I was invited by Legendary Writing on Instagram to do this interview.
- – LW: What tips or tricks do you have for writing romance in a story?
- – Ellen Read: The friendship and respect the characters feel for each other is the basis for good romance. Of course, there has to be attraction between them. The setting of the story can have a huge influence. Some locations just ooze romance. However, overall the romance comes from within the characters themselves
- – LW: What mistakes do you think many writers make when it comes to writing romance and how do you think those mistakes can be fixed?
- – Ellen Read: I don’t like to be melodramatic, which often happens with romance stories. I think a writer has to make certain you are completely inside the head of your character, so that they feel what you feel and you feel what they feel.
- – LW: Where did you get the idea for this story and how did it evolve as you wrote it?
- – Ellen Read: I was inspired by a poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson. I originally wrote ‘Love The Gift’ years ago as a short story set in England. I wanted it set in Australia. Sutton Forest felt just right. I could see Charlotte in her private garden in 1905. I wanted it over two eras – Charlotte’s and the present day. Mark is the protagonist. He’s an artist, and in touch with his feminine side. He visits his friend, Beth, who is Charlotte’s great great-niece and his journey to find his true love starts.
- – LW: What challenges did you face writing this book and how did you overcome them?
- – Ellen Read: The main challenge writing Love The Gift was having a male protagonist. Romances tend to have a female point of view. Although, once I started, getting into Mark’s head was easier than I thought. I overcame this challenge by making Mark an artist, with an artist’s soul. I needed him to love poetry and to see and feel the beauty in nature.
- – LW: What lessons have you learned writing this book that you’ll carry with you into the rest of your writing career?
- – Ellen Read: Because ‘Love The Gift’ had so many changes from the original short story, I learned to go where my characters led me. It’s no use persisting with an idea if it doesn’t work anymore.