Not long ago, I reviewed Nelle Davy’s The Legacy of Eden. Nelle was gracious enough to answer a few questions for me, and here they are for you. And come back Wednesday, when I’ll have a guest post (my first ever) from Nelle.

What inspired you to write THE LEGACY OF EDEN?

I Claudius – I wanted to take the kernel of the idea from the novel (ambition and its devastating effects on a family headed by an amoral matriarch) and move it into a modern setting.

Where do you do most of your writing?

Because I wrote the novel on lunch breaks, at work and on weekends I can write anywhere – I had to learn to be really flexible and un-precious about my working environment because I was juggling writing with a full time job.

How did you come up with the character of Lavinia?

She wasn’t meant to be as large a character as she was. She was taken from the Livia model in Robert Graves’ novel, but the fact that she was abandoned as a child, that her name for years was Anne-Marie Parks and she was previously married to a man who was thirty years her senior were all things that came when I started writing. She became a law unto herself but I needed to explain why she was the way she was, without justifying her.

Why did you choose Iowa for the location Aurelia?

I wanted to set it on a farm and it was either Ireland or America for the location when I was researching. Because I envisaged Aurelia as being a miniature kingdom as well as a microcosm in its own right I chose America because it was a place that was vast enough to make it possible for somewhere like Aurelia to exist. Iowa is the part of the American heartland and is firm farm country and when I found out there actually was a city called Aurelia there, it seemed like divine providence.

 How much, and what kinds of, research went into creating this novel?

A lot. It was so boring researching farm techniques – I am from London, I actively find the countryside an anathema most of the time but I chose to write about something that was nothing to do with my current life and so I had to make sure what I wrote was authentic. I also had to read a lot of American literature just to ensure I got the American voice right. English people and Americans do not speak the same language in many ways contrary to what we believe. For example, in England I would say, I strolled along the pavement to the car with my shopping bag and dumped it in the boot.

In America it would be, I walked down the sidewalk to the car with my carrier bag and dumped it in the trunk.

See what I mean?