Interview with Stella Riley

What is your e-reading device of choice?
At present, I have a Kindle Paperwhite
When did you first start writing?
I started writing when I was thirty years old. At the time, I was a teacher and I began my first book [Lucifer's Champion] during a dismal autumn half-term.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Garland of Straw takes place between 1647 and 1649 - the period of England's second Civil War, leading up to the execution of Charles 1. The fictional story is of a love developing between opposites; a well-bred Royalist lady and an illegitimate Roundhead officer.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
The print versions of my work are no longer available - except at hugely inflated prices over the internet. E-publishing has provided me with the opportunity to give my books a new lease of life - hopefully finding new readers. And, in publishing them myself, I've been able to extend and/or revise entirely at my own discretion.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords is a tremendous system. It's efficient and easy to use. It also has the advantage of supplying to a wide range of distributors.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I love creating characters and writing dialogue. The most important thing to me in any book - mine or others - is that the people within the pages come to life.
What do your fans mean to you?
A lot. Thanks to e-publishing, I can now interact with my readers in a way that was impossible before. Anyone who contacts me through my wordpress site is guaranteed to receive a reply.
What are you working on next?
I'm working on book 4 of my Roundheads & Cavaliers series - The King's Falcon. I'm not very far into it as yet, so it will be some time before I publish it.
Who are your favorite authors?
I love Terry Pratchett and enjoyed George R.R. Martin's Ice & Fire series. I'm also a fan of Nora Roberts. At the moment, however, I'm mostly reading historical novels by authors such as Loretta Chase, Meredith Duran and Carla Kelly. Currently, my favourite writer is Laura Kinsale. I have read all but two of her books - the three best being Flowers From The Storm, Seize The Fire and Uncertain Magic.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I enjoy reading, travel, dancing and amateur theatricals.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Sometimes purely by chance - sometimes on the recommendation of a friend.
What is your writing process?
Sorry to say - but it's the usual '1% inspiration and 99% perspiration'. Historical research is very time-consuming but I love doing it. The actual writing is a joy when it's going well and hell when it isn't. I usually put in about 5 hours a day - more when the juices are flowing.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I remember loving Lorna Hill's ballet books when I was a child. In fact, I just loved the lending library full stop. One book that has had a lasting impact on me and that I re-read at various intervals is The Way To The Lantern by Audrey Erskine Lindop. I first read it when I was about seventeen and have loved it ever since.
How do you approach cover design?
With difficulty. I look for an image that conveys something about the book but am rarely able to find one that reflects it accurately. My Roundheads & Cavalier series, for example, have covers which tell of war but don't give any indication that the book is also a romance.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
The Way To The Lantern by Audrey Erskine Lindop - because I wish I could have written it.
Morrigan's Cross trilogy by Nora Roberts - I'm a sucker for vampires.
The Talisman Ring by Georgette Heyer - it always makes me laugh.
Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett - one of the first of his I ever read and still a favourite.
Flowers From The Storm by Laura Kinsale - it's like nothing else and incredibly emotional.
Describe your desk
Large, ugly and old-fashioned.
Amongst your own work, which is your favorite and why?
This is a tricky one. I suppose my absolute favourite is A Splendid Defiance - mainly because I believe that it was in this book that I first really found my own 'voice'. Aside from the romance between Abby and Justin, the story of Banbury Castle and the men who held it has a special place in my heart.
But I must also mention 'The Mesalliance'. In the print version, it was cut to the bone. I spent a lot of time turning the e-version into the book that it was always meant to be. And Rockliffe is a favourite of mine.
Published 2013-11-29.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The King's Falcon
By
Series: Roundheads & Cavaliers, Book 4. Pre-release—available October 3, 2014. Price: $6.49 USD. Words: 214,720. Language: British English. Category: Fiction » Historical » United Kingdom
War and witchcraft ... plots and playhouses ... love and loyalty. This is the story of the Cavaliers last stand in 1651 and the long, impoverished exile that followed it. Ashley Peverell, known as The Falcon, continues risking his life to save that of the King and gives his heart to a beautiful French actress who he believes can never be his.
Garland of Straw
By
Series: Roundheads & Cavaliers, Book 3. Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 212,290. Language: British English. Published: November 29, 2013. Category: Fiction » Historical » United Kingdom
The marriage of a well-bred Royalist lady and an illegitimate Roundhead soldier is less a match made in heaven than a union doomed to hell due to the bitter resentment of both parties. There is passion, intrigue and danger- both personal and political - as England slides into a second Civil War ... and the King is sent to the block.
The Black Madonna
By
Series: Roundheads & Cavaliers, Book 2. Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 218,120. Language: British English. Published: May 30, 2013. Category: Fiction » Historical » United Kingdom
An epic saga of love and revenge, in which the English Civil War and the crucial years leading up to it are seen through the eyes of the Maxwell family and also master-goldsmith and money-lender, Luciano Falcieri del Santi … a man with a hidden agenda. From the power-struggle within Parliament to the battlefields of a warring nation, The Black Madonna is a historically-detailed story of intrigue,
A Splendid Defiance
By
Series: Roundheads & Cavaliers, Book 1. Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 124,790. Language: British English. Published: December 6, 2012. Category: Fiction » Historical » United Kingdom
Banbury, 1644. The Cavaliers hold the Castle, the Roundheads want it back and the town is full of Puritans. Consequently, the gulf between Captain Justin Ambrose and Abigail Radford appears unbridgeable. The key to their fate and that of the Castle is defiance. But is it enough? An enchanting story of forbidden love - and also the true account of one English castle during the Civil War.