An avid gardener, artist, musician and writer, Emily-Jane Hills Orford has fond memories and lots of stories that evolved from a childhood growing up in a haunted Victorian mansion. Told she had a ‘vivid imagination’, the author used this talent to create stories in her head to pass tedious hours while sick, waiting in a doctor’s office, listening to a teacher drone on about something she already knew, or enduring the long, stuffy family car rides. The author lived her stories in her head, allowing her imagination to lead her into a different world, one of her own making.
As the author grew up, these stories, imaginings and fantasies took to the written form and, over the years, she developed a reputation for telling a good story. Emily-Jane can now boast that she is an award-winning author of several books, including Mrs. Murray’s Ghost (Telltale Publishing 2018), Queen Mary’s Daughter (Clean Reads 2018), Gerlinda (CFA 2016) which received an Honorable Mention in the 2016 Readers’ Favorite Book Awards, To Be a Duke (CFA 2014) which was named Finalist and Silver Medalist in the 2015 Next Generation Indie Book Awards and received an Honorable Mention in the 2015 Readers’ Favorite Book Awards and several other books. A retired teacher of music and creative writing, she writes about the extra-ordinary in life and the fantasies of dreams combined with memories.
There are so many possibilities that affect the course of history. One change, one small item overlooked, can make a world of difference, not only in a person’s life, but in the history and well-being of an entire nation. And then there are those multiple scenarios of what if? What if King James VI of Scotland didn’t succeed in amalgamating Scotland with England? Would Scotland have remained free and independent and a nation of its own well into the twenty-first century? And would Scotland, this independent version, make its own decision to join the European Union when its southern neighbor was choosing to pull away? And, what if there was another heir to the Scottish throne?
In Queen Mary’s Daughter (Clean Reads Publisher), author Emily-Jane Hills Orford presents another plausible timeline, one that incorporates both historical fact and fiction with the endless possibilities of time travel.
Tell us about things you enjoy — what you do for fun or personal satisfaction besides writing?
I guess spending time with my family and my dog would be top of the list. I also have a passion for reading. I love books, the real kind, and I read both for pleasure and to write reviews (but in so many ways, that’s reading for pleasure as well). I love my music, playing the piano, composing. I’m also an artist – needle-art and collage acrylics. And I love to garden, which I do outdoors three seasons of the year and indoors during the cold winter months.
When did you first realize you were an author?
As soon as I could hold a pencil in my hand and write some words on paper (about 5 or 6 years old). I came from a long line of storytellers. We would share our stories around the dinner table – every night. Much better than what families do today on their so-called smart phones. As the youngest, I didn’t have much luck in being heard, but I could listen and I could write my stories. So I did.
Have you done anything writing-related, but besides actually writing your books, that seemed to get a lot of positive response? Something that encouraged you?
Teaching. I taught music for many years, but I also taught (and continue to teach) creative writing to aspiring authors of all ages, some as young as 8 years old. The enthusiasm of my students was very inspiring. They loved my classes and I loved working with them.
What is the thing you struggle with the most while writing? And how do you defeat it?
Finding uninterrupted time to write. This was particularly difficult while I was teaching full-time and my family was younger. Now, semi-retired, I have more time and I’m able to manage my time more effectively. I write first thing in the morning every day. And, if I’m lucky, I have time later in the day to write as well. So, making writing a part of my morning routine, I don’t miss a day. And, I always carry a notebook with me (the paper kind), so that I’m not stuck waiting at the doctor’s office (for example) with nothing to do. I write as I wait.
What is the “message” of your writing? (For example, is your purpose to encourage old-fashioned values, encourage romance, or do you have different purposes in different books?)
I think I have different ‘messages’ for different books. Perhaps one of the main ‘messages’ is that there are stories everywhere – in our lives and in our imaginations. And I write all kinds of stories, real and imagined. Stories are important because we (all of us) are important.
Are your characters/stories/scenes, etc. based on anything in real life?
Real life – mine and those people I know well – as well as my ‘vivid imagination’.
What are your future projects?
I always have new projects in the works. I currently have perhaps six novels awaiting various stages of publication, so there’s a wealth of my stories coming soon. And, I just started writing another fantasy/time travel novel for young adults. I love the infinite story possibilities presented by the possibility of time travel. As always, I continue to write my creative nonfiction short stories – little snippets of memories from my life.
