There are so many possibilities that affect the course of history. One change, one small item overlooked, can make a world of difference, not only in a person’s life, but in the history and well-being of an entire nation. And then there are those multiple scenarios of what if? What if King James VI of Scotland didn’t succeed in amalgamating Scotland with England? What if there had been another heir to the throne of Scotland? One who would secure its independence? Would Scotland have remained free and independent and a nation of its own well into the twenty-first century? And would Scotland, this independent version, make its own decision to join the European Union when its southern neighbor was choosing to pull away?
Hello book lovers! Today is a day where I will be writing another author spotlight for a well-accomplished author whose work I have loved. As you know book lovers I love learning about authors and the inspiration behind their work, it fascinates me and adds to the depth of the book because the reader will be able to better understand it. That is how the author spotlights were created because I soon discovered that you lovely readers ALSO love learning about author’s, so I am excited to tell you a little bit more about author Emily-Jane Hills Orford whose book Queen Mary’s Daughter fascinated and compelled me from beginning to end. I personally would recommend this book to all of those that love historical fiction but really the book can be read by anybody as it is flawlessly written and highly enjoyable. With today’s author spotlight for Emily – Jane, a biography of the author and an interview between me and Emily – Jane will be shared, and I hope that you book lovers enjoy reading it! To kick this off here is an author bio about the wonderful Emily – Jane!
Emily-Jane Hills Orford is an award-winning author of several books, including Gerlinda (CFA 2016) which received an Honorable Mention in the 2016 Readers’ Favorite Book Awards, To Be a Duke (CFA 2014) which was named Finalist and Silver Medalist in the 2015 Next Generation Indie Book Awards and received an Honorable Mention in the 2015 Readers’ Favorite Book Awards. She writes about the extra-ordinary in life and her books, short stories, and articles are receiving considerable attention. For more information on the author, check out her website at: http://emilyjanebooks.ca
Now, how wonderful does Emily – Jane sound?! Emily – Jane is a truly exceptional writer and I hope that you lovely readers have a read of Emily – Jane’s work because you will not regret it! Please see below an interview between me and Emily – Jane, I hope that you enjoy Emily – Jane’s answers to my questions, they are incredible and provide some great advice too!
Could you please tell us readers about your book and what inspired you to write your book?
There are so many possibilities that affect the course of history. One change, one small item overlooked, can make a world of difference, not only in a person’s life, but in the history and well-being of an entire nation. And then there are those multiple scenarios of what if? What if King James VI of Scotland didn’t succeed in amalgamating Scotland with England? What if there had been another heir to the throne of Scotland? One who would secure its independence? Would Scotland have remained free and independent and a nation of its own well into the twenty-first century? And would Scotland, this independent version, make its own decision to join the European Union when its southern neighbor was choosing to pull away?”Queen Mary’s Daughter” presents another plausible timeline, one that incorporates both historical fact and fiction with the endless possibilities of time travel.
There were a lot of things that led me to write “Queen Mary’s Daughter”. My grandmother and I had a special relationship and, when I was old enough, we traveled together a lot. One special trip took us to Scotland where we traced her childhood memories (she was born in Scotland) as well as followed the trail of Mary Queen of Scots. We had been enjoying a number of novels and biographies about the ill-fated queen and my grandmother ignited my interest by telling me about ancestors who helped in her escape from Loch Leven Castle. I always wanted to write about Queen Mary, but it wasn’t until the Brexit debacle and the ongoing desire of the Scottish people to separate from England, that I started looking more closely at the stories around Queen Mary. I knew she had given birth, prematurely, to twins while imprisoned at Loch Leven. History records that the babies died at birth and were buried on the island where the castle sat. An interesting footnote states that the location of the burial and the babies’ remains have never been found. So I started thinking, ‘what if?’. What if there had been another heir to the Scottish throne and Scotland never did amalgamate with England and Ireland? And my story unfolded from there.
How did you start writing? What was your inspiration to create?
I have always loved writing. I grew up in a family of storytellers. We would sit around the dinner table sharing our stories. Being the youngest, I found myself listening more than sharing my stories. So, as soon as I could write, I wrote my stories. I particularly enjoy writing stories about real people and real life events. I started my writing career in the late 1970s writing for small publications, telling people’s stories and writing about interesting places. I still enjoy writing these types of stories, but my passion for fiction insists that I write novels as well.
My creative inspiration? My grandmother was a wonderful storyteller and she had a passion for reading, too, which she shared with me. My mother was very creative in writing, photography, needleart, art and she encouraged me in all my creative ventures, often teaching me along the way. My father, an engineer, was the practical influence, but latterly he took up writing as well and encouraged me with mine. We helped each other: Dad would edit my work and I edited his, until he passed away.
