JJ is delighted to welcome Jo Lambert today.
Born and raised in rural Wiltshire, Jo Lambert grew up with a love of books and a vivid imagination. As a child she enjoyed creating her own adventure stories similar to Enid Blyton’s Famous Five. Writing always stayed with her, but college, work and eventually marriage found it kept very much in the background as a hobby. In 2009 everything changed when she decided to self-publish a novel she had completed. After When Tomorrow Comes, three other books – Love Lies and Promises, The Ghost of You and Me and Between Today and Yesterday followed. In 2013 she decided to give up full time work to concentrate fully on her writing. Her fifth novel The Other Side of Morning was accepted by ThornBerry Publishing UK and is now available in e-book form with a paperback version to follow shortly.
Jo is married and lives in a village on the eastern edge of Bath, Somerset with one small grey feline called Mollie. She shares her husband with his ‘other woman’ Bridget – a 48 year old white MG Midget who keeps him occupied while she is busy writing.
Hi Jo, welcome!
Do you have a most creative time of day?
I set my writing time for most afternoons and usually carry out some pre-planning the evening before so I know exactly what I’m going to be doing as soon as I sit in front of the PC. However, creativity is not something that can be set into a daily timeframe, it’s always there and tends to strike when you least expect it – and not always in the most convenient of places. Because of this I usually keep a notebook handy to jot down ideas which may come into my head when it’s not convenient to type it up on the PC. It could be something as simple as reworking a scene from a different character’s viewpoint, or even a few lines of dialogue I think would be useful. So the answer to the question is no. Although I do have planned writing time and I guess you could say that’s my creative time of day, generally it’s there all the time – it never really goes away!
Do you have a favourite place you go to for inspiration or a favourite activity?
Bath is surrounded by amazing countryside. I live on the east side of the city where in five minutes you can be walking along a country lane where the only traffic you are likely to meet are horse riders or dog walkers. It’s a great place to take myself, away from the house and any distractions. I can work scenes and dialogue out in my head or even use the time to clear my mind of everything and simply enjoy my surroundings. Music is incredibly important too. It’s so embedded in my everyday life – at home, in the car, on my iPod and, of course, on the computer where I have playlists set up to accompany my writing. I create different sets of playlists for each book I write so that the music choice is relevant to what is going on and helps set the right mood for a particular chapter or scene.
Do you have a theme for your book covers? Who designs them?
Jane Dixon Smith was recommended to me several years ago when I decided to revamp my covers to give my books a ‘branded’ look. I knew right from the start the most essential thing was to have one of the principal characters on the front of each book. I also wanted the covers to have strong colour. Jane came back with some ideas which I liked and the cover for my first novel When Tomorrow Comes followed shortly after. I was absolutely delighted and have been using her ever since. Jane has been a dream to work with and I would recommend her to anyone looking for a great cover designer – she is absolutely brilliant!
How do your characters come into existence? Do they have a bio?
When putting together a new novel I start with an idea and work on it to see whether it’s going to take off in any particular direction. Below are the basic thoughts I put together for my current WIP Summer Moved On:-
Two people from totally different backgrounds meet and against all odds fall in love. Overcoming all the obstacles in their way, it appears they have a long term future together. Until one night something terrible happens which sees their relationship destroyed. Both go their separate ways and build new lives. Five years later they meet again and finding their love has never really gone away begin to build a new life together. However, their happiness is short lived when someone from the past unexpectedly returns – with devastating consequences.
From that very broad outline I make a list of things I need to know:-
- Where is the setting for this story?
- Who are these individuals – names/ages?
- What do they look like?
- What are their backgrounds?
- Where do they meet and under what circumstances?
- Family histories and friends?
- What was the reason for their split?
- Did someone or something cause it?
- How do they meet again?
- What have they being doing during their five years apart?
- What is it that threatens their happiness second time around?
- How does the story conclude?
Once I have all this information I begin fleshing out the story, creating the other characters and writing up all the bios.
Yes, all my characters have bios. To bring people to life on paper they must feel real. Below is the basic bio I used for Marco D’Alesandro’s character in my current novel The Other Side of Morning:-
- Black hair, brown eyes, six feet tall
- 26 years of age
- Born in Milan
- Mother died when he was 18 months old
- Pre-university education in England
- Speaks English, Italian and German
- Has a business degree and a Masters in Food Management.
- Is based in London, running the European restaurant chain for his father’s international hotel and leisure group.
- Is successful, taking the D’Alesandro’s flagship restaurant San Raffaello’s from basic Italian bistro to Michelin three star eatery -one of the best dining experiences in the UK’s capital.
- Is a team player, often turning up at San Raffaello’s and working alongside his staff.
- Is hard working and committed, aware of his future role as head of D’Alesandro Hotels and Leisure.
- Has great respect for his father and stepmother and has a very close bond with his half-sister Felica.
- Is quietly confident and has immense charm
- Oh and of course he’s great in bed!
So you can see from the above I not only know how the character looks, but the kind of person he will be. Once the bios are complete I can begin to write as I will have all my characters in my head. Writing is like having your own film company. You create the story, cast the characters, choose the setting- and that’s the easy part. Because from there you take on the director’s role getting inside the heads of all those people and trying to make them work the way you want them to within that story. Quite a challenge sometimes!
Thank you for your in-depth responses Jo!
Wishing you success with all your writing projects.
Charlotte Kendrick’s ill-fated relationship with rock star Christian Rosetti still haunts her. The new man in her life, handsome, rich Italian restaurateur Marco D’Alesandro, is everything she wants. But when beautiful heiress Rossana Caravello arrives to spend time with his family as their house guest she wonders whether history is about to repeat itself. Marco insists he loves her and that he has no interest in their guest, but how can Charlotte believe him when everything about his behaviour around Rossana indicates he is lying? Giving him the benefit of the doubt, Charlotte wonders whether his ruthless stepmother Thérèse may be involved, and decides to find out more about the young heiress. However, far from putting her mind at rest, what she discovers leaves her feeling more unsettled than ever about her future with Marco…
From rural West Somerset to the glorious rolling landscape of Tuscany and the Italian lakes THE OTHER SIDE OF MORNING is a story of love, betrayal, deception and ultimate sacrifice.