On 24th September 2018, Faye Rogers wrote: ‘Today I am pleased to welcome Elizabeth Gates onto the
blog with a quick interview about The Wolf of Dalriada! She’s come up with some wonderful answers!’
What is your favourite thing about writing books?
Escapism. No matter what is going on elsewhere in my complicated life, writing is my bolthole. I feel safe and empowered.
Who is your favourite character in your book and why?
I thought about this for some time and concluded that it is too difficult to choose just one. I like the urbanity of the villain Sir William Robinson and respond in the same way as everyone else to Adelaide de Fontenoy’s beauty. Malcolm Craig Lowrie is a force of nature and hard to resist. But – as someone courageously trying to make sense of the world – I find the teenager, Lady Emma Bamburgh, the character I empathise with most easily. Probably because even though I am much older I haven’t managed to make sense of my own world yet.
What is your favourite drink to consume while writing?
Boringly – sparkling water!
Do you have any bad habits while you’re writing?
Twisting myself round my chair. Not listening to what others are saying to me and pretending I’ve heard it all. It’s embarrassing to have to ask people to repeat what they’ve said.
How do you research your books?
Reading the internet, books and journals, primary sources. Also, travel and visiting museums and art galleries. Further education courses. Talking to experts and to ordinary folk who have a story to tell.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Writing the first draft, I don’t plot. I have a general sense of setting the scene – with problems, conflicts etc.– then the action takes off from there. When I do the main edit, working through chapter by chapter, I write the synopsis at the same time and this helps me identify inconsistencies and plot holes and establish pace. Subsequent edits are ‘tidyings up’. So the short answer is: both!
If you could live in any fictional world, which would you choose and why?
1920s Paris, 18th Century Edinburgh, and so long as you weren’t too poor, 19th Century Cornwall would be exciting. Most worlds – fictional or otherwise – would be interesting in some way but I would need to have a return ticket.
If you could befriend any fictional character, who would you choose and why?
Precious Ramotswe has more of a handle on life than I do. I could learn a lot from her.