Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Meet, Author Jo Lambert!

Today, I have the author of , Behind the Blue Eyes trilogy, the talented, Jo Lambert. And as ususal we're celebrating with bubbly and a good chin wag about Jo's writing, loves and handbag passion!

Peggy: ‘Hello Joanna, lovely to meet you dear, do take a seat, I heard you like bubbly, so help yourself, there’s a couple more bottles chilling in the fridge!  As you know, I’ve read all your three books and what a story it is. I’ll not say too much, but my my there are some rather mean people in there. Have you met anyone like your characters in real life?
Jo: Pouring a glass of bubbly. ‘Hello Peggy, call me Jo, it’s what’s on the cover! And thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to chat to you –and a glass of bubbly too!  I feel really spoilt!  Have I met anyone like my characters?  No, actually each of the characters is a complex mixture of many people.  I take someone as a general building block and then create my character around them.  For instance Mel Carpenter, (Ella’s mother), is an unbelievably dreadful woman with no redeeming features at all.  She was based loosely on someone I knew way back but I embellished her character, adding in the traits of some of the most awful women I have ever met.’
Peggy: ‘Mmmm, I’d best watch my Ps and Qs or I just might end up in one of your books if I’m not careful. Hoping of course! Now your books are set in the 60s, which I admit to being as being my era, stiletto heels, fab group the Beatles, a wonderful time. But what made a young thing like you want to write about that decade?’
Jo: Blushing: ‘That’s kind of you, I’m…. well never mind, suffice to say, I’ve plenty of recollection from that buzzing decade. I thought the sixties provided a good setting for the story.  It was my growing up era too and a very exciting time – the whole world seemed to open up – fashion, music and above all freedom!  I grew up in a village but moved to the town when I was 12, so there are elements of the book which are autobiographical.  I know there are people who think us baby boomers tend to go on a bit about the sixties, but it really was a fabulous time to be young. Writing the story brought back a lot of memories which helped enormously with the plot.’
Peggy: Smiling wistfully. ‘My dear we have more in common than just your three lovely books I can tell. But life’s not all about writing and living those heady days and when you’re not writing, I hear you  toddle of to buy handbags, Radley no less? Yes I see you’ve brought one with you today. Why Radley?
Jo: Laughing and clutching her bag. ‘Yes, I’ve been a great fan of Radley for a long time, I like their style and the colours.  I have to admit handbags are one of my weaknesses and I’ve probably got far more than I really need!  Shoes I love too, but that’s another story!’
Peggy: Gazing down at her feet slipped into purple low heels. ‘A weakness of mine too as you can see. Fur is the other love of your life and I don’t mean wearing it, but I hear you’ve got 2 cats, lovely creatures, but I can’t be doing with all that fluff  everywhere, tell me a little about your fur balls.’
Jo: Flicking an imaginary hair from her skirt, smiles. ‘They are 20 months old, the female (Mollie) is a short haired grey, the male (Max) a long furred ginger and white tabby.  They have the same mother but definitely different fathers – it is possible for cats to have a litter by more than one father.  They are absolutely nothing alike in looks and in temperament.  Mollie definitely has some oriental in her and Max has Maine Coon – he has an enormous tail!  They are both very adorable; Max is the more affectionate of the two and Mollie definitely has a mind of her own a very cantankerous female!  This week Max visited a neighbour who was in the middle of decorating his lounge and managed to walk through the paint tray typical Max   - but Mollie would have rolled in it!’
Peggy: Smirking and looking down. ‘Goodness me, but they sound adorable and as you can see, I’ve got your three books here on the coffee table, but I heard a whisper that you’re     having the covers changed, whatever for?’
Jo: Reaching forward picks up one of the books. ‘They are lovely, but I decided like a lot of my fellow indie writers that my books had to be identifiable; that I had to have a brand which said this is Jo Lambert.  I did like the original covers but wanted something which looked more professional and instantly recognisable.  A friend who had just had a complete makeover with her own covers recommended designer Jane Dixon-Smith.  I have to say Jane was absolutely brilliant and the trilogy covers she produced were amazing and just what I wanted. They say a lot about the books and the Jo Lambert brand.’
Peggy: Tutting. ‘I’m sure they are amazing, well I suppose that’s the way it is with the publishing world. So now you’ve got a new image for you and your books, when can we all expect to see another book from you?’
Jo: Sitting up straight and finishing the last drops of bubbly in her glass. ‘I’ve just finished the first draft on Book 4 and it’s about to go for editing.  It’s taken longer than I’d planned, but I had to be completely happy with it before I let it go. I have the cover designed and ready and just need to add the back page synopsis.  My publisher is lined up too, so it’s all down to how long it will take for me to do the amendments once the editing is complete.  I’m hoping for publication in early summer.’
Peggy: Reaching over and refilling Joanna’s glass. ‘A perfectionist I can tell, but that’s how we were made back then. Tell us this it then, 4 books or are you going to delight us with another one?’
Jo: Laughing. ‘Oh no, there are definitely more books!  Once you’re as addicted to writing as I am there’s always something going on in your head that makes you think ‘yes, there’s a potential story there!’  Several scenarios have been going round in my head as I’ve been coming to the end of the draft.  Once I decide on which one to run with I’ll spend the summer building the plot ready to start writing again in the Autumn.’
Peggy: Raising her glass. ‘Cheers to success and keeping that head of yours filled with likely stories and a few mean characters.’
You can visit Jo Lambert at:
Twitter: @jolambertwriter

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Cole Ryan, Too Hot To Handle, Almost!

