An interview with Josephine Montgomery
Today I’m speaking to Josephine Montgomery, author of: Fitzgerald Hall. In her own words, Josephine is: “Although retired from the workplace I have not retired from life. I structure my days to incorporate writing, figural woodcarving, watercolour and pastel painting and creating large mosaics.”
Q. Let’s begin, Josephine, by telling us a bit about your novel, Fitzgerald Hall.
A. Fitzgerald Hall is based on the Great Houses of England, a Downton Abbey with Dark Spirits. As a child my father and I visited the magnificent homes of the Landed Gentry and I learned Society etiquette and the nuances of social gatherings. When I read that a young Anglo Saxon girl from the 7th century had been found in an ornamental bed buried in a meadow in England, my imagination took flight. Two American girls and two male English aristocrats embark on a feisty, determined quest that fizzes along at a fast pace and the lines of past, present and future become blurred. Winter solstice holds the key to unlock the mystery surrounding a Bed Burial discovered in Fitzgerald Hall meadows, but will the mayhem caused by a search reveal a secret best left undiscovered?
Q. Now that you’re retired, apart from your other hobbies, how much time do you devote to your writing?
A I’m an early riser and always devote mornings to writing a novel, around 4 hours, but will extend the time if I am in the ‘zone’. I also write short stories and magazine articles late afternoon or early evening.
Q. Have you always wanted to be a writer, and when did you start?
A. I never thought about wanting to be a write. I wrote stories from an early age for my younger brothers, cousins or anyone else who cared to listen.
Q. Do you have any other writing projects in the pipeline, and if so, please tell us a little about them?
A. I will spend the month of May in England and Wales and am booked to stay for a week in the one and only apartment available to visitors in Hampton Court Palace, situated on the banks of the River Thames, a previous party palace of Tudor King Henry VIII. My first book, An Unexpected Adventure is set in Tudor England, a fascinating era and my favourite time period to craft my stories. SCBWI requested I write an article about Hampton Court Palace and the benefits of writing on location. I have also researched the Bog People, Iron-Age men preserved in bog water that prevents decay. Although having lain in bogs for more than a thousand years the bodies are slightly shrunken and brown, but in other respects, unchanged. I have also outlined a historical fiction novel set in Egypt based on the extraordinary life of the Heretic King Akhenaten and his court.
Q. Who, or what, are your writing influences?
A. My career gave me the opportunity to travel and live in the countries where my stories are set. A whiff of marjoram and I’m back in the old Spice Markets in Cairo, Egypt.
Q. You obviously have an artistic temperament, does this run in your family?
A. It does, we are all musicians, painters, sculptors, writers and landscape designers.
Q. What are your main writing influences? For example, other writers, films, people watching, etc?
A. I write historical fiction and non-fiction and am influenced by unique characters from the past. An unusual artifact in a museum may catch my eye and subsequent research may result in a novel, short story or magazine article.
Q. A lot of writers carry a pen and notebook everywhere they go, in case inspiration strikes out of the blue, do you?
A. I do, but sometimes I write too fast and deciphering my notes can take a while. I also carry a camera to capture detail that may be overlooked in note taking. A History magazine bought a story and also eight photographs I had taken for reference purposes.
Q. What marketing strategies, if any, do you employ in advertising your work?
A. Social networking sites, newspaper interviews, professional writers associations such as SCBWI. When I return from the UK at the end of May I will approach the radio stations for a time slot.
Q. Finally, what one piece of advice would you offer fledgling writers?
A. Join a writers group, listen to critiques with an open mind and most importantly edit, edit, edit. In the words of Dr. Seuss :-
“The writer who breeds more words than he needs is making a chore for the reader who reads.”
Thank you for joining us today, Josephine. It’s been a pleasure interviewing you, and good luck with your work
To view and purchase Josephine’s work, please go to:
My published novels:
Amazon – An Unexpected Adventure:
Amazon – Fitzgerald Hall:
This entry was posted on March 23, 2014 at 4:34 pm and is filed under New Authors section with tags artist, Fitzgerald Hall, historical fiction, interview with, Josephine Montgomery, writer. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.