We are hoping to interview our writers, here is the first in what we hope will be a series, Lois Elsden’s thoughts on her own writing… and more!
Q: When did you start writing as a hobby? Did anyone particularly encourage you?
Lois: I told stories before I ever could write them down; I guess I got this from both my parents who were wonderful story-tellers, imagined tales as well as incidents from their own lives, vividly told to me and my sister. I can’t think of a time when I didn’t have stories running through my mind!
Q: How is your working day structured?
Lois: The first thing I do in the morning, fortified by tea, is sit here and write… maybe blogging first and then onto my current ‘project’, or maybe if I’ve been puzzling over it, straight into my actual writing. I continue through the day, in between going out, meeting people, teaching my writing classes, doing housework, shopping etc., and then most evenings I work until bedtime… which maybe 1 or 2 in the morning!
Q: You write one blog, and are involved in another—does this not distract you from your main writing?
Lois: I started my blog as a way of publicising my work – as a self-published author, I don’t have anyone else but me to try and get my novels ‘out there’. However, I have found that writing blogs has been a great way of practicing my craft (if you want to call it that) and writing in different ways and on different topics; I have also ‘met’ some great fellow-bloggers! It has forced me to get over ‘writer’s block’ – which has a positive effect on my other writing.
Q: What is your current project?
Lois: While I had my day job, before I was liberated, writing was tucked in odd corners and at odd hours and although I write several novels, I wrote them in bits and pieces – they need a lot of editing! I am at present working on an unfinished novel from that time… but I also have other plans in mind too!
Q:There are now five Radwinter novels. Do you have plans for more?
Lois: Yes indeed! When I have finished the editing of the novel I was telling you about, I will get going on the next Radwinter book – to be honest, I can’t wait! Very excited about the new one! One other thing, I am shortly going to be republishing all the Radwinter novels as paperbacks – they will be available on Amazon
Q: Many of your leading characters are women—are they based on yourself?
Lois: No, not at all. Some of them share aspects of my character, quite a few are teachers because that is what I was and it’s a world I know. Most of my characters are much more determined and focused than I am, and don’t have a silly side to their personality, which I definitely have. In actual fact, the character nearest to me in personality isn’t a woman at all, but a man – Thomas Radwinter!
Q: Which of your published works has given you the most satisfaction ?
Lois: I’m proud of all of them; however I am proud of my first published novel, Farholm, because it was my first, and my Radwinter series because I never ever imagined I would write a sequel, let alone a series!
Q: Why do you self-publish on Kindle? Is there a problem with conventional hard-copy publication?
Lois: Like many, many writers, I have sent off scores of manuscripts to dozens and dozens of publishers and agents; I have entered competitions, I have done all I can to get my stories into print. I have never had any luck (because I’m sure luck is the main part of the business) and have been ripped off a couple of times. KDP allowed me to put my books out in the big wide world, and I really appreciate it… however my continued dream is to be taken up by an actual publisher and to see my name on the shelves of bookshops!
Q: As well as being a writer, you are also a keen reader. What kind of books attract you, and what are you presently engaged in? What type of book repels you?
Lois: Yes, an addicted reader. I like books which contain some mystery or puzzle, so often they are crime books and police procedurals; I particularly like Icelandic authors such as Viktor Arnar Ingólfsson and Yrsa Sigurðardóttir. However at the moment I am reading autobiographical writing by Lucy M. Boston and Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton and ‘Success and Luck: Good Fortune and the Myth of Meritocracy’ by Robert H. Frank… So no fiction! The last fiction I read and really enjoyed was ‘The Red Tent’ by Anita Diamant. I’m really not very keen on ‘women’s literature’, and I am very intolerant of pretentious writing – and novels written in the present tense!
Q: Many people are convinced that they have at least one book inside them. What advice would you give them?
Lois: Don’t worry about the first sentence and the beginning – especially with the technology we have now, it is so easy to go back and change, alter, rewrite – not like it used to be with a pen or a typewriter! Just start – even in the middle! Get something down on paper and keep going. Joining a writing group can be really helpful – there are plenty of on-line groups if you aren’t able or are shy of meeting others. There is no set way to write, everyone has their own style so don’t try and write like anyone but yourself, but at the same time if someone offers kindly constructive criticism, listen to it, think about it and then either take it or forget it! The main thing is to write! Just that! Sit down at your computer, laptop or desk, with your keyboard, pen or pencil and get writing!
To read Lois’s books, including the Radwinter series, follow this link: