This month’s guest is a friend and fellow Swanwicker. We have shared writers’ summer schools in Derbyshire on a couple of occasions and her performances at the fancy dress disco have been nothing short of memorable. By day, she is a engineer with a proper, ‘grown-up’ job; but in her ‘spare’ time she is writing a series of time-slip novellas, blending romance, historical fiction and contemporary writing with just a touch of ghostly goings on. Today, I’m delighted to be chatting with Elizabeth M Hurst.
Hi Liz; welcome to the site and thanks for dropping by. Let’s start by going back to your childhood. What was your favourite subject at school?
My favourite lesson was French. By the time A-Levels came around, I was the only one in my year who chose French, so I had 1:1 lessons for a whole two years. I was almost fluent by the time the exams came! It also means that whenever I visit France I can get by quite well after a little practice, despite years of being dreadfully rusty!
How do you relax?
I go for walks, weather permitting, and I run when I’m not injured. Unfortunately, this is more often than I would like. I also like to meditate and I practice yoga as much as I can.
If you could change one law, what would it be?
I would legalise drugs, and not just cannabis either. Human beings are adventurers by nature; it’s what makes us who we are. This is reflected in the fact that every culture, from the tribes in the Amazonian Basin to the Inuit, has a tradition of using some kind of substance, whether for social and recreational purposes, or religious ones. Remove the black market and create a regulated (and likely highly profitable) industry, and global organised crime would shrink overnight.
Describe your ideal menu — and where would you like to eat it?
In the last few years, I have spent a few holidays in the Canary Islands. I like the pace of life and the climate is great too. They have the most wonderful seafood restaurants where you can sit pretty much on the beach, listening to the waves gently lapping on the shore, sipping champagne as your lobster is being prepared. Not that I have expensive tastes or anything…
If you could meet one person from history, who would it be — and why?
I’ve been doing some research lately into the early Quakers for my second novel, which has brought up the name Margaret Fell on several occasions. While imprisoned for holding Quaker meetings at her home in the 1660s, she wrote many articles and pamphlets detailing her arguments for equality of the sexes in religious worship. She was a lady well ahead of her time, for sure.
Watch a film, go to the theatre, read a book or talk to friends — which would you prefer?
The theatre. Always. I became a Patron of the Royal Shakespeare Company in 2016, and I try and visit at least once every couple of months. It’s such a vibrant experience, much more so than the cinema. You can feel the adrenalin oozing from the actors; a really good performance can stay in the memory for years afterwards.
Upload a picture or a photo that best represents you, and tell us why (and it doesn’t have to be a portrait, although it can be).
This was taken at a writing retreat in October 2016. I like it because it reminds me of how much more pensive I become when out in nature, and especially near to water. It creates a beautifully relaxed state of mind for producing good quality writing.
Would you describe yourself as left-brain (analytical), right-brain (intuitive) or a mix of both?
I guess I would have to say I’m a mixture of both. My day job involves lots of spreadsheets and database administration, which requires a methodical, analytical approach. However, I do find that when I indulge my creative side in writing, I love letting my mind just wander wherever it wants to go and letting it spill onto the page.
What do you do when not writing stories?
I have just finished my very first pantomime appearance, which was enormous fun, and I look forward to joining my local village group again for that in a few months time. Obviously, as a writer, it’s very important to keep reading as widely as possible, and I am a member of a book group. (Yes, we do drink wine, but we discuss the books as well!)
Thanks, Liz; great to chat with you. Readers, if you would like to find out more about Elizabeth M Hurst, her writing and her books, you can find her website here. You can also hang around with her on Facebook; on Twitter; and on Instagram. Details of Siren Spirit, the first book in the Lost Souls Series can be found by clicking here.