It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that they are difficult. - Seneca

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Interview w/Author Gloria Wiederhold

Hi Everyone! Today I had the pleasure of interviewing the Author of the "Hearts of Ellan Vannin Trilogy," Historical Romances set on the Isle of Mann, Gloria Wiederhold.

Welcome Gloria!

You have some very eye catching covers! I would buy your books based on that alone!! Anyway I don't want to babble, so lets get down to business.

C of C- How long have you been writing?
GW- Thank you for the interview Andrea!
C of C- You're so welcome, it was my pleasure!
GW- I’ve been weaving tales for as long as I can remember. As a child I drew pictures, each sheet of paper represented a scene from a story. I began writing down the stories as I matured. I was always the quiet, shy teenager, later co-worker scribbling away in a corner. Storytelling has always been my passion.

C of C- Are you a plotter or a pantser?
GW- I’m a bit of both. The “spark” hits from out of the blue, most of the time. I try to visualize the makings of a story, beginning, middle and end, letting my imagination run wild until I feel compelled to write it down. I make a brief timeline jotting down events, bits and pieces of dialogue. I develop settings and character studies. As the project progresses, I usually have enough information to fill up a hefty binder. The opening line, getting past the blank page is always the hardest step for me.
C of C- Ugh, that blank page. I know what you mean!

C of C- How would you describe your voice?
GW- My voice is dark, Gothic and intense to the extreme. My love of history and archaic language definitely comes through in the prose. The dialogue is formal. I rarely use contractions unless the character is a child or person from a lower rung of society. I love when a story makes me smile here and there, but can it stir me to the very depths of my soul? Can it make me cry? I pride myself in taking risks and pushing limits as an author and taking the reader along with me for the ride.
C of C- Very interesting! You definitely have me intrigued!!!

C of C- What is your favorite part of the writing process?
GW- I love the research involved in writing historicals. I love learning all I can about the medieval world and when I make the inevitable “medieval mishap”, I’m grateful because I’ve learned something valuable. It’s frustrating when you want to get every detail right only to discover resources are limited. I’m hoping one day to take a trip via time machine so I might experience the medieval world first hand, until then, I have to rely on what facts I can dig up and my imagination can fill in the gaps. Right!
C of C- When you find that time machine, can go with you??? PLEASE!!! :O)

C of C- Where do you find your inspiration?
GW- I wish I knew. I’m “blessed” with a wild, very vivid imagination, oftentimes it’s a bit over the top. If I had to make a list of what inspires me, it would include beauty: Heroism in the face of adversity, crafting situations between lovers that will test them to the limits and require the ultimate sacrifice to achieve fulfillment. Music is a powerful driving force that sparks my imagination when I write.
C of C- Well said, I couldn't agree more!

C of C- How do you come up with your ideas/plots?
GW- I really can’t say where my ideas come from other than my passion for history. I tend to daydream about what life would have been like for people in medieval times, especially famous historical figures, like Richard III. There’s plenty of fodder for drama when you consider the events that transpired in the lives of the Plantagenet dynasty. They make the Sopranos look like meek kittens in comparison. Reading, movies and documentaries also provide inspiration to research a topic that may lead to a story.
C of C- Boy isn't that the truth!

C of C- Do you write in short stretches or for long periods of time?
GW- If I had it my way, I’d write most of the day and all night long. Suffice it to say life beckons. We humans require sleep to rejuvenate and keep us coherent.
C of C- This is true! Sometimes sleep is a good thing!

C of C- Do you write in silence or listen to music?
GW- Music helps me visualize and stay on track. Depending on my mood, I’ll listen to just about anything but my favorite genres to work by are Celtic folk, new age instrumental and classical, my Project Playlist or Andrea’s blog playlist (lol!).
C of C- lol, I love my playlist!! Each of the songs can pull a different emotion from me!! Its great to know that it does that for someone else too!!!!

C of C- Do you eat or drink while writing?
GW- I try not to bring potential hazards, like food or drink anywhere near my computer but sometimes, I bend my own rule and will take a “brain food break”. I make every attempt not to let my kids see me.

C of C- Do you research your story before you write it, or as you go?
GW- Research is an on-going process for me. I research as much as possible before I begin a project but questions always pop up along the way.

C of C- What have you learned through research that you’ll remember for the rest of your life?
GW- I try to cross reference and double check my sources. It’s always best to approach an expert in the field, if I can find one. Private collections and libraries are usually very willing to assist and normally don’t charge a fee. When I required translations of the Manx language, I contacted the Centre for Manx Studies. When I wrote “The Captain and Caillin Fynn”, I needed to research nautical terms and other information pertinent to sixteenth century seamanship. Internet searches yielded very little information, so I contacted SUNY Maritime College located right in my hometown and they were very accommodating. Yahoo Groups featuring specialized subject matter usually have members who are very knowledgeable and willing to assist.

C of C- How do you decorate your writing space?
GW- I don’t ! However, one fine day, I hope to make it look fabulous. The computer room is not my private domain, alas. My children are in and out all the time so I keep the area functional.
C of C- Boy can I sympathize! My kitchen table doubles as my office and the kids are always trying to get on my laptop, even though its strictly forbidden!!!

