Name Giselle Marks
Where are you from London, England.
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
I was born in London but went to school in Surrey. At eleven I passed the 11+ and went to the top school in my area, which was owned by the Girl’s Public Day School Trust. The schools’ pupils were half scholarship from the 11+ and half private. When political pressure was bought for them to go comprehensive, they chose to go fully private. So many girls lost the opportunity of an excellent free education. I went to Art College for a year and turned down a place to go on to do fine art. I now live in the picturesque Isle of Man. I have five children and six grandchildren whom I adore.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I was part of my first Author panel at Isle of Man Lit Fest and I survived. I am in the final edits for The Purchased Peer which is my first Georgian Historical Romance. I hope it will be published shortly.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I learnt to write as most British children do at age five. I wrote a variety of stuff during my school years and I was aware of being good at it. However I always planned to be an artist. I wrote for work in a commercial way, everything and anything; – minutes, letters, reports, computer manuals, news releases and even advertising copy. I started writing more specifically while in an unhappy marriage. I wrote some articles and puzzles that I was paid for and some short stories.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I first thought of myself as a writer when I worked for a small local newspaper part time after the break-up of my marriage. I first called myself a novelist when I had my first novel published. I have been writing poetry now for three years and have finally accepted the description of poet a year ago.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I was dared. I was given a couple of feminist sci-fi books and although beautifully written I argued against the concept that life would be perfect under female rule. I said that if women were in power and had the advantages of being physically stronger than men, that they would have all the bad traits that men in power have had. And some would have all the good traits. My first book was written to satisfy that dare. It will finally be released soon and is called Princess of Zenina which is the first of my series The Zeninan Saga. The other books will be released in sequence after it. They are written about a female dominated Empire with male sex slaves. My heroine does not approve of male slavery and ‘believes they can be quite intelligent when educated properly.’ I have been writing ever since.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I probably do, but I write in different vocabulary sets. My sci-fi is written mostly for ease of reading, so it is in fairly simple language. However the historical romances I have written try to exclude words that were not in use in the period, and have a slightly more complex vocabulary. I try to write so that my prose is enjoyable to read.
Need another question in here I think. Not sure really how to answer. The book I have currently got out is The Fencing Master’s Daughter, but I hope to get out The Purchased Peer out in the next few weeks and Princess of Zenina out straight after that.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
The Fencing Master’s Daughter
I read a lot of books in many genres including historical romance. I noticed that a number of titles were The Admiral’s Daughter or the General’s Daughter, so I was thinking about what other Regency careers might be titled that way. I came up with The Fencing Master’s Daughter and checked amazon that there was not already a book by the title. I did not invent the characters, Edward turned up the next day. I planned to write Madelaine as a red head and a bit more curvaceous. She insisted that she was blonde and slender.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
My books are entertainment so they have no direct messages. You might notice however that my heroes and heroines are not wet and seek to deal with problems intelligently. Madelaine who is an expert swordswoman rescues the hero. I do believe that education standards are generally slipping and that it is important that all people are well educated.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I do not write directly about people I know, but I try to make the way characters behave based on how real people respond to events. A lifetime of watching people could be considered an influence and certainly is involved in telling my characters’ stories.
In the Fencing Master’s Daughter, there was a lot of historical research, because I think if you include the description ‘historical’ you should try to avoid being anachronistic.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
I have not had a mentor and the only books that have directly influenced my life would be the Bible and the Yi Ching which was written for Confucius. I read continuously usually having several books being read at any one time, not including those I edit for other Independent writers.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest and who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I don’t know if you consider Patrick Rothfuss as a new writer but I happen to think he is the best writer of fantasy ever. His prose is so unpretentious yet so beautiful. He is an absolutely wonderful story teller, you completely suspend disbelief. In Historical novels I admire the works of Georgette Heyer and Bernard Cornwell who is not considered a romance writer.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
My family did not support me at all. They laughed and were rather shocked that I write sex scenes in some of my books. There are no sex scenes in the Fencing Master’s Daughter. I met Sarah Waldock on a Yahoo Georgette Heyer Appreciation site, called Almacks. She also writes and read through my first historical romance chapters as I wrote them, for which I shall always be grateful. We now edit each others’ books.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
It is how I spend my time, I don’t yet make a living at it, but I want people to read and enjoy my writings. I see book sales, kindle direct reads and decent reviews as proof that I am a writer who deserves to be read. I also proof and edit for other independent writers.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I have already done that. It has had a major rewrite and one minor anachronism was written out.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
There was a supply teacher at primary school for one week. He was appallingly charming and was very complimentary about my writing. He gave out a prize which was a box of chocolates for the best pupil in the class. On the Friday I had a regular check-up at Great Ormond Street Hospital for children in London. Normally I managed to get my Mum to take me to a movie in town in the afternoon, but I insisted on going back to school, which was just as well as I won the chocolates. It is amazing how much a few compliments can make children want to work hard to please a teacher.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I have chosen this excerpt because it is amusing and the sample on Amazon shows the beginning scene when Edward is rescued by Madelaine.
