeling. But the chapter that wrecks me every time is The Piper At the Gates of Dawn, where Otter’s child goes missing, Ratty and Mole join the search party and have an encounter on a midsummer morning that – well you need to read it. I sob, ugly snotty sobs, but happy ones. It’s fantastic.
What are you reading right now and what is next on your to-be-read list?
However, in the genre, I’ve recently downloaded the Sanguine books by Lou Harper and am looking forward to trying those and I’m working my way through the Portkennack books from Riptide. Spectred Isle – Oh God I love that title SO much – by K J Charles is probably the book I’m most looking forward to. Only a week to wait now!
Malcolm Bright, brand new museum curator in a small Welsh Border town, is a little lonely until – acting as emergency archaeological consultant on a new housing development – he crosses the path of Rob Escley, aka Dirty Rob, who makes Mal’s earth move in more ways than one.
Then Rob discovers something wonderful, and together they must combat greedy developers and a treasure hunter determined to get his hands on the find. Are desperate measures justified to save the bones of our fathers? Will Dirty Rob live up to his reputation? Do museum curators really do it meticulously?
Answers must be found for the sake of Mal’s future, his happiness and his heart.
Elin Gregory lives in South Wales and works in a museum in a castle built on the edge of a Roman fort! She reckons that’s a pretty cool job.
Elin usually writes on historical subjects, and enjoys weaving the weird and wonderful facts she comes across in her research into her plots. She likes her heroes hard as nails but capable of tenderness when circumstances allow. Often they are in danger, frequently they have to make hard choices, but happy endings are always assured.
Current works in progress include one set during the Great War, another in WW2, one set in the Dark Ages and a series of contemporary romances set in a small town on the Welsh border.