Monday 2 December 2013

My author spotlight falls on...Stephanie Elmas

I am delighted to welcome

Stephanie Elmas

Author of

The Room Beyond

The Room Beyond

*~Welcome Stephanie~*

What do you love about Writing?

I think that writing exercises my brain. I spend a lot of time with my young children - who are wonderful in every way! – but writing gives me the intellectual stimulation I need. When I’m writing, the hours can tick away without me even noticing. Before I know it my time’s up and I haven’t eaten, done that paperwork I was supposed to do, filled the dishwasher … I love creating sentences that sound beautiful, like music, and often agonize about my work when I can’t get it right. But when the words flow smoothly it’s the best feeling ever!

Do you write stories for yourself, or other people?

Both. I write because it’s my favourite way of spending time but I also love sharing my work with others. I still can’t get over the fact that people all over the world are buying and enjoying my book and I love getting messages and feedback from my readers.

Why do you choose to write in your particular genre?

After several years of working in the commercial world I returned to university to complete a Masters degree in Victorian literature. It was there that I fell in love with sensation writing, a very popular genre during this era. Perhaps the two greatest sensation writers were Wilkie Collins and Mary Elizabeth Braddon, best known for Lady Audley’s Secret. I was so inspired by the dark dangerous world of sensation writing that I had to write one of my own – with a modern twist of course!

When do you find the time to write, and do you have a favourite place to do your writing?

I wrote most of The Room Beyond during my children’s daytime naps! Now they’re getting older and going to school I have a bit more time in the day but my youngest is only two so writing is still something I have to juggle. Ideally I’d like to write in the evenings but my brain is usually too tired by then to produce anything worthwhile. I write on my laptop at a small desk at the front of my house. From there I can watch the world go by and try and think great thoughts.

Which writers have inspired you?
Obviously the sensation writers I mentioned earlier. I’ve been likened to Kate Morton and I do enjoy her writing. I’ve grown up reading and loving the classics from Chaucer to the great modernist writers, so I love to read on a huge scale. Two quite obscure writers who have inspired me greatly are Arthur Machen – fabulous for Victorian mysticism - and Sarah Grand who wrote an extraordinary book called The Heavenly Twins.

Can you tell us what you are writing next?

Yes! One of the lesser characters in The Room Beyond is a Victorian mystic from the East End of London called Walter Balanchine. He is a strange eccentric character who walks the streets of London in wizard like clothing with bottles and charms hanging around his neck. I had so much fun with him that I simply couldn’t leave him there and so I’m writing a novel all about Walter’s early life – from East End workhouse boy to conjuring sensation!


Stephanie is very kindly offering a kindle copy of The Room Beyond to one lucky winner of this great giveaway

*~Stephanie ~ thank you so much for spending time with us~*
Jaffa and I wish you continued success with your writing, we shall follow your books with great interest


My thoughts on The Room Beyond

I have a real passion for dual time narratives, especially when the setting is as gloriously Gothic as The Room Beyond.  

In the present Serena arrives at 36 Marguerite Avenue, ostensibly to take up a position as nanny to young Beth Hartreve. The very air shimmers with a heat haze which settles like a net of gauze, revealing a family which is eccentric beyond comprehension , and with characters so compelling that as they come into a room you sense that life for Serena is about to get very complicated. With comparative ease the story time-slips back to 1892, when Marguerite Avenue was a very different place, with a set of characters equally unconventional, and as a real sense of the macabre starts to pervade, the strands of narrative start to reveal a story illicit desire and supernatural control.

I read the story over a couple of evenings around Halloween and found that the creeping feeling of unease starts to build imperceptibly until the darkness of the narrative really starts to take you by surprise. There is a perfect blend of mystical gloom and supernatural imagery, all combined with a thriller which keeps you guessing until the very last few pages.

In The Room Beyond, Stephanie Elmas has used her obvious love of Victorian literature and has created an entirely believable world within a world, which combines to give the best of both present and past.

A commendable debut novel and a new talent worth watching.



  1. I love novels set in the Victorian era - this would make a great Christmas present for myself! ;-)

  2. Well done to Dawn C. who won this copy of The Room Beyond.

    Many thanks to all who entered.


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