Peter Firth and young John Pennywise had been allowed the evening off, as the earl and her ladyship were attending a select evening party in town and were not expected to return to the early hours. The footmen were standing at the bar chewing the bacon together, when a foreign sounding gentleman, dressed in black attempted to buy them a pint of beer.
John was considering accepting, but Peter remembered the warning and squeezed his shoulder. John and Peter politely said “No thank you, sir.”…
…“About time I think. Do you want another Peter? My round isn’t it?” As John went to get up, the stranger in black brought over two tankards of beer for them.
“Do you mind if I join you?” he said as he sat beside them. “I don’t know many people in London.”
John was a little embarrassed about the man’s intrusion. “Thank you for the beer,” he said and Peter echoed him.
“I’m only in town on some business, where do you work?” asked the stranger. Peter said nothing, but thought their footmen’s uniform with their master’s crest on their chest should have been a pretty good indicator.
“We work as footmen for the Earl of Chalcombe,” John said proud of his position, and Peter kicked him under the table.
“Is he a good employer? I suppose you can always do with a few extra guineas,” he smoothly suggested.
“What would you want in return for these guineas?” Peter asked suspiciously.
“Only a little information…oof” the foreigner replied, but was cut short by Peter’s fist connecting with his gut.
“Try to make us spy on his lordship, will you, Take that!” Peter declared slightly late but he followed up with a flourishing left to the chin. Peter was a well-developed lad and the interloper went down hard. The man scrabbled back to his feet quickly, but shook his head as if his wits had gone begging. John had also stood and both footmen were advancing menacingly towards their adversary.
“He’s the one Jenkins was warning us about. He tried to murder my lord!” Peter declared.
“Now boys, take it outside or I’ll have to call the watch on you,” interrupted mine host in a friendly manner.
Peter reached for the man’s arm, grabbing it with a brawny fist, then his other hand connected this time with the man’s nose.
“Take it outside, I said,” repeated the innkeeper.
“We’re going, Stanley. John grab his other arm!”
The pair of footmen bundled the foreigner out of the inn into the street. Hitting the chill air, John found he was a trifle disguised, but he rallied and his fists delivered a couple of heavy wallops to the man, still held by his senior comrade. They may have lacked science, but it was bellows to mend with their victim. Both lads were a bit jug-bitten and were not completely thinking straight. They continued to drub the man, and his claret now had been drawn properly, as his nose was leaking blood profusely. The man in black tried to hit Peter back a couple of times, but was swaying on his feet. John contributed a few more of his own mashers, but he was not carrying his ale that well, as he staggered a little.
“Peter, shouldn’t we take him back to Jenkins, for his lordship? He can call the runners after he’s had a chance to talk to this one,” John staunchly said, enunciating his words one at a time. He hoisted the battered foreigner from the gutter where he had fallen and Peter gripped the man’s other side as they dragged him back towards Grosvenor Square. But after a few halting steps, the man seemed to come to his senses. They swerved to allow another pedestrian to pass by, when he shrugged off their restraining hands and bolted down the street, the pair of inebriated footmen whooping and jeering at his heels. He fled towards the centre of town, until out of breath with the footmen gaining upon him he managed to lose his pursuers by turning off from Oxford Street into Drury Lane, where he mingled with the crowd of theatre goers as they spilled out of the theatres.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Most of writing is challenging, because you always want to improve. I am working at improving my use of commas.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I would love to travel for my books I want to write one set in Brussels before, during and in the aftermath of Waterloo. So I would like to visit again to get the descriptions and history exactly right. I will not write the battle others have done that brilliantly already. I would also like to visit India and set a couple of Regencies and possibly books set earlier under the Raj.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Sarah J Waldock designs my covers. We have an anthology of fae and mythic tales we produced together called ‘Fae Tales.’
