I am beyond excited to start this month off with a guest post. Today, I am featuring Author, Lizzie Chantree, author of three romance books.We’ll be diving into a fun little Q&A.
1. What brought you to a career in writing?
I began writing as a teenager and have always had a vivid imagination. As an adult I was struggling to stay awake at night while my daughter was unwell, (she’s fine now) and had to find something to distract me from the levels of stress we were all under. I wrote my first book Babe Driven as a way to bring some sunshine into my life at a very difficult time. The story is full of the laughter and warmth that I needed to get me through. The book not only began my career as an author, but worked as my counsel and kept my sanity in tact!
2. Who has been your biggest inspiration in this career path?
My parents inspire me every day. They have a great work ethic, but are kind and generous to everyone they meet. They are entrepreneurs and are a bit bonkers, if I’m honest. That’s what I love about them the most. They have had tough times, but never complain. They just dust themselves off and try something new.
3. What were some of your first story ideas?
I think I wrote a story once about a man who ate sweets that turned him blue! I must have been quite young, but it made my teacher smile. For novels, my first story idea was Babe Driven. I have a passion for invention and new business and this is the theme for all of my work. Each story revolves around an unusual business idea and then spices it up with a bit of romance.
4. Where do you find inspiration when writing?
I’m inspired by my family and friends, but also by people walking on the street, art, design, business and any form of creativity. I enjoy seeing people’s personality in what they do, or how they speak or behave.
5. What makes you, as an author, stand out?
I think my work follows a family trait, as it’s a bit zany! I have run my own business since I was 17yrs old and add unique business ideas to all of my books. I also like to learn and teach myself lots of new things each week. I had no idea about social media or marketing when I wrote Babe Driven, but now I have a fabulous Twitter following and run a popular networking hour called #creativeBizHour for creatives that trends each week.
6. Do you have a special writing process, in terms of getting from the initial story idea to publishing the final copy?
I do. I write by hand in A4 lined books with a pen my husband bought me. This may sound odd in such a technical world, but I enjoy the creativity of putting pen to paper and seeing the words fill the page. After the first 10-20,000 words, I begin to type the manuscript up and then complete it on my computer. It also means I can grab my A4 books and easily work pretty much anywhere.
7. Do your books ever involve you doing research?
Not really. My stories are completely made up in my head and the businesses are one’s I’ve invented myself. I use my own experience of over 20 yrs in business and my observations of the life around me to write my books.
8. What has been your most resourceful tool when it comes to marketing and promotion?
Twitter has been amazing. I didn’t know how to connect with anyone on social media a few years ago. I went on a course for a day, then read everything I could find on the subject and still do. Networking and connecting with other creative businesses, authors and readers has been a joy.
I also joined The Rave Reviews Book Club just after I had published Babe Driven. It was five years until my daughter was well enough for me to think about doing anything with the manuscript and the first place I found for author support was this club. It’s not just a place to just find honest reviewers, it’s a genuine book club, full of avid readers and writers who are so supportive to others. They are very generous of their time and are patient with people like me, who hadn’t a clue how to progress!
9. Your website is filled with awesome information for fellow writers. What has been the best piece of advice that you have received?
Thank you! What a compliment. The one piece of advice that I will always remember, is to get words onto paper. You can’t edit a blank page.
10. Your book, FINDING GINA, is a contemporary romance with a magical twist. It even has some mystery and suspense. How were you able to successfully combine these genres?
All of my books are romance novels with a central business idea and many of my main characters are entrepreneurs of some kind. They are also about the fact that appearances can be deceptive.
Gina is a girl who is running from her past, as her mother has died and her father is an alcoholic. She feels very isolated in the world and takes a wrong turn on a road. This leads her onto a crumbling estate with a rather handsome proprietor, whose dog Rudie insists on digging up an old pair of his owners underpants whenever a new guest arrives! Here you have mystery, romance, and a sprinkling of humour.
I think the key to mixing genres is to keep them based in one. My books are all romance novels, but some have elements of other genres for the reader to discover inside. Hopefully it keeps the story fresh and exciting.
11. I’m very interested in your book cover. Please tell us about your cover art.
Thank you again! I trained in graphic design at college, then went to The School of Communication Arts in London, which was a design, advertising and marketing university. They only took about 30 students of various ages a year from all over the world, so I was very lucky to get in. I then worked for an agency where I designed street basketball wear for Converse and worked on brochures and trade stand designs for other brands. It taught me how to implement design to the best of my ability. I absolutely love designing my cover art, as it’s a way to relax after writing so many words. I like to use strong colours and images to portray what’s inside the book.
12. How do you develop your characters?
My characters develop as the story unfolds. I write out my story ideas, then a brief plan of what will be in each chapter. From there I have a notes page on each character, about hair colour, personality traits and favourite foods e.t.c. I tend to make a lot of it up as i’m writing. I’m as excited to find out what is going to happen as everyone else! I guess that’s what makes writing the books so much fun.
13. When you’re not behind a pen or book, what can you be found doing?
I love to paint huge vibrant landscapes, although my children do seem to snaffle quite a few of my paints these days for homework projects. I have exhibited my art many times over the years in local galleries or shows. I enjoy long walks with my dog and family to discover places with beautiful views. I also travel a lot with my family as they all have clubs and activities that they love to do.
14. You have published several books. Do you have a favorite?
Babe Driven has a special place in my heart as it helped me so much at a dark time. My daughter tells everyone that I began writing my first book because of her, usually while she’s hopping from foot to foot with excitement over something or other. It makes me smile to see her joy and this in turn fills my soul with happiness.
15. What can we expect next from you?
I have just finished a romance novel which is being read by publishers. The manuscript is set in the English countryside and is about a group of school mums, one of whom is hiding a vey unusual secret. It is humorous and full of romance, but delivers a punch of excitiement. Hopefully it will appeal to readers who love contemporary romance, women’s literature and people who like a few dramatic surprises as the story unfolds. A Lizzie Chantree read!
A contemporary romance read with a magical twist! By Lizzie Chantree.
Can a sprinkling of stardust overcome a past full of demons?
Gina had traversed the breadth of the country in her little campervan to try and find everyone on her grandmother’s list, before her father drunk himself into an early grave. She leant down and pulled the battered and worn journal from her bag and opened it to the latest page. The neatly written names were etched onto her heart and she was determined to visit every single one and compensate them in some way. Her family’s debt had to be repaid.
Lewis read another provincial story about a ‘guardian angel’ who had been helping families across the country and his reporters nose began to itch. He was sure that if he could track down the girl they were talking about, he would unearth an even bigger story. He just had to work out how to locate her and then find out what it was that she was running from!
Lizzie is an award winning author, inventor and businesswoman. She founded her first company at the age of 17 and has been creating products and driving her family mad ever since.
Lizzie appeared on Sky News, ITV Lunchtime News, This Morning, The Big Breakfast, BBC’s Worldwide Radio Service, amongst others for becoming one of Fair Play London’s Female Innovators.
Lizzie lives with her gorgeous family and a very unusual dog. In between the school run and baking cakes (or burning them!), she sits in her rooftop studio daydreaming about gaps in the market and how she can fill them. She is the author of sizzling beach read Babe Driven, medical romance novel; Love’s Child and Finding Gina, which is a mystical romance. She has just completed her most recent manuscript, which is set in a school playground and focuses on a group of school mums, one of whom is keeping a very bizarre secret!
Thanks so much for visiting with us today and helping me show Lizzie the support she deserves. Please continue that support with shares, likes and comments. And do yourself a favor and check out her books!
Until next time……… Happy Reading & Reviewing!!