Five Photos … with Lizzie Lamb

My guest today is the lovely Lizzie Lamb. Lizzie was the first author I ever got in touch with, and she very kindly answered my questions with great patience. Since then, I’ve been lucky enough to meet her in person, and discovered that she’s just as fabulous in real life as she is online, so it’s a great pleasure to welcome her to the blog today, so she can share with us her five photos. 

 

My Earliest Photo (just about)!

On the back it reads: Betty aged three, written in my mother’s hand. I lived with my mother, grandparents and two young uncles who teased me, stuck me up trees and then walked away, and thought it was hilarious to encourage me to stand on the dining room table and amuse visitors with a medley of Shirley Temple songs. When I was five, the Salvation Army came to our street with a microphone and a boom box and asked for children to sing hymns. Instead of the expected Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam, I sang The Old Rugged Cross in a strong American accent (those uncles, see?) After five minutes they prized the microphone from my fingers, and suggested that, maybe another wee girl would like a go? I was christened Elizabeth, but my family call me Betty. As soon as I could, I jettisoned the name and became (fanfare, please) Lizzie Lamb. A great name, and get-out-of-jail-card for agents and editors who usually say: fabulous name for a writer of romance, before showing me the door. Some people say I’m still precocious but being brought up by two crazy uncles has made me virtually uncrushable and given me a great belief in myself. Two traits vital to survive in the publishing world, perhaps?

Me and Bongo Man.

This is one of the earliest photos taken with my husband-to-be Dave (aka Bongo Man). It was taken in his room at College of Education (circa 1970) when we were training to be teachers. It was never my intention to marry. I wanted to be a famous bluestocking, lecturing history and forswearing all contact with the male of the species. Kind of like a nun but with better shoes and makeup. Failing that, a writer of historical novels in the same mould as Jean Plaidy or Margaret Irwin. Then I met Dave, we became engaged and those intentions flew out of the window. I couldn’t qualify fast enough and set up home with him. We married in 1973 and lived in happy penury, all of my annual salary (£1500, I think) going to pay the mortgage. All other expenses were met out of Dave’s wages. I couldn’t afford driving lessons until I was thirty years old, but I did pass at my first attempt. Our first house cost £4000 and we bought it from the school caretaker who wanted a quick sale because his son was about to be released from prison (where he was banged up for murdering his wife!) Small wonder I’m a writer, eh?

First Study.

This is my first study (I could never call the space where I write my office; failed blue-stocking, see?) I lined it with as many precious second-hand books as I could afford or bought at jumble sales, there being no charity bookshops in those days. Knowing how much I longed to be a published author, Dave built me this desk and bought me an electric typewriter. My study was my inner sanctum and the first step towards realising my ambition of becoming a writer. It was difficult fitting in writing in at the end of a long hard slog at the chalk face, but I managed to write an English civil war epic entitled: A Different Drummer. I still have the manuscript in my study in our current house, but it doesn’t make for good reading. One thing I will say about my teaching career is that it gave me the opportunity to run after school drama clubs and put on three shows a year for parents and friends, thus satisfying my creative bent. My teaching colleagues nicknamed me Cecil B. de Lamb and referred to the members of my drama club as my ‘cast of dozens’.

Me and Jilly Cooper.

I abandoned all attempts at writing historical fiction when I read the first of Jilly Cooper’s romances, each one bearing a girl’s name. From that point forward, I was hooked on rom-coms (although I’m sure we didn’t call them that back in the day). Imagine my delight last month when I met Jilly in person at the Romantic Novelists’ Association Awards, I was so overcome, I was almost in tears. They say you should never meet your heroes, but Jilly was everything I’d imagined, and more. I told her what an influence she’d been for me and other writers and that I have all her books. She thanked ME for buying her books, how gracious is that? I remembered how buying her books were the highlight of the year for a newly-married aspiring author and shared that with her. In return, she called me darling Lizzie, and kissed me. Imagine that. I thought I’d died and gone to heaven; which, in many respects, I had.

