Today I’m delighted to introduce a lovely British writer, Elle Amberley. author of the terrific women’s novel Nowhere Left to Hide.
Interview with Elle Amberley
First, could you please tell us something about yourself? Tell us a secret.
Some secrets are good, sometimes they are necessary.
When and how did you begin writing?
I can’t really remember a time I was not writing. I’ve always loved it, used to spend hours writing and rewriting essays at school, tweaking them till the last minute. Only problem I never liked rules or having my imagination restricted, didn’t always go down with some of my teachers.
What inspires you?
Life, my children, music, nature…
Could you please tell us about your writing journey thus far?
I never seem to do things like other people do, and writing is no exception. I was sort of nudged into writing my first novel. I have very good friends who can give me a good kick when I need one.
Thing is I can’t stick to one genre; sometimes I want write a romantic novel, then a short story or a poem. Then I see the news, see red and react by writing about it. So I’m hard to label and since I don’t like labels, I don’t even try to conform.
What is the most important thing you’ve learned about the craft of writing?
Be careful who you listen to, read, read more and just write. Some days are good; others are bad. I fall in and out of love with what I write; sometimes you need to take a step back, recharge, to see things more clearly.
You write in both English and French. Do you ever run into problems? Is it difficult to express yourself in two languages?
No, not really. Even my children have the ability these days to switch from one to the other in a beat; we do confuse a lot of people, British and French, which I must say is part of the fun.
Writing in French has opened more avenues to me, freed some emotional stress and added another dimension to my writing. I write very differently in French.
Can you give us some insider info – a scene behind the scenes?
My favourite scene is when Natasha and Tyler go to Los Angeles for the first time. Natasha has a light-bulb moment and comes to a big realisation by conquering her fears.
What were the hardest and most enjoyable aspects of writing this book? Why?
To me it’s all about emotions. I cry and I laugh as I write, it’s fun, fast but exhausting.
The hardest part is always the last minute changes and stress before the book is released. I really don’t like all the ‘marketing’ side. I struggle with that. I do enjoy talking to readers, though. I don’t think you can get tired of somebody praising you and telling you they’ve enjoyed your novel.
How long did it take you to write this novel?
I had the story in my head, so it was very quick, roughly four weeks for the first draft, and then I spent a lot more time rewriting and editing. I worked on three different projects at the same time so it’s tricky to say.
What I would say is, left to my own devices, I probably would never finish tweaking and adding to it. I’m a frustrated perfectionist.
Would you please share some tips on revision? How do you go about revising? How long does this process take? Do you enjoy it?
I do and I don’t. I go from, I love this to I hate that. It varies from day to day.
What did you do to prepare for your launch?
Unfortunately I’ve been very ill so I’m doing what I can. Mostly I’m trying not to get in a state to be honest.
What are doing now to market your book?
I’ve been giving lots of interviews in the press and also via Skype. I’m taking part in a blog radio show with Jo-Anne Vandermeulen on the 14th November. She’s lovely and has been trying to reassure me, but I’m still terrified. My husband will once again be by my side to hold my hand and try to stop me from shaking.
And of course there will be book signings once I’m up to it.
Would you be willing to share some book marketing advice? What’s worked best for you? Why? Have you tried anything that hasn’t worked? What would you change?
Oh, I really don’t think I’m any good at marketing. It’s a blessing for me to have all these social networks. It’s funny because when I first went on Twitter I hid behind an acronym and only planned to use it as a bit of fun between friends. Then I realised many writers were on it and renamed my account a few months back. Well, I was sort of nudged into doing it.
If you were to give one tip to aspiring writers, what would it be?
Take advice with a pinch of salt; make sure the person who dishes it out actually knows what they’re talking about. Don’t spend too much time on Twitter and Facebook – best way to lose focus and best excuse not to get on with writing.
Read, read some more and write. Keep at it; it takes a lot of practice to get there.
What are you working on now?
An anthology of short stories, a novel due for publication in the spring, my French novel, some articles.
Could you please tell your fans how to connect with you?
I love to hear from my readers. I may be shy and find it difficult to make the first move, but I am a bit of a social animal when it comes down to it.
So drop me a line or interact with me on Twitter and Facebook. I love interacting.
About Elle Amberley
Although she is a British author, Elle Amberley likes to dabble in French, too, and hopes to resume work on her French novel when time allows. She also enjoys writing articles on women’s issues and whatever she feels passionate about, as well as poetry and short stories. Connect with her on her blog, Twitter or Facebook.
Nowhere Left to Hide
Natasha has fled her home many times. When she’s offered the chance to go to California, she can’t wait. Thousands of miles to free herself from her past. She might even find love if she can shed her last fears.
Sometimes sad, sometimes funny, sometimes romantic, a story of hope, fighting against the odds & the determination to do the right thing.
Thanks so much for this lovely interview. You know how much I like your blog, an honour to be featured here.
Fantastic interview. Very inspiring, particularly for someone just starting out.
A fellow blogger from a writers' forum sent me here and I'm so very happy she did.