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Author spotlight: Elizabeth Rolls

9 January 2020

For ARR2020 in March we will be featuring more than 90 romance authors across five cities. If you live in (or near) Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth or Adelaide, come along and meet local authors, as well as our international guests—Darynda Jones and Susan Donovan.

Today we are spotlighting Elizabeth Rolls. She will be attending ARR2020 in Adelaide.

How old were you when you first started writing romance?

I was messing around with it even in my teens, but seriously when I was in my early thirties.

Who was the first romance author to catch your interest?

Georgette Heyer. My mother had a copy of The Conqueror, then I found Friday’s Child when I sneaked into the grown ups’ section of the local library. Mary Stewart was another early favourite, courtesy of an aunt who gave me a copy of Nine Coaches Waiting.

Have you written genres other than romance (or are you thinking about it)?

Apart from trying my hand at writing romance in my teens, I also played about with fantasy. This is probably traceable to an obsession with Tolkien.

Choose one of your books to turn into a movie—who would you cast in the lead roles?

The last one, His Convenient Marchioness—because Hunt is fifty I had to convince my editor with visions of Richard Gere. And maybe Kate Beckinsale for Lady Emma? I know she decided years ago that she was being typecast in period roles, but she’s gorgeous and I think she’d fit the part.

What is the hardest part of creating a story?

Writing it.

What is your favourite place to write?

Anywhere I can find a flat surface and a comfortable chair. I have an office, but sometimes I need to switch it up and go find a café or the local library, where I won’t be distracted by visions of the overflowing laundry hamper or the urge to bake a cake. Nor will I look up every five minutes wondering if there are any birds in my garden that need to be photographed. Although the brown snake that visited the local library was definitely distracting!

Have any of your characters been inspired by real-life people?

I’ve used real historical figures as secondary or minor characters a few times. Most obviously I used the statesman Charles James Fox as the hero James’s godfather for In Debt to the Earl. This turned out to have a Cinderella trope so I also gave Fox’s mistress/wife, Elizabeth Armistead, a role as Fairy Godmother. That was fun when I saw where it was going. I am working on a story now in which the heroine is inspired, very loosely, by Dido Belle. This has been challenging to say the least!

What was the last romance you read and loved (and why did you love it)?

Oh, that’s mean! Only one? Well, I’ve really been enjoying Lisa Kleypas’s Ravenel series, and Devil in Spring resonated because of Pandora’s early struggles for independence and her engagement with what we would now recognise as feminism.

Tell us about your latest release in 100 words or less

His Convenient Marchioness features Hunt, a fifty-year-old marquess in need of an heir—and hence a wife—Emma, a thirty-something widow with two children, family members who have mislaid the meaning and definition of the word ‘family’, and a spaniel called Fergus.

What else will you be working on in 2020?

I’ll be editing (I hope!) my Dido Belle inspired story, and starting the sequel. For the first time ever I knew about the sequel before the first book. This is only because I was planning to write the sequel first and changed my mind about the order!

If you haven’t booked your ticket for ARR2020 yet, you can buy one HERE.


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