Some of you may have seen that I reviewed Scotch on the Rocks by Lizzie Lamb earlier this week. You can see this review by clicking here.
Lizzie has also allowed me to interrogate, erm I mean interview here, so without further ado, ladies and gents, here’s our chat!
For those people who have not yet read any of your books, can you describe them to us?
As one reviewer put it: “If you fancy a bout of total escapism with some serious sexiness thrown in – and some very witty dialogue, Lizzie’s books tick all the boxes.’ I think that sums up the appeal of my novels.
When I was working full time I was always on the lookout for feel-good romantic comedies which would raise my spirits at the end of a long, hard day. Now, as a writer, I create novels with the same ‘ahh’ factor, where my reader becomes so immersed in the story that they forget their cares and worries for a time. I love to write about the moment when the hero/heroine fall in love and all my novels have a happy ending. I think of the location of my novels as a ‘character’, too; be it the highlands of Scotland, Notting Hill or the Norfolk marshes. I love the ‘screwball comedies’ of the forties where the hero and hero spar with each other, almost like a form of verbal foreplay, until they understand that they are meant for each other. As another reviewer put it: ‘It’s impossible not to love the main characters and to dream you could live their story!”
Have you always wanted to write?
A big ‘yes!’ to that one. I started writing when I was about seven years old when I bought a notebook from Woolworth’s and a set of felt tip pens and set about creating my own characters who lived in an imaginary world. It was about a young girl who went on an adventure with only a parrot for company . . . And, oddly enough, in Scotch on the Rocks there is a parrot who started off as a minor character and almost took over the novel.
What inspired you to start and where do you get your writing inspiration from?
I became really serious about my writing when I was given a typewriter as a Christmas present when I was about ten. I think if you want to write it becomes a compulsion and you will find the time to get a few words down on the page. Soon those words become chapters and soon those chapters become a completed novel. I am mostly inspired by places and people and constantly ask myself – how would I react in a certain situation. Or, what would happen if . . . I’ve always been a dreamer and writing novels is my way of fulfilling those dreams. I wake up in the morning with my head buzzing with ideas and I’m rarely at a loss at what to write.
Where do you write?
I’m very lucky. I don’t write on the dining room table and have to move everything every time I want to feed my family. I have a designated room which is known as my ‘study’ and my husband knows better than to go in there without permission to borrow post its, sticky pads or pens, without written permission. Only kidding (but only JUST kidding).
What does your writing space look and feel like?
My study was used as a second sitting room when we bought our house. It’s reached through the conservatory and looks directly onto the garden through its own set of French doors. It’s book-lined, as you would expect, but it also has everything a writer could need – internet connection, iPhone docking system for playing music, three printers, filing cabinets, room for box files etc., its own coffee machine and is centrally heated. It feels like a place where serious writing (and daydreaming) takes place; somewhere where I can switch off the pc at the end of the day but can get straight down to work the next morning because everything will be just as I left it. It’s very tidy and organised and I love it.
You are a successful self-published author. What advice would you give to others who are just starting their writing journey?
Write the book you want to write. The book you want to read. If you don’t like the themes and characters in your book, how can you expect anyone else to? Don’t try to follow trends and fads as they will have passed by the time you finish your novel – vampires, paranormal, Fifty Shades etc., for example. Write the best book you can and send it out to beta readers to get feedback. If money allows, have it professionally edited, but remember – no one knows your book like you do. Make sure that you create an eye catching cover and title and be sure to have it proof read and, even then, go through it again yourself before you upload it onto kindle or wherever.
While you’re writing your book, make time to develop a social networking presence – kindle, Facebook, Instagram, Word Press blog and so on. That is where you will find your readers and establish yourself as a writer. Even if you are traditionally published, you will be expected to promote your book – so get those ducks in a row whilst you can.
One last thing – write the WHOLE novel before you begin editing. I know so many writers who spend so much time re-writing the first three chapters and polishing the synopsis of their novel before they never get to the end.
What sorts of books and authors do you like reading?
I do like romances, but ones where there is plenty of wit and humour and the heroine – although she makes mistakes – is no airhead. I like my heroines to be aspirational and to have goals which she will have achieved by the end of the novel. I read and review a lot of authors as part of my role and it isn’t always easy to switch off my ‘inner editor’. I am always blown away when I read an author whose work I admire, and aspire to emulate. My favourite authors are: Jill Mansell, Sophie Kinsella, Milly Johnson, Carole Matthews and many of the other writers in the Romantic Novelists’ Association. I have to be careful not to become so immersed in a book I love that I (unconsciously) start to write in the style of that writer. It happens, believe me! In those circumstances I read autobiographies as they take me ‘out’ of my genre and give me some great ideas for characters, scene setting and locations.
What are you writing at the moment?
Romance #4, provisionally entitled – THIS HIGHLAND MAGIC. It’s the story of an archivist who, escaping from a scandal of her own making, accepts an offer to catalogue the library of a castle in the highlands of Scotland, prior to the contents being sold to raise money for the impoverished laird and his estate. There are rumours of a ‘treasure’ being hidden somewhere in the castle and the heroine, Henriette –a cross between Indiana Jones and the Relic Hunter sets out to find it. Over the course of her adventures she finds out that, sometimes, what you’re really looking for is right in front of you!
What’s next for Lizzie Lamb?
I want to widen my readership and to that end have just created a quarterly newsletter and a blog. I also blog with New Romantics Press which I helped to form. I have also been offered a chance to talk to third year creative writing students at De Montfort University about self-publishing and this is an area I would like to explore in greater depth. I have been offered, and turned down, two publishing contracts because, at the moment, as I enjoy being an indie author and the freedom of being my own ‘boss’. But, if the right offer came along – who knows?
Thanks so much for joining me today Lizzie. It’s been an absolute pleasure. Kim x