Earlier this year we sat down with Regency author Ann Lethbridge to talk about inspiration, writing and Richard Armitage (of course).
Let’s start with everyone’s favourite question – where do you get your ideas from?
Every time I visit the UK, I go to lots of stately homes, which gives me a lot of inspiration for settings. I take photos and then put them on my blog, Pinterest, etc where my readers can see them too! Apart from that, I get ideas from current newspapers: people don’t really change, just their clothes, so current newspaper events often inspire things in my stories, with a little bit of a change to the details. For example, someone in my stories can’t crash a car that’s going too fast, but they can tip a carriage over!
You’ve had quite a lot of books published now – do you still get nervous and/or excited when a new one is published?
I’m always a little bit nervous with a new book, wondering if people will like it. I try to make each book better than the last so there’s always the fear that it hasn’t turned out that way. But it’s exciting too – especially when I get my author copies, and can send them out to other people.
That does sound like a good part. So tell us a bit about your writing process – how do you start a story?
I always start with a first scene, which I can picture in my head like a film scene. From there I’ll get in to learning more about the main characters and what their problems are. I write full time and usually write in the morning, then take care of ‘life admin’ in the afternoon, doing the shopping and less interesting things like that. But sometimes the words keep coming and I’ll write all day, or if I’ve got a deadline coming up I might write at the weekends as well.
It sounds like a great way to do things. Do you ever ‘cast’ your characters in your head while you write?
I’m more of a ‘words’ person than a visual person, so not really. The other thing is that I always picture the same actors for heroes! People like Richard Armitage, who was in North & South, or Adam Faith.
I’m a big fan of Richard Armitage! I can definitely picture him as a Regency hero. One last question: what’s the best writing advice you’ve been given, and what advice would you give to others?
Finish the book! Polishing up the start of the book is pointless if you don’t have the rest of it. And definitely don’t send out your first three chapters if the rest of the book doesn’t exist yet. I also really recommend joining an organisation like RWA or RNA, which run lots of workshops and give you the chance to meet other writers.
Thank you, Ann, for taking the time to talk with us! Ann’s latest book, Secrets of The Marriage Bed, is out now and available on our website.