Today, on the last day of 2012, I have the pleasure of welcoming Joanna Lambert to Jera’s Jamboree.
Jo Lambert lives on the eastern edge of Bath in Somerset with her husband, one small grey cat called Mollie and a white MG Midget called Bridget, affectionately known as her husband’s ‘other woman’. She has written four novels – The Behind Blue Eyes Trilogy (When Tomorrow Comes, Love, Lies and Promises and The Ghost of You and Me) and a sequel Between Today and Yesterday. She is currently working on her fifth novel.
Hi Joanna, thank you for being my final guest of 2012!
Having read When Tomorrow Comes (the first in the series) and recently, Between Today and Yesterday (the sequal to the trilogy) I’ve noticed a change in focus. Your lead characters Ella and Matt move from the romance genre, to contemporary drama. Would you like to share with readers how and why the series has developed?
Hi Shaz, many thanks for inviting me to chat and yes you are are right, Between Today and Yesterday is a complete departure from the last three but it came about more by accident than design.
At the beginning of the trilogy, my two central characters Matt and Ella were in their late teens . The core of the whole thing was their on-off relationship, brought about not only by the influence of others around them but also their own inability to communicate their feelings to each other. Built around this were the sub-plots involving other characters, but essentially this was a romantic story featuring two star crossed lovers and a rock band which concluded by the time Matt and Ella had moved into their twenties.
Whilst writing the final of the three books The Ghost of You and Me I noticed as I approached the end there were quite a few loose ends which opened the way for a sequel to be written. It had been my intention, however, to write something completely different after finishing, but by the time I had typed ‘The End’ I had changed my mind. They would, I decided, all return.
After I had committed myself to bring everyone back, however, the burning question was what the central focus of the new book would be. Looking at all the possibilities, one in particular stood out from the rest. In the third book Matt’s singing protégé Marcie Maguire’s plans to keep Matt and Ella apart had failed and she’d departed angry and empty handed for Hollywood to start a movie career instead. However, as she left she swore she would return one day and take him away from Ella. Revenge, therefore, became central to the new plot. Then there was an issue of timing. In pitching it too close to the ending of the trilogy there was a danger of taking up almost where we left off. For me this was a non-starter as I could not really see enough there worthy of developing into the kind of book that would interest readers. So in the end I decided to take everyone a giant leap forward into the 1980s. I worked out the central strand of the plot and then began building sub plots around it. Old faces returned and were joined by their children, now young adults, who provided a great opportunity for new character development. Once this was done I was ready to get the writing underway.
For me a book evolves. I sketch out a pathway but when I come to write sometimes things don’t or won’t work and I have to sit back and think about how to change them so they do. This book was no exception. The original plot was nothing like the book I eventually published. As I wrote I realised I was in new territory. My characters were older; the twenty-somethings I had left in 1973 with dreams, expectations and their lives ahead of them no longer existed. What did was a group of people who had just hit forty. A group with a different set of life challenges; for many of them things had radically changed and not for the better. Therefore the whole story required handling in a totally different way and that, I think, was the moment where I closed the door on full blown romance and moved into more contemporary writing.
Looking back, I feel that when I wrote the Behind Blue Eyes trilogy I was still developing as a writer. Although the shift from full romance to contemporary fiction came about quite accidentally I view it as a progressive step – something that was meant to be. I feel it has not only taken me to another level but also increased the enthusiasm I feel for being a writer.
Will you be writing about any of the other characters to continue the series?’
Absolutely. My current work in progress, The Other Side of Morning, joins the families again in the nineties. Jenny’s daughter Charlotte and Ella’s daughter Lucy, now in their mid-twenties, become the central female characters. This time we’re looking at obsession, something which triggered my imagination through reading the ’50 Shades’ trilogy and Christian Grey’s total obsessive and controlling behaviour with Ana. There is a love story in the centre of my new book, but there are so many other things going on that it’s definitely not going to come under the heading of ‘pure romance’ I can assure you. Locations, as well as the family home in Somerset, include Dartmouth (a place I absolutely love) and Tuscany –oh and there’s a drop dead gorgeous Anglo-Italian too, called Marco d’Alesandro. And once that’s finished? Well, I’m not sure at the moment; let’s just say I’m keeping my options open!
Thank you for sharing with us today Joanna. I’m looking forward to reading The Other Side of Morning and I’m sure all my blog readers will join in with wishing you success with your writing career.
Please check out the following author links:
Links: Blog: http://www:jolambertwriter.wordpress.com
Links: Website: http://www.ladywriter.moonfruit.com
Links: Twitter: @jolambertwriter
Links: Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jolambert185