Haley Elizabeth Garwood: I was at Fanfest in Louisville when you guys approached me and asked if I’d do a book signing. Since I’m from Indiana (Lafayette), I jumped at the chance. I’ve been to Madison before and love that charming river town. I had to do it.
TBP: Can you say how your main character first occurred to you and how he or she evolved from that first spark to a full character?
HEG: I do historical fiction, but that’s not what I intended to write. I thought I’d write romance, but can’t. I’m not talented enough for that. I love the romance genre, just can’t write it. Historical fiction was an accident. A friend of mine and I were discussing how many queens England had in her history. He said, “It depends on whether or not you count Empress Matilda.”
From that one statement, I started researching her. I’ve always loved history, just never thought about it as a vehicle to encourage young women to excell. The Forgotten Queen was born. The more I researched, the more I admired Matilda’s courage. She was the last person to lead a land invasion of England in 1139. Gutsy lady.
My character grew as I did research. It’s like when you first meet someone, then get to know them over time.
I write for teens and up. I want women to know their history. It’s been left out of our textbooks.
TBP: Did you choose your subject, or did your subject choose you?
HEG: I think it was an accident. The more I researched, the more I had to write about Matilda (and the others) and the men who supported all of them and helped the ladies invade countries, fight battles, and do damage with swords.
TBP: How do you work?
HEG: I write every day. Sometimes it’s difficult. I’ve just moved from Kentucky to West Virginia, but no matter how tired I am, I pull out a notebook and write no matter where I am. Sometimes what I write doesn’t amount to more than a sentence, sometimes what I write doesn’t even fit anywhere, but it’s not a waste. I have the advantage in that the history is there, thus the story is there, albeit in pieces and scattered in different textbooks. I keep extensive notes. The story forms from the research, but I’m not bound to the research. I try to remain true to the person, but I like to fill in the gaps. I write fiction so I can write dialogue. I’m not writing a history book.
I love my computer and do most of the writing on two computers. When I get stuck on one novel, I switch to the other novel that I write at the same time, so I never slow down.
TBP: Are you involved with email lists and/or social media? Why or why not?
HEG: My web mistress takes care of all that. I answer fan mail myself, but I keep forgetting about Facebook. I am at HaleyElizabethGarwood.com, so do check it for emails. When I first started writing, we had manual typewriters. Boy, I do love computers, but social media gobbles up valuable writing time and can be used for avoidance behavior. Writing is tough.
HEG: That’s easy. Hamlet would be my choice. I love that play and Shakespeare is my favorite author. I taught Literature at the college level and usually taught Hamlet. I have a master’s in theatre, so taught it as theatre. It works much better that way. I must say the moans and groans of the students changed to admiration for Shakespeare. If you want to get a student’s attention, teach them some bawdy Shakespeare poetry.
TBP: Thank you, Haley Elizabeth Garwood! I look forward to meeting you at That Book Place!
Excerpts and buy links are available at Ms. Garwood’s web site, if you can’t make it to the signing and meet her in person: