Somewhere to review books I'm reading without giving away any spoilers!
Having loved ‘Snowflakes and Christmas Cakes‘, I was delighted when this talented author agreed to be interviewed on my blog – here’s what she had to tell me!
My inspiration for Snowflakes and Christmas Cakes, and the follow up Summer Breeze and Afternoon Teas, was born out of my love for two things – the stunning beauty of the English Lake District and baking cakes, biscuits, scones, tarts, well, you name it. Millie, the main character in the series, is a chef who reluctantly agrees to run a cookery school in the snow-bound Lake District. It sounds like something I’d love to do myself one day. I’ve spent several holidays and weekends away enjoying the stunning scenery from Lake Ullswater to Lake Windermere but it would be the icing on the cake to team it with a cookery school.
I really wish I could write my novels straight onto the computer but I can’t. It’s the old- fashioned pen and paper for me. I have written all my novels long-hand and then I tell myself that when I transcribe them onto the computer it’s their first edit. In the winter I sit at the kitchen table and look out onto the back garden but in the summer months I write in a tiny peppermint-and-cream summerhouse (glorified shed) – usually with a blanket round my knees. But the kettle is always boiling and I have regular infusions of Earl Grey tea and whatever cupcakes or biscuits I’ve been practising on that week.
I’ve been told there are two types of writers – plotters and pantsters. I’m from the first school of thought. I draft out a skeleton story so that I always know where I’m going – although there is always room for deviation if the creative muse demands it!
My favourite characters to write are usually the bad guys. In my very first novel, The Wish List Addiction, I loved writing Becky’s ex-husband, Bradley. He was just so horrible to her, withdrawing his support of her and their child when she needed it most, and I really enjoyed writing his comeuppance.
If you were a character in your story, which would you like to be?
That’s easy – definitely Lydia from What is Love, Actually? It’s a story about a global pursuit to uncover the meaning of love. Lydia’s friend is an academic researching a paper about what it takes for marriages to succeed and she sends her off on a world quest to find out. Lydia goes to Malta first; that golden-hued museum in the Mediterranean where the divorce rate is the lowest in Europe. Then she flies to Hawaii and on to Singapore all the while searching for clues as to what makes love last. Finally she visits Denmark – the country with the highest divorce rate in Europe yet it topped the Happiness Index! Why? Oh, who wouldn’t want to undertake that research project?
Ah, Elaine, you’ve hit on my least favourite part of writing! I labour for hours over the names of my characters. It’s so difficult to get right. I’ve even ran competitions for readers to suggest names. I might settle on a name for the first chapter or so and then decide it doesn’t work and change it and then change it again. I’ve scoured all the ‘Baby names’ websites and asked my family and friends for names (first names) of people they work with, or play football with or grew up with. Names are especially important to get right if you’re writing a series. It’s hard to spend time with a character over eight or ten books whose name you’re not happy with. Thankfully, I love the name Millie in the Camille Carter series and hope it works well for the reader too.
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 is out at the beginning of April 2016.
Many thanks to Lindsey for answering my questions – especially as she’s busy writing ‘Daffodils and Drizzle Cake’ at the moment! Follow this link to find my review of ‘Snowflakes and Christmas Cakes‘ !