Sunday, 17 September 2017

Fab Firsts - Q&A with Jo Lambert

Fab Firsts is my regular Sunday feature, that is going to be highlighting books that are firsts. When interviewing authors, it will be about their first book, as well as other firsts in their lives. When reviewing books for this feature, there will be a mix of debuts, first books in a series, the first time I read an author, and possibly other firsts depending on what I can think of!

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

I hope you enjoy this look at a variety of hopefully fabulous firsts, while making some sort of dent in my review and paperback TBRs which are my current main focus!

Hi, I’m Jo Lambert and I’m a full time writer of romantic fiction.  I live on the eastern side of Bath in Somerset.  

1) Can you tell us a bit about your first book?

When Tomorrow Comes was the first in a series of three books.  It was set in the West Somerset village of Meridan Cross and followed the lives and loves of four girls – Ella, Jenny, Issy and Rachel – growing up in the 1960s.  It was all about the fashion and the music but it also dealt with love, loss and family issues.  I created a particularly awful character in Ella’s mother Melissa.  She was vain, arrogant and totally immoral and that type of antagonist became a standard for my future books – a love to hate character that caused total upheaval in other peoples’ lives, keeping readers wanting to know what happened next. When Ella fell in love with Matt - totally unsuitable boyfriend material as far as her mother was concerned - she did everything in her power to part them. Mel was a social climber and had her own ideas about who her daughter should be dating and it certainly wasn’t Matt. Her meddling had far reaching outcomes …and not only for Ella and Matt.

2) What was your original inspiration to become a writer, and to write your debut?

Since a child I’d not only read a lot, I loved making up my own stories and reading them to friends.  As I got older the thought of writing a full length novel kept niggling at me but it seemed an impossible task.  To write a short story was one thing, but a full length novel?  The trouble was the thought of doing it simply wouldn’t go away.  So I enrolled for Creative Writing classes and amazingly the inspiration for the first book came soon after. 

3) How long did it take you to write your first book?

About two years. I was working full time and we had quite a hectic social life so I had to fit my writing in between everything else going on.

4) If you could do anything differently in retrospect, what would you change about your debut, or how you went about writing it?

It’s very easy with hindsight to see how you would do things differently. At the time once the writing was over it was all about getting the book out there.  I knew very few writers and there was little in the way of guidance other than submitting to traditional publishing houses and agents. I think if I was doing it all over again, I would probably apply to join the RNA’s New Writer’s Scheme – which I knew nothing about at the time. Many writers I know owe their success to this scheme.

5) Was your first book self or traditionally published, and how did you go about making that decision?

Back in 2008 I began submitting When Tomorrow Comes to agents and publishers.  Although I received several positive comments they, like all the others replies, were accompanied by rejection slips.  Realising I could be caught in this cycle of submission/rejection for a while I eventually opted for the self-publishing route.  

6) Do you have any tips for other first time authors?

Read as much as possible
Try to write something every day
Keep positive 
Social media is essential – Join Facebook and Twitter. Create a blog and/or a website to publicise your work. 
Tell us about your first…

7) Book you bought – probably something featuring Noddy and Big Ears! LOL! As for a proper reading book it has to be one of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five Series.

8) Memory – I can actually remember being in the pram and someone bending in to look at me!

9) Embarrassing moment you can remember – About fifteen years ago we were visiting friends at their caravan on the coast.  Walking along the beach an incoming wave knocked me over and soaked my clothe.  I ended up wearing my friend’s shell suit – and then had to go to the pub in it.  I never want to experience something like that again – horrific!  It was white, with turquoise and pink chevrons on the jacket - ugh! She used to slip it on to take the dogs out to the loo first thing in the morning.  What made it even more amusing was that when she first bought it I told her I would never wear a shell suit under any circumstances, even creeping out at dawn with the dogs – but it was either that or sit in the pub in wet clothes. Not much choice really!

10) Pet – a cat called Smoky

11) Time you were in trouble – At junior school the girl sitting behind me tapped me on the shoulder.  I turned around and the teacher automatically thought we were talking.  We both ended up standing in the corner for the rest of the lesson!

12) ..choice of alternative career if you weren’t an author.  I can’t think of ever wanting to do anything else.  However, from my previous working life, I had a flair for organising so I would probably enjoy being an events or wedding planner.

13) …time you had any independence – I left home at 18 and for the first time I was responsible for everything that happened in my life.  It was a totally empowering moment and the best decision I ever made.

14) Dish you cooked – Eve’s pudding in school cookery classes

15) … time you were really scared – As a small child African wildlife programmes used to really scare me.  At night I had to check under the bed for rhinoceroses or lions before getting in, convinced they could be hiding there.

16) ..time you bought or received flowers – from a boyfriend for my 16th birthday.

Thank you so much for answering my questions Jo, its been a pleasure hearing from you.

About Jo Lambert

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 and reading them to her friends. Writing always stayed with her, but it wasn’t until 2009 she finally achieved her ambition. Her first novel - When Tomorrow Comes – was published. Three other connected books followed - Love Lies and Promises, The Ghost of You and Me and Between Today and Yesterday followed. Collectively they  became known as the Little Court Series. 

In 2013 she decided to give up full time work to concentrate fully on her writing. Since then she has added a final book - The Other Side of Morning - to her Little Court Series. This was followed by two linked novels set in South Devon - Summer Moved On and Watercolours in the Rain - published in 2015 and 2016. Her new work in progress, set in North Cornwall, will be published at the end of 2017. 
Someone once described her writing as drama driven romance and she feels that ‘s a great description of the kind of stories she writes…

Jo is married and lives in a village on the eastern edge of Bath with her husband, one small grey feline called Mollie and a green MGB GT.  She loves travel, red wine, rock music and has a passion for dark chocolate…

When Tomorrow Comes – buy link:

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