- What inspired you to first start writing?
I had just finished my master’s degree and found that I really enjoyed researching and pulling all my information into one place of writing that a historical non-fiction book seemed the logical next step. I have always had a love of history and it seemed like a natural progression to try and write something that could be published into a book.
2. You write historical fiction novels. What is it about this particular genre you find fascinating writing about?
I write historical non-fiction titles but I have long been fascinated by people from the past and when I discovered about the life of a local suffragette called Edith Rigby I was instantly settled on her being the topic of my first book. I did write my first historical fiction short story which was published as part of the Lancashire Stories initiative with Lancashire County Council. I had to base my story in a historical context which meant I could still use my method of research!
3. How long have you been writing? When did you first start?
I signed my first contract with Pen and Sword in May 2019 and I started work on The Rebel Suffragette immediately and I have been writing ever since. I have had various articles published in the local press and I have contributed to an anthology called Lancashire Stories and along with future books due to be published by Pen and Sword I have been writing pretty much full time for about 3 years now.
4. How does it feel being a published author knowing readers are really enjoying your stories?
It is a wonderful feeling! When you read the reviews and see the blog posts that go up when the blog tour is on makes all the hard work worth it. With Edith it was very important to me to highlight her life and let people know that a woman from Preston was an influential mover amongst the votes for women campaign. I wanted people to know that there were many women like Edith that perhaps did not get the same level of attention as say the Pankhurst women and yet their contribution to the campaign was vital. To know that people were reading my book and acknowledging Edith’s role was incredibly satisfying.
5. What is the most difficult part of your writing process?
Making sure all the research is spot on! Writing non-fiction titles means you have a duty to make sure what you are writing is accurate and that you are doing justice to the people you are writing about. I am also a person who works well to tight deadlines so when I have a deadline 12 months in the future I have to remind myself that I need to spread out my research and time well.
6. What advice would you give to those who are writing their first book?
Just go for it! If you have an idea that you are passionate about then get it out there. I never would have dreamed of becoming a published author but now I am 5 contracts in loving my life as a writer. You have to be determined to see it through, writing is a lengthy process and keeping yourself motivated is crucial, it is important to keep writing regularly and to keep on top of things, making a plan is vital, set yourself dates when you want things to be done by and review the plan often.
7. Where is your favourite place to write?
I have a dedicated writing shed in my back garden. It is snuggly and cosy and provides me with a space to switch off and focus on my writing. I am a stationery fan so I have all my lovely pens and notebooks close to hand for each new project.
8. Which authors do you most admire and why?
I have longed admired Alison Weir for both her non-fiction and fiction writing, I feel she offers a balanced approach to her writing. I also enjoy Hilary Mantel and Robert Harris.
9. What are common traps for new authors?
For me it was underestimating the amount of time it would actually take to write a book! Planning is key, making sure you have enough time to get everything down you want to by the time your manuscript is due, in other words don’t leave yourself short.
10. What risks you have taken with your writing that have paid off?
I gave up my fulltime job in life insurance after 20 years to write fulltime, which was an incredibly daunting thing to do but so far so good!
11. If you could spend the day with another author who would you choose and why?
Probably Alison Weir, I would love to see how she works, her research methods and how she actually puts pen to paper. I am fascinated how other writers work and what methods they use.
12. You recently became a full-time writer. How is this working for you? Was it hard to adapt?
After working in an office environment for over 20 years the transition from that to full time writer took some adjustment. I would say it took a good few months to actually get into a proper routine but the freedom that change has given me has been invaluable. It can be such an isolating career so you have to find a way of making it work for you, whether that is going to work in a coffee shop or library you must find something that means your process is enjoyable, otherwise you could come to resent your work.
13. What were your favourite books growing up?
I loved all the usual Roald Dahl, Babysitters Club etc. but as I got to my teens I fell in love with the Jean Plaidy historical novels, my grandma had the full back collection and I worked my way through them and that is where my love of historical fiction began.
14. How many books have you written and which is your personal favourite?
I have written three now, (1 published, 2 in editing & 2 in research) but I think my first one, The Rebel Suffragette will always hold a special place in my heart. I felt a very strong connection to Edith, I was able to walk the places she did, see where she was born and where she lived when she married which provided a very special bond.
15. Are you writing anything else at the moment? If so, are you able to give us any clues?
My second book, Ada Lovelace: The World’s First Computer Programmer is due to be published on 30th March 2023. I was fascinated by Ada and her life, being the daughter of Lord Byron brought a unique dimension to her life alongside being a pioneer of science in an age when women had no place in that field.
My third book, The Lost Tudor Royal: The Life of Margaret Douglas, Countess of Lennox is currently going through the editing process and is scheduled for publication in 2023. This is what I call my first proper historical book, the Tudor era has long since been my favourite time period full of fascinating people, I was pleased to have found Margaret, the more I learnt about her the more I wanted to tell her story.
Book four is currently in research and is called Elizabeth of York and the Birth of the Tudor Dynasty, continuing with my Tudor love I felt that Elizabeth had a story that needed to be put out there. We all know of Henry VIII, Elizabeth I and what came with their reigns but none of that would have been possible without Elizabeth of York, she was the mother, grandmother and great grandmother of the Tudors.
Book five is currently in research and is called The Tragic Life of Lady Jane Grey. Whilst the majority of this book will focus on the life of the eldest Grey sister it will also take a look at the lives of her sisters Katherine and Mary, both of who were at one time in line to the throne but who also flirted with Elizabeth I’s anger when they made marriages without her permission.
I am constantly looking out for my next subject, I like to write about women from the past that perhaps history has forgotten about, I usually stumble across my next one whilst researching something else.
I want to say a huge thank you to Beverley for taking the time to answer my questions and feature on my blog. You can buy all of Beverley’s books using booksellers, online and of course using any independent local bookshop.
You can follow Beverley on social media. Twitter: @WriterBeverleyA and Instagram:@
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