Today my guest on Espresso Tales is author, inventor and entrepreneur, Lizzie Chantree to talk about her upcoming book, If You Love Me, I'm Yours.
Award-winning inventor and author, Lizzie Chantree, started her own business at the age of 18 and became one of Fair Play London and The Patent Office’s British Female Inventors of the Year in 2000. She discovered her love of writing fiction when her children were little and now runs networking hours on social media, where creative businesses, writers, photographers and designers can offer advice and support to each other. She lives with her family on the coast in Essex.
Megan: Thank you for joining me, Lizzie. Would you like a coffee? What do you usually like to drink while writing?
Lizzie: I drink copious amounts of tea while I’m writing, but I have a weakness for a fragrant frothy coffee.
Megan: Sounds perfect. Tell me a little about your latest book - If You Love Me, I'm Yours?
Lizzie: Maud didn’t mind being boring, not really. She had a sensible job, clothes, and love life… if you counted an overbearing ex who had thanked her, rolled over and was snoring before she even realised he’d begun! She could tolerate not fulfilling her dreams, if her parents would pay her one compliment about the only thing she was passionate about in life: her art.
Dot should have fit in with her flamboyant and slightly eccentric family of talented artists, but somehow, she was an anomaly who couldn’t paint. She tried hard to be part of their world by becoming an art agent extraordinaire, but she dreamed of finding her own voice.
Dot’s brother Nate, a smoulderingly sexy and famous artist, was adored by everyone. His creative talent left them in awe of his ability to capture such passion on canvas. Women worshipped him, and even Dot’s friend Maud flushed and bumped into things when he walked into a room, but a tragic event in his past had left him emotionally and physically scarred, and reluctant to face the world again.
Someone was leaving exquisite little paintings on park benches, with a tag saying, ‘If you love me, I’m yours’. The art was so fresh and cutting-edge, that it generated a media frenzy and a scramble to discover where the mystery artist could be hiding. The revelation of who the prodigious artist was interlinked Maud, Dot and Nate’s lives forever, but their worlds came crashing down.
Were bonds of friendship, love and loyalty strong enough to withstand fame, success and scandal?
Megan: It sounds really interesting. I've noticed a number of your characters in your books run their own businesses. Is that something that you need to research extensively?
Lizzie: I began my first business at the age of seventeen, so I use my own business knowledge as research. All of my books have very unusual businesses in them which the story flows around. I really enjoy coming up with new business ideas and getting an idea of what they would be like to run through writing about them.
Megan: What are you currently working on? Will your next book also include a business angle?
Lizzie: I am currently writing my 6th novel. It’s about a dysfunctional group of people who practically live in a café bar. One of them has a secret talent that could change all of their lives.
Megan: Aside from innovation and entrepreneurship, what inspires your writing?
Lizzie: I’m inspired by so many things around me. The way people interact with each other, how we stand and move or display emotion. I’m also inspired by nature. I love to sit in a café with a great view and scribble parts of a story.
Megan: Do you have an rituals around your writing?
Lizzie: I don’t really have any, other than the fact that I write the first 20,000 words or so by hand. I love to be impulsive and am not very good at planning. I take my notebooks or computer with me and write anywhere from after school clubs, in my car, on the beach, or on holiday. I often have two, or maybe three book ideas in my head at one time, so I have to write them quickly. This is the excuse I use for my awful handwriting!
Megan: When did you start writing? What inspired you to start that first story?
Lizzie: I began writing when my youngest daughter was unwell. She was unwell for seven years and it was tough going. After the first two years, I tried to think of a new way to keep myself awake at night to hear her breathing. I wrote my first book, Babe Driven, during the night over the next year. It brought some much-needed sunshine into my life at a very dark time.
Megan: That must have been a tough time for you. It's interesting how creative endeavours can have such an impact on our mood and outlook. Do you enjoy to read - what sort of books and genres do you favour?
Lizzie: I enjoy all sorts of genres, but my favourite is romance. I like a book that makes me smile and makes me relax for a while. The last book I read was The Cocktail bar by Isabella May.
Megan: I really enjoyed The Cocktail Bar. Of all the characters in your books who would you like most to share a coffee with - or in fact, a cocktail if were were going to stop by River's Cocktail Bar in Glastonbury?
Lizzie: I’d love to have coffee with Skye, my Ninja School Mum. She has so many secrets that it would be fun to try and find out what they are.
I’d also like to meet Dottie from my latest book. She is so self-absorbed, but I’d like to find out what it was like to grow up in a family like hers. They are eccentric and writing about them made me laugh out loud.
Megan: I'll look forward to meeting Dottie and her family in If You Leave Me, I'm Yours. Thanks for joining me, Lizzie.
Lizzie: My pleasure.
To learn more about Lizzie and her books, visit: