Elizabeth Rolls is an historical romance author who has won the HOLT Medallion twice, and the Laurel Wreath as well as CataRomance's Best Harlequin Historical for 2007, been nominated twice for Romance Writers of Australia's Romantic Book of the Year Award, the Romantic Novelists' Association Romance Award, and an RT Reviewers' Choice Award. The major thrill last year was the RITA nomination for Lord Braybrook's Penniless Bride. If you are at all a reader of historical romance you should definitely check out Elizabeth's stories. She took a few moments from her busy schedule to tell us about her work.
What have you learned that seemed completely unrelated to writing at the time but has influenced your writing career?
I studied music at university, and while I was writing my first term paper on 16th century vocal music, I made the earth shattering discovery (sarcasm fully intentional) that what drove the music on was dissonance, or discords, which were then resolved. Simple really. Dissonance equals tension, or conflict. So create tension, then resolve it. Of course you have learn where to place the tension and what to use as tension, but the principal is very much the same for writing a story. You need those builds of tension and resolution threaded through the music or story, with the final resolution leading to the final cadence, or in the case of a romance the HEA. Oddly enough, much later when I was studying for my Masters in Musicology, I found a book comparing the works of Mozart to the novels of Jane Austen in much the same way!
A toy manufacturer has decided to make you their new superhero action figure. What is your superpower and what are you wearing?
Dead right I'm a superhero/ine. What working mum isn't? And let's face it, all mums are working mums, whether they work outside the home or not. My superpower would be to get my kids to endless soccer training sessions on time and still have a meal on the table when we all get home. I'm keeping very quiet the fact that for one of those sessions I have a standing arrangement with another soccer mum to sneak off for coffee, pizza and talk about what books we've been reading! No one seems to have noticed that I rarely eat dinner on Wednesday nights ...
As for what I'm wearing ... I think I have a Team Steward's vest on (fluorescent green) and I'm clutching a container of orange quarters for half time and an umbrella.
Do you ever regret deciding to become a professional writer?
I never regret it, but there are times when I'm stuck that even the housework looks tempting. Times like that I go and work somewhere else. Working at home can be difficult because there are so many things to distract you. The phone, email, housework, making a pot of tea. So when I need to refocus I go out and work in the local library, or even a cafe. There's a great cafe across the road from the local laundromat and if it's too rainy to get the clothes dry I go there and work while the clothes look after themselves. I try not to do it too often because we have dogs as well as a baby magpie who still needs feeding, but every so often it helps to put me back on track.
What is the best part of being a professional writer?
Getting that box of author copies in the post and thinking, "Wow. This is real. I made it." Getting a revision letter from my editor that focuses my thinking and helps me bring the best I can out of a story. I actually love revision letters because they make me think and inspire me. And hearing my kids say casually, "Yeah, Mum works. She's an author."
Give us a quick overview of what you write and where we can find it.
I write Regency Historicals for Harlequin. The best place to find my back list is either at eHarlequin, or Amazon.
My most recent release was the Historical Undone, A Scandalous Liaison, released as an ebook last year and now available in the anthology Delectably Undone. Also I have another short ebook coming out next month called A Princely Dilemma. This is a Royal Wedding special in honour of Prince William and Kate Middleton. Several of us have written stories celebrating royal marriages through the ages.