Pages

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Interview: Lizzie Lamb

take-me-im-yours, lizzie-lamb, book, blog-tour

I am thrilled to be welcoming romance author Lizzie Lamb to The Writing Greyhound today, and even more excited to be participating in the blog tour for Lizzie's latest book Take Me, I'm Yours - a wonderful Wisconsin love story.

Read on to find out more about Lizzie and the book!


How did you first become interested in writing?
I’ve always wanted to be a writer. From the first moment I wrote scribbled lines in a jotter, there was no holding me back. I am a very imaginative person and my head is full of stories. To me, the next step has always been writing them down to share with others and, eventually, publish. I’ve been writing poems, books and scripts since I could reach a typewriting. I can’t help seeing through a very imaginative eye.
Tell me about Take Me, I’m Yours.
Take Me I’m Yours is my fifth novel and this time I’ve set it in the USA (for reasons which will become apparent through the course of this interview). In it, I’ve created a hot hero - Logan.  
Here’s the blurb:  
India Buchanan plans to set up an English-Style bed and breakfast establishment in her great-aunt’s home, MacFarlane's Landing, Wisconsin. But she’s reckoned without opposition from Logan MacFarlane whose family once owned her aunt’s house and now want it back. MacFarlane is in no mood to be denied. His grandfather’s living on borrowed time and Logan has vowed to ensure the old man sees out his days in their former home. India’s great-aunt has other ideas and has threatened to burn the house to the ground before she lets a MacFarlane set foot in it. There’s a story here. One the family elders aren’t prepared to share. When India finds herself in Logan’s debt, her feelings towards him change. However, the past casts a long shadow and events conspire to deny them the love and happiness they both deserve. Can India and Logan’s love overcome all odds? Or is history about to repeat itself?
Why did you decide to write in the romance genre?
Basically, because I am an optimist and romantic at heart. I don’t read or watch crime or detective stories where women are in jeopardy. But stop right there - that doesn’t mean any man is going to walk all over me, or my heroines. I was in the forefront of feminism in the sixties/seventies and struggled for a voice to be heard, the chance to do what I want with my life, and equality of opportunity. Through my novels I try to show heroines who stand on their own two feet, don’t need to a man to validate them. If they want something - go right out and get it. They want Mr Right; not Mr-Right-Now. They want a man who respects them and will travel through life by at their side, not two paces ahead of her. If she gives him a run for his money that’s fine; that’s the element of romance. Capitulation is all the sweeter when it follows resistance.
Do you think romances need happy endings?
In my books they do, or at the very least a satisfactory conclusion. Readers often ask me to write a sequel to my novels because they’re invested in the characters. But I’m always full of new plots and characters. Who knows, one day I might write a sequel to Girl in the Castle, or one of the others.
take-me-im-yours, lizzie-lamb, book, blog-tour