C of C- Are you a neat/organized writer or is your office and/or space a complete mess with sticky notes everywhere?
GW- I can’t function with clutter so I keep my work space as neat and clean as possible. My children do not always cooperate which can be very frustrating.

C of C- Does all your writing take place on a computer or do you ever write on pen and paper?
GW- Most of my writing takes place on the computer but when I have to be away from my PC, I will write using pen and paper. If I hit a “wall” in my writing, I find taking time to work out the details on paper really helps.

C of C- What is your favorite time period? And why?
GW- Most of my stories are set in the British Isles during the late medieval era. I’m fascinated by the history of this region and the complexity of all aspects of medieval life: the music, the food, the pastimes, the clothing, everything. I’m especially drawn to the Wars of the Roses and the cast of characters from that period, Richard III in particular.
C of C- I'm with you there, Gloria! I love the Medieval times, everything about it!

C of C- Do you feel a draw to the people and time period you write about?
GW- I do. I’ve had a fascination for the magic, romance, pageantry and mystique of the medieval world since childhood. I distinctly remember reading Sleeping Beauty in first grade and the combination of text, pictures and my imagination swept me away to another time and place. The more I learn about this era and how people lived, the more I’m drawn in, thus I’ve branded myself, the “Medieval Junkie”.
C of C- I'm a medieval junkie too! :O)

C of C- What character did you most enjoy writing?
GW- All my characters were a joy to write but of the males, I’d have to say Roan is my favorite. He leapt from the page and into my heart. He is all a noble knight should be and then some. He has his quirks and can be temperamental but, heck, no one’s perfect. In fact, I adore flawed, tortured men. Of the females, Rosette (Roan’s daughter) is my choice. She experienced many hardships and faced them all with courage and dignity.
C of C- They both sound wonderful!!!

C of C- Readers are always curious to know about authors lives. What is the worst job (non-writing related) you’ve ever held?
GW- I worked hard to earn a Masters in Early Childhood Education, passed all the New York State (and Florida State) Teacher Examinations (on the first go) only to discover I didn’t enjoy teaching at all. The setting is too restrictive for me and I simply could not deal with the pettiness and lack of professionalism of administrators and peers in the field. My goal is to earn a second masters in Library Science and make a career change.

C of C- What is one thing you think your readers would be interested to know about you?
GW- Let’s see, that’s a tough question. What would you like to know? Feel free to e-mail me anytime.

C of C- Are you reclusive or do you like being with other writers?
GW- I’m an extremely private and reclusive person. I always function best when working alone, especially when I’m getting a project off the ground as a first draft. I push myself hard. Once I’ve revised a project to the best of my abilities, I look forward to working with an editor. When you establish an excellent rapport with your editor, your project can really soar to levels you never imagined possible.

C of C- Do you find love scenes easy or hard to write?
GW- Love scenes are difficult to write because they have to occur naturally in the scene and they should never distract from the plot. By nature, I’m a lusty wench but as I mentioned above, I value my privacy. What you read on the page may not be the original version my dirty little mind conjured up. A few editors have requested I go back and rewrite love scenes because they might offend the “modern reader”.
C of C- hmm, you peaked my curiosity!!

C of C- Do you ever act out your scenes?
C of C- lol, :O)

C of C- How long do you wait once a story is finished to revise it?
GW- I may tweak things up every now and then but I like to wait a 1-3 months before I go back and attempt in-depth revisions.

C of C- Do you ever second guess yourself and your writing?
GW- All the time. I’m constantly going back to revise and research. I take immense pride in my work and my goal is to craft the best possible stories for my readers.
C of C- Glad to see I'm not alone. :O)

C of C- Do you ever stray from your genre? Your comfort zone?
GW- I would have to feel a very strong urge to write a story out of my comfort zone. Each genre is so specialized. It would require an enormous effort on my part to delve into uncharted territory. If I put my mind to it, I might enjoy writing paranormals, fantasies and historicals set in periods other than the medieval era.

C of C- Is it necessary to have a Critique/Writing partner?
GW- Having a critique partner is a dream come true. I’d love to have the good fortune of finding someone to collaborate with on a creative level. Who knows, maybe someday?
C of C- Probably sooner than you think!

C of C- Do you allow family and friends to read your stories?
GW- Certainly. I read to my husband on a regular basis. He’s a wee bit jealous of the heroes in my stories, especially Roan which has transferred over to any man in a kilt.
C of C- lol :O)

C of C- Is there a subject you would like to write about, but don’t because you believe it isn’t marketable?
GW- I prefer dark, poignant stories. I’m not a stickler about having a “Happily Ever After” conclusion. I know most folks get all bent out of shape if the ending doesn’t meet their criteria of a formulaic romance. This is an unfair restriction. Many of the greatest romances of all times had tragic endings, Romeo and Juliet, Wuthering Heights (my favorite), Arthur and Gweneviere, Tristan and Isolde and Abelard and Heloise (a true story).
C of C- I have to agree with you there, sometimes I enjoy an ending that isn't quite so picture perfect.

