Lesley Pearce, shares her thoughts on Historical Fiction, Heroinesm and her initiative to honor everday heroines.
What are some of the challenges of writing historical fiction – and how do you keep your stories so enthralling for today’s readers?
The obvious one of course is the amount of research needed. You can’t just make it up, you need to be accurate. But fortunately people of any period have the same kind of feelings and emotions. I think it’s this that my readers tap into, and the bigger challenges and dangers people encountered further back in history is what makes it enthralling.
Do you have favourites among your characters? If so, is Belle one of them?
Matty in Never Look Back was always my favorite but Belle has eclipsed her now. I loved her flaws, her spirit and her courage.
We love the concept of your Women of Courage Award. What inspired the initiative?
My fictional heroines. I always felt there were real women out there, unsung ones who were just as brave, selfless and stoic as anyone I could invent. And I was right, so many of the nominees, both here and in NZ have been truly heroic. They deserve to be acknowledged.
Who’s your everyday heroine?
I can’t name anyone in particular. But Nurses and teachers have all my admiration. The good ones do it with love, never expect any adulation and make the world a better, safer place.
The Promise follows on from Belle. Is it important to read the first novel before starting on The Promise?
It’s best to read Belle first, just to understand where Belle is coming from, but The Promise is a stand alone book. It isn’t absolutely essential to know her past.
You’re on Twitter – how important do you think it is for authors to interact with their readers via social media?
I’m not sure I would call it important, but I personally love to hear from my readers, it keeps me in touch with how they feel about my work, and I’m interested in what they do, other books they read. It’s a fun medium, and a first class way of wasting time!
What do you think is the number one lesson that readers learn from your books?
About human frailty I think and that even if you have a bad start in life, or makes bad choices, these things can be overcome.
What’s your advice to someone who wants to write their first novel?
First read widely. Don’t expect that your first effort will be a masterpiece, You have to serve an apprenticeship by writing and writing, facing rejection and listening to advice and criticism. But if you are really determined and are prepared to put the work in there, you can make it. Persistence is all!