On The Table Read, “the best book magazine in the UK“, Lindsey Erith talks about her historical romance novel, Mary Florida, and what inspired her story.
Written by JJ Barnes
I interviewed author Lindsey Erith about her life and career, what inspired her to start writing, and the creative writing process that went into her new book, Mary Florida.
Tell me a bit about who you are.
I was a happy child in the country. I then managed to survive a girls’ public school, had to come to terms with severe health problems; so far, I have had to learn to walk again four times, but managed a graphics Diploma at art school. That gave an entry to equine and human portraits and strengthened my interest in character and likeness.
When did you first WANT to write a book?
Aged 6, with illustrations.
When did you take a step to start writing?
I am unfortunately often unwell, so vitally needed to open a window through which I might escape from these nuisances, and avoid introspection, which never helps!
How long did it take to complete your first book from the first idea to release?
A few months, then encouraged by my husband’s belief in me I found the courage to submit “Mary Florida” to Cranthorpe Millner, who took it at once.
What made you want to write Mary Florida?
As above, plus let me underline the freedom for me with mobility problems, to in effect go off and have adventures in the diverting company of my chief character.
I am delighted that my Press Release – for which I am indebted to Victoria Richards – says “ in essence, he is the reinvention of what it means to be a hero.”
What were your biggest challenges with writing Mary Florida?
I had only pleasure. I wanted to do it well, that’s all. I love a blank page.
Who or what inspired you when creating your protagonist?
As a portrayer of people (and horses,) I am interested by individuality. I place my central character in a setting so I can let him loose upon his adventures, happiness, threats and disasters. He has to be engaging, attractive and one the reader will want to survive. It was enormous fun to conjure him up.
Who or what inspired you when creating your Antagonist?
We have to read to find out.
What is the main conflict of Mary Florida?
Confronting King Charles’s defeat and dealing with the decisive melting pot of his own life. The siren song of the Royalist lost cause is subdued by his adventures and his desire for an unattainable beauty.
Did you plot Mary Florida in advance, or fly by the seat of your pants and write freely?
I thought out the sequence very carefully towards my result.
Did you get support with editing, and how much editing did Mary Florida need?
Vicky was splendid; she has kept my text, which was delivered so it needed little editing.
What is the first piece of writing advice you would give to anyone inspired to write a story?
Grammar makes for clarity. Readers need to understand what you tell them. There is no other way than through accurate language.
Next, then what you write must flow. As in music, use a development, use set pieces in which your chief characters will reveal themselves; judge a crescendo.
Can you give me a hint about any further books you are planning to write?
There’s another ready to show.
And, finally, are you proud of your accomplishment?
Can I admit to, yes?
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