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Thursday, 16 June 2011

Author Interview with Lucinda Brant


Hello Lucinda. Please tell us little about yourself.

Hi Stuart, nice to be here! I’m a History and Geography teacher at a girls’ boarding school by day, and by night and weekends I write Georgian historical romances and crimances (crime with lashings of romance).

I know you write historical romance, amongst others; would you give us some insight into NOBLE SATYR in a few sentences.

It's set in 1745, the age of hedonism and enlightenment. The heroine Antonia is abandoned at the court of Versailles. The predatory Comte de Salvan plots her seduction, but his all-powerful adversary snatches her to safety. But is the Duke of Roxton Antonia’s saviour or a satyr most despicable?

How did you come to write this particular book?

It was the first book I wrote and it won the $10,000 Woman’s Day/Random House Romantic Fiction Prize – an Australia/New Zealand wide competition that had over 1500 entries.

If you have a favourite character in your novel, why that particular one?

Antonia of course! She is exuberant, tenacious, loves reading Tacitus, and believes utterly in the power of love to conquer all.

Where and when is this novel set and why did you make these specific choices?

The first half of NOBLE SATYR is set in Versailles and Paris in the 1740s; the place to be in Eighteenth century Europe. Versailles was a hot bed of intrigue and sexual liaisons –nobles had little else to do with their time while kicking their red heels around the Court of Louis XV. Part two is set in Georgian London – the place to be in the Eighteenth Century for new architecture, science and technological innovation, a melting pot of political ideas, and of course tea-table gossip!

Where can people buy your books?

All my books are available from most vendors, including Amazon, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Borders, Kobo, Diesel, and Smashwords. The hardcovers are being published over the next couple of months with SALT BRIDE to be the first to be released.
NOBLE SATYR is available on Amazon for 86p (99c in the US). http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B004Q9TWOG

All my books are available on Amazon UK: http://tiny.cc/wr8m8 and Amazon US: http://tiny.cc/3s0hj
Other outlets can be found through my website which has direct links to stores: www.lucindabrant.com

What qualities do you think a writer needs to be successful?

The ability to write an entertaining story, and persistence. Never ever give up!

What’s your working method?

I do a great deal of planning. I have lots of little notebooks full of story ideas, half conversations, chapter starts. I carry the notebook with me everywhere so I can write down an idea then and there. I write on weekends. And while I write I edit as I go. As I work full-time, I write mostly on weekends, and with so little time, there is little time to be precious about “getting in the zone” or “waiting for my muse”. I just write!

What single biggest mistake is made by beginner writers?

Giving up too soon. It takes twenty years to become an overnight success!

To what extent are grammar and spelling important to a writer?

Most important. Grammar and spelling are the clothes in which your words are dressed. It doesn’t matter how elegant your outfit if the zipper of your trousers/skirt is undone. All anyone is looking at is that open zipper, so too with grammar and spelling. A misspelled word, a comma out of place, and the reader is distracted from the story and the spell is broken.

How much do you revise your MS before sending it off?

Revise. Revise. Revise again! I edit and revise as I write. It’s not for everyone. But it works for me.

As a writer of romance and mystery, to what extent do you think genre is useful in the publishing world?

Mmm. That’s a hard question to answer. I guess it helps to “classify” my novels for the reader but I often find that my historical romances and mysteries fall through the cracks in both genres.
My historical romances are set in the Georgian period (specifically 1740 - 1780) so not strictly Regency – where they often end up.
And my historical mysteries I classify as Crimances (crime with lashings of romance) because they are not strictly mysteries. There is a murder/murders to solve but there is a strong element of romance, which is just as important to the story; hence my coining of the term “Crimance”.

Many authors view marketing as a chore. What's your opinion on this issue and how do you deal with it?

Marketing is essential if authors want to get readers to find them, least of all read their novels. So I offer readers one of my novels NOBLE SATYR for 99c (86p) on Amazon – which enables them to read my work for very little outlay and decide if it’s for them.
I also have some professional help.
And I do the social media thing with Facebook and Twitter. It is all rather thrilling to be able to connect with authors and readers from the comfort of my study!

How do you know where to begin a given story?

I usually drop myself right into the middle of a conversation/conflict and away I go!

What sort of displacement activities keep you from writing?

I’m a high school teacher. I have a teenage daughter, a husband and a dog. Need I say more?

What support, if any, do you receive from family and friends, or a writing group?

My husband is my greatest support. He believes in my writing 100% which is fabulous!
I also have the support of dedicated fans, one in particular, Mel, runs the Lucinda Brant Fan Page on Facebook! How thrilling for a writer!

Do you think presentation of the MS is as important as agents and publishers suggest?

Yes. It’s the “Open Zipper Principle” I spoke about earlier.

How long does it normally take you to write a novel?

About a year while working full time.

If there’s a single aspect to writing you find really frustrating, what is it?

Not having enough time to write!

Is there a particular aspect of writing that you really enjoy?

I enjoy all of it, even the editing.

Do you believe writing to be a natural gift or an acquired skill?

I don’t believe you can learn to write but I do believe you can learn to write well.

What are you writing now?

An Historical Romance, AUTUMN DUCHESS. This is the third book in the Roxton Series, of which NOBLE SATYR is the first.
I am also writing the second book in my Historical Crimance series, DEADLY AFFAIR. I hope to have both completed by the end of the year.

Do you have a website or blog that readers can visit?


Given unlimited resources, where would you do your writing?

In a Palladian terrace in the heart of Georgian London! Failing that, a Georgian sandstone terrace in Hobart, Tasmania (where I intend to move, unlimited resources or not, in the next year or two).

Where do you actually write?

At a replica Eighteenth century desk in my small study at the back of our house crammed floor to ceiling with non-fiction titles on all manner of subjects relating to the Eighteenth Century, and with windows overlooking a Koala reserve where Koalas laze about in the forks of trees. Lovely!

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