'A sense of wonder and excitement': Westport writer wins international writing contest

Elizabeth Chatsworth.

Elizabeth Chatsworth.

contributed photo

WESTPORT — Elizabeth Chatsworth has had a passion for reading for as long as she can remember.

“I’ve loved books since I was a child,” Chatsworth, 52, said. “As I was approaching my 50th birthday I was lamenting the fact there was so many things I hadn’t done, including writing fiction.”

With some motivation from her husband and following a writing class with David Farland, Chatsworth embarked on her own career as a writer. She was recently announced as a winner in “The Writers of the Future,” an international writing contest.

“It’s a very different life to go from consuming stories to actually creating them,” Chatsworth said. “It’s been a really interesting journey.”

Chatsworth will possibly be flying to Hollywood next year for a week-long professional workshop, an awards event, and her stories will be published in the anthology, “L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future Vol. 37.”

She discovered skills she didn’t knew she had while pursuing her passion.

“I can explore new personalities and new settings and create something unique from scratch,” Chatsworth said. “I didn’t know I could do that before.”

She said she’s now creating stories that she can share with other people.

“I can create stories that I can share with other people, and they’re enjoying them,” she said. “That’s like the icing on the cake.”

Winning the contest has only been the start for Chatsworth. Her debut novel “The Brass Queen” will be published on Jan. 12 and is available for pre-order.

The novel is set in an alternate Victorian-era style world and follows Miss Constance Haltwhistle, a woman who sells firearms under the alias the “Brass Queen” to keep her baronial estate’s coffers full. After being saved from assassins by a U.S. spy, she’s pulled into a search for a scientist with an invisibility serum.

The novel is also connected to her short story “The Widow’s Might,” which is set in Norwalk and won her the Writers of the Future competition.

Chatsworth said both her short story and novel are inspired by her wide array of real world connections from her hometown Sheffield in Yorkshire, England to Norwalk and Westport.

“My stories reflect that connection to all these different locations and different sensibilities,” she said. “That’s one of things of interest to me in writing my stories — the differences and similarities between British people and Americans.”

The story is also inspired by her long love for science fiction and fantasy novels. She said these were her favorite genres growing up because it could transport readers to a broad array of new worlds.

“It’s a sense of wonder and excitement, and new things,” she said. “It always just drew me to those kind of stories.”

Chatsworth said her protagonist in the novel is over-confident and sometimes doesn’t think things through, but she was inspired by someone she knew best.

“That was very much me when I was younger,” she said. “But I got better.”

Chatsworth, who is a professional voice actor, said she never could predict her own novel would be her first audiobook. She said she has likely revised her novel more than 30 times over the course of six-years, and joked if she had her way would take another 10 years to complete it.

But she said overall she hopes her journey can inspire other writers to pursue their dreams.

“I think the moral of the story is it’s never too late to get started in writing,” Chatsworth said. “If you have an interest in books and you want to give it a go, you might as well start.”