Today I’m excited to welcome author Lindsey Paley to my blog for a Q&A, where she talks about her writing process, gives advice to aspiring authors and discusses the best and worst things about being a novelist.
The first book of Lindsey’s I read was The Wish List Addiction, which I absolutely loved – particularly the lovely descriptions of Northumberland, where I grew up. It was definitely one of those moments when you think, is there anything better than discovering a great author who has written more than one book?
Can you tell us a little bit about how you came to be an author?
First of all thank you so much for having me on your blog. I’ve always doodled stories but started writing a little more seriously about twenty years ago. That first full-length manuscript – written in laborious longhand – is still resting in a shoe box on the top of my wardrobe. I decided to start submitting my work – a very scary decision – three years ago and The Wish List Addiction became my very first published novel. It holds a special place in my heart. Since then I’ve written ten other novels including the Camille Carter series starting with Snowflakes and Christmas Cakes. The first two books in the series are set in the stunning Lake District and the second two are set in the Caribbean. Camille lives in Paris so I’ll have to set the next two there in the City of Light!
Do you write full time – what is your writing routine?
Yes, I do write full time.
I work best in the mornings so that is when I try to get a few words done. I sit at the kitchen table overlooking the garden in the winter months and in the summer I gravitate to the tiny peppermint-and-cream summerhouse (think garden shed) to scribble in my notebook. I wish I could write my novels straight onto the computer but I can’t. I have to write everything in long hand still and transcript in the afternoons – although I try to kid myself and call that the first edit.
The kettle is always boiling as I’m addicted to Earl Grey tea which improves with a chocolate hobnob! My new year’s resolution is to cut down on biscuits which I’ve successfully achieved by replacing them with cupcakes!
I try to stay away from Facebook or Twitter until later in the afternoons but it doesn’t always work out that way!
Where do you get the inspiration from for your books?
From everywhere is the easy answer. Like lots of writers I love lingering over a pot of tea in the local café and eavesdropping on conversations. People are fascinating. One sentence may spark an idea which then rolls away into a fully blown story. For one of my novels, I was inspired by a herb garden at a local National Trust property. Also I love baking so you’ll probably find recipes for a variety of cakes and biscuits and puddings creeping into the storylines. Millie, for instance, in the Camille Carter series is a chef.
What are the best and worst things about being an author?
The absolute best thing is when a reader gets in touch to say how much they enjoyed a particular story. It’s a lovely feeling that all the hard work, early mornings and late nights spent typing at the keyboard have not been in vain and at least someone has spent a few hours enjoying your book.
The worst has to be those rejections letters that most authors have received at some point in their careers from literary agents and publishers. One of my friends has made a poster from all the emails saying ‘thanks but no thanks’ and has framed it and hung it on her bathroom wall. Good for her.
What are your tips for any aspiring writers out there?
The best advice I had from successfully published authors at my local RNA group was never to give up – to just keep writing and to try and write something every day even if it’s a ‘one word journal’ that sums up your day in, well in one word.
Can you tell us a bit about your latest book, Autumn Skies and Pumpkin Pies, book 4 in the Camilla Carter series?
I loved writing this story. It’s set in St Lucia and I have to admit I probably overdid the research. I read everything I could about the island, the Caribbean food, the weather, the markets. The story takes place in a villa perched high on the hilltop which is home to the Tropical Breeze Cookery School. I hope I’ve managed to evoke a feeling of warmth, of swaying palm trees of golden sandy beaches, of delicious cocktails….ah, I wish I was there now swinging in a hammock plotting my next story in the Camille Carter series!! The next – Book 5 – is Daffodils and Drizzle Cake which, as the title suggests, takes Millie back to the Lake District
What can your readers expect from you next?
Book 6 in the Camille Carter series is in the research stage. The story revolves around a wedding so I’m loving the in-depth research of bridal gowns, five-tiered wedding cakes, personalized confetti (with pictures of the bride and groom printed on!!) and sequined shoes.
Lindsey Paley grew up in Yorkshire. She relocated to the North East of England where she lives with her husband and young son and as many books as she can cram into the four corners of her spare bedroom.
She began her writing career over twenty years ago but that first novel – ‘Baringer Manor’ – remains in a cardboard box on top of the wardrobe. Her favourite writing place is a peppermint and white summerhouse (shed) also stuffed with books she can’t throw away.
An avid baker, with a willing family and neighbours as tasters, when she is not scrutinising her fellow human beings for ideas for her next novel, she is to be found sprinkling edible glitter on cupcakes and drinking Earl Grey tea.
Lindsey has written ten novels and one companion book for The Wish List Addiction. The first book of her Camille Carter series – Snowflakes and Christmas Cakes set in the stunning English Lake District – was an AmazonUK #1 bestseller in the cosy mystery category. Book 5 is Daffodils and Drizzle Cake and is out at the beginning of April 2016.