Today I am hosting, Jo Lambert. Jo has a book tour going on and might not be able to drop by today but am sure she’ll come around sometime to respond to comments. The organiser of her tour is: http://brookcottagebooks.blogspot.co.uk/
It’s a bit of a mixture actually; I’m an absolute sucker for a love story so when I thought about becoming an author it was only natural to want to write about romance. However, I also enjoy stories with a big cast and as I was developing the plot for what eventually became the Behind Blue Eyes trilogy I could see it also had potential as a family saga. The trilogy stuck faithfully to these two genres but book four and now book five have moved away slightly from this into a more contemporary theme. My sixth novel which I’m working on at the moment sees me closing the door on my ‘Little Court’ characters as I refer to them. This is a completely new story set in South Devon. The cast is smaller and this time I will be concentrating on the love affair between the two central characters. I think although romance will always be the main focus in my books the current journey is taking me away from sagas – but never say never because I’m always fairly open minded when it comes to making a decision on my next project!
Not usually, but while my current WIP went for editing I had been working on some ideas for my sixth novel and decided to make a start on it. As I began writing everything seemed to come together really well. By the time the edited manuscript was returned I’d written around 45,000 words and was becoming quite wrapped up in the new story. Having to set it to one side and go back to my current work was one of the most difficult things I’ve had to do. I realised then it had been a bad move to try and work on two books at the same time. It’s not something I’ll try again.
Do you work with a writing/critique group?
Not at the moment. However, when I was writing the first book in the trilogy I enrolled in a creative writing class at college. I found it very useful not only as a way to improve my skills but also because it was an opportunity to meet other people who shared the same interest. We were a very broad collection of students with varying abilities – would-be novelists, script writers, short story writers, poets etc. Because of this the tutor worked lots of different writing topics into the programme .All in all it was a very motivating few weeks, not only from the point of view of the course itself but also because of the people I met. I would definitely recommend a creative writing course to any would-be novelists who do not have access to a local writers group.
Can you remember your first reading book?
If we’re talking about the very beginning then it has to be Noddy and, of course, Janet and John! I learned to read before I went to school and devoured anything and everything as my proficiency in reading progressed. I had a huge appetite for books as a child – something which has never diminished! My first ‘big’ reading book memory has to be Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Books which I absolutely adored – the black panther Bagheera was my favourite character. Sadly for me Mowgli and Co were never quite the same after Disney got hold of them!
Do you nibble on snacks while writing? If so, what is your chosen treat?
How I would love to have chocolate or savoury snacks to dip into while writing but we’re on very dangerous ground here. I have the potential to gain weight just looking at food so have to be very strict with myself! Sadly coffee and bottled water are my only ‘indulgences’- if you can call them that – while I’m working.
Oh it has to be tidy. I spent all my working life behind a desk organizing the day-to-day lives of other people as well as my own. I’ve worked with many individuals whose offices looked as if they had been trashed yet surprisingly they could find anything they were looking for! For me that would be a complete nightmare – I hate clutter and have to be organised. For me it’s important that the whole workspace is clear so I can concentrate on the story I’m working on. However, I do have everything to hand on shelves and in files in the office should I need to access information.
Are you published in the traditional manner or self-published? Share your journey.
I started life as an indie author, publishing my first book When Tomorrow Comes in 2009. Two other books, Love Lies and Promises and The Ghost of You and Me followed in 2010 and 2011, completing the trilogy and finally a sequel, Between Today and Yesterday, was published in 2012. While I was writing The Other Side of Morning a friend who was published by ThornBerry suggested I submit to them. I did and I’m delighted to say the book was accepted!
Who would you say have been the three most influential authors in your reading/writing life?
I guess the most influential has to be Enid Blyton. If there had been no Enid Blyton the Famous Five would not have existed and there would have been no Jo Lambert. As a child they more than any other group of fictitious characters made me want to start writing. I guess that was the very beginning of the journey.
My second biggest influence has been Lesley Pearse for her remarkable stories and her strong heroines. Both have had a huge impact on the way I shape my own writing.