For as long as she can remember, Bethany Swafford has loved reading books. That love of words extended to writing as she grew older and when it became more difficult to find a ‘clean’ book, she determined to write her own. Among her favorite authors are Jane Austen, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Georgette Heyer.
When she doesn’t have pen to paper (or fingertips to laptop keyboard), she can generally be found with a book in hand.
Twenty-year-old Diana Forester, a country-bred young woman, fears that her inexperience and uncertainties have discouraged the charming Mr. John Richfield.
On arriving back home from London, she learns that he has already arrived, ready to continue their acquaintance and explore whether they are suited for each other.
If Diana thought that deciding her future marriage mate was difficult in London, courting takes on a whole new aspect when Diana’s younger siblings become involved. She finds herself dealing with her own feelings, her sister, her younger brother, jealous members of a house party, a jilted suitor, and a highwayman as she falls in love with the charming Mr. Richfield.
1.Tell us about things you enjoy — what you do for fun or personal satisfaction besides writing?
a.I love movies. As with books I read, I have a rather eclectic taste: Star Trek, Jane Austen adaptations, Disney, How to Train Your Dragon, etc. I love going to a theater, having a bucket of popcorn and just ignore everything going on outside the theater.
2.When did you first realize you were an author?
a.I just realized I was an author when I had A Chaotic Courtship published. The majority of my writing before this point had been for myself or for my sister. A Chaotic Courtship was a book I knew I wanted to share with others.
3.Have you done anything writing-related, but besides actually writing your books, that seemed to get a lot of positive response? Something that encouraged you?
a.Nothing really comes to mind for this question.
4.What is the thing you struggle with the most while writing? And how do you defeat it?
a.I struggle with staying focused. It is so easy for me to be distracted by a new idea, or a new release from a favorite author, or even a random article that comes up on my feed. The best way for me to defeat this is to set a timer, write for 10-15 minutes, and then take a break. This trains my brain to recognize that when the timer is going, it’s time to write.
5.What is the “message” of your writing?
a.I suppose I would have to say I’d like for my books to show that “old-fashioned values” doesn’t mean a lack of romance. For me, a sweet and clean story makes my heart flutter more than any detailed sex scene ever could.
6.Are your characters/stories/scenes, etc. based on anything in real life?
a.When she read the first draft of A Chaotic Courtship, my sister accused me of having written it when I was angry with her. I definitely pulled the family relationship of the Forrester family from my own family.
7.What are your future projects?
a.I am in the middle of a Regency Mystery Trilogy. I have all the books written and I am hoping to release the first book of The Lady’s Maid Trilogy, Keeping the Past, late this spring.
Almost everyone think about something or the other. Some try to express their thoughts. Some put their thoughts on a paper. Very few publish that paper filled with their thoughts for the world to read. I have been reading since I was seven and writing since I was twelve.
When I first started blogging and sharing my reviews on my website for various books I read, it was purely a hobby. But my persistent pursuit of my passion helped me understand new techniques, meet fellow reviewers, great writers and amazing human beings. Blogging has definitely made me a better writer. I was literally on cloud nine when my blog was ranked fifty-five on Feedspot among ‘Top 75 Indian Book Review Blogs’. Check out the list here.
I dreamed of publishing a book for a long time. It really took a while for me to implement my plan, prioritize my tasks, gather some courage and actually chase my dream. Thanks to Kindle Direct Publish for making self-publishing very easy for an amateur like me. Learn more about it here. My dream became reality just a couple of days ago.
I published my first book on Amazon Kindle. I named it ‘Poems of The Clipped Nightingale’. Its a bunch of short and sweet poems I put together over a period of time. I would have never done this, if not for the failures of my life.
I take this opportunity to thank one and all for influencing me in good and bad ways to pull myself through many situations and stand here, today. Some motivated me that I can do it, some persuaded me that I was not even allowed to dream. I thank both.
‘Poems of The Clipped Nightingale’ is just the start. I’m working on a proper novel which will be released soon. I’ve plenty of stories to tell and I can write. So, I sharpened my nib and coming to scatter words. Feel free to read my short poems on Amazon Kindle Unlimited for free here! Feedback and reviews are much appreciated. Leave your email ids in the comments below to get the ARC copy.