I am so happy to invite my good friend (and very talented author) ELIN GREGORY to the blog today.
Everyone's been waiting with bated breath for this new one. Remember On a Lee Shore and the incredible importance of rum? Here comes "Eleventh Hour" which is set in the post war 1920s with spies and darstedly plots, but Briers and Miles (also known as Millie) are on it!
Well, I'll let Elin take over.
Hi Sue. Many thanks for inviting me to your blog to talk about Eleventh Hour and to answer your very interesting questions.
1. Which character did you find more difficult to get just right – Miles or Briers?
Briers. I’d finished the book and was just breathing a sigh of relief when a beta pointed out that Briers was just too damn nice. Reading through EH again, I had to admit that they were right. It takes a certain type of mind set to be able to lie, cheat and kill for your country and Briers was a bit too jolly hockey sticks to ring true. That said, I’m not sure Miles, with his secrets and emotional conflicts, will ring true to readers either. Readers bring their own wants needs and preconceptions to every book so what you wrote or meant to write may not actually be what they read.
The one character in it who just spooled out onto the page with no effort was Falk, Briers’ cheerfully dangerous ex. Falk wants his own book. I told him to eff off. J
2. Ha ha! I wouldn't mind seeing Falk again. Are you interested in this time period? Is that what made you write Eleventh Hour?
I’m more or less interested in all time periods, but I’m always on the look out for those with a well established sub-culture where Quiltbag characters can have a good time. The 1920s were still coasting along on the huge tide of relief that the Great War was over. Great things were happening socially – women got the vote, corsets had been discarded, society was, if not exactly tolerant, at least prepared to not look too closely at the very private lives of people who were quietly being useful. It wasn’t ideal by any means and I’m sure that a lot of people deplore the secrecy and feel that all books should feature men who are out and proud, and that’s fair enough. There are hundreds of contemporary romances where that can happen but if you’re writing historicals you have to at least acknowledge the pains endured by people in the past who only wanted to be loved.
I also had an ‘in’ for the period – up to a point – because my mother was born in 1925 and can remember the early 30s better than she can remember last week. She gave me some fantastic bits of information, though I had to check dates. It’s very easy to get a time period in your mind and assume that the styles and fashions, domestic life etc, are very much set in that period. But people, and particularly the ordinary working folk, don’t change things unless they have to or they can afford it. As a child I lived in the house where my mother was born and the gas stove dated back to 1935. It stood in front of the massive cast iron range that had been installed shortly after the house had been built in the 1860s. We washed in the kitchen sink and once a week dragged in a tin bath. We did have electricity but some parts of my other grandparents’ house were still lit by gas lamps. Then we moved to Herefordshire and there were still plenty of people off the grid – they bought candles and paraffin and cooked on a range, though I knew one household so far off the beaten track that they drew water from a well and cooked over an open fire – not much change over the past 300 years, which is about how long the family had been in the house. Domestic history hangs on tight, especially in places where money is in
|1930s gas stove|
But none of that inspired the book. Eleventh Hour was inspired by a lovely gentleman I used to see occasionally, sometimes alone, sometimes with his grandson, sometimes in tweeds, sometimes in a floral skirt. Whatever he was wearing he always looked absolutely comfortable and at ease. I hope Miles might achieve that poise one day.
3. I'm sure Miles will - he already has style. If Briers and Miles invited you to dinner, what present would you take and what would you be prepared to talk about? Do you think they might invite anyone else?
I can’t imagine any reason why they might invite me to dinner but, if they did, I’d take a really good single malt – Talisker, maybe – and be prepared to listen a lot. We wouldn’t be able to talk about their work – matters of national security of course – so maybe Rugby League, exhibitions at the BM, latest books, films, plays. The usual safe subjects. They might invite George, Miles’s brother, and his current girl friend, both of whom assume Briers and Miles are sharing accommodation for convenience sake. They definitely wouldn’t invite Falk but he’d come anyway.
I think that would be a lovely dinner party.
4. Would you ever think of a sequel for Eleventh Hour?
I’m collecting information ready for the next one which will be set a couple of years later and will feature the Orient Express, advanced mathematics and Miles’ mum.
That is GREAT news
5. What can we expect next from you?
Expecting might be putting it a bit strongly because I’m not getting much time to write these days [it’s taken me a fortnight to finish these questions] but I have other stories in the pipeline.
I have a contemporary set story finished, it just needs a damned good polish, that will kick off one of those series set in and around the same place with characters that carry over from one tale to another, though each will have a unique story arc. Book two is partly written. I’ve also got a weird little novella three quarters written that’s set in the last months of the Great War. I need about 2k more and it’s done. Could do that in a day, assuming I got a day. Usually it’s ten minutes between crises J
Oh and there are so many more!! Their characters will just have to be patient in the queue.
Many thanks for being such a gracious host, Sue xxx
You're always welcome, Elin. Best of luck with "Eleventh Hour" - it IS a fabulous read (I was lucky enough to get a look-in) which will keep the reader begging for more. Miles and Briers are such memorable characters for their sheer courage, foibles and emotional needs. I recommend it.
|London (Tottenham Court Road) 1927|
Borrowed from the Secret Intelligence Service cipher department to assist Briers Allerdale – a field agent returning to 1920s London with news of a dangerous anarchist plot – Miles Siward moves into a ‘couples only’ boarding house, posing as Allerdale’s ‘wife’. Miles relishes the opportunity to allow his alter ego, Millie, to spread her wings but if Miles wants the other agent’s respect he can never betray how much he enjoys being Millie nor how attractive he finds Allerdale.
Pursuing a ruthless enemy who wants to throw Europe back into the horrors of the Great War, Briers and Miles are helped and hindered by nosy landladies, Water Board officials, suave gentlemen representing foreign powers and their own increasing attraction to each other.
Will they catch their quarry? Will they find love? Could they hope for both?
The clock is ticking.
68,000 words/ 248 pages
Publication 1 August 2016
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.
Twitter: @ElinGregory | http://elingregory.wordpress.com