Today on Getting To Know... I am delighted to bring you an interview with author Joanna Lambert. She has been great to answer all my questions, even in the run up to the release of her newest book Watercolours In The Rain.
You write drama driven romance, what is it about this genre that draws you to it?
I’ve always been hooked on romance. So when I began to write, it had to be romantic fiction. Although I’m not a big fan of soaps, I love the structure of a community or place of work; the interaction between individuals – the camaraderie and the tensions which occur. It spikes my imagination. My first five books had big casts – four families - but my last book and the one about to be published concentrates on three individuals. One thing that hasn’t changed though is the drama.
What was the inspiration behind your last novel, Summer Moved On?
Summer Moved On, set in Devon, was very, very loosely based on Wuthering Heights. I wanted to explore a relationship between a middle class girl and the son of a traveller. My central characters were Jess and Talún (a Gaelic name). However, I didn’t want him to be the same tortured, vindictive soul Heathcliff had been. Instead, I made him a bit arrogant…a sort of loveable rogue whose life has gone wrong because of various factors beyond of his control. However, deep down he’s really a decent guy. Meeting Jess proves a pivotal moment in his life. At first they clash. Talún sees her attitude as middle class prejudice. However there are deeper motives for Jess’s dislike, one of them being his current relationship with an older woman. It reminds her of how her own mother abandoned the family to go off with a younger man. Gradually, Talún begins to understand how his behaviour colours peoples’ view of him and as he begins to make changes he falls in love with Jess. Just like Heathcliff, he eventually leaves Jess and the sequel – Watercolours in the Rain - deals with his return six years later.
Your Little Court Series, which consists of Behind Blue Eyes Trilogy and two novels that can be read as stand alones, has the main character of Ella, is she based on anyone in real life or is there any of your personality in her?
I think Ella was a mix of characters I’d known and yes, I guess there was a little of me in her. I think it’s very difficult to simply pull a character out of the air. They have to have some traits you’ve come across in other people. That is what makes them real. The series began when Ella was sixteen and ended in her mid-forties (although the next generation took over in book 5 and she became a minor character). She was someone not only clever and confident, but mature beyond her years. That inspiration came from a nineteen year old I’d worked with way back. Like Ella she was calm and nothing fazed her but if pushed too far you would get quite a reaction from her. Ella has those feisty moments too.
When you are not writing what would we find you doing?
I am a very active blogger. I have three blogs – one for my books, one for reviewing for Brook Cottage Books and one general blog where I post pieces and also regularly interview people –writers, editors, anyone with a connection to writing. I also love photography and my camera goes with me everywhere. And now I’m no longer in full time work, I love to get away occasionally whether it’s a UK destination or somewhere overseas.
Do you have a favourite character that you have written so far?
In my fourth book Between Today and Yesterday, one of the main characters, Orlando Flynn, who lives on the Costa Del Sol, has a small Spanish sidekick called Elvira. He was a mixture of streetwise and comical. A little man with a big heart who brought both comedy and emotional moments to the book.
Have you always wanted to write your own novels?
Oh yes. I‘d loved writing from an early age. I used to dream up potential plots but I don’t think I ever thought I could successfully write a novel until I was in my
late twenties. However, my first two efforts, although technically proving I had the ability to write something with a beginning, middle and end, made me realise I had an awful long way to go before I could say I’d produced something commercial enough to be published. Enrolling in Creative Writing classes helped tremendously and I read a huge amount too. Even now, in my spare moments in between writing, I read. It’s great to see how other writers structure their story and handle scenes and dialogue. It’s an on-going process - you never stop learning.
What is your favourite thing about being an author?
I’ve met and made so many friends both virtual and real since I’ve been a writer. There’s a great supportive network out there. And since finishing work I can now concentrate on something I’ve spent a lifetime wanting to do – being a writer. It’s great to escape into that parallel world on a regular basis. If I have one regret it’s that I didn’t give up work earlier.
Do you have a favourite author?
It has to be George R R Martin. I do like fantasy and once I’d read A Song of Ice and Fire I couldn’t stop. I found the whole series so addictive. I’m just very disappointed that we’re still waiting for the next book The Winds of Winter. Even though Game of Thrones has carried the story forward on TV, I still want to read it on Kindle.
When you're writing, can you write just anywhere or do you have a certain place that you have to be?
I do have an office where I can tuck myself away and for me that’s the best place. When I’m in writing mode I need complete concentration on my work, with absolutely no distractions.
What can we look forward to next from you?
Watercolours in the Rain, the sequel to Summer Moved On, published on October 5th. I had hoped to tell Jess and Talun’s story in one hit but it wasn’t to be. Watercolours moves all the characters on six years and brings the story to a conclusion. And I’m now putting together characters and sorting out a plot for book 7 whose working title will be The Boys of Summer.
Thank you so much to Joanna for some absolutely awesome answers!
Watercolours In The Rain blurb
What happens to the future when past and present collide?
JESS: Six years ago Jess’s relationship with Talún Hansen was torn apart by one night of deception. He disappeared from Lynbrook village and she headed for university vowing never to let anyone break her heart again. Currently teaching in Oxford, Jess returns from holiday to an unexpected phone call and life changing news which eventually sees her returning home.
TALÚN: Six years on Talún Hawkeswood, as he is now known, is heir to his grandfather’s Norfolk farming empire. When he hears of trouble in the village due to Lynbrook Hall being put up for sale, going back is the last thing on his mind. But staying away is not an option either, not when someone he owes so much to is about to lose their home and their livelihood.
LILY: Splitting with her husband after her son Josh’s birth, Lily now works as part of an estate agency sales team. She has always held onto her dream of finding a wealthy husband and a life of self-indulgence. When the sale of an important property brings her face to face with Talún, she realises despite the risks involved, the night they spent together six years ago could be the key to making those dreams come true.
As Jess, Talún and Lily return to Lynbrook and the truth about what happened that summer is gradually revealed, Talún finds himself in an impossible situation. Still in love with Jess he is tied into a trade off with Lily: his name and the lifestyle she craves in exchange for his son. And when a child is involved there is only one choice he can make…
To Connect With Joanna Lambert
Website - https://jolambertbooks.com/
Google+ - https://plus.google.com/+JoLambert
Twitter - @jolambertwriter
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/jolambert185