Welcome Lizzie, lovely to have you here at Sally Lunn’s today for tea and lots of chat.
Hi Joanna, can you make sure that the coffee is good and strong. I have a feeling this is going to be a lovely long chat and I want to stay alert.
I’ve always wanted to be a writer but was unable to pursue my dream because of the ‘day job’. I was a teacher for 34 years (the last 16 years a deputy head of a large primary school) before taking early retirement in 2006. As you can imagine, with all the marking, preparation and assessment there was little time for breathing let alone writing!
What was the trigger which started you along the writing trail?
I’m a dreamer and live inside my head. When I look back in family photo albums I see a child with a far away look in her eyes, escaping reality and living in a world inhabited by princesses, dragons and derring do. I’ve been scribbling in notebook since I was about seven years old – read my blog post : http://tinyurl.com/boft9zl I have notebooks, boxes full of old manuscripts and novels on floppy disc and locoscript discs. I even had an agent in the late 80’s when I was trying to break into the Mills and Boone market (isn’t that where all romance writers started?!) But we parted company when it became clear that I couldn’t do the day job and write. The day job paid the mortgage and writing was at that point pie in the sky.
How did the NEW ROMANTICS 4 come about?
We (Lizzie Lamb, Adrienne Vaughan, Mags Cullingford and June Kearns) are all members of the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s New Writers’ Scheme and were having lunch with Amanda Grange – Mr Darcy’s Diary et al – in June 2012. Mandy was going through the process of e-publishing her back catalogue and suggested that we should stop waiting for agents and publishers to lift us off the slush pile and publish our novels ourselves. She warned us what a hard road it would be without an agent or a publisher, but said that we’d have the freedom to write what we wanted, when we wanted and decide our own deadlines. Even conventionally published authors have a welter of self promotion to do, so we’d be no different in that respect. In the end, we decided we had nothing to fear other than fear itself – the blue touch-paper was lit and we were off on the road to self publication.
Do you see the group expanding at all? If so, how many members would you envisage?
We have no plans to expand. The four of us get on really well together and have a common goal, which is to publish our next book by October 2013. If there were more of us, I feel that it would become unmanageable.
Your debut novel Tall, Dark and Kilted was a fabulous read, I really enjoyed it. What’s next? Have you anything new in the pipeline?
Thanks for the vote of approval, Joanna. Tall, Dark and Kilted was indeed a labour of love and I miss the characters I created. I’ve promised myself that when #2 is finished I will go back and read it at my leisure. At the moment I am 85,000 words into my new rom com (title and cover reveal in September) and have exchanged the hills and mountains of Wester Ross for the mysterious salt marshes of North Norfolk. It’s a Rom Com with elements of suspense but lots of romance and laughter. I have a brand new hero for readers to fall in love with, although I hope he doesn’t oust the gorgeous Ruairi from their affections.
Adrienne and I have been invited to host a Literary Lunch at the Belmont Hotel in Leicester as part of 2013 Book Fest. Guests will receive a drink upon arrival, a three course lunch – during which we will talk about our books and how we came to write them. Then each guest will leave with a signed copy of Tall, Dark and Kilted and The Hollow Heart. How fab is that? This link takes you to the poster we’ve designed for the event: http://tinyurl.com/cgc47gs
Who are your favourite authors?
Again, can I direct your readers to http://tinyurl.com/cnsm6oc which details all the books which have influenced my writing? I think if I had to name just three writers, they would have to be Jilly Cooper and Helen Fielding. If I want a comfort read I head for the short Jilly Cooper books: Emily, Prudence etc. And of I can’t leave out the Queen of Chic Lit – Sophie Kinsella – I’ll never give away ‘Can You Keep a Secret’ or ‘Twenties Girl’ as they’re great fun and I still re-read them from time to time. .
What are you currently reading?
I’m reading a pre-publication copy of Jean Fullerton’s CALL NURSE MILLIE to coincide with its publication later this month. If I had one wish, it would be this: Dear Reader, please leave a little review on Amazon/Goodreads after you’ve finished our novel to let us know if you’ve enjoyed our book. For example, quite a few readers have written to me to say that they’d like a sequel to Tall, Dark and Kilted . . .
If you were stranded on a desert island what three things would be your essential ‘must haves’ ?
My husband (aka Bongo Man) as he is the most practical, supportive and loving person I know. Our naughty parrot, Jasper, because he would make us laugh when the going got tough. And pencil and paper, of course.
And you’re not going to get away from another of my set questions – dinner guests. If you could invite four guests for dinner who would they be and why?
I always find this question hard to answer but I guess it would have to be the other three New Romantics4 – Mags, June and Ade. The event would be catered for by sexy chefs and luscious waiters who would drift in and out with courses, topping up our champagne glasses. That would leave us free to talk about our books and our plans for the future without any one telling us to stop talking shop!!.
Thank you for coming along today Lizzie it’s been great to meet you.
Thank you for asking me, Joanna. Now – can I have a fresh pot of coffee brought to the table or is it wine o’clock yet? Wine – actually make it Prosecco, this is a celebration after all.
I love Prosecco too and yes, we’ve actually reached wine o’clock, so the choice is yours. Glad you liked the coffee – it’s their Jane Austen blend – appropriate for my writing guests don’t you think?
For more information about Lizzie, her writing and New Romantics 4 click on the social network links below.
Tall Dark and Kilted: http://t.co/jKpB4WMM4F
twitter: @lizzie_lamb twitter: @newromantics4