Originally posted on Sue Moorcroft blog: ? I thought I’d share with you some of my favourite pix from my research trip in north Norfolk last year, as the book I was conducting research for was A Summer to Remember – and, wow, it’s now almost time for the book to come out! Top left…
Today I’m delighted to introduce romantic novelist Ian Wilfred who I applaud for breaking the stereotype of a typical ‘romance’ writer. I know that there are other male romance writers, but not all bravely publish under their real name/gender. I ‘met’ Ian on Twitter where he is always supportive and friendly and it would be lovely to say hello in real life at some stage. I will admit to being more than a little bit in love with his dog Lottie (before I discovered Jack Russells I always wanted a Westie).
Ian Wilfred is 50+ but in his head he will always be 39. He lives on the Norfolk Coast with his husband and West Highland terrier and is a member of the Romantic Novelist Association.
Ian’s debut novel ‘Putting Right The Past’ was published in 2013 and is set on the island of Tenerife. In 2017 he…
This was great fun and relatively easy for me because all the selected songs are featured in my novel That Summer at the Seahorse Hotel.
I’m Irish, so music is in my DNA. Music filled our house from morning to night, my father Harry, was a trumpet-player who loved jazz, classical, pop, you name it, he even played in a brass band and introduced us to some wonderful colliery tunes.
We all loved to dance – ballet, tap, rock ‘n’ roll and I was taught The Twist by my aunts at a very tender age. I still know the words to most Billie Holiday songs and quite a few of Ella Fitzgerald’s too! That Summer at the Seahorse Hotel is a gripping, romantic suspense staring Mia Flanagan, a costumier in the film business whose mother is a famous actress. Mia has never been told who her father is, and…
Since then, I’ve discovered how to insert HTML images from Youtube into a blog post so I’ve updated it. Hope the videos enhance your pleasure of the blog post and that I can remember how to do it next time.
When I was very young, my mother and I went to live with my maternal grandparents and two teenage uncles (Joseph 20 and Tommy 18) who spoiled me rotten and encouraged me to be precocious. NOT that I needed much encouragement. The house was filled with music, my uncles having bought a large radiogram with wages earned working in the local steel mill. They played their 78’s whenever they could, which meant I knew the words to all the latest songs and they taught me how to jive, twist etc. Later, when we moved house to England, my family’s love of popular music continued (via the radio). We listened to Music While You Work, Children’s Favourites, Sing Something Simple, Two Way Family Favourites and ground-breaking Radio Caroline. As a teenager I fell asleep listening to Radio Luxembourg via an earpiece attached to my prized transistor radio. When Radio One was launched in 1967 it was as important to teenagers, like me, as a man walking on the moon two years later.
Fast forward to listening to Radio One on the drive home from work, the transition from cassette tapes to CD’s and finally, downloading music on my iPhone. Small wonder music has provided the backing track to all our lives.
I only have to hear the opening chords of this song and I am transported back to 1967 when the hippy movement reached Leicester. I had just taken my ‘O’ levels and at the start of the summer holidays my friend Brenda Harris and I bought a bag of budgie bells from the local pet shop (much to the shop keeper’s suspicion). We sewed them on the outside seam of our bellbottom jeans, found a couple of floppy hats and ‘granny clothes’ at jumble sales and put together a ‘hippy kit’. Then we joined all the other wannabes on Victoria Park in search of the much promised Happening, which never materialised. Instead, we ended up in mega trouble for chalking – MAKE LOVE, NOT WAR on a neighbour’s garage door, after which the Summer of Love ended abruptly for us.
