Sunday, 8 October 2017

Nostalgia, Beauty and Trepidation; With the Fears, Tears, and Tenderness that a Modern Reader Can Relate To

Or, with that heavily pretentious post title of mine, I hope I can expand below upon the hopes and ambitions of my future works!

Hello, and welcome to my new corner of the web! My name is Ellie Morris, and I am an 18 year old author from the North West of England, who has a vast interest in writing novels inspired by the beauty and trepidation of the past, exploring the romanticism and intrigues of other eras, with all the grisly and unfortunate bits thrown in.
History has always been one of my favourite subjects, from hearing of the infamous King Henry VIII at a young age, or pouring over books on the Ancient Egyptian mummies, many gory photographs and explanations on the decomposition of human flesh intact (I was, and still am, a morbid girl - what else can I say? I promise not to scare you off though!). In more recent years, however, I have gained a lot of inspiration from the 19th and 20th Centuries, and the Victorian, Edwardian, and early to mid 20th Century decades remain my favourite years.

One of my main goals and interests have remained strong since I first started creative writing for fun in 2014; to write LGBT novels with historical settings.
It was around that year that I first read one of the most influential books I've ever had the pleasure of reading: Les Amitiés Particulières (or This Special Friendship in English), by Roger Peyrefitte. I'll admit to watching the French film first, French being another topic that I've loved for a long time, and combining that with a 1920's backdrop and gay characters, I was in love. Two years previously I had realised my own orientation after years of feeling confused by my lack of attraction to males and putting up with all the other girls I knew obsessing over boys. I came to terms with the fact I was a lesbian slowly over the years, and dealt with the worry and feeling of hopelessness that came with it as I entered confusing relationships that blurred the lines between friendships and romances, and ultimately ended up in disappointment. At the time, reading and watching the trials of Georges de Sarre and Alexandre Motier gave me both hope, and despair. The hope that even in an environment as inhospitable to homosexuals and those in same-sex relationships as an early 20th Century, all-boys Catholic boarding school, Georges and Alexandre still found each other and had the opportunity to fall in love, and Georges and Lucien could strike up a comradeship despite the strict authoritarian environment that draconian priests and school authorities employed - that, because of finding that connection despite the odds, I, myself, could find a special somebody to fall in love with, and friends that understood. Short-lived hopefulness, however, as everything soon fell to ashes, taking sweet Alexandre with it and crushing my heart. Luckily enough, I love angst in stories, however, and planned and wrote alternate endings where Georges and Alexandre managed to pull through their challenges and nurture their relationship for years to come.
You may come across old, embarrassing fanfictions about these two boys across the web, if you're familiar with the story, but I like them - just a little bit, despite the confusion of words and tenses in a couple of places - so I kept them to remind me of this wonderful tale that meant so much to me.

A piece of digital art from 2014 that I made in admiration for Alexandre Motier, titled "Your Schoolboy Crush Is No Secret"

It is that kind of story that I'd like to create. An LGBT romance, for young and older people alike, that details what it would have been like to be LGBT throughout different time periods. A lot of books, fiction and non-fiction alike, seem to only tersely and fleetingly mention same-sex couples, if at all, and it makes me frustrated to see so few period romances or stories that actually expand upon the theme past a couple of sentences. I love history, and I'm a lesbian - surely there are other nerdy history-loving lesbians and gays out there? I have seen very few of these kinds of books - so, any recommendations, let me know right away!
Stories that exhibit both the sweet and sentimental moments, and the bitter sadness and persecution of LGBT people throughout time, are what I like writing about. It's not all doom and gloom though, I can assure you!

"When the Summer Ends" and its sequel, "Mansions of Glass", are my take on what I felt being a lesbian or gay man (or generally somebody out of the norm or ostracised in that era, such as a person with ASD, a person of colour, or somebody seen as a lower class) meant at that time, and how one would feel in situations that made them feel unsafe and inferior, but was so integral to their being. I vastly enjoyed researching and writing these books, and while I know there may be some mistakes or inaccuracies in those couple of books, I know that writing novels was my calling, and that I want to better my craft over many years to come.
(Please read the descriptions on my "books" tab above, and maybe consider purchasing if it catches your fancy! I would be ever so grateful!)

A Ghastly Specter in period costume, otherwise known as Ellie Morris in her natural habitat :)

Along with my historical works, I also dabble in writing modern-day contemporary stories, such as the book that I am working on currently: Roses For Margaret. It follows the outline of my life story so far, short and inexperienced as it may be, but deviates in different turns and directions as led by the main character, Margaret, who has a fuzzy, whimsical mind of her own. There is tenderness and heartbreak, but ultimately, I want it to give hope to girls like me, no matter how small or meager the amount of hope given to a situation where a lot of young people feel helpless, confused, scared and miserable. A description for the book is given at the bottom of my "books" page, too - do get in touch if you would like to find out more!

Another theme that I find interesting to explore, because it affects me a lot, is physical and mental illness, and disability. So many people are diagnosed with health issues or disabilities, so if readers can't connect with my characters on a coming to terms with sexuality basis, perhaps they could feel a likeness to such characters due to the loneliness and uncertainty that comes with ill health and strong, painful emotions. My character, Aika Rowland, from "When the Summer Ends" and "Mansions of Glass" has challenges to overcome due to her undiagnosed (and largely unrecognised, due to the period that this book is set in - the 1950's) Asperger's. Along with that, and in part due to Asperger's, she suffers from other conditions, and has a long journey to finding comfort and contentedness. I have Asperger's myself, so this novel was partly exploration of my own thoughts, feelings, and challenges despite Aika and I living very nearly six decades and a continent apart.
As my title mentions, I think that despite these kinds of stories being set a very long time ago, modern readers can relate to the situation and obstacles that historical people and characters lived through.


Well, that's an awful lot about my work! Aside from writing, I also love sewing dresses, vintage clothing, and historical costumes, reading classic and gothic literature and non-fiction, making art through drawing, painting, digital media and photography, baking, and spending time with my dogs.

For the future of this blog, you can expect information and thoughts about my books, info and advice on writing, things I find interesting, photography that matches my theme or mood, illustrations that I'm planning to make (check the "gallery" above for a few examples of the styles I like and use), and poems and short stories. I already have a lot of ideas on what to post!

Thank you for visiting my blog, and I hope you can follow and/or get in touch either by commenting below or dropping me a line via the "contact" box above! I welcome comments and conversation, so please don't hesitate to message me. :)

llie

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