Complementing my daily blog interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the one hundred and fifty-second, is of romance novelist, guest blogger and interviewee Sherry Gloag.
Multi-published author, Sherry Gloag is a transplanted Scot now living in the beautiful coastal countryside of Norfolk, England. She considers the surrounding countryside as extension of her own garden, to which she escapes when she needs “thinking time” and solitude to work out the plots for her next novel. While out walking she enjoys talking to her characters, as long as there are no other walkers close by.
Apart from writing, Sherry enjoys gardening, walking, reading and cheerfully admits her books tend to take over most of the shelf and floor space in her workroom-cum-office. She also finds crystal craft work therapeutic.
And now from the author herself:
There are two things about my latest release, Vidal’s Honor, you may not know. Because it is a Regency suspense romance— it required a great deal of historical research, which I find a huge challenge, and I bombed at history at school.
So why on earth did I choose to write a Regency story? And why did I situate it in a time and place of a genuine battle in 1812 before ensuring my heroine arrived in London in time for a particular ball at a particular month of the year?
The battle of Salamanca took place in Spain in July 1812. That is a fact. And I based the opening of Vidal’s Honor around that truth. It is also a fact that the troops suffered through one of the worst thunderstorms during the night prior to the battle, so I used that snippet for my opening scene. But since that only accounted for a few hours I had to go deeper, much deeper. And knowing I bombed at history in school, I wasn’t looking forward to digging for facts and trying to make sense of them. So imagine my surprise when I found myself enjoying the chase. For to me, that is what research amounts to. The fact(s) you are seeking become the fox, and the researcher becomes the hunter.
I found myself buying books I’d never have considered, and by doing so came across several authors whose other books I will buy. I bought DVDs and spent hours watching documentaries and films in order to absorb the scenery and atmosphere. And I a friend, Sandy (White) Nachlinger, who generously allowed me to use some diary entries from her own experiences when walking the Camino De Santiago De Compostela. I also haunted google earth and google maps and woke up one day to find my submission deadline perilously close, *grin*.
So—not only did I enjoy writing Vidal and Honor’s story, but I expanded my horizon in so many different directions with the books and films I found, the documents I scoured, and the challenge of how to include what I’d learned without creating an ‘info-dump’ for the reader to digest.
Will I do it again? You bet! But next time I’ll make sure I don’t box myself into a corner called ‘time.’ I’ll make sure I don’t find myself running out of time the way I boxed myself in with Vidal’s Honor.
I learned several unexpected lessons from and while writing Vidal’s Honor, many of which I’ll take on board in future, others that I will explore more deeply.
For me, it’s not just about writing a story, as each story is like a new journey. I meet new people, my characters; I travel to new places, the settings I have to research, the pictures I find, the information I uncover, and finally, but certainly not least, I meet my readers.
To all of you I offer my thanks and belated best wishes for 2013.
Thank you, Sherry, and you. 🙂
Sherry sent me some photographs which I’m sure you’ll find interesting…
“This is an overview from Spain towards Gibraltar, and I used this picture to asses whether it was possible to ‘swim’ across the border and enter Spain. I decided, that with quite a bit of licence it could be done.”
“This one gave me the scene and events that happened when Honor was caught up in a landslide later in the story.”
“The picture on the right is the sort of scene Honor would see during her escape across Spain, although not specifically described.”
“And then finally, on the left, is a picture of the map showing the Pyreneen Mountain pass boarder town from Spain to France. Honor and Vidal could not drop down to the coast as the bay was controlled by the French navy, so they had to chance going overland through France to reach the Channel coast and escape to England.”
Wish I was there, for sure. Thank you, Sherry. You can find more about Sherry and her writing via…
The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow with non-fiction author Karen Kilby – the six hundred and eighth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.
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