Monday, 17 November 2014

Spotlight - Elizabeth Ellen Carter

Hi everyone! 
Today, I’d like to welcome the lovely Elizabeth Ellen Carter. Elizabeth is answering a few questions about her writing process and giving us a peek at her latest novel, Warrior’s Surrender.

Thanks so much for joining us today. J

What type of romance do you write?
Broadly speaking it is historical romance, but I like to jump eras quite a bit, so it is hard to pin me down to a specific genre - Moonstone Obsession was late-Georgian/Regency and Warrior's Surrender is Medieval and I'm currently doing research for a new novel set in 3rd Century Rome.

I also like to write romance which an element of intrigue and mystery. To me the way the hero and heroine work together to deal with an external threat to their relationship is just an important part of the romance as the falling in love. They say love conquers everything and indeed that is certainly true, but love is forged and proven in the furnace of life's trials. I want people to be confident that Alfreya and Sebastian have a long and happy life ahead of them.

What inspired you to write this story?
Funnily enough, Moonstone Obsession inspired me. I was researching Enlightenment philosophy as part of the research for the period and discovered that the myth that people of medieval times was taught the world was flat had been something that had been made up as anti-Catholic propaganda by academic Antoine-Jean Letronne and it spread like wildfire through France.

In the early part of the 19th century, an American writer by the name of Washington Irving (the Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Rip Van Winkle) was living in Paris and no doubt heard the story and incorporated it into his fictionalised biography of Christopher Columbus. By the beginning of the 20th century, the flat earth myth had been incorporated into school text books and it's been there ever since!

Well, learning this made me wonder what other beliefs I had about Medieval times was incorrect and the more I researched, the more I fell in love with that era. Did you know that there was no witch burning or witch trials in medieval times? That came out of the Renaissance!

So I set out to write a romance with brave, intelligent characters who solve a set of murders as part of the subplot. I'm indebted to Ellis Peters Cadfael series of books for the inspiration of medieval policiers! (I also have an idea for a series of medieval detective stories with a former Crusader knight, turned coroner working with a nun with medical training to solve crimes. I don't think I've ever mentioned that to anyone before...)
Hey, that’s a great idea – I can’t wait to read those. J

What comes first, the plot or characters?

In this case is was the characters. I love Alfreya, she is strong and brave but at the very end of her emotional strength, she's exhausted but she will do everything it takes to fulfill her duty to her brother and her father's men. As she learns to trust Sebastian she realises that her strength is added to by her love for him.

Sebastian is a wonderful alpha male - strong, brave, headstrong, but with a real sense of honour.

I really enjoy fleshing out the story with secondary characters who have their own distinct personalities. Larcwide and Orlege - Alfreya's two men-at-arms are wonderful blokes. One is a very open, fatherly character, not beyond stepping across social boundaries for his mistress's protection. Orlege is a strong, silent type, not comfortable in sharing his feelings but without question loyal.

Are you working on anything at present?
My next full length novel Moonstone Conspiracy - a sequel to Moonstone Obsession is being edited right now. In this story, one of the villains from Moonstone Obsession, Lady Abigail Houghall becomes the heroine, a very difficult and emotional journey for our Regency 'mean girl'.

Speaking of the Moonstone universe, I'm currently writing a short story for Etopia Press's Valentine's Day anthology. The hero is Toby Jackson who is the best friend to Moonstone Obsession's hero, Sir James Mitchell. The heroine is shaping up to be an amazing woman, a young widow who becomes a successful business woman in her own right.

What has influenced your writing?
Film and television structure. I tend to run the scene through my head as though I'm watching it on screen and then I write what I see. Every book I read inspires me in some way - and not necessarily big name authors either, every voice is different, every story is a fresh take. I love it!

What made you want to be a writer?
I always wanted to be a writer. I loved writing my own stories as a child and I loved English exams that ended with a creative writing section. Then I discovered as a journalist I could get paid for writing. And now I've swapped writing one form of fiction for another!

