Today I bring you an interview with Australian author Anthea Laurelton. Anthea's stories are where ancient history and romance collide. Lets find out more.
Tell me about yourself.
Born, and live, in Sydney. Spent too many years in corporate I.T. after completing a Computing Science degree at the University of Technology Sydney. Left that rat-race five years ago to be poor and happy and write! I have a younger brother, a spoilt German Shepherd who’s almost eight years old and a large circle of friends.
A horse-rider for many, many years, I trekked in the Snowy Mountains, camping out for five days at a time. Hard to describe how magical that experience is. I love keeping fit and have been active in some way all my life.
I like to travel and next year, the number one spot on the bucket list is Greece for rest, relaxation, and research.
What do you like to read?
Almost anything as long as it’s a good story. On my bookshelf you’ll find all of Jane Austen’s works, the Chronicles of Narnia complete set, the extended Star Wars universe, Harry Potter, category and other romances, women’s fiction and too many others to list.
I also read non-fiction if the subject interests me and I have my research books for Ancient Sparta, too.
P.S. No Horror, Paranormal or Thrillers – my poor brain can’t cope!
How long have you been writing?
I completed a writing course by correspondence in the mid-2000’s and joined the Romance Writers of Australia (RWA) late 2010. The latter was really the beginning of learning the craft of writing. I wrote short stories for one of the contests that the RWA run, one of which was included in the anthology in 2012.
What sparked your love of romance?
A classmate handed me my first Mills & Boon novel when I was sixteen. I love the happy-ever-afters and the whole falling in love story that sweeps the reader along.
Tell me about your first published book.
Spartan Quest – Salvation came to life from a short story I wrote for a contest. Over the years it grew slowly into the novel it is today. I honed my craft on this novel which is why it took so long to evolve. I’d never written a full-length novel prior to this.
I spent a lot of time querying and did score an offer to publish which after a lot of thought I turned down. Great decision even though it was a US digital-first publisher. So, I’m self-published wide with sales, small but getting there, in five countries.
While the book sits in the romance genre, it’s not a category romance. There’s a lot going on around the two main protagonists. A reader from an award contest summed it up perfectly:
I like how the author wove myth and history into a slow burn love story. She made Ancient Greece come alive. Overall, this was a very satisfying novel that is filled with romance and intrigue.
What inspired the story?
I’m a Greek mythology tragic. Over the years, the Spartans emerged as my favourites amongst all the ancient Greeks. I love their courage and discipline. I wanted to write a historical “romance” that was different and set in a different time to the usual Regency, Viking or Scottish stories.
What comes first for you, the plot, or the characters?
Ah, now, this question made me chuckle because I have no coherent answer. I’d be hopeless at teaching the craft of writing because I just simply write the story.
I don’t do scene cards, vision boards, plot outlines, beat points etc. etc. At best I’ll have a think about GMC for the characters, maybe remember to write it down, and then walk around doing the housework with the story unfolding like a movie in my head.
Which one of your protagonists would you most get along with and why?
If I have to choose only one, I’ll go with my heroine. She’s resourceful, resilient, and stands up for herself even when she’s at a major disadvantage. She also has a softer side for people she cares about.
What are you working on now?
Spartan Quest – Redemption which is the second book of the duology.
What’s the best piece of writing advice you have been given?
Don’t let anyone stifle/change your voice. It’s unique to you and no-one can tell your story like you can.
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
Powerwalking, yoga, walking the dog – walking with her is a “sniffari” hence my separate walk – catching up with friends, going for long drives, going to the beach in summer, maybe seeing the occasional movie. I’ve been known to attend the opera, go see an art exhibition, anything interesting will get me out of the house.
Thanks to Anthea for sharing her writing journey with us on the blog. If you would like to check out her work, click on the links below.