I’m delighted to welcome today’s wonderful author who needs no introduction. She offers so much support to her fellow scribes through her social media platforms and fun Facebook group. I’m honoured to share my author interview with the lovely Lizzie Chantree! Her new book, ‘Ssh…It’s Our Secret’, is out TODAY!
Lizzie writes sizzling romances and is an enthusiastic inventor, businesswoman and artist. She founded her first company at the age of 17 and has been creating products and driving her family mad ever since.
She’s appeared on Sky News, ITV Lunchtime News, This Morning, The Gloria Hunniford show, The Big Breakfast, BBC’s Worldwide Radio Service, amongst others.
Lizzie lives in Essex, with her gorgeous family and a very unusual dog. In between the school run and baking cakes (or burning them), she sits in her rooftop studio thinking about quirky businesses and the romantic escapades of the entrepreneurs that run them.
Tell us a little about yourself. (How did you get started writing? What do you do when you’re not writing?)
I started work as a graphic designer and created my own retail and wholesale businesses, selling products I designed. I ran this business for over twenty years. I was voted one of Fair Play London and The Patent Office’s female Inventors of the year at one point in my career and I was lucky enough to be featured on television, win awards for my business and then be able to mentor others, which I still do through my networking hour on Twitter, #CreativeBizHour. I started writing my first book when I was in my late thirties and published it when I was over forty. I believe in chasing your dreams and when you catch them, creating new ones.
When I’m not writing, I’m usually daydreaming about storylines! I also love to paint huge vibrant canvases and have exhibited them in the past. I enjoy sitting by the sea, drinking coffee and eating cake.
Is this your first book? How many books have you written prior (if any?)
This is my eighth book. I have published seven contemporary romance novels and one non-fiction book to help writers find a wider audience. I also have two other books completed. I have both French and American publishers.
What genre is it, and what is it about?
My next book is launching on the 6th May. It’s called Shh… It’s Our Secret and is about a very shy and introverted woman who has a secret that could alter the fortunes of her whole community. She feels misunderstood and underappreciated, but all that changes when a jaded music producer steps into the rundown café bar she works in and stumbles upon her secret. Violet has to overcome her fears to protect those she loves, push herself to leave anxiety behind and become the woman she’s always dreamed about.
What or who inspired you to write this book?
All of my main characters run, or work in pretty unusual businesses. Violet is very shy, but she still has dreams and aspirations. Many of us suffer from anxiety and with Violet it is holding her back in life. I was inspired to write about someone who has to overcome those fears and step into a world that is totally out of her comfort zone. She does it for those she loves, but it changes her own life irrevocably.
What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors?
Don’t give up! Writing can be really isolating, but the writing community is a very welcoming one and you don’t have to feel alone. There are groups and associations you can join and I wish I had known that earlier. I now run a book group on Facebook, for authors and readers to interact and help each other. It’s called Lizzie’s Book Group and anyone is welcome to join.
Marketing can also seem daunting, but if you try and focus on how it can help you, then it becomes an asset and not a hindrance. Marketing does not have to cost a lot of money, but it does draw you away from your writing. Finding a balance is crucial.
What do you enjoy most about writing and why?
I love my readers! They are full of goodwill, support for my writing and they inspire me every day. I was completely unknown as a writer, but people began reading my books and telling others how much they enjoyed them, which helped me find an audience for my work. It takes a lot of time and effort to post blogs, write reviews and share news of books you enjoy and I really appreciate every single mention.
I also really enjoy the writing process. I don’t tend to plan a great deal with my manuscripts and it always feels like I’m reading the story as I’m writing it. My characters are often up to mischief, so it never fails to make me smile.
List three interesting facts about yourself
I’m an award winning inventor. I invented a product called Runaway Spray, which is a ‘run or ‘ladder’ stop spray for hosiery. It’s the size of a lipstick and not tested on animals. I’m also allergic to chocolate and I lost four stone as a young adult (some of which I’ve piled back on during lockdown!)
What is your least favourite part of the publishing/writing process?
The self-doubt and imposter syndrome. From talking to other writers, this appears to be a common feeling. Writing and publishing a book can take months or years and we need to be a bit kinder to ourselves for our hard work and praise ourselves more.
What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?
If anyone enjoys one or more of my stories and tells family and friends about it, by word of mouth or social media, it is a huge help. I appreciate every book that people show their family and networks and every post they share about the stories they are reading. I love reader photos with my books! They really make my day. My readers are the most incredible people and they help new book lovers find my work.
What is your next project?
I’m currently writing a three book series about a group of friends who knew each other from school and three devilishly handsome brothers who used to live across the street. Sparks fly and I’m having so much fun writing about them all.
Violet has a secret that could change the lives of everyone she knows and loves, especially the regulars at the run-down café bar where she works. After losing her parents at a young age, they are the closest thing she has to a family and she feels responsible for them.
Kai is a jaded music producer who has just moved outside of town. Seeking solitude from the stress of his job, he’s looking for seclusion. The only problem is he can’t seem to escape the band members and songwriters who keep showing up at his house.
When Kai wanders into the bar and Violet’s life, he accidently discovers her closely guarded secret. Can Kai help her rediscover her self-confidence or should some secrets remain undiscovered?
Connect with Lizzie here:
Buy your copy of Shh… It’s Our Secret HERE