What advice would you give an aspiring author?
Write, write, write, read, read, read and then write some more.

A shared secret from their past could destroy their future…

Northumbria, 1077. In the years following William the Conqueror’s harrying of the North, Lady Alfreya of Tyrswick returns to her family home after seven years in exile. But instead of returning victorious as her dead father had promised, she returns defeated by Baron Sebastian de la Croix, the Norman who rules her lands.

To save her gravely ill brother's life, Alfreya offers herself hostage to her enemy. As Alfreya gets to know her new husband, she finds he’s not the monster she feared, and their marriage of convenience soon becomes a bond of passion. But Sebastian is a man with a secret—one that could destroy him.

As a series of brutal murders haunt their nights, the man who betrayed Alfreya’s father returns claiming to be her betrothed. He has learned Sebastian’s secret and will use it to further his own ambition—using Sebastian’s own family—which will destroy Sebastian and mark him a traitor, and plunge an unprepared England into war with the Scots…

“Is the baron waiting for us?” Frey called some distance out.
“Aye, my lady, he waits at the edge of the meadow as you requested,” answered Orlege.
The rest of Alfred’s band gathered near to listen.
“Then let’s go through this as we agreed.
“Grimbold and Sar, you attend to Lord Brice. Orlege and Larcwide will accompany me. The rest of you wait at the edge of the woods.
“Do not act except in my death or incapacitation, and then do everything necessary to protect Lord Brice.”
The men nodded readily though Larcwide was slower to respond. His reticence was not missed by Frey, who arched an eyebrow.
“Is aught amiss, Larcwide?” she asked
In the absence of her brother’s taking his rightful role, she was leader. She would not let her men-at-arms forget. They would just have to overlook her sex.
“It’s not right, my lady. One of us should be going instead.” He crossed his arms as he spoke, and Frey recognized the sign of resistance from living in such close quarters with him for half a year.
Larcwide was as dear to her as an uncle; she had known him since infancy and knew he had only her family’s welfare at heart. And she knew his objections. He had voiced them three days earlier in front of the men.
Her response had been to brandish her knife and threaten to slit his throat from ear-to-ear for his rebellion.
Frey had hated to do it, but if she did not stand firm on her resolve, she would lose the respect of those who remained. How would it serve Brice if she gave in?
She looked at him sternly.
“It is not your position to question the decision of the clan leader, Larcwide.”
           The man's lips drew to a tight, colorless line.

Amazon Buy Link –

To find out more about Elizabeth you can visit her website.

Thanks for stopping by.
Nicóle xx


  1. Thank you for having me as a guest Nicole. I'm really warming to my contemporary supernatural techno thriller series, but I think I have to get the historicals out of my system first!

  2. Thanks for visiting and I can't wait for the contemporary supernatural techno thrillers. :)

  3. I had so much fun reading that Elizabeth. I love how you don't limit yourself to any time period. My CP is a scener too and I wish I could see my scenes as vividly before writing them. Good luck with Warrior's Surrender.

  4. Thank you very much Cassandra!

    I'm a little naughty, I'm checking this while I'm at work.

    When I was writing Warrior's Surrender I was sitting at my desk and the wolf attack scene just popped into my head! I couldn't stop work to write it, but I didn't want the idea to go, so I rushed outside with my phone (so my colleague don't think I'm crazier than I already am) and dictated the whole scene!

  5. I'm very much looking forward to reading this book. It's set in one of my favorite times in history. It's most interesting to learn about the flat earth theory - that means more research, lol. (~Love~ the cover!)

    1. Hi Máiri, thanks for dropping in to say hello! :)

    2. Thank you very much Mairi! You've said my favourite word - research! I have as much fun learning new things as I do writing!

      I hope you enjoy Warrior's Surrender!

  6. A very interesting interview. Thank you very much Elizabeth, and you too Nicole. Very enjoyable.