Thursday 24 November 2016

Q&A with Jo Lambert

I'm delighted today to bring you Q&A on Boon's Bookcase. Jo Lambert has agreed to answer my questions (I hope I didn't grill her too much!!)

Hi Jo and welcome to Boon's Bookcase. Thank you so much for agreeing to answer some questions on my blog about your writing.

Firstly, please could you tell readers a little about yourself?
I spent an idyllic childhood in rural Wiltshire. Although I moved to Bath in the early 1980s I didn’t stay a city dweller for long. Two years after arriving I moved to a beautiful village on the edge of this wonderful city where I can now have the best of city life and a rural escape. I’m married, share my husband with a green MGB-GT (it’s a bit of a tussle for his affections sometimes) and own a small grey feline called Mollie. I said goodbye to my 9 – 5 in the summer of 2013 to become a full time writer.

When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?
I was always good at essays at school, had an overactive imagination and loved books (I could read before I started school). I think those three things sealed my fate. I must have been around eleven when I made my very first attempt at writing a book about a girl and her pony and the adventures they had. I didn’t do a lot of writing in my teens – for me it was all about the music and fashion then - although at college I was a regular contributor to their magazine. I think the need to write was always there, it was simply a matter of waiting for the right time to begin.

What did you do as a job before becoming a writer?
After secretarial training I took a business qualification and moved from PA support into management. I’d always worked full time, then in 2010 decided to reduce my hours. I went from a full on job as Admin Manager in a very busy hospital Pharmacy Department to a job share which gave me two clear days a week to concentrate on writing. I’d cut my hours back deliberately because I had a date in mind when I planned to leave work altogether. If I’ve any regrets it’s that I didn’t do it much earlier.

How do you carry out the research for your novels?
They say write what you know about and for my first series of books I did just that. The location was a fictitious West Somerset village called Meridan Cross. Growing up in a small village on the edge of Salisbury Plain, creating this place and its inhabitants was very easy for me. By the time I had written the fifth and final book, I had also set scenes in Spain, and Italy - one of my favourite holiday destinations. The last two books – my South Devon Duo – were set in South Hams, again a regular holiday location. If the backdrop is going to be a big part of the book, for me it has to feel authentic - and that means I have to have been there. The internet is also extremely useful for research and I have on occasions used Google Earth for a virtual walk around places. I did this when I needed to remind myself about Verona for a scene in one of my books. I had visited a long time ago but couldn’t remember anything apart from the Arena.
My latest WIP is set in the Italian Lakes and North Cornwall. I need to know a little about surfing so that will be a new and exciting challenge!

Which aspects of your writing do you find easiest and most difficult?
Easiest – the writing, although like most other authors I do suffer on occasions from writer’s block. However the actual creation of the story is for me the best part. Like slipping into a parallel world where you’re in charge – there’s element of being the eldest child in the family there somewhere – we’re always supposed to be the bossy ones aren’t we? And the worst part? Well it has to be the dreaded synopsis.

What are your writing routines and where do you do most of your writing?
Our house is built into the side of a hill and I have an upstairs office with views across the valley. It’s peaceful and a great place for inspiration. As for routine, I try to set aside a specific block of time each day, usually in the morning.

When you're not writing, what do you like to read?
I’ve a very broad taste in books. Fantasy ( I loved Game of Thrones), Contemporary (authors like Sheryl Browne, Kelly Rimmer and Jenny Harper) Crime (Robert Bryndza is a favourite) and, of course historical (Philippa Gregory). I’m also a reviewer for Brook Cottage Books and a NetGalley Professional reader

How important do you think social media is to authors in today's society?
I think it’s a must in order to keep up with what is going on in the writing world; to promote your work and link with other authors. As well as writing I also actively blog, promote and review. If there is a downside, however, it has to be social media sites like Twitter and Facebook which can prove a bit of a distraction while writing!

Could you tell the readers a bit about your latest book?
Watercolours in the Rain is the second book of my South Devon Duo series. It’s set in 2012/13 and brings the main three characters from the first book, Summer Moved On, back together. My ‘love to hate’ character Lily is about to cause even more trouble.

Which of your characters would you most like to be and why?
It has to be Ella Kendrick from my Little Court Series. She was the first main female character I ever created and was central to the trilogy and one of the sequels. I based her on an old work friend of mine but I also took elements of several other people I
knew. She became the template for all my other strong female characters and holds a very special place in my writing life.

Thank you so much for your time in answering my questions.

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Summer Moved On 

Watercolours in the Rain

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