On Wednesdays on social media, people use the hashtag #WriterWednesday to chat about all things author, book and writing, including authors promoting their own work. As we love to support self-published authors, we thought we’d join in and we will be featuring a UK self-published author every Wednesday on the website. This week, we met Lizzie Chantree to find out more...
Please tell us about yourself; when did you first become interested in writing?
I have been writing for many years, but began my first novel when my daughter became unwell. She had chronic asthma and allergies and would cough for weeks at a time. I used to sit and listen to her most evenings and decided that I needed to find a way to keep myself awake at night, so I could monitor her breathing. I began to write Babe Driven and it’s full of all of the fun and sunshine I didn’t have in my life at that time. Writing the story kept me awake, but it also helped me through a difficult time. My daughter is much better now and has discovered her own love of writing, which makes me smile. I didn’t publish Babe Driven for five years until my daughters health had begun to improve.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes. I had joined an online writing course as a teenager. The story had to include the colour blue and some sweets, I think! I remember the tutor writing back to say he thought I had real promise as a writer, which was such a wonderful feeling.
What genre/genres do your books fall under?
My books fall under the romance genre. They also all have businesses in them, as I have run my own businesses for over 20 years. Babe Driven is a sizzling beach read, Love’s Child is a medical fantasy novel and Finding Gina is a magical romance novel.
What is your latest book called, what is it about and what was the inspiration behind the book?
My latest book is called Finding Gina. I was inspired by tales my mum told me as a child, of the fairies that lived at the bottom of our garden. She was always making up stories for my family to listen to and I found it enchanting growing up around her. Finding Gina is a romance story, but it has a dash of magical mystery in it. The book is set in a little town on the edge of a beautiful rambling estate. Gina is someone who is passing through town, but her arrival affects everyone she meets there. The story has passion, romance and intriguing family secrets.
Besides your current book, do you have any new projects coming up?
I’m currently scribbling notes for my 4th book, which is set in a school playground and is great fun to write. I’m also writing and illustrating a series of picture books with my mum. I run a networking hour on Twitter called #creativebizhour every Monday evening 8-9pm (GMT), which is a great place for creatives to meet and chat. We have over 17.3 million timeline views in an hour some weeks and I’m always looking at new ways to expand our reach to help more businesses, authors, bloggers and creatives to connect with and support each other.
Where can people find your books?
My books are all on Amazon. Just search for Lizzie Chantree and the books will pop up for you to be able to check out the book blurb, to see if they are a genre you might enjoy. You can download the first three chapters of most books from Amazon to see if you like them, before you commit to buy.
What has been the greatest moment in your writing career?
For me it has been the response to my writing from readers. Having someone contact me on my website or via Twitter to say they have loved reading my books, or to see a great review on Amazon because my work has made someone smile, is just amazing. I always say that giving an author a good review because you have enjoyed their writing, is like handing them a rainbow. It’s something to treasure and makes all of the long hours of hard work worthwhile.
Besides writing, what hobbies or interests do you enjoy in your spare time?
I run a business where I invent new products. I invented a product called Runaway Spray when I was 17. It is a lipstick size, ‘ladder’ or ‘run’ stop spray for stockings and tights, which is not tested on animals and easily fits into a handbag. I have been selling this product via the high street and online for over twenty years. I love inventing things! I also paint huge landscapes, which I sometimes exhibit across the UK.
Which novelists do you admire?
I admire so many novelists and have shelves stacked with books. I really enjoy reading an array of genres, but to relax, I often go back to books by romance authors like Katie Fforde and Lisa Jewell.
What has been the best piece of writing advice you’ve received?
The best piece of advice I have been given was to just get words onto paper, as you can’t edit a blank page. If I’m ever too tired, or a bit nervous about starting a new chapter, I just get on with it and then go back and look at it again later.
Do you have any tips or advice for other indie authors?
I would advise to firstly, wherever possible, get a professional editor. Good editing can make a novel shine! I would also advise anyone to research how to promote your book. There are lots of either free or inexpensive ways to get your book to market without huge expense. You may have to learn about social media or how to create a website, which might seem daunting at first, but WordPress do great basic website templates for free and there are lots of free scheduling sites, like Hootesuite, which will help you run your social media pages, so that it doesn’t eat into your writing time.