18 Nov 2013

A chat with the fab Lizzie Lamb!!

I've got the fabulous Lizzie Lamb round for a chat today...

When did you first start reading Chick Lit?
Although the term hadn’t been coined then, I bought my first chick lit novel back in the early seventies when Jilly Cooper brought out her books which had girls’ names - Prudence, Emily, Imogen etc. in the title. I then progressed to Jilly’s larger books: RIDERS, POLO et al which I enjoyed enormously. In between I read my fair share of so-called ‘sex and shopping’ novels - Judith Krantz etc and was an avid Mills and Boone reader (late eighties). Moving forward I fell in love with the Bridget Jones novels, followed by Sophie Kinsella, Jane Costello, Jill Mansell and the later crop of rom coms.
(It might just be ‘me’, but I hate the description Chick Lit and the even worse Mum Lit and - argh - Crone Lit. I much prefer rom com.)

When did you first start writing Chick Lit?
In the late 80’s I tried my hand at writing for Mills and Boone (didn’t we all?) emulating the style of Charlotte Lamb (no relation), Catherine George, Penny Jordan and others. I even got myself an agent (Dot Lumley) who has recently, sadly, passed away. I had a couple of near misses with the three novels I wrote and then the writing career was put on the back burner while I got on with my teaching career. A much more certain source of income. Back in the day, some M&B authors were so successful that the phrase: “Think Pink, Wear Mink” was coined. Talking to my RNA friends who currently write for Harlequin Mills and Boone, I believe that moment has gone !

What is it about this genre that appeals to you the most? Do you read other genres? If so, which?
When I came home at night, tired out from a day at the crumbling chalk face spent dealing with difficult children and their even more difficult parents (!) I was glad to lose myself in another world where all the heroine had to worry her was a troublesome boyfriend, or two. I like the light, humorous, rollicking style of rom coms where the plot sweeps forward and takes the reader with it. However, I don’t like heroines who are complete air-heads and only feel validated when they have a man at their side. I have to BE the heroine for the duration of the novel - and if she’s a walkover, I walk away.
I don’t read many other genres because I have so little time. However, I enjoy Kate Atkinson (the Jackson Brody novels) and if I want a ‘comfort read’ I return to my old historical novels. For a long time, I did think of writing a historical novel (I have both a history degree and an English degree) but find writing romantic comedy much more to my taste.

Name one of your favourite Chick Lit books?
This is difficult! Possibly EMILY by Jilly Cooper but it would have to take equal place with Sophie Kinsella’s TWENTIES GIRL which made me laugh and cry.

What's the title of your latest book? Can you tell us about it?

Certainly. It’s called BOOT CAMP BRIDE and I loved writing it and dreaming about my yummy hero - Rafael Fonseca-Ffinch.
Here’s the blurb:
Charlee Montague is an up-for-anything rookie reporter desperate for her big break. She dreams of something, anything, which will take her away from the daily grind at celebrity-driven magazine What’cha! When she is sent undercover to a boot camp for brides on the windswept Norfolk marshes, it seems as if all her Christmases have come at once. Posing as a blushing bride-to-be, Charlee is sent to get the skinny on supermodel Anastasia Markova and her oligarch Russian boyfriend. However, every rookie needs a more experienced partner and Charlee is no exception. At her side (posing as her fiancĂ©), is award winning photographer Rafael Ffinch. World-weary Rafa has recently survived a kidnap attempt in Colombia and is no mood to cut inexperienced Charlee any slack. He makes it plain at the outset of their assignment that there is no room for love in his life. Once the investigation is over, their partnership and fake engagement will be terminated.
From the moment she sets foot in the boot camp Charlee senses that there is more to the simple ‘dish-the-dirt-on-the-A-list model’ story she’s been sent to cover. Journalistic antennae twitching, Charlee decides to carry out an investigation of her own. What's the real reason behind Ffinch's interest in the boot camp, super model Anastasia and her shady Russian fiancĂ©? How is it connected to Rafa’s kidnap in Colombia?
In setting out to uncover the truth, Charlee uncovers yet more secrets and puts herself in danger. And, as the investigation draws to a close, Charlee is faced with a dilemma - will she be able to keep her promise, hand back the engagement ring and walk away from gorgeous Rafa without a backward glance?

What inspired you to write it?
I love visiting north-west Norfolk with its lovely villages and haunting, atmosphere marshes. I was reading about smuggling which had gone on there in the eighteenth century and I wondered how modern day smugglers would operate in that area. My imagination caught fire and I came up with the two main characters almost straight away. I used real places and locations to further inspire me and Boot Camp Bride was born. It took me seven months to write and I hope my next novel comes as easily to me.

Is it part of a series?
No, it isn’t, but when I’ve finished #3 and published on Amazon I’m thinking of putting all three novels into a box set.
Who designs your covers?#

I use the Create Space Template, stock images from dreamstime/shutterstock/hotdamnstock and my own photographs and make my own front coves. I love doing it. I can’t paint or draw but I am quite good at putting images and words together (I think).

