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 Player
Series: Rockliffe, Book 3. Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 106,750. Language: British English. Published: March 6, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Historical » United Kingdom
Tragedy drove him into unwilling exile. Death demands his equally reluctant return. In the decade between, he has answered to many names and amassed a variety of secrets. Now the secrets must be carefully guarded and the name, at long last, his own.
The Mésalliance
Series: Rockliffe, Book 2. Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 102,630. Language: British English. Published: September 26, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Historical
The Duke of Rockliffe is thirty-six years old, head of his house and responsible for his young sister. He is therefore under some pressure to choose a suitable bride. Unfortunately, due mainly to her dreadful relatives, the only lady he feels at all inclined to share his life with is not suitable at all. But will he choose to make a mésalliance?
The Parfit Knight
Series: Rockliffe, Book 1. Price: $5.49 USD. Words: 75,560. Language: British English. Published: August 6, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Historical
Blinded by a childhood accident, Rosalind Vernon lives a sheltered existence with only servants and her parrot for company. The arrival of the Marquis of Amberley with his wounded coachman during a blizzard will change her life. But can Amberley overcome the dark secret that haunts him and how will Rosalind feel when it is revealed? The Parfit Knight is a Georgian Romance set in 1770's England.