(2) Sguaban Arbhair – Sheaves of Corn
I often ‘stumble across’ music and this is how I found Runrig. I was watching TV and saw the group perform at Glasgow Barrowlands and was blown away, When I was a child we would often go to the ‘Barras’ a couple of times a year on shopping expeditions. That memory, coupled with Runrig’s fusion of folk, Gaelic and rock music tapped into a part of me I’d forgotten existed; my Scottishness. When Runrig came to Leicester I went to see them in concert and bought several CD’s afterwards. There I found the track Sguaban Arbhair – Sheaves of Corn. It tells how the old ways of crofting and living off the land have vanished as young people head for the cities. It’s my go-to song when I want to get into the mood for writing. In Scotch on the Rocks, my heroine Ishabel sings it at a live mike session in the local pub and the hero falls in love with her. When I listen to it, I’m transported to Eilean na Sgairbh, the imaginary Cormorant Island where I set my novel.S
(3) Ship to Shore – Chris de Burgh
Lady in Red (now sadly cliched) brought Chris de Burgh to my attention. And, of course, I had to listen to his back catalogue (first on vinyl and then on CD). I found Ship to Shore and it raised my spirits at a difficult time. My mother had recently died of cancer, I underwent a hysterectomy, we moved house twice in two and a half years and I was acting head at a large primary school of over 350 children. It became an anthem for me, the backdrop to a time when I wanted to get stuck into my writing but was forced to put my dream on hold. The line: how I wish that we could turn the clock back to the time when we were lovers, in the true sense of the meaning, inspired me to go for gold and achieve my dream. In fact, all of the lyrics have a resonance for me. I only have to hear the Morse code ‘pips’ at the beginning of the song and I’m transported back to when I saw Chris de Burgh at the NEC. A time before word processors, the internet, and Amazon made becoming a published author an attainable dream for thousands of indie authors.S
(4) Someone Like You – Adele
I discovered Adele much in the same way as Runrig. A friend had been banging on about her for months and I put my fingers in my ears and refused to listen. Stubborn, see? Then I caught Adele’s concert at the Albert Hall on TV, heard her sing Someone Like You and Don’t You Remember? and was hooked. Something in her lyrics – which come straight from her heart, the key she sang in, and her performance found an answering chord in me. Overall, I’ve had a good life and a very happy marriage. So, I have to dig deep when writing a sad/emotional scenes and Adele takes me there in seconds. So – that evening, once I’d stopped blubbing like a baby in front of the TV, I went straight on to Amazon and ordered ‘21’. It’s remained a favourite ever since.
(4) Downbound Train – Bruce Springsteen
In the 90’s we went to America, travelling from Washington DC to Memphis, thru Iowa and up to Door County. We stayed with my former teaching student and when we caught the plane back to the UK, she gave me Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the USA. In return, I promised that I would write a romance set in Wisconsin, bringing together everything we’d experienced over five magical weeks. Once home, I played the album while preparing for returning to school after the long holiday. However, influenced by Jilly Cooper, Helen Fielding et al I put notes for my ‘American novel’ to one side and started writing a rom com instead: Tall, Dark and Kilted. But I never forgot my promise and recently returned to the MS, re-writing and publishing it as Take Me, I’m Yours, dedicating it to Dee Paulsen and her family. Apart from the anthemic Born in the USA, my favourite track is Downbound Train. Every time I play it, I’m back in Dee’s Aunt Bev’s house in Memphis sweltering in 100 degrees in the shade as we rush from air-conditioned house to air-conditioned car. Now I know that I don’t have a pioneering bone in my body and would never convincingly play the part of a woman having a baby in the back of a wagon.
If you would like to read an extract, download or share about Take Me, I’m Yours,click here
It’s time for this month’s authors’ Round Robin, and author Robin Courtright has set us another excellent topic…
How do you self-edit your books before submitting or publishing?
When I wrote my first novel I knew very little about the editing process. In my naivety, I thought
Image courtesy of Pixabay
editing involved checking for spelling mistakes and picking up on grammatical errors.
I’ve learned a great deal since then, and my ideas about editing have changed completely. Although details are important, people will generally forgive a typo here or there, or the odd time you said ‘which’ when you meant ‘that’. Unless your manuscript is riddled with this type of mistake, minor errors won’t generally make a reader put a book down.
There are some important areas that could easily lose your readers’ interest, though. In order to self-edit, you need to be able to take a step back…
It is my great pleasure to interview Yorkshire Rose Writers on my blog today. There are so many questions I wanted to ask but had to limit Sharon and Jessica to just FIVE because of space and time. But I advise anyone who wants to know about them to go over to their wonderful blog, or to follow them on Facebook.
So, who are the Yorkshire Rose Writers ?
We’re the Yorkshire Rose Writers, also known as Sharon Booth and Jessica Redland. We met through both being members of the Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writers’ Scheme. As we both live in Yorkshire, love Yorkshire, write contemporary romance/romantic comedies set in Yorkshire, and are good friends, we decided to join forces online and become the Yorkshire Rose Writers. They say two heads are better than one so we’re looking forward to seeing where our partnership takes us. So far, Sharon has published 13 books and Jessica has published 9 with her tenth due out in spring.
