Welcome Hazel Statham to Coffee Time Romance & More today. Hazel lets get started by haveing you tell us a little about you and how you stared writing?
I live in Staffordshire, England. I have to admit that when I started writing at fifteen it was with no thought of publication and it remained so throughout the years. It was just a compulsion that wouldn't be ignored and I wrote for myself, thoroughly enjoying recreating my own historical world.
I am fascinated by history; especially the Regency and Georgian eras and I devoured books by Georgette Heyer and other like authors. However, when I married at twenty-three I had less time for writing and for several years wrote very little. It wasn't until I had to finish working through ill health that the urge to write came upon me again and I wrote four books in quick succession. My compulsion to write had returned!
You have a new book 'Dominic' can you tell us about your story and the characters?
Dominic Blake, Earl of Vale, is a man of his time. No better or worse than his contemporaries, but his privileged world is turned upside-down by Jack, a beautiful young girl in boys' clothing whom he finds sheltering on his doorstep after fleeing an attack by her abusive brother. Despite leaving his protection, Jack is once more destined to enter Dominic's life when, injured in a horse race, Dominic is forced to rusticate to his father's estate and again meets Jack in her boyish guise. In turn, she becomes his pupil and his love and despite danger and misunderstandings, this is the story of their unconventional and delightful courtship.
What book are you working on now? Will we see any of the characters from your other books?
Its working title is 'Sarah', but that is bound to change, and it is a Regency. It is a stand-alone and I will not be carrying forward any of the characters from my other books.
What would you say are the greatest elements in writing a book?
Being able to communicate with your reader and hold their interest. To create characters that they can care about and relate to and tell a story that will enthral.
Which of your characters was the funniest to write? And why?
I think the interaction between Dominic and Sophie has its amusing elements but I try to inject some humour in most of my work.
What did you enjoy most about creating Dominic?
'Dominic' was a joy to write. The young earl just strode onto the page and almost wrote the book himself. I just went along for the ride. I had just finished writing an emotionally intense book when thoughts of 'Dominic' came to me and I thoroughly enjoyed writing his story.
Tell us what you have lined up for 2008?
I have a further two books due for release with Wings. 'My Dearest Friend' due January, 2008 and 'His Shadowed Heart' June, 2008.
How do you research your books?
The internet is a great tool and I also use reference books. If I state fact, it is as accurate as I can make it. I believe in making the story fit the fact, not the fact fit the story. Over the years I have read many books that have helped me gain a 'feel' for the eras in which I write.
Do you have any peculiar rituals you follow when writing a book (only writing in pink ink, turning counter-clockwise two times before sitting at the computer, etc.)?
Not rituals as such but the computer is the first thing I switch on in the morning and the last thing I switch off at night. I like to write in complete silence and when I am alone in the house. Even if I am involved in something else, I still regularly return to the computer.
Can you give us the list of your books?
Those scheduled for publication are: 'Dominic'' My Dearest Friend''His Shadowed Heart' 'The Portrait' should have been published by Triskelion in September but, due to their bankruptcy, it is held by the courts.
Do you plot or write by the seat of your pants?
I always have a brief synopsis of where I want the story to go but I am always open to suggestions from my characters. Sometimes, I hear words coming out of their mouths that I had not planned, for example, in 'My Dearest Friend', I did not know that Stefan had an illegitimate child until the sergeant strode onto the scene and told me. Often, these revelations just add another interesting element to the story.
What does your family think of your writing?
They are very supportive although I do believe it took quite a while for my daughter to realise that I wrote 'real' books!
Where in your house do you write?
I don't have the luxury of a room of my own; instead, my computer is tucked away in a corner of the dining room.
How long does it take you to write a book?
On average, between three and four months, although 'Dominic' took only two.
What kind of promoting do you recommend to other authors just starting out?
I am no expert on promoting and still find it difficult to self-promote.
However, I have had some success with review sites, both with reviews and placing book cover and banner adds. I am also in the middle of a virtual book tour as, living in the UK, it is difficult to promote in the USA.
What is your favorite restaurant to eat at?
About six miles from where we live there is a lovely restaurant called The Tollgate where we go for 'special' occasions.
Which actor would you pick to play your hero?
Oh, that one's easy. When I was writing 'Dominic' I used a photograph of a very young Timothy Dalton playing Heathcliff as inspiration.
What is your favorite movie that you could watch over and over?
Dare I say it - it's the Timothy Dalton version of 'Jane Eyre'. 'Jane Eyre' is my all-time-favourite book and I think this film version is the only one that captures it exactly. There are many films, too numerous to mention, that I like to watch over again.
What are some of your hobby's?
I am an avid reader and I also like to paint. My other ruling passion is animals and until recently I was the treasurer of an organisation that raised funds for animal charities, but unfortunately we had to close.
What is your favorite junk food to eat when you are writing?
It changes according to how the mood takes me. At the moment it is sugar-free pear drops!
What was your favorite subject in High School? And why?
Not surprising, it was history. I think I must give all credit to the teacher who made it seem so vivid and alive. She so obviously loved her subject and captured my interest and imagination with her enthusiasm.
Did you play any sports or were you in any clubs in High School?
I was a Junior County Swimmer for Staffordshire and belonged to The British Horse Society.
Where can readers find your books and how can they contact you?
They are available as both ebooks and POD Wings ePress, Fictionwise, Amazon
Hazel thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us at Coffee Time Romance & More.