Thursday, July 28, 2011

Introducing Beth Elliot

Today I am so happy to introduce you all to Beth Elliott. Beth writes for Robert Hale Limited, London, who has also published some of my novels. Beth writes wonderful Regency novels and these are quite unusual – as you will find out.

Hi Beth, welcome to Larks Journals blogspot, would you like to tell us a little about yourself

Hello Margaret and thank you for inviting me. I like reading Larks Journals blogspot and am delighted to be your guest today. I was always fascinated by languages [my mother's mother spoke Welsh as her first language ] and I became a teacher of French and Italian. Working in France, I met my Turkish husband [who also spoke French and Italian]. We lived in Turkey for some years, so that was another language I had to learn.
We both liked writing stories and completed a historical tale together. That one never got anywhere but I was determined to get published, and suddenly thought up a Regency set adventure story, The Wild Card.

Beth, I am so amazed, and very impressed. As someone who struggles with learning a new language I am in awe of someone who speaks three!
You have written Regency novels with a Turkish setting, how did you research these novels?

We lived in the east of Turkey for five years. Life was more traditional there and my husband explained all the customs I found strange. For example, when you are introduced to an older person, you must kiss their hand and then place it against your forehead. And when a female relative got married, you bought her a gold bracelet. I loved the jeweller's shop windows with their glittering displays. In fact I enjoyed living there and still go for long holidays each year. Turkey has leapt into the modern world, so many old customs are disappearing fast. But I'm glad to say they maintain their delicious cuisine.

That s fascinating. I have never been to Turkey but I have seen the pictures you post, it looks so beautiful.
Why do you choose to write about the Regency, what is so fascinating about this period of history?

I loved Jane Austen from the first time I opened Pride and Prejudice. I used to imagine being one of the Bennett sisters. Then I discovered Georgette Heyer and the Regency world seemed so glamorous and full of possibilities for adventures. It's wonderful to write my own tales set in that era. And after setting stories in London, Bath and Brighton, I set one in Constantinople [Istanbul] and London. I got the idea after reading that Lord Byron visited Constantinople in 1810.

When did you first start writing, Beth?

As soon as I learnt to write! And it was nearly always about the distant past. I suppose my first stories were more or less copies of books I'd enjoyed. But I always won the prizes for essay writing at school, so there must have been a few original ideas in there.

How did you find your publisher?

Thanks to the Romantic Novelists Association. To join, you must send in a novel within a year. I completed The Wild Card and sent it to them for a critique. It came back with a note to send it to Robert Hale. Mr Hale took it at once and I'm very happy to say he has just published my fourth Regency tale, The Rake's Challenge.

Would you like to write about a “real” historical person and if so who?

I like to put real people in my stories - the Prince Regent appears in The Rake's Challenge and Sir Stratford Canning and Lady Hester Stanhope have big roles in the novel I'm currently writing. It adds some weight to the story to bring in real people but at the same time it's a challenge to keep them authentic. It would mean a change of era but I would like to portray King Charles II in a tale. He had such a difficult life and he showed so much tolerance. I admire him for that.

I rather like Charles the Second too, he is a fascinating, many faceted character.
When you are not writing what do you like to do

I read a lot and I love travelling. I also do metallic embroidery - stitching threads and beads to create pictures, and sometimes I sketch.

You obviously are very artistic. If you could be paid to go to any part of the world to write a novel, where would this be

I would love to travel the Silk Road and I'm sure I could think up a historical adventure to write using that setting.

I’m sure you could write a really good novel about the Silk Road,.What is your latest novel and what are you working on now?

The Rake's Challenge, set in Brighton, is just out. This is about a rake who is forced to become guardian to a young lady running away from home. I plan a sequel to it, as there are four friends, all devoted to Lord Byron's poetry. They need their tales as well. But currently I'm working on another story set in Constantinople in 1811. It has to be that year because that's when Lady Hester Stanhope stayed there - and quarrelled bitterly with Sir Stratford Canning. My hero is a diplomat, related to the Sultan. My heroine has ruined herself in English society and the hero assumes she is his for the taking. But from a very stormy beginning, they gradually learn to understand and respect each other. There are plenty of exotic episodes in this novel.

Thank you so much for being with us, Beth. It has been such an interesting visit and I do wish you well with all your books. I am sure you have many ideas bubbling away.

You can buy Beth’s books at :


Sarita said...

Margaret and Beth, this is such a lovely interview! Thank you both. I enjoyed reading about the author behind the stories.

Living in Turkey, that must have been so interesting. And I love the language learning. Immersion in a culture must have made that a very intriguing activity!

The Rake's Challenge sounds wonderful. Wishing you the best with it!

Beth Elliott said...

Thank you, Sarita. I do hope people enjoy reading this story as much as I enjoyed writing it. I put in little bits of 'real' history - like the Prince's violinist, who was very gifted. And when Ned is supposed to be keeping guard in the library at the Royal Pavilion [so the Prince can't get Anna alone], he gets absorbed in reading a Jane Austen novel.

Margaret Muir said...

Travel and life experiences are the back-bone of many good writers, and with a supportive partner, I'm not surprised your writing ideas come easily.
Best wishes with your future novels.

Beth Elliott said...

Thank you, Margaret. I do enjoy the research part of writing stories when it means travelling somewhere. That adds such a lot to the enjoyment of the trip. And you certainly use your travelling to inspire your stories.

juan david said...

que bonitas imagenes de aquellos frutos

Greenreinette said...

Hi Elisabeth! I think your stories should be turned into a TV films. It would be a nice change from so many violent rubbish.

Beth Elliott said...

Gracias, Juan. Imaginar una novela romantica es mas bonita che la vida normal. [Mi disculpa de no hablar mucho espanol]

Beth Elliott said...

I'd love to see my stories turned into films - with action but not violence. I agree with you that a lot of what we get on TV is too violent.