About Elizabeth Gates

When I was four, I wrote my first story - mainly because no-one else had written the story I wanted to read. Later, with two degrees in English Language & Literature and Linguistics, I toured Europe as a creative writing tutor and then went on to work as a public health journalist for twenty-five years. Writing has always played a huge part in my life, coupled with history and travel. So my debut novel, The Wolf of Dalriada, seems a natural part of my progression through life. And when not writing, l like to spend time with my family and friends and the livestock that delights in trailing after me.

Meet author Tim Walker this time next week!

So excited – here’s a foretaste of the Author’s Mind interview which will appear on my Guest Blogging page in a week’s time!

Can you briefly describe the story of Uther’s Destiny?

The story begins two years into Uther’s reign in the year 469 AD. He has succeeded his brother, Ambrosius Aurelianus, as high king of the Britons, and his main concern is to protect the boundaries of his kingdom – modern day England and Wales – from barbarian invaders. Uther’s destiny as a warrior-king seems set until his world is turned on its head when his desire to possess the beautiful wife of a noble, Ygerne, leads to conflict. Brittle alliances teeter on the brink of collapse as Uther doggedly pursues his quarry, oblivious to other pressing matters of state.

 

Court healer, and schemer, Merlyn, sees an opportunity in Uther’s lustful obsession to fulfill the prophetic visions that guide him. He is encouraged on his mission by druids who wish for a return to ancient ways and urge him on to protect the one destined to save the Britons from invaders and lead them to a time of peace and prosperity. Merlyn must use his wisdom and guile to thwart the machinations of an enemy intent on foiling his plans.

 

Uther is challenged to rise above his domestic problems and raise an army to oppose a gathering Saxon force. In a climactic moment, the two armies meet in a battle that will decide the fate of the island.

A Guest Blog

24 February 2018

Guest Blogging about The Wolf of Dalriada for Faye Rogers

FAYE ROGERS wrote;

Today I am pleased to welcome Elizabeth Gates on to the blog with a quick interview! 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.

Award-winning guest Jane Davis tells the story of her new novel, Smash all the Windows!

SO WHAT IS THE STORY?

It has taken conviction to right the wrongs.

It will take courage to learn how to live again.

For the families of the victims of the St Botolph and Old Billingsgate disaster, the undoing of a miscarriage of justice should be a cause for rejoicing. For more than thirteen years, the search for truth has eaten up everything. Marriages, families, health, careers and finances.

Finally, the coroner has ruled that the crowd did not contribute to their own deaths. Finally, now that lies have been unravelled and hypocrisies exposed, they can all get back to their lives.

If only it were that simple.

For the full interview and Jane’s links, see this website on Thursday February 22nd. 

‘The Wolf of Dalriada’ – questions for the hive mind of a book club!

A number of readers have kindly suggested The Wolf of Dalriada to their book clubs. I thought a list of possible questions to start the discussions off might be helpful. So here are thirty. Don’t feel you have to do more than say 10-15. Avoid overkill! There is no exam or qualification involved! And some of the questions are literary; others are more related to personal development (and bibliotherapy!)

  1. Which three words describe how you feel, having finished ‘The Wolf of Dalriada’?
  2. Who is your favourite character and why?
  3. Who is/are the hero(es)? Who are the villains? And why?
  4. Do the characters change? (Remembering this is Part 1 of ‘The Wolf of Dalriada’ series.)
  5. Do you empathise with your favourite character or wish you were more like him/her?
  6. Which character would you most like to invite to dinner this evening and why? Who would you invite too? What would you hope to learn?
  7. If you were a casting director for a film/tv version, who would you cast?
  8. What moments in the novel do you like best?
  9. What moments do you like least?
  10. What is the most significant event for you in the story and why?
  11. What events puzzle you and why? What are other possible outcomes for these puzzling events?
  12. Could you lose yourself in the world of ‘The Wolf of Dalriada’?
  13. Is there an important theme (or themes) that this story illustrates?
  14. What is the role of superstition and tradition in this story?
  15. What did you learn about change and social classes in this book?
  16. What is the predominant moral issue? Which character understands what is right here or does no-one?
  17. Are there other moral issues? What are they? Who understands what is involved?
  18. What are the ‘unanswered questions’? (Again remembering this is Part 1 of a series.)
  19. How would you describe the genre of this book, if any?
  20. Description involves the senses – sight, sound, smell, touch, taste. Is any one sense predominant in this book?
  21. Pretend you’re the author’s content editor. Have you noticed anything which is inaccurate or inconsistent?
  22. What does this tell you about the difference between fiction and non-fiction?
  23. What first drew you into the book? The blurb? The first sentence or paragraph? Why?
  24. Pretend you are writing a blurb for the cover of the book. What would you say?
    What would you tweet (in 140 characters) about this book?
  25. Does the book remind you of any other writers or novels you’ve read? What’s the same? What’s different?
  26. People say all fiction is autobiographical. If you were to guess at a formative experience in the author’s life based on what they’ve written in this book, what would you guess?
  27. What did ‘The Wolf of Dalriada’ speak to in your own life?
  28. What did you learn?
  29. Do you want to read Part 2? (You could sign up for the Author’s newsletter on this website.)
  30. Any other questions?
I should love it, too, if you would like to let me know your joint/several experiences of reading and discussing ‘The Wolf of Dalriada’. If so, please contact me through Comments (attached to this blog).

A new event!

Elizabeth Gates: Taming the wolf within – from idea to publication (Wirral Libraries free Bookfest)
Tue 3rd Oct 2:00pm – 3:00pm
Bookfestliterature-and-poetrytalks-and-conferences
Heswall Library, Telegraph Rd, Birkenhead, Wirral CH60, UK map
Elizabeth Gates : ‘Taming the Wolf within…

– from idea to publication’

Tuesday 3rd October 2pm Heswall Library

How do you find an idea for a novel? How do you write 100,000 useable words? How do you share your finished product?

In this talk, ‘Taming the Wolf within . . . ‘, author of ‘The Wolf of Dalriada’ Elizabeth Gates answers these and other questions. For further information visit : www.elizabeth-gates.com

There will be the opportunity to purchase signed copies of ‘The Wolf of Dalriada’ after the talk.

Book at any of our Central Libraries: Bebington, Birkenhead, Wallasey or West Kirby)

Advance booking is essential to secure your place

Phone 0151 639 2334 OR 07785 502 018

email elainewilson@wirral.gov.uk

Want a signed copy?