Name Lizzie Lamb
Do you have any pets and have they influenced or been included in your writing?
Anyone who knows me from Facebook, will know that I am totally under the thumb – or, should that be claw, of my Hahn’s Macaw, Jasper. He’s so funny and interacts with us in a very human way – including mimicking our speech, how we laugh, cough and sneeze. He is very bossy and one of his favourite expressions is: Don’t be silly. He doesn’t so much ask for things as demands them. When I was writing Scotch on the Rocks, I really wanted to include a parrot which interacts with the hero and heroine in an amusing way. So I invented Pershing, a blue and yellow macaw belonging to the heroine’s left wing, Aunt Esme. In the novel, Pershing flew into Esme’s tent when she was a member of the Women’s Peace Camp at Greenham Common in the mid-eighties – and he’s stayed with her ever since. He’s naughty, swears, and comes out with the appropriate phrase at the correct moment. In the novel, he steals the last scene from Brodie and Ishabel, just like our Hahn’s Macaw, Jasper, would.
Would you ever write your autobiography?
In a word – no! I can’t imagine that anyone would find my life so intriguing that they’d want to read about it. There is another reason, too; I draw upon my life for inspiration, embellishing the facts to make them more interesting to the reader. If the reader knew all about me, there would be no secrets – and where would the fun be in that? I do include a mini-bio on my amazon page, including a video of me with the other members of New Romantics Press, and there is some information about my background included at the end of my novels. If any reader wants to know a bit more about me, they should go over to my blog and find out a bit more about me, there. One thing I have learned from thinking about this question is that the hours I spent listening to adults exchanging the craic (crack) by the fireside, built in me a love of storytelling and how (hopefully) to hold an audience’s attention.
What do you think makes a good story?
I forget which author said it, but this phrase sums it up for me – a good story should keep children from their play and old men from the fire. When I was working full time as a teacher, I wanted to kick back at the end of the day with a good book and forget planning, marking and preparation and drift into another world. I read most of the classics when studying for my degree and I have little desire to return to them, now. Instead, I like novels written with humour and wit, great dialogue between the hero/heroine, not too much purple prose and l-o-o-n-g descriptive passages. And – pul-eese, authors, keep tea making and sitting round the kitchen table to a minimum. It slows down the action and makes me want to press fast forward!! I want to keep turning the pages for all the right reasons, finding out how the novel ends because I’ve come to care about the characters. Most of all, I enjoy the moment when the hero/heroine fall in love and live through them, vicariously, as they overcome obstacles to stay together and live happily ever after. I hope I manage to include some of these elements in my own writing.
Do you know how your book is going to end before you start writing?
I have invented a method which works for me and which my great writing buddy Adrienne Vaughan calls my Primary School Planner. I glue together several sheets of A4 paper, insert ‘benchmarks’ for the chapters and, as the plot occurs to me, I add them onto the time frame of the novel. Post-it notes are very handy in this scenario. I also collect newspaper clippings, information from the internet to inform my writing. But my starting point is always how/where/when the hero and heroine meet and WHY that should be of interest to the reader. Once I’ve worked that out, I then envisage their romantic and emotional journey as a train line, straight as a die but disappearing towards vanishing point (the resolution of the story). Then I create little ‘branch lines’ which take the reader off in a different direction/introduced new characters and leads towards the ‘dark moment’ when it seems as if they will never get the happy ending they deserve and which the reader (and I) crave.
When writing, do you prefer IPad, laptop, pen and paper? Can you describe your writing room
One of the reason we bought our house 19 years ago is because the previous owners had turned the back half of their ‘tandem garage’ into a second sitting room. You guessed it, that’s now my ‘study’. It has central heating and looks out into the garden and also into the conservatory which links it to the rest of the house. This is my space and beware anyone who trespasses – especially husbands in search of post-its, pens, sheets of paper etc. I can leave my things set out and get down to work straight away each day. We also have an old second hand caravan which we bought last year. One end has a small table flanked by two chairs, that’s where I write when I’m away from home.
I bought a new Dell pc in January 2013. It doesn’t have a tower and is, in essence, a large laptop but with a wireless keyboard and mouse. I do have an iPad and a keyboard and tried working on that, but it didn’t gel with me. I’ve tried paper and pen but my thoughts flow too quickly for that medium. I edit on the screen initially then I print out, edit on paper and enter the edits onto the screen. Works for me. I use the iPad for social media activities like Twitter and Facebook, but mostly while I’m watching tv. I find my mobile phone invaluable for taking photographs and uploading onto the web – better than anything.
Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
Write the best book you can and then . . . canvass some honest opinions about it (not your best friends!). If you can afford it, have it critiqued by someone reputable. I used the Hilary Johnson agency for Tall, Dark and Kilted. Or, join the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s New Writers Scheme and send your novel in to be read by a published author. But remember, no one knows your book better than you. Next, pay for a good proofreader. Readers might forgive a weak plot line here and there, but they won’t let you get away with sloppy grammar, typos and continuity issues. Finally pay someone to format your novel for Create Space and Kindle – I’m pretty techie, but I willingly hand that bit over to someone else.
I would also add, first time round, pay an accountant to complete your self-assessment tax forms, and send them to HMRC on your behalf – and learn how its done. That’s one less thing to worry about. Remember: critiquing, proofreading, formatting and using an accountant are all deductible expenses and can be off loaded against earnings.
And then . . . get on with promoting your book and writing the next one.
Scotch on the Rocks – a contemporary romance set in the Highlands of Scotland
BLURB FOR SCOTCH ON THE ROCKS
SCOTCH ON THE ROCKS
Where the men are men and the women are glad of it!