Celebrating in Style:

Where to end this tale? I’d been submitting manuscripts to the RNA’s New Writers’ Scheme and getting positive feedback, but the critiques told me to go away and polish, polish, polish. In 2012, lovely Amanda Grange had lunch with June Kearns, Adrienne Vaughan and Mags Cullingford in my garden. We asked her when we should publish our books and she said NOW. The Amazon algorithm was changing (the what?) and becoming less favourable. She gave us the nudge we needed. We formed New Romantics Press and put our books on Amazon. In retrospect, I wish we’d done it earlier because, soon after that, small e-publishers sprang up like teeth of the hydra and traditional publishers started to follow the indie model. Now, the market is saturated and its harder to stand out. This photo was taken shortly after I’d published Tall, Dark and Kilted and was hosting my first Facebook event (November 2012). Minutes earlier, Dave had entered my study in full highland gear, carrying a bottle of champagne in an ice bucket, and bearing a dozen red roses. What a guy! I’m sure I’ve driven him bonkers with my writing, but he did marry me for better or worse. LOL. I’m getting to ‘the better’ bit, soon.

Thanks so much for sharing your photos, Lizzie. I’ve loved looking through them and reading the stories behind them. I’m not jealous about you meeting Jilly Cooper at all – nope, not one bit!

 

After teaching her 1000th pupil and working as a deputy headteacher in a large primary school, Lizzie decided to pursue her first love: writing. She joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s New Writers’ Scheme, wrote Tall, Dark and Kilted (2012), followed a year later by Boot Camp Bride. Although much of her time is taken up publicising her novels she published a third novel SCOTCH ON THE ROCKS in July 2015. It achieved Best Seller status within two weeks of appearing on Amazon. Her latest novel Girl in the Castle was published in 2017 and reached #3 in the charts. Lizzie is a founder member of indie publishing group – New Romantics Press and has held author events in many venues and loves meeting potential readers. In March 2016, she was a finalist in the prestigious Exeter Novel Prize for Scotch on the Rocks. She has also co-hosted an author event at Aspinall, St Pancras, talking about writing and the amount of research which goes into her novels. Lizzie is currently editing a novel set in Wisconsin – Sweet Little Lies, and hopes to publish it Summer 2018. Lizzie has more Scottish-themed romances planned, so watch this space. As for the years she spent as a teacher, they haven’t quite gone to waste as she is building up a reputation as a go-to speaker on indie publishing, and how to plan, write, and publish a debut novel.
Lizzie lives in Leicestershire (UK) with her husband and a naughty parrot called Jasper.

Find out more about Lizzie by following her on Amazon.
You can talk to her on Facebook and Twitter.
Check out her interests on Pinterest and Instagram .
Read her blog

She loves to hear from readers, so do get in touch . . .

42 thoughts on “Five Photos … with Lizzie Lamb

  1. Fabulous, Sharon!!! This just sums Lizzie up. (I LOVE that story of her testing the patience of the Salvation Army.) Her work ethic is amazing (a deputy-head-teacher thing?) but she’s always there to lend a helping hand to anyone else. Love her books. Love her to bits!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you, June. You’re right, Lizzie’s personality shines through these pictures and her stories behind them, doesn’t it? Yep, she was the first author I ever approached and she took the time to reply to me and answer my questions. I will never forget that. I love her books, too, and though I’ve only met her in person once, I consider her a real friend. Looking forward to your photos soon! xx

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Lizzie Lamb

      June, when I thought of becoming a writer, I little realised the friendships that would be forged as a result. I’m sure I’ve tested your patience (and friendship) more than the hapless members of the Sally Army who came to our street. You’ve been supportive of me since the day we met at the RNA Meeting in the New Cavendish Club all those years ago. Love you to bits, too.

      Like

  2. jessiecahalin

    As expected, your story is so much fun and insightful. What a great story, Lizzie! Your determination to follow your writing dream is an inspiration. The New Romantics Press is a great innovation with lovely people- interesting observations on how self-publishing has become more competitive.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks for commenting, Jessie. Lizzie is very inspiring. The New Romantics Press is made up of four very talented and very lovely ladies. It’s a pleasure to know them, and it’s great to watch their stars rise and rise. We can learn a lot from their success. x

      Like

    2. Lizzie Lamb

      As you say, Jessie, self publishing has become more competitive and its harder to stand out from the crown. That’s why I appreciate the efforts of lovely writers/blogger like you and Sharon to spread the word. Always reciprocated, of course.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Mags Cullingford

    Fabulous blog post Sharon. Our Lizzie to a T. Her work ethic and single-minded focus is an inspiration. And we (June, Adrienne and I) , I believe, would never have had the courage to take the indie path to publication without her driving us on. Should add before I sign off, her Rom-Coms are pure entertainment, a great read.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. Margaret Cullingford

        When I get my mojo back in full, Sharon, and my 3rd novel (already 40,000+ w) completed, I should be delighted to share 5 photos with you.

