Elizabeth Chatsworth emigrated to the US from Yorkshire, England to pursue her dream of becoming a voice actor. When she’s not behind the microphone, Elizabeth works at the Westport Library, helping folks to find their next good read. She loves to write about rogues, rebels, and renegades across space and time. Her debut novel, the award-winning fantasy THE BRASS QUEEN, was released today. Elizabeth is joining us today to answer a few burning questions.
MB: Let’s start by talking about your passion of rogues, rebels, and renegades. What is it about these types of characters that attracts you to them?
EC: I’ve always admired people who, through choice or circumstance, change society for the better. Even if they start from a place of selfishness, once a person begins to care for something greater than themselves, they can transform into an imperfect hero. Flaws can become strengths, egoism can blossom into love, and the world—or even the universe—can take one step closer toward true harmony.
MB: Your debut novel is releasing in January of 2021 from CamCat Books. Can you give me the inside scoop on THE BRASS QUEEN?
EC: In an alternate version of Victorian England, the "Brass Queen" is the underworld alias of my fiery British heroine, Miss Constance Haltwhistle. The only daughter of a minor Baron, Constance has propped up her ailing family estate’s finances by designing and selling illegal exotic firearms across the globe. Her moniker, the "Brass Queen," refers to the fact that her fantastical, flower-shaped weapons are enhanced by decorative brass elements of the finest order. It never occurs to Constance to consider the consequences of introducing aether-powered weapons to the world, until one day . . . but you’ll have to read the book to find out what happens next! 😊
MB: Do you hide any secrets in your book that only a few people will find?
EC: I hid numerous references to science fiction classics. For instance, the model number of Constance’s flamethrower line is the F-451. This is a wink toward Ray Bradbury’s FAHRENHEIT 451, the temperature at which book paper catches fire and burns.
MB: Every writer has specific nuances when it comes to writing. Some have special places where they write. Some plot every detail before writing, while others fly by the seat of their pants. Talk for a moment about your writing process.
EC: My favorite place to write is in my home office, with my Yorkshire terrier, Boo, curled up beside me. I start both short stories and novels with an outline that details both the plot twists and the emotional arc of the characters. The two elements mirror and support one another, and the outline helps me to see that relationship from start to finish before I wade into writing individual paragraphs.
In a way, I use the outline to mentally drive through my story. It allows me to feel the potholes in the road, to savor the slow climb toward an emotional moment, and the downhill rush of an action scene. When the story highlights play like a movie in my mind, I know I’m ready to write. There are always surprises that pop up once you begin to put pen to paper, but the bones are there before I begin. My first drafts fly by quickly. Editing, however, can take months, if not years! No project of mine has ever felt finished, but at a certain point, you have to release your story out into the world and move on to something new.
MB: What one thing would you give up to become a better writer?
EC: I wish I could think of one, simple thing, like cookies, that I could give up to become a better writer. The truth is that writing for any audience other than yourself is hard work. There’s no easy way to improve your writing skills other than lots of practice and being able to listen and adjust as needed when experts critique your pages. Finding people who understand and appreciate what you’re trying to achieve when you’re still on the way to achieving it is most helpful. Balancing this with understanding and developing what makes your own voice unique is a challenge. Ultimately, for me, this is a challenge worth taking.
MB: Let's shift gears for moment and talk about reading. Many writers say that reading is just as important as writing. Do you have a specific genre that you tend to frequent when selecting a book to read?
EC: I adore science fiction and fantasy, as they are the genres of wonder – anything and everything can happen! Dragons? Aliens? Androids who dream of electric sheep? I’m down for all of this and more! In terms of specifics, I love offbeat heroes on a perilous quest who face their problems with humor and hope. If there’s also a romantic subplot, a villain who almost redeems themselves (but doesn’t quite make it), plus thrilling action scenes peppered with slapstick moments, sign me up!
MB: Finally, let’s wrap-up with something a bit offbeat. As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
EC: My sprit animal is definitely an adorable Yorkshire terrier, in full battle armor, ready to save the world!
Thanks for taking the time to talk with me today. Good luck with THE BRASS QUEEN!
Elizabeth Chatsworth's new book is available now. You can discover more about Elizabeth and her book on her website at www.elizabethchatsworth.com. You can also follow her on Twitter at twitter.com\EChatsworth, on Facebook at facebook.com\elizabethchatsworth, on Instagram at instagram.com\elizabethchatsworth, and Pinterest at pinterest.com\elizabethchatsworth.
You can purchase THE BRASS QUEEN at these retailers.