Interview with Carmarthen Book Fair 2016 participant author Lisa Shambrook
Hi Lisa, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I spent half my life in Brighton on the Sussex coast, and now just over half in the beautiful market town of Carmarthen, West Wales. We moved here when my first daughter was only three months old and have enjoyed the proximity of mountains, valleys, woodlands, rivers and the ocean all within a half hour distance.
I have three children, all over sixteen now, and I’m married. We have a couple of cats and German Shepherd. I am a bit of a loner, quiet and complex, a writer and a dreamer who loves dragons!
What were you like at school?
I was quiet and studious until my last year when I relaxed and rebelled. My favourite classes were English and Art. We had an amazing English teacher who inspired me greatly throughout high school until my exam years when he left and was replaced with an uninspiring tutor. A good teacher makes all the difference, they’re the ones we remember and smile about!
Which writers inspire you?
Garth Nix inspires me so much, I totally fell in love with Lirael in his Old Kingdom books. I’ve always been a Tolkien fan perusing the appendices of The Lord of the Rings in an almost biblical manner! And lately, I’m enjoying Patrick Rothfuss’ beautiful writing. I’m venturing into fantasy for my next series and these books are my bedrock.
So, what have you written?
Currently I have three published works: ‘Beneath the Rainbow’, ‘Beneath the Old Oak’, and ‘Beneath the Distant Star’.
I have been included in many collections and anthologies, details of these can be found on my website.
Where can we buy or see them?
All my books are available on Amazon, links are found on my website and on my blog.
I also sell signed paperbacks in my Etsy Shop Amaranth Alchemy.
What genre are your books?
These books are Young Adult, though they all appeal to an audience of a wide age range. ‘Beneath the Rainbow’ was written without a genre in mind and it fits literary fiction well.
What draws you to this genre?
I haven’t felt particularly drawn to a specific genre. These first three novels were pretty much using the adage ‘write what you know’ and much of their themes are things close to me, but I love experimenting with genre, and I feel more drawn to fantasy and steampunk. Post-Apocalyptic Fantasy is my next foray.
How much research do you do?
With the Hope Within series, my first three books, the research was my own life experience. They speak of real problems, especially anxiety, depression, grief, and bullying. I’m an empath and feel very close to the characters portrayed.
With the series I’m currently working on, I have embarked on a fair bit of research and world building. These books will be set in a post-apocalyptic Wales and the landscape will have changed hugely, so maps have been a fascination and I’ve had help with some the Welsh language. More research will crop up as I write, but my world building has put me on course.
When did you decide to become a writer?
I loved drawing, writing, and reading as a child, and I wanted to become an author and illustrator. My words are better than my art, though I love both! After reading the first Harry Potter book, I sat back and thought, I could do this – and my first novel was written. Now sixteen years later, I am about to completely rewrite that first novel and create a whole new series!
Do you write full-time or part-time?
I have a family and my husband works full-time. I write whenever I have spare time amid family life and helping to look after elderly and frail parents.
Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
My days are chaotic, so I write whenever I can set time aside. I keep weekends for my family and write during the week.
Where do your ideas come from?
Nature plays a big part in my writing, and you’ll see that in my books. Some ideas come from nowhere, some I search for, and some are just presented by my muse! I also love to daydream…
What is the hardest thing about writing?
What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
Time, as above, is always going to be the hardest thing for me. My latest book was ‘Beneath the Distant Star’ and the hardest thing was finding time to just write and not worry about life around me.
What is the easiest thing about writing?
The easiest thing is letting words slip from my imagination to paper or screen!
Do you ever get writer’s Block?
Not often. When I do, I write flash fiction – short snippets of writing from a prompt. Or I do something creative; making things can always reignite my imagination.
Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors.
My favourite authors are Garth Nix, J R R Tolkien, Patrick Rothfuss and some amazing indie authors: Daniel Swensen, Sophie Moss, J Whitworth Hazzard and Michael Wombat…I like spreading my wings and discovering new writers. I’m eclectic!
For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?
I have no preference. I read more eBooks because I have a library at the touch of my fingertips on my mobile phone, and it’s easy to read anywhere. I also love paperbacks and have a plentiful supply on my bookshelves!
What book/s are you reading at present?
I am currently reading ‘Strong as Death’ by Julia Lund and have ‘Ghostbird’ by Carol Lovekin, and ‘The Trouble with Goats and Sheep’ by Joanna Cannon queued up…
Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?
I am always amazed when my books touch a reader’s heart. I think that’s the biggest compliment an author can receive. It’s the biggest incentive I have to write!
Are you looking forward to the Carmarthen Book Fair 2016? And if so, why?
I am really looking forward to it! My first ever book fair was in Llandeilo in April and it was lovely to actually meet readers and customers, and other authors. It’s very affirming and there are so many inspiring and great books to look at, there really is something for everyone’s tastes! I don’t want to miss out!
How can readers discover more about you and you work?
I can be found in many places online: Here are my links and you can find them all on my website too:
Facebook Author Page: www.facebook.com/LisaShambrookAuthor
Etsy Shop: www.etsy.com/uk/shop/AmaranthAlchemy