Lorna Peel is an author of historical romance and romantic suspense novels set in the UK and Ireland. Lorna was born in England and lived in North Wales until her family moved to Ireland to become farmers, which is a book in itself! She lives in rural Ireland, where she writes, researches her family history, and grows fruit and vegetables. She also keeps chickens and guinea hens.
Q. What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?
I haven’t actually gone on any, but Sharon Kay Penman is my favourite author of historical fiction and her Welsh trilogy – Here, Be Dragons, Falls The Shadow, The Reckoning – are my favourite novels of all time. I grew up in north Wales and I have either been to or know of all the Welsh locations in the novels.
Q. What about history inspires you to write your gorgeous historical romances?
I have always loved history and I’ve done a lot of research into my family tree. I have a very varied ancestry, I’m of Irish, Dutch, Welsh, German and Scottish descent, so I’m lucky in that I can take inspiration from a personal historical connection to many eras, places and experiences.
Into The Unknown is set during WWII and although my maternal grandparents lived in Rotterdam in the Netherlands, and my grandmother’s home was destroyed in a bombing raid, I set the novel in and around London, England as I wanted the novel to be a work of fiction and not a family memoir.
The same applies to Brotherly Love. I have ancestors who lived in 19th Century rural Ireland so I was able to recreate their day-to-day lives and seasonal work on the farm but I added the complication of a love story against a backdrop of Faction Fighting, which were mass brawls at fairs, markets and parish patron saints day celebrations.
With the Fitzgeralds of Dublin series, which is set in 1880s Dublin, Ireland, my inspiration came from a personal historical connection to the streets and areas which feature in the novels. My Peel ancestors were from Dublin and I’d always wanted to write some novels set there. As well as their personal histories, I’ve done a lot of research into the areas where they lived and also into what they did for a living. I’ve lived in Dublin, too, so having all that research complete and being able to visualise streets and buildings and know how long it takes to walk from one place to another was a great help to me when I wrote A Scarlet Woman, book one in the series. I still had to do a lot of research for book two, A Suitable Wife, but the foundation was already complete.
Q. Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Both! With my last WIP, I set myself a daily task of writing 1k words per day. I mostly stuck to it and apart from when I was in the early stages of a bad cold, I wrote something every day. Looking back, I must have been writing on adrenaline because when the first draft was complete at just over 97k words, I sat back mentally exhausted thinking, “How did I just do that?!” 🙂
Q. What is your writing Kryptonite?
Real life getting in the way of my finding the time to sit down and write. I aim to write something every day, whether it is writing something new, or editing something I’ve put aside for a while so I can come back to it with ‘fresh eyes’.
Q. Have you ever gotten reader’s block?
Yes, I have. A few years ago, I read myself out. I’m not quite over it yet so, for now, I read books from my favourite authors or authors familiar to me and I’m slowly building up my reading again that way.
Q. What genre do you read while writing?
I try to read something completely different from what I’m writing, eg. if I’m writing historical I read contemporary and if I’m writing contemporary I read historical.
Q. Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
I write primarily for me, so none of my novels are written in order to cater to readers expectations. I challenge their expectations, I suppose, as my Fitzgeralds series novels are gritty. I tackle subjects which might shock some readers such as prostitution, characters’ sexualities and sexually transmitted diseases of the time.
Q. What do you expect from an author when reading a book, short story or article?
To read something which is well written, hopefully learn something along the way and, in the case of fiction, be entertained, too.
Q. What authors did you dislike at first, but grew into?
None really. I bought Sharon Kay Penman’s The Sunne in Splendour on impulse while on a school trip because it sounded intriguing. The book is 886 pages long and it sat on my bookshelf intimidating me for a couple of years until I finally read it then I bought all her backlist novels and I’ve read all her novels since then.
Q. How do you balance making demands on the reader with taking care of the reader?
By ensuring that if a character does something, no matter how terrible it is, the reader understands why that character acted in the way they did. I also make sure that at the end of each Fitzgeralds of Dublin series novel there is a happy for now ending.
Q. Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
In my Fitzgeralds of Dublin series especially, there are many occasions when the reader knows something the character doesn’t know and the tension is ramped up as the reader can’t help but speculate when those secrets are going to be revealed to the character and what impact they will have.
Q. Do you travel? Tell us about your travels.
No, I don’t travel much. I mostly go on short haul trips from Ireland to the UK to visit my mum. It’s good to have a break, catch up with my mum and indulge in some retail therapy!
Q. Has it (your travels) added to your inspirational well, or taken from it?
I think it adds to it as I secretly observe people – their mannerisms – whether they are polite or rude – as travelling does tend to bring out the very worst in some people!
Q. Do you have any expectations of your readers?
I like to challenge the expectation of readers by making the unexpected happen, eg., making a good character do some ethically questionable things while making a villain act sympathetically in a crucial moment. This gives the reader a deeper understanding of complex characters by making them more believable and, I hope, keeping the reader on the edge of their seat and continue reading. Real people rarely behave in only one way and characters in novels need to be unpredictable, too.
Q. On your writing journey, what has been the lowest and the most painful moment and vice versa?
The first publisher I signed with went out of business just under a year after my contemporary romance Only You was published and I had to start out on the road to publication all over again. That was tough but it made me all the more determined to ensure that I would get my books published.
Thank you for interviewing me!
Would you like to read more from Lorna Peel!?
You can reach her via the following:
Website – http://lornapeel.com
Blog – https://lornapeel.com/blog
Newsletter – http://eepurl.com/ciL8ab
Twitter – https://twitter.com/PeelLorna
Google+ – http://plus.google.com/+LornaPeel
Pinterest – http://www.pinterest.com/lornapeel
Goodreads – http://www.goodreads.com/LornaPeel
Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/LornaPeelAuthor
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/lornapeelauthor
And Purchase her books here!
A Scarlet Woman – Excerpt and all paperback buy links – https://lornapeel.com/fitzgeralds/a-scarlet-woman
A Suitable Wife – http://mybook.to/asuitablewife
A Suitable Wife – Excerpt and all paperback buy links – https://lornapeel.com/fitzgeralds/a-suitable-wife
Thank you for speaking with us today Lorna!