Fae Tales US link:
Fae Tales UK link :
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
I actually found the writing flowed very easily, but knowing when to stop rewriting and editing is never easy. I do not have a problem with ideas for books. My biggest writing problem has been persuading characters to wait until I have time to write about them.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Yes I did a lot of research about French cooking of the period, especially the recipes of Marie Antoine Carême, who despite the name was a French male chef, whose cook books are followed by many eminent chefs even today. He was cook for the Prince Regent for a time and for the Rothchilds.
Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film who would you like to play the lead.
I would resist strongly having any of my books made into a film especially in Hollywood. I have seen so many good books turned into dreadful films and TV series. So without considerable control over scripts and casting, the answer would be no-one.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Two pieces of advice:- First, listen to your characters, they know better than you do. Secondly, get your books properly proofed and edited.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Read my books and tell me your thoughts about my writing. I am personally shy but you are always welcome to approach me on facebook or twitter.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
‘No Law in the Land’ by Michael Jecks which is a medieval murder mystery. I have read several of his books and consider him an excellent writer. His ‘detective’ is a former Templar knight.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Sorry but it was probably Janet and John. As children’s books that I picked up and read for pleasure:- ‘The Faraway Tree’ by Enid Blyton, which I suppose is fantasy and Josephine Tey, ‘Daughter of Time,’ which somehow combines historical writing with fantasy. It was very positively about Richard III.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Most sit coms and comic films make me squirm. I would rather clean the kitchen than watch them. About the most recent TV series that amused me was Boston Legal. I still laugh at Saki, Giovannino Guareschi who wrote Don Camillo and P.J. Wodehouse. I cry over slushy books and movies. I cry and am made angry by man’s inhumanity to man and animals. I think that if I write a sad scene and it does not upset me, then I have not done it right so I rewrite until it does. If I don’t laugh at my jokes then why should anyone else?
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?
There are several, but I am a great fan of Arthur Wellesley, first Duke of Wellington. He was an innovative thinker and a bit of a charmer, who definitely liked the ladies. I would not have minded the nose.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why?
I don’t want a headstone. I have told my children that I want my body to be used for dissection. I am too old for organ transplants and I would like my body to be useful after death. I strongly disapprove of the expense and palaver at funerals. If people want to hold a service of commemoration then that is nice, but I would rather they held a good wake and had a drink together. I want my books to be read after I die, that will be sufficient for me.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
I read, draw and knit. Some of my drawings are included in ‘Fae Tales.’ I have also been known to play pool. I love to visit my children and grandchildren.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Not many. I watch mostly documentaries and occasionally snooker. I admit to being a fan of the series of Game of Thrones, but I cannot get it on TV, so I will watch the last couple of series eventually on DVD. I might seriously consider writing a story with a dwarf as the hero, just so Peter Dinklage could play the part.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music Foods:
I eat a lot of fruit and vegetables. Spinach would be my first choice in vegetables, raspberries in fruit. I like steak, curry and sea food. I particularly like Manx queen scallops (queenies) which are much smaller than the usual scallops. I also adore chocolate and lemon meringue pie.
Colours:- Yellow is my colour of choice. I wear strong colours, red, emerald green, fuschia and black. I do not like blue except in nature. I have not corrected my English spellings.
Music:- I like most music apart from Modern jazz. I used to play the piano and have a very eclectic taste, but the words matter nearly as much as the voices, musicians and tunes to me. I like basically anything with good words and a tune. Some examples would be:- Bob Marley, Alice Cooper, Enrique Iglesias (especially in Spanish which I don’t understand, because it makes a good background to write by), Dylan, Taylor Swift, Dori Previn and Charlie Puth.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I always planned to be an artist, but I was not commercially biased and I did not want to teach or starve in an attic. I don’t repine for other possibilities, life is too short.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website?
If so what is it? I do have a words press site but I have found I have a greater response to my articles and stories on Linked-in. This is my current story:-
I also have a web site:- http://ginafiserova.wix.com/gisellemarks
I can be found on goodreads:-https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7304857.Giselle_Marks
And twitter @GiselleMarks1
Links for The Fencing Master’s Daughter
UK Amazon link – http://preview.tinyurl.com/jjoz2eb
US Amazon link – http://preview.tinyurl.com/hjjg5eh