Today’s interview on the blog is with a relatively new contributor to DarcyandLizzy.com, but one we have learned to appreciate for her wonderful tales about Darcy and Lizzy. E. A. (Lis) Batten is from the United Kingdom and we are proud that she chose to share her stories with our members. It is our hope that, through this interview, you will become more familiar with Lis and her work. Don’t forget, if you comment you may win a copy of one of her books! Brenda
What are you currently working on and what inspires your muse?
At present I’m working on a Regency story called ‘The Darcys’ Motto’. The Darcy Motto, to always protect and watch over, ensures that Darcy keeps his deathbed promise to his friend Edmund Bingley and befriends Edmund’s younger brother Charles. I had the idea of Charles Bingley, beneath his amiable exterior, being more like his sister. So Caroline was not the only Bingley to have their sights set on a Darcy. With Bingley being a ne’er-do-well I decided to give Wickham a character change too. But the story is still very much in the early stages and my muse is a fickle being, therefore it could be quite a few months before the first draft is finished and I’m ready to start posting.
I really can’t say what inspires my muse; the plot for Desires came to me while driving to the local supermarket. Names for non-Austen characters are mainly inspired by family history. In Desires, the portrait painter, Hardy, and the silversmith, Wells, were real people from my family tree who lived in the early 1800s. The Wrede piano in Friendship would have been made by an ancestor of my husband’s. In fact, 80% of the non-Austen names come from family research.
What prompted you to begin writing and do you write for other fandoms besides JAFF?
I’ve always enjoyed putting thoughts on paper; poetry for my own enjoyment. A discussion on the latest JAFF stories online, over tea and a biscuit with a friend one Tuesday afternoon. Being retired, we both decided to give it a go. I never dreamt that I would end up posting stories on D&L and eventually self-publishing on Amazon. I found that I enjoyed writing little stories about Darcy and Elizabeth so I’ve never attempted anything else. Maybe one day I’ll pluck up the courage to have a go at an original Regency story.
What first drew you to JAFF and how long have you been reading it?
I’ve always enjoyed reading (stories and poetry), a pastime that my parents encouraged. About a decade ago the same friend who got me involved in putting to pen to paper, lent me a couple of JAFF books. I loved them and have been hooked ever since. When I was a child it was mainly Science Fiction, Mythology and Fantasy that enthralled me, no doubt helped by my mother who told me about the fairies that lived in the hedgerows. Now, many decades later, it’s mainly Regency Romance and JAFF.
Do you prefer Regency or Modern? Do you have any hobbies besides JAFF?
Definitely Regency, although saying that there are some good modern JAFF stories out there that I’ve enjoyed reading. Besides from researching my families’ past and reading, I enjoy drawing and painting, and making jams and chutneys from the produce of our allotment, while classical music plays in the background, but writing is my main hobby.
What are three of your favorite resources to turn to when writing?
First – the internet is a brilliant resource – there are many wonderful websites aimed at the Georgian and Regency period giving lots of information that I find very helpful. My favourite site is ‘You Can’t Say That’, and I was recently made aware of the Online Etymology Dictionary, a wonderful resource, but the most used is the online Thesaurus.
Second – books – on my desk I have a small book on British history, a book of English surnames, Phillimore Atlas & Index of Parish Registers and of course my dictionary.
And last but not least – notebook and pencil – preferable the type that has a little rubber/eraser on the end, so that I can rub out instead of scoring through an unwanted sentence or words.