Author Interview with Elisabeth Hobbes.


I'm back with another of the wonderful ladies responsible for the brilliant Lochmore Legacy series. Elisabeth Hobbes wrote the third book in the series: 'A Runaway Bride for the Highlander." Let's find out how the whole process went for her...

1.  How did this idea and the characters come about for A Runaway Bride for the Highlander ?

The Historical team at Harlequin Mills and Boon came up with the idea and asked the four of us to write them.  I loved the novelty of having the books go backwards in time to reveal the mystery instead of forwards.  I haven't read a series like that before.  We were all given a 'bible' with a synopsis for each book, character description and themes but we were given a free hand in how we wanted to develop the stories and characters.  One of my favourite things about this story is that I didn't have a surname for Marguerite so named her after one of the runs in the ski area we go to every year as a little Easter Egg for myself.

2. This book is part of The Lochmore Legacy series, but unlike other series, each of these four books are written by a different author. How did that work for you? Did you all plan each book together or was it very much a separate process?

Because we were all given the same outline we knew exactly what essential plot details we needed to include in each book so that the mystery would feed through.  We communicated via email and Facebook messages to expand on the details to ensure consistency for important locations or objects or physical characteristics of the Lochmore and McCrieff lines.  We picked some elements to run through the whole series that we hope readers might notice, such as recurring names or words.  I loved reading the first two books and spotting a portrait of Marguerite hanging on the wall in the later castle, for example.
We all wrote separately but kept in touch almost daily to check we were on track.  It was a lovely experience having a group of friends to call on when things weren't going to plan to give support and ideas.  Four heads are definitely better than one.

3. When you write do you just write as you go or do you have a lot of notebooks and planning to do first? I imagine you have to research a lot as far as the historical elements go, but do you write down family trees, character profiles etc?

I do write out family trees or timelines of events, mainly so I don't mess up the ages of characters.  I'm getting better at keeping them somewhere I can find them so I don't have to rummage every time I want to check what a secondary character is called.  I always have a vague chapter outline but tend to veer off course.  Originally Ewan and Marguerite were going to leave Stirling Castle in chapter two, for example, but for one reason and another they ended up staying longer than that and getting to know each other a little first.
I had to do more research for this story as I haven't written a Scottish setting before and the time period was a change from my usual Medieval stories.  It is a period I was already familiar with from my History degree which made research a lot easier.  In fact it was reading Jean Plaidy's books on Katherine of Aragon and the wives of Henry VIII of England that first made me fall in love with the past when I realised there were such wonderful individuals to learn about.  

4. Where do you find your inspiration for the men in your stories? Do you dream them up or do you pick traits from different people?

Usually I have a pretty good idea of what each character looks like physically and often they're based on a real life actor, singer or celebrity (my husband would ask awkward questions if I said they were based on people I know).  Ewan Lochmore is different because he's the first hero who has been based on two people and looked different in my head depending on the scene.  He was the younger of two sons and has been thrust into the role of Earl on the death of his father and older brother.  He wasn't expecting the role and before he inherited the title had been studying Law at Glasgow University, which was founded in 1451.  He is a thinker not a doer and prefers to talk his way out of conflict so struggles to reconcile this with the requirements of a laird to be a warrior and lead his clan.  David Tennant, mainly as the Tenth Doctor, was the more quick-witted side and Ewan McGregor was the fighter.

5. You predominately write Historical/Medieval romance, but do you ever think about writing for other genres?  

I'd love to write a mystery but I wouldn't know where to begin plotting it.  I really enjoy writing Historicals so I don't think I'll ever stop doing that but I might change time period.  Runaway Bride is a bit of a departure because it is set in the 15th Century rather than the Middle Ages.  I have the bones of a story set on the Yorkshire coast in Victorian times and another story I'm torn between setting in the 1920s.  The opening chapter of the Victorian one won me the Elizabeth Goudge Award at the 2018 Romantic Novelists Association conference so I really want to complete it.

6. How long does it take you to write your stories? Do you ever have more than one idea going at once?

I don't tend to do first, second, third drafts as I edit as I go along.  It takes me six to seven months to write a version I'm happy to send in, or rather, one I've run out of time to fiddle with.  I teach four days a week so I don't write as quickly as I'd like.  I have to be disciplined with my time as I only have one day dedicated to writing (which also gets filled with shopping, housework, lesson planning etc if I'm not careful).  I get a lot less productive towards the end of term because teaching is pretty full on so try to be sensible with my deadlines and not have them the week after end of year reports or big assessments are due in.
I have a lot of documents with future projects ranging from a one sentence idea to a more fleshed out synopsis with some scenes or snippets of dialogue but I can't work on more than one at a time because the characters take over.

7.  What is next for you? Can you tell us a bit about your next book?

My next book is out in October and is another Danby family story.  Readers may have already met Hal and Roger, the half-brothers from The Blacksmith's Wife and Redeeming the Rogue Knight.  At the end of Rogue Knight, Roger and Lucy moved back to Yorkshire with Lucy's infant son Robbie.  A Midsummer Knight's Kiss tells Robbie's story as he struggles with a secret about his past that Roger has made him swear him never to reveal.  It's a friends to lovers/girl next door story.  I enjoyed seeing what my original couples had got up to since we last saw them and I hope readers will too.


Be sure to stay tuned for the last book in the series by Nicole Locke and you can find Elisabeth Hobbes at the following links:

Happy Reading!

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