Our guest today is a fellow scientist who turned a challenge into a novel! Welcome Sally Orr!
Thank you. Delighted to be here.
Lexi: Right side or left side of the brain, scientific or creative process. Which one would you say is more difficult?
Great question. Easy to answer because, after a long career in science, I suspect my creative side is entirely vestigial, a small shriveled up remnant of whatever neurons use to be there. When you think about it though, both science and creative writing requires each side to function. In science, you need to know the facts, but a successful scientist needs the creative side to dream up experiments to test a hypothesis. While the creative process needs the factual, detail-oriented part of the brain to remember the details of your story and plot. Since I can easily forget the details of my characters, perhaps both sides of my brain may have shriveled just a bit.
Lexi: You have certainly exercised your creative talent, congrats on your debut novel The Rake’s Handbook: Including Field Guide! How long from first word on the page to print on November 4th did this project take?
Thank you, again. It’s been so long, you’ll have to wait a sec while I count using my toes too. But I do remember the date of the first words written, April 1, 2007. So about seven years from start to finish. Just a snap of the fingers really.
Lexi: The challenge to write a book is not a small one. When you first thought about this undertaking, what were you most worried about?
I was sooo clueless, frankly I thought “How hard can it be?” Needless to say, I was misinformed. In the long run, I think plotting out an effective romantic character arc concerns me the most.
Lexi: As a lover of historical romance, I must say you chose a great sub-genre to test out your writing chops. I am going to guess that the historical part came fairly naturally to you so did you have to do a lot of research when you began writing Ross and Elinor’s story?
The Rake’s Handbook: Including Field Guide was inspired by Mrs. Gaskell’s novel, North and South. That book is set in Manchester, a part of England that I had extensively toured in the past. So for research, I used some of the events in Mrs. Gaskell’s life, like moving further out into the country for fresh air. I also read numerous contemporary books, and some Parliamentary debates, around the time the story is set. These were easily available from Google books.
Lexi: We are very excited for you and your release of The Rake’s Handbook: Including Field Guide! Welcome to the romance community, we look forward to seeing you/your work around here often!
I raise my wine glass (a zinfandel) and say “Thank you!”
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