My guest on Stationery Love today is Lizzie Lamb.
Put Down the Credit Card, Ma’am and Step Back from the iPad
Hello, my name’s Lizzie and I am a stationery junkie.
There, I’ve said it. However, judging by the other blog posts on this subject, I’m in good company. When I say stationery junkie, I don’t just mean any old stationery – that’s for the kids – I mean a serious VISTA PRINT habit.
I hadn’t even heard of Vista Print until I attended the RNA Conference at Chichester in 2007 and another writer handed me her business card. Business card – whoa – how cool is that? She even had a silver case to keep the cards in, and I discovered, via the website, that you could have anything printed on them that you liked. It was love at first byte and I fell for my new love hook, witty by-line and sinker.
Up to that point, I’d been quite happy with spiral bound notebooks and chewed Bic biros. I had no idea of the world out there just waiting for my visa card details. Soon I had fridge magnets imprinted with the name of my novel, postcards alerting everyone to the facts I was not just Lizzie Lamb, I was Lizzie Lamb – WRITER.
Then I moved on to personalised pens and post-its; magnetic notebooks that clung to the side of my filing cabinet and made my study look like a proper writer’s den. The world was my oyster and every time I logged onto Vista Print I found a pearl.
Never mind that the personalised notebooks and chi-chi post-its were too nice to use and I reverted back to an old £1 notebook from the supermarket and boring old post-its purloined from school!
By now, I was a confirmed Vista Print stalker and discovered that the feeling was mutual because they kept sending me lovely emails saying that I was a VIP customer and how much they valued me. They called me Lizzie – bless – I felt the love and ordered more stationery.
When I self published my debut novel last autumn I gave full rein to my obsession – resulting in printed T-shirts and linen bags with Tall, Dark and Kilted and New Romantics 4 (the name of my indie publishing group); handouts, a new range of postcards, flyers and promotional materials. I didn’t feel in the least bit guilty because it was all in the good cause of promoting my novel. Oh, and did I mention address labels and a clock with my photo on it (although, that was a non VP purchase and a birthday present from Bongo Man).
A picture is worth a thousand words they say, so check out my photographs and you’ll see that I’m not exaggerating. I have calmed down at the moment because I’ve had other expenditure – a joint blog created for the New Romantics 4 and a new customised website, subs for the Society of Authors now I’ve clocked up 500 sales of Tall, Dark and Kilted. But fear not – book two is in the process of being written and more Red Carpet Book Launches are planned for autumn 2013…
Would a pop-up banner be over the top do you think? Watch this space . . .
Congratulations on the book sales Lizzie. I must admit to buying some things for FABT from Vistaprint but have been able to ignore all emails since, by not reading them and hitting the delete key!
Lizzie is of Scottish/Irish/Brazilian descent and was born in a steel milling town in Scotland called Craigneuk, Lanarkshire. The massive RAVENSCRAIG steel mill was quite literally on her doorstep. Because of, or in spite of the uninspiring landscape, she learned to play imaginatively with the other children in the street in order to escape from her surroundings. That’s when she first started writing fan fiction – Writing extra scenes/and characters for the movies she saw on a Saturday morning and acting them out in her back garden with the other kids. She formed the local branch (ahem) of the Hayley Mills Fan Club after seeing the Parent Trap but got into trouble with her friends after writing the best lines for herself. Clearly, nothing’s changed since then.
She was lucky enough to attend an excellent primary school in Scotland where her education was very formal but thorough. She was steeped in Scottish history and fascinated by tales of the Belhaven family up at the Big Hoose in nearby Wishaw, close to where she lived. That’s probably where the germ of Tall, Dark and Kilted was born.
At the age of 11 her family moved to Leicester, England in search of work and better prospects. She then attended a local Intermediate school for five years before transferring to Grammar School for a sixth form – which she adored. Ideally, she would liked to have lectured history at university level but that was deemed a bit ambitious for a girl in those days so was pushed towards nursing/secretarial work or teaching. She chose to become a teacher, training at Kesteven College of Education 1969 – 1972; that where she met her husband David. Initially she trained for 8-13 year olds before settling for primary school aged children. Her last 16 years were spent as a deputy head teacher in a large primary school in north west Leicestershire. During her time as a teacher she ran drama clubs after school and wrote plays and choreographed dance routines for the children to perform for parents and at local Dance and Drama Festivals.
Lizzie has been writing since she was seven years old. And, for a brief spell in the late 80s, had an agent and was intent on being published by Harlequin Mills and Boone. She was then appointed deputy headteacher and her writing was put on hold due to the demanding nature of the post. In 2006 she picked up the threads of her writing ambitions and her scribbles have resulted in Tall, Dark and Kilted and her second novel, working title: Sweet Little Lies.
She has had some success with short story writing but, ultimately, decided that genre was not for her and has since concentrated on her novel. She has been a member of Leicester Writers’ Club, Peatling Writers’ Group and the Romantic Novelists Association New Writers’ Scheme. She is still a card carrying member of the National Union of Teachers. This year, along with three other members of the RNA/NWS she has formed an indie publishing collaborative THE NEW ROMANTICS 4 – their novels are currently available Amazon and Kindle.