Posted on March 28, 2019 at 8:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek
Working as a published, award-winning author may be one of the tamer aspects of Lizzi Tremayne’s daily life.
After earning a veterinary degree, Tremayne went to work in the California Pony Express and Gold Country before moving to New Zealand, where she now runs a mobile equine veterinary practice.
And in her spare time — ha! — she’s a medieval rapier-swinger, an archer, a carriage competitor.
Unsurprisingly, Tremayne’s fiction takes place in historical Scotland, the Old West, Tsarist Russia, colonial New Zealand ... and the veterinary world.
Live vicariously through her in her Q&A with us!
SADYE: As much as life has changed from one era to the next, what has struck you as being something that, maybe surprisingly, hasn’t changed?
LIZZI: One, the need for love — for acceptance, for someone to care.
Two, horses. Other than our selective inbreeding, they haven’t changed much, although the perception of the horse in most developed countries today has.
The equine has become less of an essential machine for general everyday utility and more of a tough kind of pet.
This doesn’t follow in many third-world countries, where equids (including donkeys) are usually essential to the family livelihood of families and may not get the care and compassion I’ve come to know and love in my privileged existence.
Three, the landscape in Utah where A Long Trail Rolling takes place—unless, of course, you count the decreased population along the Pony Express Trail.
It’s the perfect movie set. You’d just have to add some buildings.
SADYE: What era is your favorite to write?
LIZZI: I currently like the nineteenth century because that’s where I started and that’s the time of the local written history I learned growing up.
So far, other than my contemporary series, it’s also the only historical time I’ve written yet, but that will change in a few years. ...
I didn’t know I liked to write contemporary (twentieth-century) until I wrote my first novella in the Once Upon a Vet School series and was terribly impressed at how easy it was — no research!
While I love research (the best excuse for not writing this historical writer’s ever found — I call it the Rabbit Hole effect), it can keep me from getting words onto the page!
SADYE: And what time and place would you visit, if you could?
LIZZI: Fourteenth-century Britain or Scotland. I could stay in Britain, but Scotland would’ve been just too cold.
I spend a fair bit of time doing re-enactment and, frankly, love it.
SADYE: With hindsight 20/20, would you have changed anything about your writing journey?
LIZZI: I’d have gotten Scrivener and Vellum sooner.
I’d not change a thing about how the Romance Writers of New Zealand has helped me grow as a writer and offered me the essential start to self-publishing.
It’d be nice to have an agent and publisher, but I’m pretty spoiled now, having had my own way about nearly everything, from covers to editing, and then there’s the fact I make a reasonable percentage for my effort.
SADYE: Can you tell us a memorable story from your very adventurous hobby world?
LIZZI: My big bay horse, Blue Mist Shemaya, hadn’t been ridden much for the previous five years while I recovered from a spinal re-injury.
So I decided to hop on — bareback —with my bow and arrows slung across my back. Maya is a pretty cool customer, and he’s been there, done that. ...
One thing Maya hates, however, is the sound of an arrow hitting a target. He doesn’t care about being fired off, but that sound? Well, it makes him a little nuts.
He was born here, and I broke him in for everything. No bad experiences. He just hates it. Desensitization? Yep, tried that too.
He eyed me sideways at the sight of the weapon on my back. High time to get him used to the idea again after his time off! ...
He bounced around for twenty minutes, and I stayed on, probably more by good luck than management.
Then he finally settled and swung along at a walk, his nose on the ground, relaxing and picking up his back as we rode. I gave him rein, and he walked on through the lovely spring day.
Then he trotted off, and I lost my balance — holding nothing but the buckle of the reins — and promptly fell off.
Landed backwards (that’s a first) ON my new bow. It was fine, but I broke several ribs.
Two lessons: use a saddle on a fresh horse, and (remember) you're not a teenager anymore.
SADYE: You also offer an editing service for authors not as well-versed in the horse and medieval-weaponry world. What’s the most common mistake you’ve seen in writing?
LIZZI: The metallic “ring” of a sword being drawn from its scabbard.
A scabbard usually contains soft materials, such as oiled fur or leather, to protect the blade — not metal. That’s pure Hollywood.
SADYE: What’s up next for you, writing-wise?
LIZZI: I’m working on the first installation of Tatiana.
Don’t ask — something to do with the partner saying my Russian novel would be my War and Peace if I didn’t split it into several volumes.
The creation of a real novel from a very short novella set in nineteenth-century Scotland.
A novella for a boxed set with the Bluestocking Belles featuring one of my supporting characters from said Scottish novella to come out in the autumn.
And a veterinary book for horse owners.
Oh yes, and the first volume in the Once Upon a Vet School series, which will be for eight- to nine-year-olds.
Volumes Six, Seven, and Ten are already out. Yes, so I started in the middle. I figure if George Lucas can do it, so can I.
* * *
Know an author you'd like to see featured? Email us with a recommendation!
Categories: Author Interview