Louise has very kindly offered a signed copy and an ebook of her memoir, Future Confronted. To be in with a chance of winning, please leave a comment at the bottom of the page. If anyone would prefer to leave a comment on Facebook, they can follow this link to our Facebook page
Although I have known Louise online for quite a long while, I met her for real for the first time at HNS16 - the Historical Novel Societies conference that was held this year in Oxford. Louise is a lovely lady and I could have sat and talked to her all day, but various activities tugged us in different directions, though not before I had asked her a few questions.
I am sure that you are tired of being asked the usual questions that would be interviewers ask authors, so hopefully this interview is an interview with a difference and I have come up with some unusual questions!
If your latest book Future Confronted was adapted into a TV show or a film, who would you like to play the lead role?
Ummm, well, the book is about my son, Rob, who had blonde hair and a ginger goatee beard, and thinking about anyone playing him is a bit weird. But, if I really had to choose, then the lead role would probably have to be Brad Pitt. He doesn’t look like my son, and he’s too old, but I like him… a lot, so it’s a pure indulgence.
(Note from Diana: Hmmmmm.... good choice!! Good taste!!!)
If, as a one off, (and you could guarantee publication!) you could write anything you wanted, is there another genre you would love to work with and do you already have a budding plot line in mind?
What a great question! I would love to write a time-slip novel. I don’t have a plot line in mind, but it would definitely be set in Scotland, probably between the 14th and the 19th century.
Do you have any rituals and routines when writing? Your favourite cup for example or ‘that’ piece of music...??
Absolutely, yes! I always have music playing. I like to play music that fits the scene that I am writing, where possible, of course. Film scores are good for this. Or if I am writing a sad, or devastating scene, then I like Mozart, or Vaughan Williams.
Now, as for a favourite cup, that really depends on what I’m drinking. If it’s tea with lemon, then it will be my red cup (I love red) with white polka dots. If it’s a latte, then it will be my tall tapered glass cup with my Nespresso coffee. But if it’s a difficult scene, or I am reading through, then it’s a milky coffee in my large, white cup, which holds half a pint. I think it’s true to say that I love coffee a wee bit more than tea.
What is the worse book you have ever read? What made it unreadable for you?
The worst book? I don’t know that I have read a really ‘bad’ book, per se, but I have read a book that was so full of woe, it was beyond depressing. I had to read it at university, and write a 5000 word paper on it. The title was The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. It is about a woman with a “nervous weakness” as it is referred to in the book, and true to the title, it is about how the protagonist sees the yellow wallpaper in the room which she is occupying. There is much said about the recurring pattern, I quote, “There is a recurrent spot where the pattern lolls like a broken neck and two bulbous eyes stare at you upside down.” I don’t know about you, but if I were in a room with that wallpaper, I think that I would have a “nervous weakness”. Even the description of the wallpaper is morbid.
Other than writing full time, what would be your dream job?
Oh fabulous question! I’d love to be on a film set, either behind the cameras as one who sees to the continuity of each take, or as an extra. I love everything to do with the making of films, it is such a fascinating process. The idea of making worlds so that an audience can be transported… well, it really appeals to me. Back in the day, there was no such thing as ‘blue screen’ or ‘green screen’ filming, so CGI now plays a huge part in the making of many films and TV series, making the possibilities just endless. Love it!
Coffee or tea? Red or white?
Coffee, absolutely, coffee. It’s my first drink of the day.
I’m teetotal. But at Christmas I will have a small glass of red wine diluted with lemonade. I know all the drinkers out there will be screaming that it is a heresy to dilute any alcoholic drink, but there you go, that’s the way I roll.
If you had free choice over the font your book is printed in, what font/fonts would you choose?
The short answer is that I prefer Calibri.
(Note from Diana: I love Calibri and also Plantagenet Cherokee.)
Imagine that you could get hold of any original source document. What would it be?
*Rubs hands together* Oh fabulous! I would love to get hold of the original manuscript of Paradise Lost by John Milton. I did get a lot of source material from the British Library on John Milton, as I wrote about Paradise Lost vs Genesis in the Bible, for my dissertation. I absolutely love how his mind worked, a very, very clever man. Just to see, and maybe touch, that manuscript would be the best of days.
Historical fiction authors have to contend with real characters invading our stories. Are there any ‘real’ characters you have been tempted to prematurely kill off or ignore because you just don’t like them or they spoil the plot?
I’m writing my first historical fiction book at the moment. It has at its core, the death of Alexander III. So, I already have a real character’s death. I don’t think that there are any ‘real’ characters that I would like to kill off, or ignore. The history of the time in which I am writing is so fascinating. One of my characters, on the other hand, I would dearly love to kill off, but every time I think, now you are for the chop matey, he still hangs around. His day will come.
Are you prepared to go away from the known facts for the sake of the story and if so how do you get around this?
Interesting. It’s not something that I would set out to do. Generally, it peeves me when I come across this, even with the Author’s Notes to explain why. In my book, the facts, as known, about the death of Alexander III, have him falling over the cliff to his death, along with his horse. There is much debate as to whether that is exactly what actually happened, so I am following ‘that’ argument in my story. No spoilers, though, sorry.
Do you find that the lines between fact and fiction sometimes become blurred?
Yes, I am sure they very often are. After all, history is written with hindsight, and not as it actually happened. It is also someone’s point of view, how they saw it. There is a book that I read, can’t remember the title, but it revolved around one incident which was seen by several people. Each person was asked to write down an account of what they had seen, and each recollection was different, although the central core was the same. So for me, where the facts are truly known, that’s wonderful, but, yes, I do believe that fact and fiction do, most definitely become blurred, and for a writer that can only be serendipitous.
*Have you ever totally hated or fallen in love with one of your characters?
I hate to admit this, but yes. Maybe “fallen in love with” is too strong a thought, but most certainly very fond of one of my characters. Another of my characters, whom I detest with a passion, just will not go… yet. But he will.
What do you enjoy reading for pleasure?
I really enjoy reading both historical fact, and fiction, and would gladly read them all day, every day. I love the idea that the past can be brought to life through someone’s imagination, you know, breathing life into the long-dead, it’s like alchemy.
What drink would you recommend drinking whilst reading your latest book?
My latest book? For me it would be coffee, definitely, coffee. For the reader? Well, that is a loaded question. So I would have to say whatever their favourite drink happens to be.
Last but not least... favourite historical author?
Oh, that is so not a fair question! Many of the authors that I love are my friends, either personal, or on Facebook, and Twitter. They all write so well, so thoroughly, and conscientiously, that I would hate to choose one over the other. There are those authors of whom I do not know, but admire from afar, as it were. I have to say, though, that it would like choosing which one of your children is your favourite. Can’t be done.
(Note from Diana: Yep! I'd have the same problem myself!!)About Louise Rule:
I have been married to Dave for 47 years, and we have raised a wonderful family together. We had three sons, now two surviving. We have five grandsons, being two sets of twins to one son, and a singleton to the other. My family are my absolute joy, and keep me sane, and sometimes make me insane! What can I say….? They’re my family!