RONA Awards 2022 Celebration Drinks with… Elisabeth Hobbes

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Tonight it’s back to my special celebration of the Romantic Novelists’ Association Awards 2022 and another of the shortlisted authors who are on tenterhooks to see if they will be announced a winner at the ceremony on Monday. Tonight I am chatting to an author nominated in the category of Fantasy Romantic Novel for her book, Daughter of the Sea it’s… Elisabeth Hobbes.

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Elisabeth, thank you for joining me for drinks this evening and congratulations on your nomination. First things first, what are you drinking?

Thank you for having me. I’ll start with an espresso martini to wake me up, then a white wine and soda. I’m not a big drinker so I like to make it last.

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If we weren’t here in my virtual bar tonight, but were meeting in real life, where would you be taking me for a night out?

We’d be starting at a local bar called The Fountain that does great cocktails then going onto a place called Mash Guru where they either have live bands or 70s soul and disco. It’s a real warren of little rooms with lots of interesting people to chat to.

If you could invite two famous people, one male and one female, alive or dead, along on our night out, who would we be drinking with?

I think Caitlin Moran would be great company and I’d like to pick her brains on parenting because I loved her books. I would love to spend an evening with Alan Rickman. By all accounts he was a genuinely nice person and I could listen to that voice for hours even if he was just reading the phone book (do phone books even exist? I need to think of something else boring that I’d listen to him read. School policies maybe).

Two great choices, there, I heartily approve! So, now we’re settled, tell me what you are up to at the moment. How and why did you start it and where do you want it to go?

At the moment I’m editing my second World War Two book for One More Chapter. I’ve only been with OMC for a couple of years and I’m really enjoying the longer word count (my other publisher Mills & Boon is around 75k). The period is a relatively new one for me so I’m trying not to get sucked into too many research rabbit holes. My first WW2 was about a British agent sent to France but this one is about two girls who grew up together and their experiences of Occupied Paris as young women. I’m fascinated by the ways different women reacted – some resisted, some collaborated, others just tried to keep their heads down and feed their families – so I’m trying to make sure there is a wide range of experiences in there.

What has been your proudest moment since you started writing and what has been your biggest challenge?

Being shortlisted for the RNA Fantasy Historical award with Daughter of the Sea is absolutely up there. It’s the first story I’ve written that had elements of folklore/fantasy and I know my lovely editor Charlotte took a gamble on it so I’m overjoyed that readers like it. As well as the fantasy/folk tale elements it deals with characters who are outsiders (either through choice or circumstances beyond their control) finding their way in the world and being accepted. It’s set on the Yorkshire coast which is where I used to go as a child (growing up in York I was very lucky to be so close to the sea). I’ve had readers tell me they were in tears at some points which I consider means I’m doing my job properly.

ELISABETH J HOBBES Finalist RONAs 2022 Final
The biggest challenge is balancing my writing with working as a Reception teacher. I adore working with the children and my wonderful colleagues but the challenges facing teachers in terms of workload and the emotional and physical toll (even more so since Covid) cannot be overstated and are getting harder. I get home drained and sometimes can’t even remember simple words, never mind try to write! I’m not sure how sustainable it is from a mental health point of view.

My sister is a Year 5 teacher so I can sympathise with how hard it has been for you all over the past couple of years and I would like to say how grateful I am as a parent for all the encouragement and support you have given our children. What is the one big thing you’d like to achieve in your chosen arena? Be as ambitious as you like, its just us talking after all!

I would love someone to turn one of my books into a movie or series. Historical romance is fashionable at the moment because of Bridgerton and I’d love to see some periods beyond Regency getting a look in. Daughter of the Sea would obviously be top of the list because I pictures Richard Armitage in the lead role and I’d hope I would be allowed on set to meet him.

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Other than that, I’d like writing to pay enough to change the balance of teaching/writing days for the reasons I mentioned above.

What do you have planned that you are really excited about?

Once I’ve finished the edits of Daughters of Paris (current title) I’m starting another WW2 book, this time set in my favourite ski resort. It’s in the area of France that was occupied by the Italians and there was a strong Resistance presence that fought back but also helped courier people across the mountains to safety. The two heroines are sisters, one who has stayed home being responsible and looking after their mother and the other who has been living in Lyon for a few years and returns home with an Italian boyfriend.  There will be lots of opportunity for sibling rivalry but also female solidarity. My female characters might clash but ultimately they support each other because I think showing strong female relationships is so important.

I love to travel, and I’m currently drawing up a bucket list of things I’d like to do in the future. Where is your favourite place that you’ve been and what do you have at the top of your bucket list?

