Lindsay Townsend lives in Yorkshire. She has a first class honours degree in history from Bangor University where she specialised in the Middle Ages. She currently writes both medieval romance for Kensington, and romance set in the ancient world published by Bookstrand. She has also reissued her earlier romantic suspense title, Night of the Storm as an ebook. LIndsay, what do you think an editor is looking for in a good novel?
I think an editor is looking for intriguing characters, a distinctive author voice, and slightly different 'takes' within a genre so that a story follows the conventions but is also fresh and engaging.
Where is your favourite place to work?
I work upstairs in a small study bedroom with my computer in the corner away from the window.
How do you develop your characters? In historicals, how do you keep them in period yet sympathetic to readers?
I develop my people by considering their cardinal virtues, their main vices (often it can be one and the same, such as single-mindedness leading to stubbornness.) their secrets and their main aims in life. In historicals I try to keep characters in period by showing their reactions, settings and situations very different from the customs of modern people. When it comes to falling in love, though, I feel that people have not changed much through history and readers can identify with that.
What is the hardest part of the writing process for you?
Writing the end of a book is always hard for me. I find it hard to let go of the characters I have grown to understand and like. The end always feels like a cut off point, too, and rather arbitrary. I tend to have several intense final scenes, where situations are revealed and resolved as far as possible, and then a wind-down scene.
Do you find time to have interests other than writing? How do you relax?
I relax by spending time with my husband, reading - often thrillers - watching TV, listening to music, walking and (wonderful therapy, this!) weeding the garden.
What advice would you give a new writer?
Read widely in fiction and non-fiction. Write a genre that you love. Let work rest before you have a final read through and polish. Read on a paper copy, not on the computer - it does alter the experience. Join groups such as the RNA for support, information and feedback. Don’t send out work too early - if you feel something is not quite as you want it, work on it until it is. Don't give up. When sending work out, consider the new electronic publishers, not just the traditional print houses.
What draws you to your particular genre? Are you a specialist or do you have another identity?
I love historical romance and romantic suspense for the chance both give to write about exotic settings (to me the past is also an intriguing, a foreign setting) exciting, slightly larger than life characters, high-stakes situations and adventure.
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?
I sometimes suffer from what I call cloudy head, which is a sign that I'm a bit stale. I take the hint, drag myself away from the computer and go for a walk in woodland, go to visit friends - do something different. I also write away from the computer on a simple writing pad with a pen.
In what way has the RNA helped you or your career?
The RNA has helped me by putting me in contact with other romance writers.
Is there a particular period of history that you enjoy writing about? Why is that?
I'm strongly drawn to the medieval and ancient worlds because they are so different from the modern age, while still helping to shape the way we live.
Who is your ideal reader?
Someone who will try my books, enjoy them and tell all her friends about them so they will buy them, too.
Tell us about your latest book, and how you got the idea for it.
My latest is a medieval historical romance, To Touch The Knight, published by Kensington Zebra in July and appearing in the UK in August. I got the idea for it from two historical events - the Black Death, which struck England in 1348 and killed off almost a third of the population, and the later real-life story of the Princess Cariboo - a woman in the 18th century who faked being an eastern princess. I put those two things together to create my heroine and her story.
To find out more about Lindsay, visit her blog:
Interviews on the RNA Blog are conducted by Freda Lightfoot and Kate Jackson. If you would like an interview, please contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org