Hey Guys! Today I have a very exciting post to share with you guys, I got the chance to interview the lovely Jane Abbott, who is the author of Elegy which has just released with Penguin Random House!
What inspired you to write Elegy, and how did you come up with the plot?
I wanted to write a story about love, in all its forms. For centuries, maybe longer, people have been uplifted by stories of love and courage, whether they’re well-known legends, plays, poems or sagas. And, in so many cases, those stories have been taken from something before it, adapted and retold. I thought it would be fun to explore that idea: the stories that so move us are simply reincarnations of one original story; of a couple fated to live, and to love, over and over again. I’m not a plotter, so it was a case of introducing each character and seeing what happened, and why. The only thing I was sure about was how it had to end, and I actually wrote the beginning, then the ending, before going back to fill in the rest. It made perfect sense that the characters would be young, because there is such vibrancy and passion in young love, as there is in young hate; a passion that sadly ebbs, or at least quietens, as you get older.
Who are some people that you find inspiring in life, and what aspects do you most admire about them?
My mother, who raised four kids single-handedly at a time when divorce was not as common as it is now; various friends who haven’t experienced the relative good fortune that I have, yet who manage to get more out of a single day than I ever will. Carers, Lollipop men and women, teachers, nurses, all of them looking out for others. They’re the ones who inspire me because, for the most part, they do what they do without expectation of praise or reward. The unsung heroes, whose stories are rarely known.
If you were to cast the characters in Elegy for a movie, who would you cast and why?
Ooh, that’s a good one! If they weren’t all grown up and so damned famous, I think the Hemsworth boys would have been perfect. Can you picture Chris Hemsworth as Gabe? I sure can! But for the rest, I just don’t know. It’s not something I’ve ever really considered. Perhaps it’s a question others can answer better than I can.
Where do you write your novels? Are you the kind that listens to music while you write or do you have anything that you always do each time you write?
I wrote Elegy and Watershed in the same year (2013) in a lovely studio over my garage. We’ve since moved, so I’m looking forward to finding a new hideaway. When everything’s going well, and the ideas and the words are flowing, I tend to get up very early (about 4am) and write until breakfast, then again until about 4pm. I never write at night, and I never have any kind of music playing, or other distractions like social media, while I’m working. Then the next morning, I’ll spend an hour editing the previous day’s work before beginning the next bit. It’s a routine that’s worked well so far and, though I’m taking a break for the moment, one I’m looking forward to re-establishing.
What tips would you give to those that want to become an author but don’t know where to start?
Look around. There are thousands of stories out there just waiting to be told, but not all are easy to tell. Think outside the square, and once you have even a kernel of an idea (it doesn’t have to be the whole story, or anything close to it) start getting it down. And don’t stop until the idea stops. I was 48 when I wrote Elegy. There is no time limit on creativity.
How long did it take for you to write Elegy and was it an easy book to complete?
The first draft of Elegy took me eight weeks to write. I think it was about 90,000 words, and even though the first third and the last haven’t changed all that much since, the rest was a bit of a mess. I’d written it in first person – 5 different voices – and in one draft (the third, I think) I changed the whole thing to present tense. There was a lot of experimentation, and I relied on the patience of a few good people to read successive drafts and not unfriend me. In many ways it was an incredibly easy book to write because it deals with so many things I love – mythology and fantasy – and the setting was a joy to write because I could draw from experience. In other ways, it was very hard to find the balance between the characters and work out the best way for them to tell their stories.
What is your favorite book that you have read this year and why?
I really loved Skylarking, by Kate Mildenhall, and I’m not usually a reader of historical fiction. But it’s so beautifully written, and the descriptive language is superb, so I’d have to say that it’s been my favourite so far. But I’ve just started Nutshell, by Ian McEwan, and though I’m not far into it it’ll probably go to the top of my list. Simply amazing!
BUY ELEGY HERE: https://penguin.com.au/books/elegy-9780143781592