C of C- Authors make writing look so easy. Is it harder than most people imagine it to be?
GW- Like anything else, the writing process is harder than it appears to be. You have to have a passion for it because it requires vast amounts of your time and dedication. The process is something like the artist finding the sculpture in the clay. The more you work at it, the better the end result will be.
C of C- I couldn't agree more!

C of C- How long does it take you to finish a story?
GW- I can finish a first draft of a novel length story in a minimum of three months but one of my greatest joys is going back to revisit my work. I always find things I want to revise or I’ve come across pertinent information during my research ramblings that will enhance the story so I go back, again, again and again.

C of C- When you write a new story are you apprehensive about allowing others to critique it?
GW- Putting your baby out in the world to be rated and judged can be harrowing but its all the nature of the beast. As an artist, you have to be prepared to take criticism with a grain of salt. Reviews are subjective but they should be fair. Every work of art has a flaw somewhere and we are all entitled to our individual opinions. My favorite singer, Bono, gets a bad rap sometimes, poor lad. My favorite authoress, Emily Brontë received severe criticism in response to her novel, Wuthering Heights.

C of C- Which author/(s) are on your must-read list?
GW- I’ve some across wonderful authors as a reviewer including Hazel Statham (Wings E-Press), Isabel Scott (Awe Struck Publishing) and many, many others.

C of C- What is your favorite writing memory?
GW- Every time a publisher offered a contract for one of my stories, I was on a natural “high” for days. I remember each occasion most vividly. My all time favorite memory was working with a certain Samhain Publishing editor. She impacted my life more than she’ll ever know. I won’t mention her name here because she’ll blush.
C of C- Isn't it wonderful when someone can do that? Touch you in a way no one else ever could?

C of C- Do you have more than one book out now?
GW- I have a total of four titles available now and many more projects in the works. The Hearts of Ellan Vannin trilogy is available from Samhain Publishing. The three titles are, (1) The Songbird of Rushen Abbey, (2)Roan of Ellan Vannin and (3) Noble Hearts of Ellan Vannin. The fourth title is a novel inspired by the series entitled, The Captain and Caillin Fynn. This story will release on August 7, 2008 from Dark Castle Lords Publications.
C of C- Wow, you've been a busy girl!!! Congratulations!!! I know I mentioned it before we started the interview, but your covers are truly fabulous!!!

C of C- Has your writing journey been a smooth or bumpy ride?
GW- I’d have to say it’s been a bumpy ride. Prior to my hiatus from the workforce in 2004, I had no clue the e-publishing industry existed. Really! I’d go to the nearest Barnes and Nobles or the library to satisfy my need to read. The path to becoming a published author has had highs and lows but like anything else, you have to take the good with the bad. Every day brings opportunities to learn something new.
C of C- That is sooooooooo true.

C of C- What advice would you give to a new aspiring writer?
GW- Never give up and believe in yourself even when you have a bad day. Read diligently and keep writing. Research publishers with great care before you submit your baby and try to learn something new about the industry everyday.

C of C- Excellent Advice, Gloria!!!

I want to thank you for being with me today, Gloria! Its been a pleasure getting to know you, and I want to wish you the best of luck in all your future endevours!!!!

To learn more about Gloria Wiederhold go to her website at-

To purchase any of her four releases you can find them at: Samhain Publishing,

or DCL Publications,


Anonymous said...

Great interview, Glo! And I love your covers too. Skhye

Anonymous said...

Thanks Skhye! I hope you're doing well. Thanks for stopping by.


Anonymous said...

Thanks Andrea for posting the interview. You're the best.


Estella said...

I have not read your books, but they sound interesting.

Shannon Robinson said...

Wonderful interview ladies! I enjoyed learning about Gloria and her stories. Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Gura mie ayd...Manx Gaelic for "thank you".

I appreciate the comments and hope you feel my stories are worth further exploration.

Gloria W

Michele Ann Young said...

Great interview, and your stories sound fascinating. I love the medieval period.

Nicole North said...

Wonderful interview, ladies. Lovely covers and the stories sound fantastic.

Chicks of Characterization said...

Hey Skhye, thanks so much for stopping by. Her covers are fabulous aren't they??

Chicks of Characterization said...

Ah Gloria, you are so welcome! It was truly my pleasure!!!


Chicks of Characterization said...

Hi Estella, Gloria's books sound Fabulous! You should check them out!!! Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting!!!

Chicks of Characterization said...

Hey Shannon, thanks so much for stopping by!!!

Chicks of Characterization said...

Hi Michelle, there is nothing better than the Medieval period, I love it! Can't get enough of it!!!

Chicks of Characterization said...

Hi Nicole, thanks so much for stoppping by!!

Hector Velez said...

Congratulations, Gloria. I am especially proud because I grew up with Gloria your Mom, and your aunts. Please keep up the good work and continue to produce great literature. Hector Velez

Bealtaine88 said...

I want to get in touch with Gloria Widerhold, but her website is down or closed?? What can I do?? Can anyone help me here?

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