Today I am interviewing Ellie Gray. She is the author of Beauty and the Recluse. Come join us!
Following the recent death of her father, and in need of both a job and somewhere to live, Kiya takes a housekeeping job on the spur of the moment. She soon finds herself living in a beautiful but neglected mansion, working for a strange and reclusive man.
St. John is a man scarred by the past, both physically and emotionally, and is determined to live out his life alone. They are two very different people, drawn to each other almost against their will, but can Kiya convince St. John that he is not the monster he believes himself to be?
- Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from?
I have lived in East Yorkshire for most of my life and, although I enjoy travelling and seeing new places, I love it here in Yorkshire. I work full time in local government and am just about to complete a Masters Degree in Public Management. It’s a struggle to fit everything in so, when my dissertation is handed in at the beginning August, I’m looking forward to being able to fully concentrate on writing novels in my spare time.
- Yorkshire is truly beautiful. I spent a week of my honeymoon there! Now, tell us about the setting of your book. Why did that place speak to you?
The setting for my book is a beautiful but neglected mansion in North Yorkshire. I’ve always been fascinated by large houses and their history. The house I grew up in wasn’t particularly large but it was very old – over 200 years – and I always hoped I would find a hidden passageway or room, but I never did! While there are no hidden rooms in this novel, the mansion is a key part of the book and as Kiya transforms the house from a neglected, dark place into a light, airy and loved house, the transformation is mirrored in St. John’s own journey.
- Is there a character you identify with most in your book? Who and why?
There are certain elements of Kiya’s journey and experience that I share. In particular, Kiya’s father has recently died and, when I began this novel, my own father had only recently passed away. So there are certainly elements of how Kiya copes with her grief, and how she supported her father when her mother died some years before is something I can relate to.
- Was there much research involved?
Not really for this novel. However, I am currently working on my next novel, set in Egypt, and I’ve done a lot of research for this. I have always been fascinated by ancient Egypt and have several bookcases full of books on the subject so I didn’t have to go far. I also visited Egypt some years ago so I was able to draw on that experience.
- Do you listen to music when you write?
Yes, I do. When I’m writing or editing, I tend to listen to classical music as it helps me to concentrate. If I’m doing other work, such as pulling together promotional stuff, using social media etc I listen to my favourite albums. I was a teenager in the 80’s and I still love that music, although I’m a big country music fan too.
- Name a few titles I’d find if I browsed through your personal library.
A few? Hmmm – I have a LOT of books. But, if you had a browse you’d find all the Jane Austen novels, a few Shakespeare, Tolkien, JK Rowling, Stephen King, James Herbert and Dean Koontz in the horror section. I also love love love the Pendergast novels by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. I’ve just heard there is going to be a TV series developed based on these novels so I’m very excited about that.
- Tell us about your next project.
My next project, as I mentioned above, is a novel set in Egypt. It’s a lovely, sensual romance set in a beautifully exotic country. It features a feisty heroine, her brother and a handsome archaeologist. I really hope I’ve captured the romance and mystery of Egypt and that my readers will enjoy it.
Can’t wait to see it! Good luck to you!
Ellie is an author of contemporary romance who also enjoys writing YA fiction. She is a proud member of the Romantic Novelist Association and lives in the beautiful East Riding of Yorkshire with her partner, David, two children, two cats and a chinchilla.
Currently working full-time in the public sector and studying for a Masters Degree, Ellie hopes one day to achieve her ambition of being able to write full time.
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