The ski resort I mentioned is one of my favorites. The area is called Serre Chevalier. There’s a medieval walled town overlooking the slopes at one end of the valley and a thermal spa at the other so it’s a wonderful combination of history and pampering after a day on the slopes. Skiing is so good for my mood because I can’t worry when I’m concentrating on avoiding bumps. I also love Barcelona and could move there like a shot. I have booked an Easter trip for my daughter and myself so I’m keeping my fingers crossed it comes off.

We had a family trip booked for Easter 2020 to Japan but then of course we had to cancel it because of covid. I hope that we’ll be able to do it before too long as the kids are now sixteen and fourteen so I don’t know how long they’ll want to come on holiday with us (depends if we’re paying I imagine).

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Ours are now almost 19, 17, 15 and 14 and we are showing no signs of shaking any of them from the holiday list yet! Tell me one interesting/surprising/secret fact about yourself.

I always have a song going round in my head (as I’m typing it’s Take Me Or Leave Me from Rent) and I often sing out loud by accident. People walk into the staffroom at school and know if I’m in there instantly.

That’s very funny because I was just thinking how you have now implanted Barcelona by Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballe in my brain for the rest of the day! Books are my big passion and central to my blog and I’m always looking for recommendations. What one book would you give me and recommend as a ‘must-read’?

Just one is so hard! I could recommend at least thirty but I’m going with The Silver Pigs by Lindsey Davis. It’s set in Imperial Rome and features a tough, low class private informer who becomes embroiled in a plot against the new Emperor Vespasian and meets a senator’s daughter. It’s the first of a series of twenty and they are all funny, sexy, heartbreaking and really well plotted whodunnits.

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A NEW EMPEROR SEEKS AN EXPERIENCED AGENT

Marcus Didius Falco is a private informer, the closest thing that first-century Rome has to a detective.

A new emperor, Vespasian, has ascended to power. The tides of money and power are in flux, and Rome’s vicious games swirl more ferociously than ever.

When Falco rescues a young girl in trouble, he catapults himself into a dangerous game involving stolen imperial ingots, a dark political plot and, most hazardous of all, a senator’s daughter connected to the traitors Falco has sworn to expose.

The rule of law is tenuous for ordinary citizens of Rome. Only a man with a mind as sharp as a gladius can prevail.

So, we’ve been drinking all evening. What is your failsafe plan to avoid a hangover and your go-to cure if you do end up with one?

I’m quite a lightweight so I’ve probably been nursing the second wine and soda for the last hour so hopefully I’ll avoid a hangover. My failsafe cure is Tango or Fanta with a sprinkling of salt in it and a lie in.

Interesting, I’ve never heard that salt tip before. After our fabulous night out, what would be your ideal way to spend the rest of a perfect weekend?

I’d go on a walk with my Romania rescue dog Missy and end up at a spa where someone would look after her while I had a massage and dip in the jacuzzi, then we’d both lie on sofas and watch a film, probably with Ryan Reynolds in it while I ate Maltesers and she had some cheese.

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Thank you for chatting to me tonight, Elisabeth, I’ve had a great evening and best of luck on Monday.

Elisabeth’s RONA shortlisted novel, Daughter of the Sea, is available in both ebook and paperback formats and you can buy a copy here.

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On a windswept British coastline the tide bestows an unexpected gift…

It was the cry that she first noticed, the plaintive wail that called to her over the crash of winter waves. Wrapped only in a sealskin, the baby girl looks up at Effie and instantly captures her heart.

Effie has always been an outcast in her village, the only granddaughter of a woman people whisper is a witch, so she’s used to a solitary existence. But when Midsummer arrives so too does a man claiming to be the child’s father. Effie is surprised when he asks her to continue looking after his daughter, mysteriously refusing to explain why. When he returns six months hence she pushes him for answers. And Lachlan tells a story she never anticipated … one of selkies, legend, and the power of the sea…

Elisabeth Hobbes began writing in secret, but when she came third in Harlequin’s So You Think You Can Write contest in 2013, she was offered a two-book contract, and consequently had to admit why the house was such a tip.  Elisabeth has published historical romances with Harlequin Mills & Boon and One More Chapter, spanning the Middle Ages to the Second World War.
Elisabeth teaches Reception but she’d rather be writing full time because unlike four-year-olds, her characters generally do what she tells them.  When she isn’t writing, she spends most of her spare time reading and is a pro at cooking one-handed while holding a book.
She was born and raised in York but now lives in Cheshire because her car broke down there in 1999 and she never left.

Connect with Elisabeth:

Facebook: Elisabeth Hobbes

Twitter: @ElisabethHobbes

Instagram: @elisabeth_j_hobbes_author

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