Way to go Sharon and Jessica, tell us more !
We both set our novels in Yorkshire although, funnily
enough, neither of us started with a Yorkshire setting…
Jessica: The idea for my debut novel, Searching for Steven, came from a real-life event. At the time, I was living in Reading, Berkshire, but I moved back to the north the following year to be nearer my family and that’s when I started writing. The book was initially set in London with the protagonist moving to the north but ‘the north’ was a very non-specific setting and, the more I wrote, the more I realised my lack of setting was really letting me down. A couple of months later, I met my husband and he was from Scarborough on the North Yorkshire Coast where I now live. I found the love of my life but I also found my setting as all my books are set in a fictional version of Scarborough (with a bit of Whitby and Robin Hood’s Bay thrown in there) called Whitsborough Bay. I wanted to keep the setting fictional to give me the flexibility to change things and create parts of the town that don’t exist. Anyone who knows Scarborough will recognise certain parts, though, which are very much inspired by the real setting.
Sharon: I’ve set books in various parts of Yorkshire, including the Dales and Moors. My first series of books, however, are set in the fictional Kearton Bay, which is based on Robin Hood’s Bay. When I first had the idea for what became There Must Be an Angel, we were on our way down to Somerset for a holiday, and while we were there, we visited Glastonbury. I started plotting during that week, so when I returned home, I initially set the story in Glastonbury. It wasn’t long, however, before I realised that the characters who were talking to me had Yorkshire accents …
Please share your top five writing tips
Keep everything! No work is wasted work
Write what you love. If you’re not passionate about your characters/setting/plot, readers probably won’t be too
Always have a notepad (or even the notes function on your phone) handy for when inspiration strikes
Keep a spreadsheet or similar of all the key details of your characters and settings, particularly if, like us, you write a series. This makes sure you don’t name two streets the same, move businesses, or keep calling all your secondary characters Dave
Don’t forget your character arc. By the end of your book, your protagonist needs to have changed in some way/learned something. At the start, decide on your arc and how you’re going to achieve it.
Tell us how the writing process works for you – plotter or pantser
Sharon: I’m very much a plotter, although in ‘real’ life I’m quite disorganised and everything is ‘last minute’ with me. I use a fantastic book called Save the Cat! Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody to make a plan before I start writing. Having said that, I do veer off course quite often, but I’m like that clever Sat Nav lady – I just correct the route and carry on.
Jessica: I’m the pantser which surprises me because, in ‘real’ life I’m actually very organised and a big planner. When I wrote Searching for Steven, I just wrote. I hadn’t a clue what I was doing and I learned my craft along the way. Because it took me a decade to write on and off (including some significant breaks where I didn’t write at all), I think I developed a habit. I tried to plot the sequel, Getting Over Gary, but my characters didn’t like it. They kept doing their own thing – which was not what I’d plotted – so I now just write. I do spend some time developing my characters first, though, including their arc. I know what the plot will be about and how it needs to end but how that unfolds is very much driven by my characters as I go.
Social Media – help or hindrance
Great question! If we’re honest, probably a bit of both. Writing can be a lonely business so social media is great for engaging with other writers, making friends, and building a ‘community’. But, let’s be honest, if you’re having a tough time it can really knock your confidence to see a Facebook newsfeed full of writers celebrating amazing news – even though you really like them and are genuinely pleased for them. Sometimes we forget that most people only post about the good bits of their lives! Social media can be great for promoting your work, of course, but that also has a downside, because we know that nothing is more likely to alienate potential readers than constant ‘buy my book’ posts.
It’s hard to strike a balance between promotion and
remembering the ‘social’ bit of social media. It’s a huge time suck if you let
it be. No one can procrastinate quite like a writer, and it’s funny how
appealing a video of a cat watching television can be if you’ve reached a tricky
part of your WIP. (And yes, we have watched that video!) It’s part of the reason we joined together. We
figured that, if one of us is having a busy week/month, the other one might not
be under quite so much pressure, so we can ‘share the burden’. It’s also often
easier to promote each other than it is to promote ourselves!
