Monday 20 November 2017

Interview: Stephanie Elmas

illusion, stephanie-elmas, book, blog-tour

I'm over the moon to be participating in the blog tour for Illusion by Stephanie Elmas - to celebrate, I have a short Q&A with the author to share with you all!

Firstly, tell me a little about yourself.
I am an English teacher and a mum of three children. Although in the early days of my career I worked as a head hunter in London for several years, my first love was always academia. I returned to university before my teaching career to complete a Masters in Victorian literature.
How did you first become interested in writing?
I can’t remember a time when I didn’t write. It has always been a brilliantly indulgent and escapist way of spending time.
illusion, stephanie-elmas, book

Tell me about Illusion.
Illusion was born out of a character I created in my first novel, The Room Beyond. When I wrote The Room Beyond, I fell in love with the Victorian East End mystic, Walter Balanchine, and knew that I had so much more to say about him. 
Illusion follows the early life of Walter: his childhood as an abandoned boy in a workhouse, his return to London after years of exotic travel, his rise to fame as an illusionist and the hot water that his exploits plunge him into. Along the way he is joined by his closest friend Tom Winter, an heiress engaged to his brutal nemesis, a faithful stowaway boy from his travels and a black panther. Together they battle with the harsh realities of life in the East End smoke, but the scene also moves to a grand house in a marshy, West Country setting; so damp and wet that no new building has ever managed to withstand this environment for very long...
What’s the best thing about writing fiction?
You can take your story anywhere and everywhere and it requires nothing but a pen, paper and an active imagination.
How do you get inspiration?
I try to write about things that I know a bit about. I love writing in the nineteenth century because it is an area I specialised in at university. It is also a period of history that really fascinates me, so writing about it feels natural.
What’s your writing process?
With my second novel I was far more organised. My first novel sort of grew organically and, as a result, took years and years to write (and rewrite!). With Illusion, I had a plan! I created a precise breakdown of chapters from the very start and more or less stuck to it. This was a far quicker and more successful approach.
What’s the hardest thing about writing?
The long haul. So many people say that they’d like to write a novel but actually sitting down to it and getting the job done is a major commitment.
Which authors inspire you?
So many, but particularly Thomas Hardy and Mary Elizabeth Braddon. I just read The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry and thought it was sensational.
stephanie-elmas, author

Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
Don’t let your pride get in the way. Deal with criticism and rejection, learn from it all and then carry on.
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
To keep writing novels that I’m proud of. I was once told that if I wrote about people eating cakes and drinking tea in Cornwall, with the odd murder going on in the background, then I’d be so much more successful. The problem is that I just can’t bring myself to do that!
What are your interests outside of writing and reading?
Spending time with my family and travelling. In my twenties I backpacked quite a lot and, now that my children are growing up a bit, I’m rediscovering the world again with them!
What are you currently working on?
I have a few fresh ideas up my sleeve. Walter will be there in some form or another, I can’t leave him out!
What are you currently reading?
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. I first read it as a teenager and I felt that it was time for a revisit.
Illusion is available to buy now. To find out more about Stephanie and her writing, you can pay a visit to her website.

Don't forget to check out the rest of the blog tour! It's just a short hop away - tomorrow's tour stop can be found here.

Will you be reading the book? Let me know in the comments below!

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