Please join me in welcoming Erica James to Debbie's Book Bag today. Erica is here to promote her latest book, Promises, Promises. The publisher is offering a giveaway for one copy of Erica's book. Please see details at the end of the post.
DEB: Erica, tell us what you’ve been up to since you were here last?EJ: It’s been a busy year one way or another, but mostly I’ve been travelling and writing. I finished another novel in the spring and that’s due to be published here in the UK next month in November. It’s called The Real Katie Lavender and is essentially about identity, about discovering who you really are.
DEB: Tell us a little about your latest book, Promises, Promises? What appeals to you about writing women‘s fiction?
EJ: Promises, Promises follows the lives of three characters – Ella, Ethan and Maggie – who at the start of the novel make New Year resolutions to change and improve their lives. Ella wants to put a failed relationship behind her, Ethan wants to stop having mindless affairs and Maggie wants to find the courage to stand up for herself, particularly with her ghastly husband and family.
Although the vast majority of my readers are women, I never think in terms of writing only for one gender, or one particular age group, my intention is merely to write a story. I love it when I receive correspondence from men who say they enjoy my novels. I particularly enjoy writing from a male perspective, so it’s always gratifying to receive their approval.
DEB: In Promises, Promises all three main characters are struggling with dissatisfaction, what was your inspiration for writing about that particular aspect of life?
EJ: Yes, I agree, when the book opens Ella, Ethan and Maggie are all dissatisfied with their lives. But that’s what a novel needs. No point in writing about people who are all happy with their lives! Where’s the fun in that?
DEB: When you are researching for a particular book, what kinds of resources do you use and what is most helpful to you in finding out what you need to know for your novel?
EJ: The amount of research I do for a novel varies but with Promises, Promises all I had to do was look around me and the information fell into my lap. For instance, Ethan’s business – selling bed linen – I pinched that from some friends of mine who work in that industry, so they were able to help me with any information I needed. For Ella’s work, I pinched her world of specialist decorating from a woman I got to know who painted a dresser for me. It suddenly occurred to me one day when she was working in my kitchen that she had a really interesting and enjoyable job. The next thing, she was in a book!
DEB: A lot of my readers are writers and they are interested in how you first got started writing. What gave you the confidence to try to sell your manuscript?
EJ: When I started writing in my early thirties – after I set myself a New Year’s resolution to write a novel - I saw it as nothing more than a hobby. I didn’t set out with the idea of ever getting published. But the more I wrote, the more I enjoyed it and the more serious I became about it. I then went on a few writing courses, which further fuelled my passion and it was one of the tutors who encouraged me to submit some chapters of the book I was writing to her agent. The thing was, I was only writing for my own amusement and didn’t really want to get an agent involved, but the tutor urged me to do so and by return of post I heard back from the agent saying that he’d loved what I’d sent him and would I send him the rest of the manuscript? Which I did and to cut a long story short, that manuscript went on to become my first published novel – A Breath of Fresh Air - and was a bestseller, not just in the UK but in Sweden as well.
DEB: Do you have advice for new writers?
EJ: My advice to all aspiring writers is to write because there’s nothing else you’d rather do. I also recommend that people join a writing group or go on a course – these things won’t necessarily teach a person to write, but being with likeminded people is always fun and encouraging.
DEB: My readers are also interested in you as a person. Name one pet peeve that you have?
EJ: A pet peeve … literary snobbery! I can’t bear it.
DEB: Tell us one thing that readers may not know about you?
EJ: I’m learning to ice-skate. When I turned fifty last year, I decided to start doing some of the things I’d always wanted to do, and ice-skating was one of them.
DEB: If you could travel to any time period when and where would it be?
EJ: A novel I really enjoyed reading this year was Sarah Winman’s When God Was a Rabbit. It’s a quirky, beautifully poignant coming-of-age novel, funny and sad in equal measures. My idea of heaven!
The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of Promises, Promises by Erica James.
~ You must be a Google Friend Connect follower to participate.
~ US and Canadian Addresses only (Publisher Request)
~ The deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight EST November 18th.
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