If your book was made into a film, who would you cast?
I always find this question particularly difficult to answer. My hero is an amalgam of Rupert Friend (with longer hair)/Aiden Quinn ‘The Hobbit’/Rufus Sewell and my fervid imagination. My heroine would be played by Julianne Hough. See my pinterest boards for further inspiration: http://www.pinterest.com/lizzielamb/

What's your favourite Chick Lit book that made it to the big screen?
I think that most books which are turned into screenplays are flawed in many ways - they ruined the Shopaholic novel for example. I suppose my answer would be the first Bridget Jones movie, but the second one was dire IMHO.

Who is your all time favourite Chick Lit character?
Gotta be Bridget Jones, she has all of our flaws but remains likable even when she’s doing totally mad things.

Name one Chick Lit author who you think deserves to be better known.
Apart from you and me? Only kidding! I’m afraid no one springs immediately to mind as I tend to read mainly established authors, although I did enjoy Shani Struthers The Runaway Year recently.

In the movie of your life, who would play you?
The second difficult question you’ve asked me, Suzy. I think I’d have to say a ‘younger, slimmer, fitter me.’

Speed Round... Top drink to make you tipsy? prosecco mixed with sloe gin
Shopaholic or shopadon't? shopaholic, sadly
Sky high heels or closer to the ground? ballet flats every time
E.L. James or Jilly Cooper? darling Jilly, of course.
Cry baby or tough cookie? a tough cookie who’s a softie at heart but doesn’t like to cry in front of people

With Scottish, Irish, and Brazilian blood in her veins, it’s hardly surprising that Lizzie is a writer. She even wrote extra scenes for the films she watched as a child and acted out in the playground with her friends. She is ashamed to admit that she kept all the good lines for herself. Luckily, she saves them for her readers these days. Lizzie’s love of writing went on hold while she pursued a successful teaching career, finishing up as a Deputy Head teacher of a large primary school. Since deciding to leave the profession to realise her dream of becoming a published novelist, Lizzie hasn’t looked back. She wrote Tall, Dark and Kilted – which echoes her love of her homeland in every page, not to mention heroes in kilts - and published it. Lizzie loves the quick fire interchange between the hero and heroine - like in old black and white Hollywood movies - and hopes this comes over in her writing.
For her second novel: Boot Camp Bride she’s had enormous fun researching VW camper vans, the Norfolk Marshes and the world of journalism. Not to mention falling in love with delicious hero - Rafael Ffinch.

Boot Camp Bride - Romance and Intrigue on the Norfolk marshes - November 2013 UK: UK Amazon USA Amazon

Tall, Dark and Kilted - Notting Hill Meets Monarch of the Glen - 2012 UK USA  Amazon Author Page Facebook lizzielambwriter@gmail.com Blog Goodreads Twitter


  1. Hi Suzy, thanks for featuring me of your fabulous blog, you've made me seem really interesting. LOL. . Things have been a bit mad since I author published Boot Camp Bride - but in a good way! I'm adding this blog to my Pinterest board and I hoper a few more folk will pass by and leave a comment.

  2. Fabulous blog, great post. I've learned a few new things about you, Lizzie!
    I loved Boot Camp Bride - witty, intelligent, sexy. Your best yet.

  3. Great interview with our Lizzie Lamb, Suzy - it's been a mad, media whirl since she was nominated in the Festival of Romance, New Talent Award, last week then BBC Radio Leicester interviewed us both on Saturday and on Sunday we, all four New Romantics 4, were in rehearsal for our book launches starting this week! Lizzie's promised to start writing #3 in December, she had better hurry up I've nearly finished Boot Camp Bride, it's a blast! Can't wait for the next one.

  4. Hi June, I'm so glad that you've learned a couple of new things abut me. Who would have thought it. Thank you for your lovely comments about Boot Camp Bride, I really enjoyed writing it. It didn't feel like hard work one bit.

  5. Adrienne - I echo everything you;ve said about it being slightly mad and unreal lately. But its what we 'signed up' for and I'm enjoying every minute. Can't wait to start writing #3, though. Soon, very soon !!

  6. Lizzie, a fabulous post.You have such a wonderful light touch with humour. I'm looking forward to attending your Launch Party at the Belmont Hotel in Leicester on Thursday. See you then . . .

    1. Thank you very much for popping by Margaret. Have just finished reading Dangerous Decisions and really enjoyed it. Julian Fellows eat your heart out.

  7. Fabulos interview - I'm always so interested to hear about author's journeys. I used to love a bit of Mills and Boon at one time - it was a few years ago now, probably the late 80s or early 90's if I remember correctly. Thank you also for the shout out re The Runaway Year Lizzie, I'm so glad you liked it. As you know, I'm a big fan of yours too - Ruiri and Rafa - need I say more?! xxx

  8. Shani - my two alpha males with beta tendencies. You need say no more. Looking fwd to reading your next one and - of course - Suzy's latest 'FOREVER FREDLESS'. Love that title, Suzy :-)

  9. Ah, my favourite of those old Jilly Cooper ones was Prudence; I must have read them all 10 times each, though! As I said in my Fiction Dreams interview, Jilly was the originator of chick lit for me, too, rather than Helen Fielding - and I know what you mean about the term 'chick lit'!!!

  10. Terry, I think I'm stretching the point a bit these days. I much prefer rom com, which is what I write. Thanks for popping by.

  11. Enjoyed hearing about you Lizzie , Boot Camp Bride sounds like a lot of fun .



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