Blurb and link(s) to your current book
current book is a Christmas one, but a Christmas book isn’t just for Christmas
is it? And it starts on Christmas Day one year but then is mainly November/early
December the following one so not entirely Christmas. Have I convinced you?
Christmas at The Chocolate Pot Café –
A few minutes of courage might change your life…
Emotionally, Tara Porter finds the festive period a challenge. Christmas Day is a reminder of the family she lost, and New Year’s Eve holds bitter memories of the biggest mistake of her life: marrying Garth Tewkesbury. Shunning invitations to celebrate, she seeks refuge in her flat with only her giant house bunny, Hercules, for company. Professionally, though, it’s the best time of year. Tara’s thriving café, The Chocolate Pot, is always packed. With the café hosting a wedding and engagement party, it’s shaping up to be the café’s best Christmas ever. When former nemesis, Jed Ferguson, threatens the future of The Chocolate Pot, Tara prepares for a fight. The café is everything to her and she’s not going to let anyone or anything jeopardise that. Tara badly misjudged ex-husband Garth and, since then, has refused to let anyone in. After all, if you don’t let them in, they can’t hurt you. But has she misjudged Jed too? Is it possible that he’s not the arrogant, deceitful man from whom she bought the café 14 years earlier? Can she find the courage to find out for sure?
Sharon: My latest
book is the first in my new The Witches of Castle Clair series, set in a
fictional version of Knaresborough in North Yorkshire. It’s suitable to be read
at any time of year.
Belle, Book and
Do you believe in magic?
Sky St Clair doesn’t, and growing up in Castle Clair, a small town renowned for its mystical past and magical legends, she never felt she belonged. Sky got away from Castle Clair as soon as she could, but when a run of bad luck leaves her homeless and jobless, she has little choice but to accept her sister Star’s invitation to return home for the festive season. When Star has an accident, Sky finds herself running the family’s magical supplies shop. Wands, crystals, pendulums … really? It’s a tough job when she doesn’t believe in the products she’s selling, but how can she? Magic isn’t real, no matter what her deluded siblings think. Jethro Richmond doesn’t believe in magic either. In fact, he doesn’t believe in anything much anymore, which is proving to be a bit of a problem for a writer of fantasy novels. With a self-constructed wall around his heart as high as Clair Tower, and his dreams as ruined as the town’s ancient castle, he’s lost all hope of repairing his tattered career. The last thing he needs is to get involved with a family like the St Clairs, and no matter what a certain little black cat seems to want Jethro has no intention of spending any time with Sky or her unusual sisters. But this is a strange little town and, as the residents prepare to celebrate Christmas, Sky and Jethro might just discover that in Castle Clair, anything is possible. Even magic
Finally – what are you working on ATM?
Sharon: I’m writing
the second in The Witches of Castle Clair series, plotting the fourth and final
Kearton Bay novel, and starting to jot down ideas for the fifth Bramblewick
trying to find a home with a publisher for my tenth novel. I’m being very
selective about where to send it, though. I’ve had some superb feedback, no
offers … yet. I’m waiting to hear back on a couple of others, but will indie
publish it in spring if they’re a no. I’m also part-way through another two
books. I hope one will be ready for summer and another for autumn. In theory.
Reality is that I’m in the final year of a Masters in Creative Writing through
Open University, and I have another five assignments to go on that which will
have to take priority. My final big assignment will be 15k words of a new novel
and I’m excited about that because I’ve decided to do something a bit different
as a challenge. If it works, that may be a 2020 publication.
Thanks so much for inviting us onto your blog, Lizzie. We really appreciate it. It’s been great fun having you here, I hope we might meet up soon.
A big hello to author, blogger and Facebook aficionado – Anna Shenton. Anna and I met via her writers’ page on Facebook and I wanted to get to know her better. So, here we go.
Anna, tell us a bit about yourself.
Born in a village in Staffordshire, England I experienced an interesting upbringing via my English father, and German mother -together with two elder siblings Ilona and Steven, and later, Ingo, a surprise brother from Germany.
Interesting names: I would like to know more about them sometime.
I live in Staffordshire with my lovely retired policeman hubby. We love to travel with our touring caravan. We share a fantastic family of six sons and daughter-in-law’s, and millions of adorable grandchildren, no shortage of inspiration.
