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…
download Jo’s new book here
Well, that about wraps up this interview. Thanks for appearing on my blog, Jo. I wish you mega success with your new novel and all your writing endevours.
It is my pleasure today to give a big shout out to Eleanor Harkstead fellow member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, lover of history, men in kilts and all round fabulous author. Some of you may remember that I interviewed Eleanor (aka Helen Barrell) back in June 2017. At the end of that post I asked her what she was working on and she said:
“With two non-fiction titles under my belt, I’m focussing on fiction for a while. I’ve recently started to write collaboratively with Catherine Curzon – we have historical romance and romantic thrillers up our collective sleeves.”
Their contemporary short story about feuding theatricals, ‘An Actor’s Guide to Romance’, is available on Amazon. The first installment in their Captivating Captains series, the historical novel The Captain and the Cavalry Trooper, will be published on 3 April 2018, and is available to pre-order. Both titles are published by Pride. If fancy reading ‘something different,’ give Eleanor and Catherine’s novel a try.
I met Eleanor through the Birmingham Chapter of the RNA and we discovered a common bond: writing, romance, a love of history and Scotland. To give you a taste of Eleanor’s work, I thought it would be fun to ask her to write a piece about Men in Kilts. Here it is:
The Ballad of the Scotsman in a Kilt
The first time I visited Glasgow with my Scottish partner, he assured me that I wouldn’t be seeing anyone in a kilt. “No one wears kilts in Scotland. Only bagpipers wear them, and old men in the islands.” Reader, I was disappointed. Until we got off the train at Glasgow Central and found ourselves in a swirling morass of Scottish footie fans who were off to see their team play an international match. Almost everyone was in a kilt.
“I thought you said no one wears kilts in Scotland?” “Erm….” was his reply
On another trip to Glasgow, my partner decided to buy a kilt. The ground floor of the shop was full of shortbread and whisky, and knickknacks featuring lake monsters and West Highland terriers. We headed down into the basement to the kilt department, where the heavy tartans and tweeds muffled the sounds from the street above. First, to decide the tartan. Being a Wallace, my partner does have a tartan for his surname, but he found its red colour a bit brash. So he opted instead for the Wallace hunting tartan, which is mainly a dark green. Obviously, you’d startle your quarry if it you had a quantity of bright red fabric swinging about your thighs as you crossed the springy heather, so each tartan has a hunting variant. Also – each tartan has an “ancient” variant, where the colours are more muted. After choosing his fabric, my partner was measured up. A kilt should be worn high on the waist, not low-slung on the hips, and it should come above the knee.
I’m sure you won’t mind me referring you back to the image of the heavy fabric swinging about the thighs as our Scottish chap strides up the side of a mountain – if the kilt is below the knee, that stride is going to be rather difficult. There’s an option to have a “sports kilt” – this involves less cloth (the pleats mean kilts are made from a vast amount of fabric), and they’re made from synthetics rather than wool. This makes them easier to move about in, whether you’re tossing cabers or heading off to a football stadium.
A sporran, next – my partner chose a plain leather one. You can get all sorts of designs on them, such as thistles or the St Andrew’s cross, as well as ones made from seal fur. If you must, you can have a ceremonial dagger – or sgian dubh – to tuck in one’s sock, then you have to choose your jacket. Does sir want a black “Bonnie Prince Charlie” jacket, or perhaps for that laird-striking-out-across-his-acres look, a tweed with buttons made from bone? And as for the shirt, will sir be wearing a plain white one or a Highlander-style billowing blouse? Whilst I evinced an interest in a shirt of the more billowing variety, my partner decided it would make him look like a jessie, so he wears one that he bought from Next. With a Wallace hunting tartan tie, of course.What footwear for a kilt? There’s traditional lace-up brogues, or you could go with a buckled shoe, or heck, why not go a bit punk and wear DMs or motorcycle boots?
A flutter of excitement went through my English family and friends once it became known that my partner had his very own kilt. He wore it when we visited my mum on her birthday in that most unScottish of English counties: Essex (well, apart from the Dagenham Girl Pipers).
My mum was exceedingly pleased with the kilt, and demanded she have her photo taken stood beside my partner in his Scottish finery. I am dismayed to relate that she told him it really suited his rear. Yes, it certainly does; that wouldn’t have passed me by, but mother – really. We went out for dinner on my mum’s birthday, so my partner decided to wear his kilt. On the way to the restaurant, my mum insisted we stop off in Sainsbury’s. The locals of Brentwood had never before seen a man in a kilt sashay through the aisles of their supermarket and my partner left a sea of astonished faces in his wake.
All except one local who came up to him to declare that he was wearing the Blackwatch tartan. My partner tried very politely to explain that he was wearing the Wallace hunting tartan, but she wouldn’t have it. Because of course, who could be more expert on kilts than someone living in Essex? “I know it’s the Blackwatch tartan – I’ve got it on a biscuit tin.”
Those better be shortbreads, or I’m having words.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that no wedding is complete without a man in a kilt. We looked at the photos of a friend’s wedding to discover that a nice picture of my partner stood beside the bride was complete with women of a certain age in the background who were very obviously staring at his legs. At another wedding, he noticed that several female guests were deliberately getting their photos taken so that my partner and his kilt – and of course his legs – were in the background.
He’s even received an invitation to a wedding purely based on the fact that he owns a kilt. Unfortunately, on the day my partner was at a loss to find the right shoes, so turned up in trousers. As disappointing as this may have been for the women who were so looking forward to staring at a strange man’s knees, he wore his tweed jacket and tartan tie with his trousers, so he still brought a suitably Scottish vibe to proceedings.
And what does a Scotsman wear under his kilt? Boxer shorts – in plaid, of course.
Many thanks to Helen/Eleanor for writing that piece for the blog. If you want to know more about Eleanor and her work, here are the links.