The life and influence of Martha Lloyd
All fans of Jane Austen everywhere believe themselves to be best friends with the beloved author and this book shines a light on what it meant to be exactly that. Jane Austen’s Best Friend; The Life and Influence of Martha Lloyd offers a unique insight into Jane’s private inner circle. Through this heart-warming examination of an important and often overlooked person in Jane’s world, we uncover the life changing force of their friendship. Each chapter details the fascinating facts and friendship forming qualities that tied Jane and Martha together. Within these pages we will relive their shared interests, the hits and misses of their romantic love lives, their passion for shopping and fashion, their family histories, their lucky breaks and their girly chats. This book offers a behind the scenes tour of the shared lives of a fascinating pair and the chance to deepen our own bonds in ‘love and friendship’ with them both.
– When and where do you prefer to write?
I love to write at my desk in my home, and my ideal would be to get up and out in the morning, first thing, to go to the gym or a yoga session and then to come home and write throughout the morning. When I am really in the zone with some research it is easy to forget lunch. But honestly, I find the best for me is to write regularly and so if this means snatched bits of writing time or making notes in the car whilst waiting for someone or getting out into a coffee shop or writing for an hour after I finish teaching for the day – then that’s how it has to be done.
– Do you have a certain ritual?
I always light a candle – Crackling Wood Fire by Yankee Candle and put on my Bose noise-cancelling headphones and set the Forest App to grow a tree – and keep me off of social media – whilst listening to the rain in the rain forest soundscape. It helps me to shut the world out and to find my focus. It creates the atmosphere that allows me to escape into my thoughts.
– Is there a drink of some food that keeps you company while you write?
My lovely husband makes me coffee after coffee, in my Jane Austen or Mamma Mia mug -and I always take about 4 sips before it goes cold. I have to be really intentional about snacking or I would eat a whole bag of chocolate buttons – so I have the Go Ahead Fruits of the Forest slices.
– What is your favourite book?
That is sooooo hard to say because I love to read and it is usually what I am reading at the time. I love to binge read for escape, so the book becomes my world. 3 books I have loved lately are Pride and Prejudice, Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell and I cried my eyes out at I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday by Milly Johnson.
– Do you consider writing a different genre in the future?
I love researching for a book it is a wonderful and truly enjoyable part of the process for me and I am working on a historical fiction novel about my hometown over 3 different time periods. I would love to write a romantic comedy novel and as I have taught for so many years, I would really like to write a YA novel one day too.
– Do you sometimes base your characters on people you know?
When inventing characters, I think that I take little parts of people who I have been reading about in old newspaper articles, council meeting minutes or personal diaries and accounts and I really love sitting in a cafe and noticing people, observing them, making little notes about them and then creating a story about them and imagining their backstory.
– Do you take a notebook everywhere in order to write down ideas that pop up?
That’s such a good question – I intentionally do that sometimes, for example when going to a coffee shop as I mentioned before, but I do have random notebooks stationed around the house too– next to the bed and in the kitchen for example, and I use the note taking facility on my phone so that I can quickly write down little ideas when they strike. I have amazing dreams of stories sometimes and you always think, ‘that is so vivid, I will definitely remember that’ and then within 3 minutes of getting up, all the brilliance of the ideas fades and I forget it all. So, I scribble down ideas and parts of ideas as they come sometimes even on the back of a till receipt or envelope that happens to be lying about the place.
– Which genre do you not like at all?
I always want to read Steven King because his book ‘On Writing’ is so good, so inspiring. But I have the sort of brain that cannot let an image go easily and so I cannot read horror – no matter how much I wish I could.
– If you had the chance to co-write a book. Whom would it be with?
Ooh, I love that question. I would love to work with a historian/biographer such as Lucy Worsley or Professor Paula Byrne – they are both so clever and I would love to see how they work, collect, and express their ideas. What fun it would be to bounce ideas off each other.
– If you should travel to a foreign country to do research, which one would you chose and why?
I think I would like to go to Spain. I have a degree in Spanish and I have studied Spanish history and literature in detail in the past, so it would be great to get to use my language skills alongside my passion for writing and research. Plus, I could go and sit in a Spanish café and soak up some sun and culture at the same time.
Thank you, Zoe Wheddon and Rachel’s Random Resources
About the Author
‘A native of Jane Austen’s beloved county of Hampshire, Zoe Wheddon, lives in a village on the outskirts of the touwn that she and her husband Matt grew up in, with three grown up children and a cat called Leia.
She co-presents the popular podcast What Would Jane Do and writes articles and book reviews on matters relating to friendship, self-compassion and personal development on her blog. When not researching or writing her next book, Zoe can be found in the classroom teaching Spanish and French or singing ABBA songs loudly in her kitchen.’
Facebook: Zoe Wheddon Author page.