        Like

    1. Lizzie Lamb

      Thanks Mags. I’m sure I wouldn’t have got so far without the help of you, Adrienne and June. Writing is a lonely business and it helps to know that New Romantics Press is there to act as sounding board, friends and great supporters. Looking forward to your next one in the fullness of time.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I am lucky enough to know Lizzie in real life, and blessed to be able to call her my friend. Yo’re right, Sharon. She is amazing and a great supporter. I met her through social media and the rest, as they say, is history! I knew part of the stories behind the photos, and it was lovely to know more of her anecdotes. She could only be a writer of fiction LOL
    So thank you Sharon and thank you Lizzie for this fantastic blog post.
    Love from Isa aka The Diva LOL xxx

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Lizzie Lamb

      I’ve been very lucky to meet fabulous people like you and Sharon through the pages of Facebook. And I’m sure that the three of us will meet up in Yorkshire in the not too distant future. You were a brilliant help to me when I was writing Scotch on the Rocks and your namesake Isabella Tartaruga, the Diva from Dumbarton, was born. In turn you are a great supporter: reading, reviewing, commenting on blogs etc. Thank you Isa.

      Like

      1. My absolute pleasure my dear friend.
        As to Yorkshire, my trip has only been postponed BUT I will make it there, eventually! It’s a long overdue trip down memory lane, and the chance to meet with new friends, too! xx

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I read this post and viewed Lizzie’s photos with the biggest smile on my face. I love the stories that accompany each pic. Lizzie is such an inspiration to me, a fabulous writer and a wonderful friend. This is a great feature, Sharon. xxx

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Lizzie Lamb

      Sharon,Jan would be a brilliant person to appear on your blog. She is a great source of many funny stories. Just as well our phone conversations aren’t tapped or we would be in serious trouble. Again, I met Jan through the pages of Facebook and she has become a great friend, suporter and fellow author. Can’t say better than that.

      Like

    1. Lizzie Lamb

      Thanks for joining in the fun, Helena. It was such an easy blog post to write – I mean, what writer doesn’t like talking about themselves and their influences? (Or is that just me). Meeting Jilly Cooper was such a buzz for me and I’ll treasure those photos forever. My new book is coming out this summer and I have lots more stories to tell. Thank you.

      Like

  6. lesley2cats

    I also met Lizzie through the RNA, although I am neither indie published nor a romance writer, but nevertheless, she is inspiring and I envy her Bongo Man and the Camper Van. Her marketing skills are second to none. Lovely post.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Lizzie Lamb

      Thanks for commenting, Lesley. I’m very lucky to have a camper van and a built-in chauffeur and all round good egg in Bongo Man. He’s very long-suffering but puts up with all my shenanigans with much eye-rolling and good humour. Sometimes I wish I had a publishing company at my back, but I’ve got such a driven personality I’d probably be a nightmare to work with. LOL. Good luck with your writing, too. I must give a presentation one day on how I market my books through social media etc.

      Like

  7. Lizzie Lamb

    Reblogged this on Lizzie Lamb and commented:
    Many thanks to Sharon Booth for hosting me and my photos on her wonderful blog. I hope you find time to read it and to search out Sharon’s novels, too.

    Like

  8. Lizzie’s writing journey must be an inspiration to new authors. Her will to succeed shines through in her photos and her joy in writing through her stories. I’m so looking forward to her next book which I believe is not too far away.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Lizzie Lamb

      I bet you’re so glad that you aren’t a writer, Joan. LOL. You’re better than a writer – you’re a reader and a great supporter of us all. You’ve been a great supporter of me since I started writing Tall, Dark and Kilted. I hope you like the next one when you read it this summer.

      Like

  9. Hilarious Sharon … those poor uncles! Lovely insight into a great writer and a wonderful friend. (Dave’s a saint, and theirs is a true love story … it’s just great to be around them). New book about to be delivered very soon, and I for one, cannot wait! Go, go Lizzie Lamb – is that your real name? X

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Lizzie Lamb

      Actually Adrienne, my real name is Ermentrude Evangelina Smith. But don’t tell anyone. I’m very lucky in my friends and husband and I wouldn’t have got this far without you all. I rather suspect that Dave should be canonised for all her has to put up with. New book coming soon …

      Liked by 1 person

  10. What a fab set of photos and such a wonderful picture you paint of your life as you describe the memories associated with each. Congratulations on everything you’ve achieved so far and everything I know you’ll achieve in the future
    Jessica x

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Lizzie Lamb

    Thank you Jessica, so kind of you to pop along and leave a comment. I am focused on publishing my new book at the moment – hard work 😓 but exciting, too.

    Like

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