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.

‘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).