Did you say caravan? Small wonder we clicked on Facebook. Not that OUR caravans are anything like this one – LOL.
Share with us how the writing process works for you
I write purely as a hobby, no set rules to how I work. I rely on what, where and when. I’ve never experienced (what shall I write feeling, or I must do this). Having said that, I hold much optimism for the future and revel in the freedom of writing. A home study course with the Writing School of London helped with publication of Star Letters, Fillers, and Articles in various magazines including Writers Forum.
Indie-publishing is my ideal. I’m free, no deadlines, no criteria, no rules. Thus far I’ve created – Seduced by Mind Tricks being my debut romance novel, followed by Lust for Survival a collection of short stories, Writing Spelled Out a guide on how to start writing, and my recent release 76 Silver Street a historical romance novella.
Freelancing is always lurking at the back of my mind, too. Scanning through magazines often tempts me to submit feature articles. If they’re accepted, great, if not, I’ve enjoyed writing it.
I love social media and through it I’ve made many new friends – writers and readers alike. But it can be ‘time suckage. What do you think, Anna?
My heart has warmness to the social network. Without
it I wouldn’t have learnt so much, neither would I have met so many wonderful people.
Controlling usage is the key; I don’t allow it to takeover! Many opportunities
are there for the taking and I do believe building a social network reputation
is essential for all authors! I’ve enjoyed building a Facebook page, and
creating the writers authors & readers closed group, almost 1,000 fabulous
Tell us who or what inspired you to become a writer –
My flair to create comes from my family. My late uncle, a famous artist, and my late father, a pencil/cartoonist who contributed to the Daily Mirror. My late brother wrote his Debut Novel (Notes in the Margin) which unfortunately, wasn’t published. I hope to get this published one day donating proceeds to cancer. My Sister writes a very popular frugal blog too (Mean Queen) she is amazing. The freedom of writing, expressing your inner self and creating is something I would hate to lose. I breathe inspiration from everyday life.
If not a writer, then what
Thank you Lizzie, for the opportunity to answer this
question. It holds so many diverse answers. Naturally life itself is foremost, family,
sharing and savouring precious moments. Thereafter, I’m lucky enough to have time to travel
with my touring caravan, to tranquil places taking my pencil drawing subjects
with me. I mainly draw portraits, self-taught, from photographs and find it
rewarding. Outdoor life suits me too, so
lots to do beyond writing.
Blurb – Although she had a roof over her head, Rosa Brown couldn’t abide Dan’s drunken coercive behaviour as his housekeeper anymore. Aunt Mildred’s call from her hospital-bed sends Rosa sneaking out of town, to take over her aunt’s rundown boarding house. Met by Jack Howard on arrival, in Pemberton 1905, Rosa’s heart plummets when her eyes meet with the dingy filthy place and Jack’s dark devilish impudent manner, who thinks she’s mad and has no intention of helping to get the place up and running before it goes bust.
Rosa is shocked when faced with all the ruffians and
commoners knocking on the door and struggles to keep Jack’s hands off her.
Sprucing the place up and filling it with respectful paying guests, proves
harder than expected.
Now, filled with fear for her aunt and her own
wellbeing, will Rosa ever find true love and be free from trouble?
Jenny Lakin – 5.0 out of 5 stars Fast paced romantic novella of lives in the early 20th century suburbs of working Manchester . The story is fast paced and keeps you reading, I read it in one go.
S. M. Wragg – 4.0 out of 5 starsLively, believable characters. Sets the scene well at the turn of the 20th century. Running away from an abusive relationship, young and feisty Rose Brown has been left in charge of a run-down boarding house by her aunt, who is ill, a happening that brings her into contact with a variety of lively, believable characters. I enjoyed this book and I’m looking forward to reading the sequel.
Lady Rochford – 5.0 out of 5 stars This is a time when life is cheap . . . Manchester at the turn of the last century is no place for a girl like Rose. Just when she thinks she’s found safety and love she needs to draw on all her reserves of strength in order to survive. She needs a way out of the slums; and a call from her aunt provides her with just that.
Thank you Lizzie, for the kind invitation to write a guest post for your blog. It’s a delight to be here. I hope to make this post as fulfilling, interesting and joyful as I can!