Today, I have the ice skating super star Cole Ryan from Taking Charge by Mandy Baggot, you are all in for such a treat. Sit down and help yourself to the plate of hot dogs provided by Cole......!

Peggy: Shaking her guest’s hand. ‘Nice to meet you, do remind me again of your name?’

Cole: ‘Hey Peggy, it’s so nice to meet you and thank you for having me on your chat show! My name’s Cole Ryan but you can call me whatever you like!’

Peggy: Raising an eyebrow. ‘Well I’ve never heard that name before, but then I’ve not met anyone from Michigan either, what is it like there, cold, hot, windy, poor, rich or is it just heaving with men full of testosterone like you?’

Cole: ‘Haha! There is certainly a lot of testosterone in the Portage Panthers ice hockey team that’s for sure! We’re all hot blooded young men! I’ve just moved to Portage, Michigan actually. I’m from Chicago, Illinois which is just an hour’s plane hop away but it’s a whole different culture from what I’m used to. Portage is a town in Kalamazoo County and it’s a real community. I already feel like part of the family. But talking about the weather, in Michigan it’s kind of legendary! We can have snow, sun, wind and rain all in one day here!’

Peggy: Laughing: ‘I’m none the wiser as to your part of the world, though the weather has a certain ring about it to the UK. Now with all that testosterone in the atmosphere, it’s hardly surprising that I’ve been told you’re a devil on the ice, I shudder at the thought, I struggle to stand on low heeled shoes let along ice skates, so do enlighten me about what the attraction is?’

Cole: Leaning back in his chair, winks at Peggy. ‘I thought you’d never ask. You see I’ve been skating since I was about five. Skating and in particular hockey is really big in North America. Most people learn how to do it and if you’re good at it you join a team. I was lucky enough to play for a great team in Chicago called the Chicago Wolves – they are in the American Hockey League. I did have the dream of joining an NHL (National Hockey League) team but circumstances changed my career path. Although I haven’t been in Portage long I’ve been lucky enough to get a spot with an awesome team called the Portage Panthers. We’ve got kind of a small squad at the moment but we’re passionate and we give 100% every game. You should fly over and see a game, Peggy!’

Peggy: Leaning forward and smiling. ‘Only if you look after me whilst I’m there. I’ll take that cheeky smile as a yes and get my flight book straight after our chat. Now, don’t distract me anymore you see I’m finding what I’ve just read in my notes as not only hard to believe, but a tad disturbing because I see a fit young man, very fit, sitting gazing down at me with wicked eyes and I’m expected to believe that you wolf down up to six hot dogs a day, surely this is a ludicrous mistake?’

Cole: Throwing his arms up in submission. ‘You’ve been stalking me on Twitter, Peggy! Yes, I admit it, I do have a soft spot for hot dogs. But they are my only junk food weakness, I do eat quite healthily. I love pasta and fresh vegetables and fruit. It’s all about balance!’

Peggy: Wagging a finger at Cole. ‘I’m glad to hear it, because if you don’t get that balance right you’ll not be answering my next question should it be posed to you again in the future which is, I believe you’ve a string of girls after you and if I was a few years younger I’d be one of them, even if you gobble down hot dogs or not, but are you likely to settle for just one. Don’t worry your secret is safe with me I’m the sole of discretion?’

Cole: Leaning forward and resting his elbows on his knees. ‘I’ve actually just broken up with a girl, just before I moved to Portage. So, at the moment I’m kind of playing the field and taking things as they come. I’m not really looking for a serious relationship right now, although I did meet a cute girl on the plane ride from Chicago!’

Peggy: Crossing her legs. ‘Seems I have a chance after all, but we can talk about that when I come to watch you play. More importantly I want to know what it is you’re up to in Lady Baggot’s latest book, Taking Charge, I’ve heard a lot about it, but not from the horse’s mouth so to speak?’

Cole: Rolling his eyes. ‘Lady Baggot is so awesome! We all love her at the Portage Panthers! Taking Charge is basically my platform to tell everyone my story. And that cute girl from the plane ride, well she’s called Robyn Matthers and she’s kind of my boss. It’s a novel about love, new beginnings, family relationships, junk food and ice hockey. I’ve got quite a big role to play!’

Peggy: ‘That sounds right up my street and you can sign my copy when it is out there in the big world. Another thing I hear is that you and your book, Taking Charge is being published by a leading publishing company, Sapphire Star, does that make you feel important and excited?’

Cole: Laughing out loud. ‘The team at Sapphire Star Publishing are amazing people! I know they’ve been fantastic with all the preparation ready for the launch of the book. I know Mandy Baggot is thrilled to be working with a group of people so committed to getting great fiction into the hands of more readers – we’re both so excited to be part of their family.’

Peggy: Leaning over and patting Cole on the knee. ‘Never forget just how important family is, priceless. And finally, Cole, I still can’t get my head around your name, but there you are, though when you’re famous, and I’m sure you will be, will you please come back and tell what it feels like?’

Cole: ‘Without a doubt Peggy! But you’re pretty famous yourself with this whole chat show thing going on! I’ll come back any time but only if you promise to come eat hot dogs with me and watch an ice hockey game – do we have a deal?’

Want to find out more about Cole Ryan – you can! Take part in #askcole on Twitter on 2nd May from 5pm-6pm UK time. Just use the hashtag to join in the fun or contact Cole himself @coleryan22.

Taking Charge is published on May 3rd by Sapphire Star Publishing and you can help Mandy Baggot celebrate the launch by joining in with the Twitter party. Just use #TCparty to come along and be passed a virtual glass of bubbly!