ISHABEL STUART is at the crossroads of her life.
Her wealthy industrialist father has died unexpectedly, leaving her a half-share in a ruined whisky distillery and the task of scattering his ashes on a Munro. After discovering her fiancé playing away from home, she cancels their lavish Christmas wedding at St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh and heads for the only place she feels safe – Eilean na Sgairbh, a windswept island on Scotland’s west coast -where the cormorants outnumber the inhabitants, ten to one.
When she arrives at her family home – now a bed and breakfast managed by her left-wing, firebrand Aunt Esme, she finds a guest in situ – BRODIE. Issy longs for peace and the chance to lick her wounds, but gorgeous, sexy American, Brodie, turns her world upside down.
In spite of her vow to steer clear of men, she grows to rely on Brodie. However, she suspects him of having an ulterior motive for staying at her aunt’s B&B on remote Cormorant Island. Having been let down twice by the men in her life, will it be third time lucky for Issy? Is it wise to trust a man she knows nothing about – a man who presents her with more questions than answers?
As for Aunt Esme, she has secrets of her own . . .
Boot Camp Bride – Romance and Intrigue on the Norfolk marshes – November 2013
BLURB FOR BOOT CAMP BRIDE
Take an up-for-anything rookie reporter. Add a world-weary photo-journalist. Put them together . . . light the blue touch paper and stand well back! Posing as a bride-to-be, Charlee Montague goes undercover at a boot camp for brides in Norfolk to photograph supermodel Anastasia Markova looking less than perfect. At Charlee’s side and posing as her fiancé, is Rafael Ffinch award winning photographer and survivor of a kidnap attempt in Colombia. He’s in no mood to cut inexperienced Charlee any slack and has made it plain that once the investigation is over, their partnership – and fake engagement – will be terminated, too. Soon Charlee has more questions than answers. What’s the real reason behind Ffinch’s interest in the boot camp? How is it connected to his kidnap in Colombia? In setting out to uncover the truth, Charlee puts herself in danger … As the investigation draws to a close, she wonders if she’ll be able to hand back the engagement ring and walk away from Rafa without a backward glance.
Tall, Dark and Kilted – Notting Hill Meets Monarch of the Glen – 2012
BLURB FOR TALL DARK AND KILTED:
Fliss Bagshawe longs for a passport out of Pimlico where she works as a holistic therapist. After attending a party in Notting Hill she loses her job and with it the dream of being her own boss. She’s offered the chance to take over a failing therapy centre, but there’s a catch. The centre lies five hundred miles north in Wester Ross, Scotland. Fliss’s romantic view of the highlands populated by Men in Kilts is shattered when she has an upclose and personal encounter with the Laird of Kinloch Mara, Ruairi Urquhart. He’s determined to pull the plug on the business, bring his eccentric family to heel and eject undesirables from his estate – starting with Fliss. Facing the dole queue once more Fliss resolves to make sexy, infuriating Ruairi revise his unflattering opinion of her, turn the therapy centre around and sort out his dysfunctional family. Can Fliss tame the Monarch of the Glen and find the happiness she deserves?
Hocus Pocus 14 short story anthology
Blurb for Hocus Pocus
An anthology of short stories and novellas with a mystical twist, spooky rather than gory. From haunted house to fallen angel, devious spirit to soul stealers there are thirteen (of course!) spine-tinglers to delight the reader. Among the collection you will find award winning authors of bestselling novels, but there are some new voices, too. My story Jumping the Queue is about . . . well, I’ll leave you to read it and find out. I wouldn’t want to spoil the ending now, would I?
Hocus Pocus ’14 – a collection of spooky short stories
Amazon page: http://tinyurl.com/mpcv6bn
Linked in: uk.linkedin.com/pub/lizzie-lamb/18/194/202/
twitter: @lizzie_lamb twitter: @newromantics4
Amazon Authors page http://www.amazon.co.uk/Lizzie-Lamb/e/B009XAY478/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1
Lizzie BCB: http://bit.ly/BCBLLamb
Lizzie TDK: http://bit.ly/TDKLLamb
June Cowboy: http://bit.ly/EGCJKearns
June 20’s G: http://bit.ly/20sGJKearns
Mags Gazelle: http://bit.ly/TofGMagsC
Mags Cherry: http://bit.ly/CherryMagsC
Ade Hollow: http://bit.ly/HollowAV
Ade Change: http://bit.ly/ChangeAV
Ade Secrets: http://bit.ly/SecretsAV
Hocus Pocus 14: myBook.to/HP14
After teaching her 1000th pupil and working as a deputy head teacher in a large primary school, Lizzie decided it was time to leave the chalk face and pursue her first love: writing. She joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s New Writers’ Scheme, honed her craft and wrote Tall, Dark and Kilted(2012), quickly followed a year later by Boot Camp Bride. Lizzie loves the quick fire interchanges between the hero and heroine in the old black and white Hollywood movies, and hopes this love of dialogue comes across in her writing. Although much of her time is taken up publicising Tall, Dark and Kilted and Boot Camp Bride, she has published a third novel SCOTCH ON THE ROCKS and started research for number four. Lizzie is a founding member of indie publishing group – New Romantics Press. In November 2014 they held an Author Event at Waterstones High Street, Kensington, London the icing on the cake as far as they are concerned – and a fitting way to celebrate their achievements. As for the years Lizzie spent as a teacher, they haven’t quite gone to waste as she is building up a reputation as a speaker on the subject of self-publishing.