This is me, GL Robinson, wondering what I’m going to write about!
First, let me say I’m so grateful to Hayley for giving me this opportunity to talk to my friends on the other side of the world! It’s funny: growing up in England by the sea, when we’d start digging holes in the sand, we’d always say we were Digging To Australia. When I moved to the USA with kids of my own, they always used to say they were Digging To China. I guess it’s all a matter of perspective!
So… you already know I am a Brit living in the USA. We live in a small town in upstate New York and most of the people were born and have lived here all their lives. Not me!
I met my American husband in Brussels (Belgium) just after the UK joined the then Common Market. I had a job there because I could speak French. My sister and I spent nearly all our school life in a convent boarding school on the south coast of England because our father worked in Africa. We used to go to Africa in the summer holidays. The school was run by French speaking nuns, hence my ability in the language. Our first son was born in Belgium, then we moved to Germany where I had twins a year or so later. Ultimately, we moved (back in my husband’s case) to the USA to the town where we’ve been ever since.
So you see, by the time I came to the USA I had already lived in a variety of countries and was used to being a bit of an outsider. I still have a very proper English accent, so people immediately know I’m not from here, even though I’ve been here 45 years!
I’m telling you all this because I think being a writer makes you a bit of an outsider, or at least, an observer. You meet different types of people and they pop up in your book! I write Regency Romances, set in London between about 1810 and 1830. But people were the same then as now. I put characters I know in my books.
The Lord and The Cat’s Meow, that came out earlier this year, features a young woman who will do anything to save an animal, just like my granddaughter, Nina, for whom the main character is named.
And The Lord and The Bluestocking, that came out in September, has a hero on the autism spectrum – he has Asperger’s. I was a French professor at one of the upstate universities, and I swear every second person on the faculty was like him. Very intelligent, very intense and only able to concentrate on one thing at a time. But a wonderful and loyal friend (and husband).
I wrote a book about eighteen months ago called Cecilia Or Too Tall To Love. That was close to my heart, because I’m six feet tall and not small with it! When I was a girl, I was so embarrassed at being tall, though nowadays it’s commonplace. My mother (97 and going strong, God bless her!) was 5ft 7ins and was also very tall for her day. She used to cry about it, she says. We women have such issues with our bodies, I felt compelled to write about it.
Then I did one called Rosemary to Too Clever To Love. Just the other day a person on my Twitter feed asked if men like intelligent, strong women. Why does the myth persist that men only like submissive females? My Rosemary is very clever! She puts her employer in his place on the question of women’s education, and, of course, he loves her for it!
Now I’m in the middle of writing a story in which one of the characters is one of those women who fancy themselves ill all the time, though it only prevents them from doing things they don’t want to do! It’s giving me such a giggle! It won’t be out till next year and I don’t have a cover for it, but it will be called Lady Beatrix, the Baron and his Dog.
I should point out that though my books do deal with quite serious issues they are all very light-hearted! I’m not writing serious history here! They’re meant to be read for fun. Truly, at my age I cannot deal with anything else. I was a professor: I used to teach French philosophy! There are too many disasters around us in real life to make us want to contemplate Sisyphus pushing the boulder up that hill! I’m done pushing! I wouldn’t touch any of it with a ten foot pole these days.
All my books are dedicated to my dear sister Francine, who died unexpectedly in 2018. Writing has helped me deal with losing her. We used to read Regency Romances under the covers with a torch after lights-out in the convent. She inspired me to write, and sits on my shoulder as I do.
When I first started writing I did the usual thing of hawking around my manuscript to various agents. It took an enormous amount of time, as they all wanted something different (synopsis, blurb, three chapters twenty pages…. the list goes on) and most of them never even responded. The others sent form rejection letters. I was 72 at the time and thought I’d probably be dead before that got anywhere, so I went with self-publishing on Amazon. It’s been great, a big learning process, to be sure, but I highly recommend it. If anyone needs a few tips, contact me!
Please take a look at my website to read about all my books (there are 10 of them so far) or listen to me read the first chapters. You can also contact me for a free short story.