When I meet up with my friend and fellow author, Lizzie Chantree we often have an idea of what we want to talk about. What actually happens is that we veer off in all sorts of different directions both verbally and when we are actually physically moving around! Personally, I have come to realise that writing is like that, at least for me, anyway. My characters take on a mind of their own, which means the plots sort of go with them and evolve in ways I don’t expect.
On our most recent catch up we decided to meet in a cafe (or cafes I should say) in Chelmsford, and I suggested we do a sort of Scavenger Hunt which would lead us to various blue plaques in the city centre. That’s because unless you know them well, places like Chelmsford aren’t renowned for their history or their architecture particularly. There are also a lot of cafes which of course is hugely important to myself and Lizzie.
So, we started off at one cafe for brunch, an impromptu debut appearance by myself on Tik Tok – Lizzie’s. She also gave me a quick lesson so I’m on it too now. Hurrah! Then we went off on the Scavenger Hunt…you can download it from the Chelmsford City website….without giving too much away, there are more blue plaques than you would probably expect, with connections to radio – Marconi – of course, and the founder of Connecticut, amongst others. Also, our scavenger hunt took in a couple of book shops, and of, course, John Lewis, plus another coffee, and an amble along the river to see a block of flats which has a kind of tiny marina – in my mind its a marina – it isn’t, but having been unable to visit of one of my favourite seaside places which has many boats, and is, in actual fact, a marina, this lockdown find briefly was a welcome find during one of my urban ambles. And I have a vivid imagination…oh wait, that’s why I write! These weren’t part of the scavenger hunt per se – just interesting detours, just like our conversations, our walks, our characters and our plots etc etc…
We also of course, talked about writing, and the possibility of running some seminars together next year. Then we had another coffee…
Writing is just like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get….hang on , I’ve heard that before….and it wasn’t about writing. Although it could be. I’ve written three books – 2 set in Portugal, one set in Wales – and I’m writing another one based in Lagos in the Algarve. These are places I know well, and because I’m not in any of them all the time, the experiences I have whilst I’m visiting are very vivid, and the scenery, soundscape and smells very evocative, which makes it easy for me to write about them. However, there is plenty around me here that also feeds into my writing – just because it’s under my nose, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t inspire me. It’s just more subtle. But it’s there.
Hi everyone. On to our next marketing adventure! As Chris mentioned, we take book marketing very seriously, but it also has to involve coffee, food, sometimes dancing and a lot of fun. This month, Chris took me on a scavenger hunt around Chelmsford, which saw us climbing over fences to examine ancient bridges, rushing outside pubs (with information plaques) and looking longingly inside, squeezing into tiny old streets with Chris practically standing on my shoulders to read one sign and finally walking around some breathtaking gardens and discovering a secret boat dock in the middle of town!
We did of course do some work too (after breakfast). We talked about TikTok and the huge ready and writer community there, about running a seminar together about writing romance books and got some great book launch ideas for my upcoming book release, The woman who felt invisible. The book is about a 41 year old woman called Olivia, who is fed up of being ignored by everyone and decides to make the world ‘see’ her again.
Chris is writing a new book and so am I, so we often end up chatting about how we write, where we write and who inspires us. Having a writerly friend to meet up with, chat about books and have some adventures with, is a lot of fun. We both love spontaneity, so every meeting ends up with something different to what we planned. This time we found a rose adorned swing seat that was placed to connect local people on social media, by sharing photos on it with the #. We also found time to visit a beautiful big bookshop and try out some Tiptree jam. Win, win!
for more on all of Lizzie’s books visit https://lizziechantree.com/