Random questions and answers with the monkey at the keyboard.
Q: So, who is L.C. Blackwell?
A: A not-yet-published author from the Midwest, who otherwise spends her time taking nature photographs and arguing with the rabbits over whose flower bed it really is. She does not actually have simian characteristics, but will admit to liking bananas.
Q: What do monkeys have to do with historical fiction?
A: About as much as they have to do with typewriters and Shakespeare, which is to say the last time a monkey was seated in front of a keyboard–yes, the University of Plymouth tried this–he hit it with a rock and then used it for a toilet.
Q: How did you become a writer?
A: Hitting keyboards with rocks. Seriously, I’ve always been a writer: I can’t remember the first story or play I intentionally wrote, but I think I was probably about twelve. The germ was there from the beginning. I wrote some cringeworthy stuff through my teens–kids do–and then drafted my first novel in my early twenties–a while ago.
Q: Isn’t there a children’s book author….?
A: Who writes as L.C. Blackwell. There is. However, since I’ve used the name for many years as a writer, and it’s the name by which I’m best known, I’m continuing to use it. Luckily we don’t write in the same genre, and I wish her the best of sales! Also, she’s Lori, and I’m Lucy.
Q: What have you written so far?
A: We’re not talking trunk novels, right? *grin* Because there are a lot of those. My baby should be taking its first very own steps into the published world next year. Set in the last years of the Cold War, Eternal Memory is the story of a man who fights to keep his humanity in the heartless business of espionage, even as the memory of a crime he has suppressed for decades threatens to undo him.
My next novel, still untitled, is also still in the disgustingly messy draft stage. But expect to visit England in 1746, with smugglers and Scottish refugees and a learning-disabled hero, who (if I say it who shouldn’t) is rather wonderful.
Q: Why write about history and other cultures?
A: There’s an exotic effect that goes with distance. A situation is almost automatically more interesting when a setting changes to the unfamiliar. For instance, the history of smuggling sounds risky and exciting to many people now, but in the south of England during the mid-eighteenth century, it was a common activity. It wasn’t that much more exciting to hear ponies go shuffling by your cottage at midnight than it is to hear the clatter of a garbage truck outside your window. Mostly, you’d pull the covers over your head, figure it was no business of yours, and go back to sleep.
Q: What’s your biggest surprise from research?
A: That does get rather hard to pick. I think my eyeballs sort of bugged out when I got into researching 18th century English marriage law, and found out that in a case of breach of contract, if it had been made in a very particular form, you could sue the defaulter in court (prior to the Hardwicke Act) and get an order for them to marry you. Or, better still, do you have debts, ladies? Just go through a marriage ceremony with an imposter using a borrowed name, and then dump your legal liabilities on the real man (the husband being legally responsible for the wife’s debts). Frankly, I can’t believe this worked, but apparently it did, often enough to make people keep trying it.
Q: Who’s your favorite historical novel hero?
A: If favorite means the guy you’d bring home to your mother…. “Jolly” Roger McKay, from James Oliver Curwood’s A Country Beyond. I don’t care for all of Curwood’s books, but that one is a keeper.
Q: Last question: “Most people don’t know that I….”
A: Make a seriously awesome whole-grain homemade pizza crust.