And finally for pure entertainment value, George R R Martin. I found The Game of Thrones series of novels so addictive. Once I had finished the first book I could not read anything else until I had completed the whole series. An amazing author!
What advice would you like to share with other writers/authors with regard to preparing a manuscript?
There are, I guess, general rules for writing but it’s also a very individual thing and each writer approaches their work in a different way. Looking at my own method of doing things, I have an outline of the story which I follow but which is flexible enough to be altered if the need arises. For me the book evolves. Some scenes seem fine when you’re working on the outline, but when you come to write often they don’t work and you have to make changes. Also I find it useful to have a card index with the details of every one of my characters, from their physical features to their personal histories. Not only does this make them feel more real, it’s also a useful guide as I write.
As for editing I know some authors undertake this as they write but for me it’s better to look at the whole process once the story has been written. When the first draft is complete I begin to shape it into its final version ready for the editor. So it’s all about working at correcting and refining – tightening up dialogue and prose so that everything flows, checking overuse of words, punctuation and grammar. For me, as for many other writers, this is the least enjoyable part of writing a book. However, it is one of the most important and so cannot be hurried. You have to be meticulous in your approach, taking time to work very carefully through the draft to get things absolutely right. The editor too is a key part of the process, another pair of eyes and a guiding hand – absolutely worth their weight in gold.
If the movie rights to your novels are purchased, who would you like to play your main characters?
Wow, that’s food for thought! There are five books in the series so we’re looking at an amazingly large amount of characters over a 30+ year period. I think therefore it would be easier if I chose the main characters from the newest book, The Other Side of Morning. These would be:
Rossana Caravello (Nina Dobrev – Vampire Diaries) Although in her twenties she has a young and innocent look that would enable her to easily play the unworldly Rossana.
I was on my way to the supermarket, when … Do you have a tale to tell relating to an everyday, boring event?
Yes, a few years ago I used to drop into a local supermarket on my way to work to pick up milk for the office. At just after 8am it was always very quiet. On this particular morning as I skirted around the end of one of the aisles I found six twenty pound notes on the floor. Picking them up I went to find an assistant, explained what had happened and handed over the money. She took my name and phone number and said she would let me know if it was claimed. She rang me later to say it belonged to an elderly lady who made a habit of tucking money into the small exercise book she used for her weekly shopping list. The book was kept in the pocket of her wheelie trolley and when she pulled it out that morning the money must have fallen out. Later in the day this lady called me later to say thank you. She had obviously been quite shaken up by the whole event. I think the worse thing was she didn’t even know how much money she had been carrying! She had reached the check-out, discovered it was missing and ended up phoning her son to come in and pay the bill. She said he’d been quite cross with her and how foolish it had made her feel. She told me she had learned her lesson and in future would always carry her money in a purse when she came shopping. I hope she did, with a practically empty supermarket and no CCTV around in that area the money could have been so easily picked up and pocketed. She was a very lucky lady.
She was lucky you are so honest!
BOOK LINKS FOR THE OTHER SIDE OF MORNING:
Born and raised in rural Wiltshire, Jo Lambert grew up with a love of books and a vivid imagination. As a child she enjoyed creating her own adventure stories similar to Enid Blyton’s Famous Five. Writing always stayed with her, but college, work and eventually marriage found it kept very much in the background as a hobby. In 2009 everything changed when she decided to self-publish a novel she had completed. After When Tomorrow Comes, three other books – Love Lies and Promises, The Ghost of You and Me and Between Today and Yesterday followed. In 2013 she decided to give up full time work to concentrate fully on her writing. Her fifth novel The Other Side of Morning was accepted by ThornBerry Publishing UK and is now available in e-book form with a paperback version to follow shortly.
Jo is married and lives in a village on the eastern edge of Bath, Somerset with one small grey feline called Mollie. She shares her husband with his ‘other woman’ Bridget – a 48 year old white MG Midget who keeps him occupied while she is busy writing.