What would your advice be for aspiring writers?
Believe in yourself and just write. Ignore the critics and the publishers who don’t appreciate your writing and remember that just because one person rejects or trashes your work, it doesn’t mean it’s not good enough. As readers, we don’t like everything we read, so why should everyone like what we write?
In your opinion, what is the most important thing about a book?
I have to confess, I prefer a real book to an ebook. The feel and smell of the paper and the binding, the older the better, helps me really sink into the story. A real book doesn’t glare at you from a project screen image. And a real book allows you to turn pages and to hear the sound of the page turning, to feel the weight of the paper as you turn it. Ebooks are handy for traveling. It certainly beats that extra suitcase you might want to lug around full of books to read on your travels. That’s what I used to do when I traveled: one suitcase for clothes; another for books.
All that being said, “Queen Mary’s Daughter”, at the moment, is only available in ebook format. I had to really struggle with my conscience to accept the contract to publish it as an ebook first. Hopefully it will be available as a real book soon.
What is your writing process like?
Most of the time I just dive into a story. I have a rough plot mapped out in my head and, after long walks with my dog, my muse, I’m able to sort through the cobwebs of ideas and settle into the writing process. After completing what I call my first draft, I start over, weaving in the missing details and correcting things as I go. It seems a long, drawn-out process (which it is), but it works well for me.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
I read a lot of books: history, biography, fiction. I also use the internet. Who wouldn’t in this day and age. It’s quick, easily accessible and more current. But one has to be careful what sites to believe. There’s a lot of garbage and falsehoods on the internet, along with all the good stuff.
I don’t research then start writing my book. I have so much in my head at any one time, I would quickly forget what I researched if I worked that way. So, it’s research as I write.
Do you have a set schedule for writing, or do you only write when you feel inspired?
I set aside a few hours first thing in the morning – every morning. That’s my best writing time. I make sure I write before I do anything else, otherwise procrastination gets in the way, as it does with everyone else. I am retired, now, so I don’t have job constraints to prevent me from writing first thing. And, when I was working, it was afternoon and evenings as I was a private piano teacher.
I usually take a break later in the morning to work on other creative, and not-so-creative, projects, returning to my writing mid-afternoon and then again in the evening. I don’t watch much if any television. Why bother? There’s nothing on. I read a lot and I write book reviews which I believe is a great way not only to promote myself as a writer, but also to study other writing styles and see what’s new on the market. There are a lot of fantastic writers out there that are sadly undervalued and unrecognized.
I always carry a notebook with me, so that I’m not wasting time waiting in a doctor’s office or sitting on the bus. Ideas come to me at the oddest moments, part of my growing-up experiences of long, hot family car vacations where we were all crammed into the backseat and we had to sit quietly until we reached our destination. My ability to create stories in my head during these long trips were my saving grace and this talent continues to entertain me and help me pass otherwise wasted waiting times.
Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?
I’m reading all the time. That is, when I’m not writing or doing other creative pursuits. I read for pleasure and I read to write book reviews. I’m a regular book reviewer on readersfavorite.com
As for favorite authors? I have a lot and it would be impossible to narrow it down to just one. I love the classics: the Bronté sisters and Jane Austen. I enjoy art historical novels of Susan Vreeland, the royal historical novels of Sharon Kay Penman and the realistic novels of Tracy Chevalier. There are many relatively obscure authors, less known authors, who I enjoy immensely, including the British author from the mid-twentieth century, P.G. Wodehouse and R.F. Delderfield. And, of course, I enjoy a good mystery and then: Anne Perry (I love her power of description), John Grisham, Kathy Reichs, Kate Carlisle, and many others. And I don’t mind a little bit of humor mixed in with drama for a lighter read, like David Rosenfelt. As you can see, I’m a very eclectic reader. I read for pleasure, but I also read to learn more about my writing craft. Reading enhances my writing.
Lastly, when can we readers expect to read more wonderful books from you?
As per reader request, book 2, “King Henry’s Choice”, is in the works. Hopefully it’ll be out in the next year. And, if you have any young readers, I’m in the process of finalizing a contract for my Middle Grade fantasy series based on some experiences growing up in a large, old, haunted Victorian mansion. The first book is “Mrs. Murray’s Ghost” and, so far, there are three books in the series, ready to go to press, with a fourth one in the works.
Its official book lovers, I am obsessed with Emily – Jane! If you have liked what you have read about Emily – Jane and are interested in learning more about Emily – Jane and reading Emily – Jane’s work, then please do have a browse of the links below and be sure to have a read of the preview too! You will not regret it.
Goodbye for now book lovers,