Mastodon The Writing Desk: Special Guest Interview with H D Coulter, Author of Saving Grace: Deception. Obsession. Redemption

21 May 2021

Special Guest Interview with H D Coulter, Author of Saving Grace: Deception. Obsession. Redemption

Available from Amazon UK and Amazon US

Boston. 1832: After surviving the brutal attack and barely escaping death at Lancaster Castle, Beatrice Mason attempts to build a new life with her husband Joshua across the Atlantic in Beacon Hill. But, as Beatrice struggles to cope with the pregnancy and vivid nightmares, she questions whether she is worthy of redemption. 

I'm pleased to welcome author H D Coulter to The Writing Desk:

Tell us about your latest book

Saving Grace takes place 6 months after the ending of Ropewalk, book 1 and deals with the aftermath. Bea and Joshua are finding their feet in Beacon Hill, Boston as Joshua tries to find work at Boston Harbour and Bea tries to come to terms with the pregnancy with Hanley’s child and coping with a form of PTSD, a result of the ending of Ropewalk. Whilst in Ulverston, Hanley is plotting his revenge and tracking them down. 

“You are my child; you are not his – you are innocent – you are loved – you are mine.” The mantra Bea repeats, reminding herself that the child is innocent and loved.

Bea and Joshua begin their new life with their child and finding happiness through love and reconnection together. Joshua is rebuilding his position in his new role, while Bea secretly becomes involved with the abolitionist movement with the help of her friend Sarah. Discovering the underground railroad and the hidden path across America. 

But unbeknown to them all, Hanley watches from the shadows and is planning to take it all away.

What is your preferred writing routine?

My main writing routine is still waking at 5am and using the quiet time in the house to work. However, my 4-year-old is waking a little earlier and during the past few months, I have found myself writing and editing at night-time. Once I edited until 3am to complete Saving Grace in time. I have a desk in the corner of the living room with mountains of notebooks, various colours of pens and post-its scattered around. 

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

My main advice for writers would be; do it for the love of writing. For myself, I have a passion for writing and creating these worlds and the love of the characters. But if you want to publish either traditional or independent, you need to take is seriously, research the publishing process and dedicate time towards it. 

 Once you have written ‘The end’ is an amazing feeling and celebrate reaching this milestone, but it is not the end. Now you must edit several times and reach out to Beta readers to give you feedback. When you are involved in the story, sometimes it’s hard to step back and see it from a reader’s point of view. Especially if they can give you detailed points where you can improve the story and character arcs. 

Create a writing, editing and publishing time and keep to it as you do for any other work. Research marketing and how best to get word out on your book, including social media, website, other writers and authors. Mostly learn from others and support one another, writer friends are invaluable. 

What have you found to be the best way to raise awareness of your books?

The best ways to raise awareness would be social media, blog tours, newsletters and creating a network with other authors, who help to boost fellow authors. Talk about your writing process on social media to give readers and future readers an insight into the world you have created but also personal to you. Promote your books but don’t make it about buying the book. Add reviews, a sneak peek or advice, etc. 

Tell us something unexpected you discovered during your research.

I choose to locate some of Saving Grace in Beacon Hill as in that time, the area of Boston was flourishing. It was a representation of what was happening across America in the 1830s, with various cultures descending on different areas of the hill. A class divide between north and south slope in wealth, with a sense of unrest bubbling underneath. With Joshua’s background in shipping, it was a natural selection for the character to choose that location with business connections. 

However, when I was researching Beacon Hill, I discovered the African meeting house, which was a hub for the abolitionist movement and a rumoured connection to the underground railroad. Once I stumbled across this, I fell down the research rabbit hole and saw Bea, like her father supporting change. This unexpected discovery changed the plot of Saving Grace and added an element that seemed like a natural development for the characters, especially Bea to take, helping her to find her voice and strength again. Which created a whole new subplot to the novel and leading into book 3. 

What was the hardest scene you remember writing?

There are several scenes in the Ropewalk series in book 1 and 2 that brought me to tears as I wrote and featured sensitive subject matter which was essential, I got correct. Especially the last third of Ropewalk when everything goes wrong for Bea. I felt her emotions and placed all that into the novel. 

In book 2, at the beginning Bea is dealing with a form of PTSD after the effects of living through her ordeal. I felt it was important not to wash over and put aside what she had lived through. That wouldn’t be natural. Instead, it shows how she comes to terms with it and finding the strength to thrive once more. 

As the author, I complied a lot of research into the subject matter, both her ordeal and dealing with the effects afterwards and how it affects your mental health. I felt some authors who feature these scenes either don’t do the subject justice or don’t show the impact it has on the character. For the Ropewalk series, it needed to take place as a continuation of the plot and the long-term affect of it. However, I wanted to represent the raw truth of the effects, especially during that times period, but also the mental health of not just Bea but the other characters around her. 

What are you planning to write next?

I am currently working on book 3 in the Ropewalk series, which fans of Saving Grace will be happy about since it ends with a dramatic cliff hanger. Book 3 will be out in late autumn around November time. But you can sign up to the newsletter to get any updates and sneak peeks. 

H D Coulter

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About the Author

Hayley was born and raised in the lake district and across Cumbria. From a young age, Hayley loved learning about history, visiting castles and discovering local stories from the past. Hayley and her partner lived in Ulverston for three years and spent her weekends walking along the Ropewalk and down by the old harbour. She became inspired by the spirit of the area and stories that had taken place along the historic streets. As a teacher, Hayley had loved the art of storytelling by studying drama and theatre. The power of the written word, how it can transport the reader to another world or even another time in history. But it wasn't until living in Ulverston did she discover a story worth telling. From that point, the characters became alive and she fell in love with the story. Find out more at Hayley's website and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @coulter_hd

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