The highlight of the year was publishing my fifth novel – Take Me, I’m Yours. For this one I abandoned Scotland and headed for Wisconsin where I spent a glorious five weeks a few summers ago. However, fear not, there is a Scottish connection as the hero – Logan MacFarlane and the heroine India-Jane Buchanan are of Scots descent – natch. You can read about it here.Within a few weeks it reached #1 in its genre –
If you’d like to read the first three chapters – follow this link – And if any readers think I’ve abandoned Scotland, read to the end of the blog for details of my next novel . . .
July was a busy month. Adrienne Vaughan and I arranged a Literary Lunch at the Belmont Hotel, Leicester which raised £300 for MIND. It was also a great chance to showcase our books and to thank people for supporting our writing. We are lucky to have such generous friends and readers.
It’s funny how good things happen when you least expect them. I was overwhelmed when Simon Whaley of Writers Magazine contacted me and asked if I’d like to contribute to a piece he was writing on BLOG TOURS. Having taken part in two blog tours in as many months I felt qualified to comment.
June saw Bongo Man and me heading for Scotland with our caravan for a month – writing, touring, kicking back. I don’t know what it is about Scotland but it feeds my soul and my imagination. We’ll be returning there this summer, too. This time, we’ll be staying on a site overlooking Castle Stalker which was the inspiration behind Girl in the Castle.
For me, writing is all about making friends and sharing my work with others. Through Facebook and Twitter I’ve made many friends who have gone on to become readers and reviewers of my novels. I never take their support for granted. On our way up to Scotland, by an amazing coincidence, one of my proofreaders was staying on the same campsite in Kendal so I was able to thank her in person for all her help. Later in the summer, on the way to Cornwall in July we were able to meet up again at Exeter Service Station where I gave her a signed copy of Take Me, I’m Yours. Who says writing isn’t romantic? LOL.
In March I attended the RONAs with La Diva, Isabella Tartaruga, who is always first to read the rough draft of my novels and give me honest feedback. I also met fabulous JILLY COOPER – cue fan girl moment. And, in case you’re wondering, Jilly is even lovelier than you could ever imagine.
If I was to choose an author whose books put me on the path to writing, it would have to be Jilly and books such as EMILY, IMOGEN etc. And who could fail to fall for her hero Rupert Campbell-Black in her bonkbuster(s) Polo, Ride and Jump?
We’re getting close to the beginning of the year and Burns Night, which we celebrated at our Danish neighbours’ house. Go figure. As for my obsession with Men in Kilts, I encourage my husband Dave to wear his as often as possible. Purely for inspiration you understand. Here he is on his way to the Burns Night supper, looking quite the part. For those who are wondering, we belong to clan LAMONT (pron: Lam’NT, not La Mont). It’s motto is: Ne Parcas Nec Spernas (Neither spare nor dispose). Not quite sure what that means . . . but I do know that I wouldn’t have achieved half of my success without Bongo Man by my side.
I was lucky enough to be featured on other writers’/bloggers’ posts this year. Here’s a selection (including two blog tours ) if you want to take a look:
Being Anne – review of Take Me, I’m Yours (blog post)
As for 2019, the events are stacking up Carole Matthews Book Launch (February), States of Independence (March), Self publishing Conference (April), Deepings Lit Fest (May) RNA Conference (July), RNA York Tea (September), Narberth Book Fair (Wales), return to DMU to give talk on self-publishing. In addition, there’s monthly Belmont Belles meetings which I organise with mu oppo and great mate, June Kearns.
All that remains now is for me to wish you a healthy and happy 2019. I’m about to pick up the threads of the next novel which I started just before Christmas and to get stuck in. What is it about? I’ll let this tweet and the video do the talking –
Caring is sharing - I'd love you to share my blog with your friends
Welcome to 2019 and Jo Lambert’s new novel – Wicked Game
Tell us a little about yourself, Jo
Hi Lizzie and thank you so much for inviting me onto your blog. Well, what can I say about me? I’m a country girl who despite living a few years in the city has now migrated back to village life. I’m married and share our home with my husband’s other ‘love’ a green MGB GT. We live on the eastern edge of Bath so have a great city/country life balance. I worked all my adult life in PA or Office Management roles and after reducing hours for a couple of years, decided to close the door on my 9 to 5 to concentrate on my writing full time. As an indie author I’ve written seven novels, five set in West Somerset and two in Devon. In June 2018 I signed a contract with Choc Lit for my eighth book The Boys of Summer set on the north Cornish coast. I write modern romantic sagas with plenty of drama in the mix.