Did you have to do any research for the book?
Yes, I spent five weeks touring the USA, from Washington DC down to Memphis and back up to Door County. I know Wisconsin pretty well, and the friend I have dedicated the book to lives in Sturgeon Bay and we have explored many of the places mentioned in the book together. I also researched the viability of opening a Country Inn/Bed and Breakfast and had help with what zoning regulations etc. would have to be satisfied before that was allowed. I also had two American beta readers give me feedback on the novel and any inconsistencies in tone etc.
How did you get inspiration?
My inspiration came from the five weeks I spent in the US, the friends I have there and the promise I made that I would one day write a novel set in Wisconsin. The protagonists’ backstory intrigued me and I wanted to show how it’s impossible to know everything that’s gone on in your family and how the past has a way of catching up with the present, with disastrous consequences.
What’s your writing process?
I am very lucky in that I have a room set to one side for my writing so I can pick it up/put it down as I choose. I try to start the day going through emails etc. and then spend at least an hour writing before going off to do other tasks. I then return to the manuscript later in the afternoon. I don’t write at night, I’m not suited to it. I have some great beta readers who read my manuscripts as I go along and give me positive feedback. I am rarely if ever, stuck for something to write. If the creative juices dry up, I write a blog post.
What’s the hardest thing about writing?
Sometimes finding the time to write when the rest of the world tries to break down the door of my study. The thing I love most about writing is creating characters, places and situations I can believe in, characters I don't want to let go, characters who will live on in my head when the novel’s finished. This summer, I returned to Castle Stalker in the highlands of Scotland. It was the inspiration for Girl in the Castle. It felt almost like coming home and part of me believed that, if I walked into the castle, my characters would be sitting around the huge table in the kitchen, just waiting for me to join them.
Which authors inspire you?
I’ve always been a great Jilly Cooper fan and was lucky to meet her recently and plucked up enough courage to ask her to sign one of her novels for me. I love her rollicking rom-com style. Looking back, I think her novel Emily has had the biggest influence on my development as a writer. (It’s partly set in Scotland so maybe, subconsciously, that’s what made me set my novel there.) I also enjoy Sophie Kinsella’s novels, my favourite being Can You Keep a Secret. It’s so funny and taught me how to keep the reader turning the pages and, hopefully, wanting more. Looking around my bookshelves I see many novels by Carole Matthews, Mary Wesley, Georgette Heyer and Barbara Erskine. I love history and would like to write a novel in the paranormal vein, one day.

Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
Be serious about your writing and persevere with it. It takes a long time to write, polish and finish a novel of 80k words, start sending it out to agents - who have then to believe in it and start sending it out to commissioning editors. While you’re waiting, get on with the next one and the one after that. It’s easy to let years drift by and not get down to finishing your work in progress, we’ve all done it. Hang out with can-do people, learn from committed writers and emulate them. Don’t waste your time swapping from genre to genre, find an idea and run with it. Don’t spend months writing/re-writing the beginning, got to the end. That’s when the editing really begins.
What are you currently working on?
I’ve planned the bare bones of a ‘road trip’ from Cornwall to Scotland where the two protagonists are forced to get along (they don’t, natch, so cue lots of unresolved sexual tension. They’re on the trail of two teenagers who have dropped out of university and run away to get married. Oddly enough, the teenagers turn out to have more street smarts than the adults. Lots of surprises, quirky characters, humour and twists and turns along the way.
What are you reading at the moment?
I’ve got three books on the go - two for research: The History of the Scottish Country House, Ordinance survey maps (yes, really) and for pleasure, Marie La Val’s Little Pink Taxi. You gotta love a rom-com.
take-me-im-yours, lizzie-lamb, book, blog-tour

What’s your all-time favourite book?
That’s tricky because I discard and return to favourite books all the time. I’d better plump for The Jacobite Trilogy - D.K. Broster, Lady of Hay - Barbara Erskine (she recently signed my original copy!) and Case Histories (Jackson Brodie novels #1) Kate Atkinson.
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
It would be nice to land a big, fat publishing contract and to have some of the more mundane aspects of writing taken care of for me: proofreading, editing, book design. However, I would hate the pressure of having to write two books a year, or even a book a year. I also value being able to: set my own price for my books, change my amazon tags and categories when I think the time is right, and to have the freedom to write what I care about and would enjoy reading myself.
What are your interests outside of writing and reading?
Being with friends and family, having them around for meals and spending time with them. Travelling around in our caravan researching locations, finding places which inspire me and my imagination is another of my pleasures. Making the most of the freedom I now enjoy since leaving the teaching profession after spending thirty-four years at the chalk face.
Take Me, I'm Yours is available to buy now. For more about Lizzie and her writing, why not check out her blog?

Will you be reading the book? Let me know in the comments below!

2 comments:

  1. Many thanks for featuring me on your site. You;ve done a real fabulous jobs with the answers I sent you. I hope my replies might encourage new readers to try my novels.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope so, Lizzie! Thanks again for agreeing to be featured on The Writing Greyhound x

      Delete