Name Elizabeth Coldwell
Where are you from
Born in Rotherham, South Yorkshire. Now living in London
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
I was the editor of Forum magazine for the best part of twenty years. When I left there, I made the decision to devote myself to writing fiction (as well as being a minding service for our two cats, who like to help me out by strolling across my laptop keyboard from time to time).
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I’ve just had a novella accepted for Tirgearr’s City Nights series. It’s set in Brussels and features a mixture of suspense and hot romance.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I’ve always written, ever since I was small. My parents have the first book I ever wrote, when I was about ten, in a drawer at their home.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I was at university, I had a couple of pieces published by a Leicester-based magazine. I didn’t know then that I would definitely become a full-time writer, but it was my first taste of what it’s like to write to a deadline and meet a word count.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I reviewed a novel for Forum which I thought was truly terrible, and I was convinced I could come up with something better. I was on the train back to London, having been to the Isle of White to interview a couple who ran a specialist publishing house there, and I plotted out the book on the back of the timetable. That outline became Calendar Girl, which was published by the now defunct Headline Liaison imprint.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Not one that I’ve deliberately worked on, though it has been remarked on by reviewers. The best description of it was ‘elegantly debauched’.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
For One Night In Brussels, my contribution to the City Nights series, I was following the format, which is One Night In… plus the name of the city where the story’s set. But I like to have fun with my titles. I wrote a novella called Stranded In Paradise – the title popped into my head first, then I had to work out where Paradise was and who was stranded there.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I’m not really a ‘message’ author. If people read things into my books, that’s fine, but I’m not trying to preach to anyone or persuade them to think a certain way.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
The setting of One Night In Brussels, very much so. I wanted to showcase what an interesting city Brussels is. Everyone seems to have the impression that Belgium is a boring country, but actually a lot of quirky things happen there. As for a couple meeting, enjoying the hottest sex of their life and getting involved in a life-or-death situation all on the same night – well, obviously a lot of that is fantasy but it’s what the genre requires.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
No, the hero and heroine are entirely fictional, though I’d like to think they appear like ordinary people so the readers can identify them.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?
I don’t recall the name of the book, but it’s one an English teacher used to set our lessons when I was about 14. It dealt with things like use of the semi-colon in a fun way that allowed you to use your imagination, and it helped those principles of grammar to stick with me.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
A compilation of the Molesworth books, by Willans and Searle. Even though the English public school system of the 1950s is completely alien in this century, the concept of Molesworth never stops being funny.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I discovered a couple of new names when I was editing for Xcite, including Demelza Hart and Seren Ellis-Owen. I’d like to read more by both of them.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I’m writing the Lionhearts series of paranormal novels for Totally Bound, and at the moment I’m most of the way through the fifth book. This one’s about the relationship between a detective and a firefighter, and I’ve been doing research into topics including arson, so I’m expecting to be placed on some kind of government watchlist. *grins* And I have plans to finish a mainstream contemporary romance, but working on a series has meant that’s gone on the back burner.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
My friend Gwenn. We have a shared sense of humour that baffles just about everyone else, and some of my better ideas have come from visiting various places with her.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Very much so.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No, I’m very happy with the way it turned out.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I’ve always enjoyed writing stories. I think everybody has one thing they love and are good at, and in my case I’m lucky enough to do it full time.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Keeping everything fresh. I never want to feel that I’m churning out words for the sake of them.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
It’s hard to pin it down to one author, but I particularly enjoy the books of Donna Tartt. I like the way she can write in the first person as a male character and be so convincing.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I tend to write about places I’ve already been to, rather than ones I have to visit. Thanks to the Internet, you can do a lot of research about a city without actually having to travel there.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The hardest part hasn’t come yet – that’s usually the editing stage, when you have to go through the book again and either make changes or fight to keep a line the way it is.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Just keep at it, and don’t be put off by rejection – it happens to all of us.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you, and I hope you enjoy what I’ve written.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I can’t remember the title, but I remember reading it out loud on the way back from the library and my mother being convinced I’d read it before. (I hadn’t). I wasn’t quite three at the time, and it’s probably my earliest memory.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Nothing has ever made me laugh as much as Bill Shipton, who edited Splosh! magazine and was a fund of endlessly hilarious anecdotes. The fact he’s not around to share them any more makes me cry.
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?
Delia Smith, so we could discuss cooking and football.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
A line from the comedy show Absolutely: ‘Dead, dead, dead as you like. Thank you very much and goodnight’. I couldn’t put it any better
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
I support Rotherham United, so in the football season most of my Saturdays are spent watching them play. I also do a lot of baking – I’m experimenting with different types of bread at the moment.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I love The Soup, which is the E! clip show that highlights all the absurdities of reality TV and home shopping channels, I like the quiz show Pointless, particularly when I come up with pointless answers while I’m watching and I’m currently getting into Wayward Pines. Other than that, you’ll mostly find me watching sport of some kind.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Food – cheese. I eat so much of it, my brother reckons I must be part mouse.
Colours – blue and green
Music – big, pompous rock music, like Asia and Muse
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Possibly something involving food. But the great thing about being a writer is that you get to experience so many different careers via your characters. I’ve been everything from a rock star to the wife of a billionaire to the person who sorts the post in a large corporation.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
It’s called The (Really) Naughty Corner, and it’s at http://elizabethcoldwell.wordpress.com
Details of the City Nights series are at http://tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/City_Nights/index.htm