What would be your typical writing day?
Every day, with the exception of weekends, I take an hour out each morning and walk. My allocated time for writing usually begins after lunch and finishes around five. I rarely set a word count for each day as it depends on where I’ve got to with the WIP. If I achieve 2500+ then I feel I’ve done a good day’s work. It’s very easy to let writing take over your life, and because of that I feel it’s important to have a structured day. So I try to set aside time for non-writing activities – cooking, regular catch ups with friends, lunch out, cinema, theatre, even shopping – the sort of things that get you away from the computer for a while.
Tell us how the writing process works for you …
I have never written a novel which has been fully plotted.
Rather I set certain key events and then begin to write. So much can change
during the journey from beginning to end and that for me means I have to be
flexible – to have the ability to change things that don’t work and if
necessary swap characters around or delete them from the story. In The Boys of
Summer for instance I ended up swapping my hero and antagonist because the
other way round they simply weren’t working.
I also find lots of external things influence me as I write. Drama on
TV, a book I’m reading, music or even having a conversation with someone. One
quite innocent event or remark can take my thoughts off in a particular
direction and bring about improvements to the story I’m writing. Although it would be great to be able to
simply sit down and write a story from beginning to end, I guess we all write
in the way we’re most comfortable with. Me? I take the scenic route. Maybe it
takes longer but it works for me.
Who or what inspired you to become a writer?
I grew up listening to stories from my maternal grandfather. He was a grand old countryman who entertained us, his grandchildren, with tales which he tended to embellish – making it even more exciting to our young ears. Maybe this rubbed off on me, who knows, but there was always something there that wanted to tell stories – and not just tell them, write them. As I got older, college, career and marriage all conspired to keep that creative spark in me pushed very firmly to the back of the queue. Eventually a story came into my head and simply wouldn’t go away. Despite having a busy life, including a full time job I managed to squeeze in the time to begin writing. The result was When Tomorrow Comes, the first book in the Little Court series and everything took off from there.
Tell us a little bit about where you set your novels
Growing up on a farm in rural Wiltshire it seemed natural for my books to have country flavour – a case of write what you know. It’s not all about country life though. I have a bit of a ‘thing’ about Italy and various locations there have featured in more than one of my novels.
Please share your favourite reviews from previous books –
Summer Moved On – ‘What I really like about Jo Lambert books is that there are never any dull moments. The drama and romance comes thick and fast. The pace of the book builds up to an amazing story. The characters in the book are so alive and real that you will become emotionally involved and fall deep into the story.’
Watercolours In the Rain –I very much enjoyed Summer Moved On, but Watercolours in the Rain is even better. Finding out what happened to Jess, Talun and Lily – and all the other minor characters – was like hearing about friends and what happened to them. I was fascinated to see how Jo Lambert managed to get the “right” ending – very cleverly written, I thought.
Please share the Blurb and link to your current book
Fashion designer Thérèse D’Alesandro has recently moved into Westhead Manor with daughter Felicia and stepson Marco. Joining forces with neighbour Ella Benedict, she is about to open a bridal boutique at Ella’s exclusive wedding venue Lawns at Little Court. Marco has both the looks and charm to guarantee him any woman. Any woman, that is, except the one he wants: Ella’s niece Charlotte. Marco knows he should walk away as not only is she the most exasperating female he has ever encountered she’s currently in a relationship with rock star Christian Rossetti. But the chemistry between them is undeniable and sensing trouble brewing between Charlotte and the egotistical singer he is prepared to wait.
Charlotte’s cousin Lucy has discovered Christian’s guilty secrets – ones he has been keeping safely hidden from everyone. Determined to cause mischief and at the same time settle her own score with the arrogant star, she sets in motion a chain of events which eventually brings Marco and Charlotte together. Rossana Caravello is due to inherit the one of Italy’s premier vineyards on her twenty first birthday in September. Aware this would make an excellent addition to her husband’s international business portfolio, Thérèse plots to push the young heiress and her stepson together. Rossana is already besotted with Marco, but if the plan is to have any chance of success first she needs to get rid of Charlotte…