Saturday, 5 November 2016

Back Catalogue Books - Q&A with Jo Lambert

Back Catalogue Books is my new regular Saturday feature, focusing on books that are not the latest releases. There is going to be a mix of Q&As and also reviews, depending on what I have the space for. 

If you are an author wanting to take part in Back Catalogue Books then please do email on gilbster at gmail dot com and I'll whizz the questions over to you. 

I hope everyone enjoys this weekly look back at some of the slightly older books that are about but still great, and that I eventually make a dent in my TBRs as a result of it!

Today I have Jo Lambert as my guest, I've only read one of her books but really enjoyed it, so looking forward to hearing about her full range of work.

Hi, I’m Jo Lambert, I live in a village on the eastern side of Bath with my husband, a small grey feline called Mollie and a green MGB GT which keeps my man distracted while I write.  I’m an author of romantic fiction which is liberally laced with drama.

1) Please tell me about your first book, and what started you writing in the first place

My first book When Tomorrow Comes became part of a trilogy. Set in West Somerset it follows the lives and loves of four girls – Ella, Jenny, Issy and Rachel – growing up in the sixties. Although it’s set in a provincial town, it’s all about the fashion and the music. The story starts with them as sixteen year olds and by the time the third book, The Ghost of You and Me, finishes, they are in their mid-twenties. The story is a mixture of romance, fashion, music and family saga.

What started me writing?  Well, from a very early age I’d always written in one form or another. First it was at junior school when I wrote stories to read to my friends – Enid Blyton’s Famous Five was my inspiration. Senior school saw me reading rather than writing and then at college I wrote regular articles for the magazine. 

Before I began to write what eventually became When Tomorrow Comes, I had actually completed two other draft novels.  It was in pre-PC days so everything was handwritten and typed up on my electric typewriter. Real Fred Flintstone stuff and definitely a labour of love!  I didn’t do anything with them because I didn’t think they were that good.  If anything came out of all that hard work it was that I was capable of writing a novel – something that had a beginning a middle and an end. Sentimentality stopped me from destroying them and they were filed away in a drawer.  Once I’d completed When Tomorrow Comes  I got them out just to see whether there was a possibility of reworking them with a view to publishing. Shock, horror…did I write this? Was this really me?  Of course it was, and it was an eye-opener.  Because putting it alongside my current work it showed just how far I had developed as a writer

2) How many books have you written and what are they?

I have written six and am about to publish my seventh. Love, Lies and Promises and The Ghost of You and Me were the two books which completed the trilogy.  I then realised I wasn’t quite finished with these characters, so wrote a fourth book – Between Today and Yesterday  - which caught up with the girls (now women) in the 1980s. And finally in the fifth book – The Other Side of Morning – where the next generation, Lucy, Charlotte, Christopher and Kayte - became the centre of the story and brought the whole thing to a conclusion.

Book No 6 Summer Moved On  was set in 2007. As someone who grew up and still lives in a village, that particular setting has always appealed. This time I moved over the border into Devon.  I based the story very loosely on Wuthering Heights although I deliberately avoided Heathcliff’s tortured, revenge-filled character for my hero. Although I wanted drama, I wanted a happy ending too. Again as I wrote I found the story was working in such a way that it was definitely going to end up as two books, which it has. Watercolours in the Rain is nearing completion and I’m looking at an October release date.

3) Which book are you most proud of writing?  

I’m proud of them all but it has to be my very first book When Tomorrow Comes.  There’s nothing that can compare with that very first published novel.  You’ve finally achieved what you set out to do. All that hard work, late nights, coping with writer’s block plus all the times when you doubted yourself but could never quite give up, well  t’s all come good at last. When the first paperbacks arrived I remember holding a copy and thinking, I’ve written this.  It was an amazing feeling.

4) Which book was your favourite to write? 

Definitely The Other Side of Morning I really abandoned my West Country safety zone with this one. After beginning the book in Australia and then moving on to the Cayman Islands, I went on a bit of a Euro trek, taking a rock star on tour which was fun. Some of the action took place in Italy, which is my No 1 holiday destination.  And, of course, I got to create Marco D’Alessandro my all-time drop dead gorgeous hero too.

5) Who are your favourite characters from your books and why?

In Between Today and Yesterday one of the main characters had an assistant called Elvira. He was a small Spaniard who although street-wise kept getting himself into all sorts of trouble. As I’ve said above, Marco D’Alessandro from The Other Side of Morning was my all-time gorgeous hero. Tall, dark, good looking he was capable of having any woman he wanted…except the one he’d set his heart on. I really made him work hard to get Charlotte.  And talking of females, I love all my bad girls – Mel Carpenter, Ella’s thoroughly unpleasant mother in the first three books, Marcie the rejected diva looking for revenge in Between Today and Yesterday and currently Lily who caused all sorts of trouble in Summer Moved On and is now to cause even more in the sequel Watercolours in the Rain.

6) If you could go back and change anything from any of your books, what would it be, and why?

I think if there has been one complaint from readers it’s that my first books had a huge number of characters in them. I realised that some people struggled for a while to get into the story because there were so many characters to get to know. However once they had they did say how much they enjoyed the read.  For my last two novels I’ve changed my style from what one friend jokingly referred to as ‘a literary version of Emmerdale’! I now work with a much smaller cast and in Watercolours in the Rain I tell the story from the three main character’s viewpoints.

7) Which of your covers if your favourite and why?

Actually I love them all but if any one stands out it has to be Between Today and Yesterday.  All my covers have showcased one character from the book. This one featured a singer called Marcie Maguire.  When I found the photo and I was so pleased as it was exactly what I wanted.  The bad news was that it was in black and white. I sent it to my cover designer Jane Dixon Smith as a guide to the sort of thing I was looking for. She e-mailed back with the great news that we could use it as she was able to add colour.  So simple and yet so effective.

8) Have you ever thought about changing genres, if so what else would you like to write? 

I love the idea of writing historical romance but are so many authors already successfully doing this. An added disadvantage is that plots are far more limited than for contemporary novels so it would be difficult to come up with a new variation on the theme.  Best to stick with what I know, I think, but it’s a genre I love to escape into now and again, Canadian author Marsha Canham being one of my favourites.

9) Looking forward can you let us know what you are working on next?

My current WIP is almost there and then it’s all about bringing some ideas I’ve been having together. The next book will be slightly autobiographical and its working title will be The Ma┼łana Man.

10) I dare not ask for a favourite author, but is there any author’s back catalogue you admire and why? 

It has to be Lesley Pearse as she was probably the writer who influenced me the most.  I love and have read all her books – Georgia was my favourite – and I actually got to meet her for lunch once.   It was great to meet one of your heroines, I had a fabulous time and learned so much from her.

Thank you so much for agreeing to talk to me Jo. I'm really glad that I have read your favourite book of yours, and wish you all the best with your new book that was out last month - Watercolours in the Rain.

You can purchase Jo Lamberts books on Amazon:-

When Tomorrow Comes: -

Love Lies and Promises:  -

The Ghost of You and Me: -

Between Today and Yesterday: - 

The Other Side of Morning: -

Summer Moved On

Watercolours in the Rain -

Follow Jo Lambert on Twitter -

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful, thanks fr featuring Jo who is a fab writer and such a champion of other authors too. Wishing he much success with her latest - all all her - books.


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