Having just listened to your interview on radio Leicester I wondered what it was that swayed you away from fantasy and faerie folk of your younger years to the romance genre?
Growing up in Scotland with the Ravenscraig Steel Works literally at the bottom of my garden I, along with my friends, created an alternative reality. In the nearby woods we went in search of faeries under toadstools, nyads at the bottom of wells and dryads in the trees. Having no luck in finding them I started reading historical novels, starting with the Prisoner of Zenda, Robert Louis Stevenson, Walter Scott, Rosemary Sutcliffe, Margaret Irwin et al. Via their work I discovered the romance of history, castles, knights and feisty princesses prepared to give any dragon a run for its money. Having found my milieu, I never looked back until . . . I read my first Jilly Cooper novel.
You were a founder member of the New Romantics’ Press – what was it that inspired this bold move?
When we self-published our novels in 2012 indie authors were rare beasts and social media was in its infancy. We realised that if we wanted to find readers and for our books to ‘be discovered’ we would have to come up with a plan to bring them to readers’ attention. We created a blog, embraced social media and created an online presence. We held book tours, gave talks and workshops on the theme: Sisters are Doing it for Themselves and created a stir around our name.
What has been shortlisted for the RNA’s Indie Champion of the Year Award meant to you?
The recognition of my peers for self-publishing six novels, forming the Leicester Chapter of the RNA The Belmont Belles and Beaux and showing what indie authors can achieve means a great deal to me. I love organising workshops, presenting talks and inviting agents, publishers and well-known authors to share their collective wisdom with us and this nomination has inspired me to continue with this work and to get on with my next novel.
You have spent a successful teaching career encouraging young minds to develop so did you find running workshops and holding talks a natural progression to your love of writing?
Public speaking and sharing my knowledge and love of writing has been a natural progression after 34 years career as a primary school teacher and deputy head. Helping others is part of my psyche and I get a real buzz from encouraging wannabe authors to believe in themselves, finish their WIP and start sending it out to agents and publishers.
Have you ever been tempted to revisit the faerie folk and write for a younger audience?
I must admit that the faerie realm still appeals to me. Perhaps that’s why I’ve set four of my six novels in Scotland which is a magical, mystical place where anything can happen: creatures in the mist, myths and legends, clootie wells, Jacobite treasure and water horses. After I retired from teaching everyone expected me to write children’s books but that didn’t appeal. However, the heroine in Harper’s Highland Fling is a primary school headmistress who finds herself in a spot of bother after meeting the hero. Many friends and readers have wondered if the character is me, but I couldn’t possibly comment.
You have described writing as being an aid to help mental health as is reading and losing yourself in a good book – which writers have definitely inspired or influenced you over the years?
Oh, this is a tricky one. Jilly Cooper for sure and looking at the books on my shelf Jill Mansell, Jenny Colgan, Carole Matthews, Cathy Bramley and Sue Moorcroft. And, obvs, fellow members of New Romantics Press – Adrienne Vaughan and June Kearns.
How has Covid impacted your writing life and how have you coped mentally and physically through lockdowns?
I’m very happy in my own world and my husband and I happily exist side by side pursuing our different hobbies and interests. I must admit that I’ve missed seeing my friends and was glad to keep in touch through Facebook, Zoom, videos and phone calls. When lockdown was in place (and Leicester fared worst than most) we would pack a picnic and flask, drive into the countryside to escape the four walls which at times felt like they were closing in. Physically we tried to walk as often as we could – not easy when the next chapter of the novel is demanding to be written.
You have a great affinity with Scotland even though you live south of the border, where does this connection come from?
I was born in Scotland and lived there until I was eleven years old, and my family moved to Leicester to find work. I’ve never lost that connection with Scotland and then we cross the border and I see the ‘Welcome to Scotland’ sign I feel tingly all over and I know I’m home. Although I no longer ‘sound’ Scottish I can soon find my accent and start using the patois. It was a no brainer to set my novels north of the border and to remind myself what my Scottish heritage means to me.
Which locations/places are your favourite to revisit?
We both adore Wester Ross and the coast from Fort William to Ullapool and beyond. We have a large caravan which we tour in and its our home on wheels and have twice completed the North Coast 500 in it. This summer we spent six weeks sightseeing, chilling, researching, writing and absorbing the scenery and culture around Mallaig, Camusdarach and Arisaig where my next novel is set. During that time, we clocked up three thousand miles although I dare not look at the petrol receipts! My husband and I would happily live there 24/7 but I’d miss my friends and family, so it’ll have to remain a pipe dream and a holiday destination.
Gairloch, Wester Ross
What can a reader expect from a Lizzie Lamb novel?
Heroes you’ll fall in love with, heroines who’ll become your new best friend, secondary characters who’ll make you laugh and cry. Not to forget gorgeous, romantic locations and passionate encounters which will help you to remember that ‘moment’ when you met the person fate decreed you would spend the rest of your life with and fell in love.
Silver sand of Morar
What is next for Lizzie?
Firstly, a series of blog post about my six-week research trip in Scotland and, of course, finishing #7 – DARK, HIGHLAND SKIES, and publishing it in 2022, the tenth anniversary of my becoming an indie author.
Here’s the blurb –
Astrophysicist Dr Halley Dunbar has spent her career searching for the one-in-a-billion exoplanet outside the solar system capable of sustaining life. Required to travel to Scotland for her great-uncle’s funeral she leaves behind the safe world of academe for Lochaber where she meets a smorgasbord of characters who make her realise there’s more to life than searching for something that might not exist. When the laird’s son, Hector (Tor) Strachan rocks up, he turns her world on its head and Halley discovers, not the exoplanet which will establish her reputation as an astrophysicist but the one-in-a-billion man capable of making her happy. But there are obstacles in the way of their happiness, and it soon becomes clear that Tor has demons to confront before he can be the man Halley deserves. As for Halley, she has a secret she’s kept for eighteen years, one which she won’t/can’t reveal to anyone, and that includes Tor.
Thank you for stopping by, Lizzie. I wish you every continued success.
Please leave comments and questions below.
21 thoughts on “Meet Lizzie Lamb, finalist of the RNA Indie Champion 2021”
Reblogged this on Lizzie Lamb – author and commented:
Many thanks to Valerie Holmes for shaping my notes, photos and ramblings into such a fantastic blog post. A great way to end the writing year. Who knows what 2022 might bring ?
Thank you very much for featuring me on your blog, Valerie. I must admit that its been a bit of a whirl since being shortlisted for RNA Indie Champion and other thigs have taken a bit of a backstep. However, the tree is up and the decorations sparkling in the winter gloom so I need to get back to the WIP which stands at almost 50k. Have a great Christmas and a wonderful 2022.
Reblogged this on Adrienne Vaughan and commented:
Great interview with one of my fave authors … the wonderful Lizzie Lamb!
Another great interview, Lizzie. I loved how the questions gave us another insight into your world. I enjoy losing myself in your fantastic novels.
Thank you so very much Jessie for leaving a comment. It’s sometimes hard to find something different to say! Authors need fellow writers as friends because they come at these blog posts from a different angle. Speak soon I hope.
Super interview with Lizzie!! Her books are all such great reads. (She’s a great supporter of others, too!)
Thanks June, I look forward to catching up with you and talking about writing very soon.
Reblogged this on New Romantics Press.
Thanks for the reblog, June.
What a brilliant interview! I am so looking forward to read Lizzie’s next book, I can’t wait! 😍😊
Hi Isabella, I’m keen to get it finished. Life does seem to have got in the way lately but now I have anew computer I have no excuse . . . except maybe, Christmas.
You are an inspiration Lizzie! So looking forward to Dark Highland Skies.
Thank you, Joan. Having done everything else I now feel free to get back to the WIP.
Very interesting interview. I love how Lizzie interlaces her background and passions in her books, to make them such a enjoyable and engaging read.
Thanks Phyllis, so kind of you to join in with the blogging fun. Our backgrounds are what make us who we are and its hard for me to forget my early childhood memories and that Steel Mill..
Fabulous interview with one of my favourite and most supportive authors. So good to learn more about the stories behind the stories. A really entertaining post. Can’t wait to read your new novel, Lizzie xx
Thanks Jan, I’m doing my best to get ‘stuck in’ with Dark Highland Skies as real life has got in the way of my writing recently. However, now I have a new pc and printer I’m good to go.
Great blog post with Lizzie Lamb. I have read all her books and absolutely love them. Looking forward to the next one.
Thank you, it’s always nice to know that someone, somewhere has enjoyed my novels.
Great blog post about Lizzie Lamb. I have read all her books and absolutely love them. Looking forward to the next one.
Hi Sarah, thanks for popping along to this blog. I know you’re ‘waiting’ for #7 so I’d better get on with it. Hope to see you soon.