Delighted to be joined for Friday Night Drinks this evening by a woman of many talents, reader, writer, editor and publisher …. Louise Walters.
Thank you for joining me for drinks this evening. First things first, what are you drinking?
A pink gin and tonic with ice, a sprig of mint, and a stripey paper straw. Refreshing, cold and just lovely.
Sounds delicious, I’ll have one too. If we weren’t here in my virtual bar tonight, but were meeting in real life, where would you be taking me for a night out?
I don’t go out often, but there is a wonderful tapas bar and restaurant in Lincoln, called Ole Ole. Lovely atmosphere and great food, and of course sangria. I always pop in there when I visit Lincoln.
If you could invite two famous people, one male and one female, alive or dead, along on our night out, who would we be drinking with?
I would love a night out with you, me, Kate Bush and Paul McCartney. There are lots of vegetarian and vegan options at Ole Ole… (Paul and I would be sorted). My biggest inspirations are musical people. My goodness, the questions I could ask those two…
So, now we’re settled, tell me what you are up to at the moment. What have you got going on? How and why did you start it and where do you want it to go?
I run my own indie press, Louise Walters Books. I have now published four talented authors and have signed three more. It all started when I self-published my second novel in 2017. I loved the whole process and started seriously considering setting up an indie press. My 50th bithday approaching, it felt like a now or never moment. So I opened to submissions and started publishing. I want to keep publishing talented authors. I have to be very selective in what I take on as it’s just me, and my freelance team who design my covers, design and typeset my interiors, and copy edit the manuscripts. I do all the other jobs.
That sounds exciting and like hard work at the same time! What has been your proudest moment since you started writing and what has been your biggest challenge?
As a writer, my proudest moment was hearing from my agent that my first novel, Mrs Sinclair’s Suitcase, had a book deal. That was unforgettable. As a publisher, I am incredibly proud of my authors and my role as editor of their novels. It’s a great feeling to publish a book that both author and I have worked very hard on.
What is the one big thing you’d like to achieve in your chosen arena? Be as ambitious as you like, its just us talking after all!
I would absolutely love one of LWB’s book to be long-listed in a major prize. Two reasons for that: my authors are plenty good enough to be long-listed; and it would make a massive difference to LWB’s fortunes. It’s very challenging to market my books on a limited budget in a crowded marketplace, where everything is skewed in favour of big publishers.
What are you currently working on that you are really excited about?
I’m currently working on edits for the two books I am publishing later this year. Cath Barton’s novella In the Sweep of the Bay is my September release. We are in the throes of proofreading and we’re almost there. It’s a fantastic, short, sweet, bitter-sweet story that somehow encompasses a life, a marriage, and all the ups and downs that go with a long marriage. It’s beautifully written.
I’m also working on my December release, The Dig Street Festival by Chris Walsh. Last summer (2019) I put a call out on Twitter for working class writers to send me their novels. Chris did just that, and I was bowled over by his writing. I’ve never read anything quite like The Dig Street Festival… it’s funny, moving, philosophical, politial, poigant, bizarre… all rolled up into one intriguing novel. I’ve no idea how it will be received. I just know I love it and I trust others will too. Chris and I are working on line edits, and it’s shaping up very nicely.
Two to watch out for by the sounds of it. I love to travel, and I’m currently drawing up a bucket list of things I’d like to do in the future. Where is your favourite place that you’ve been and what do you have at the top of your bucket list?
I’m not much of a traveller, to be truthful. I had a working class upbringing and we never went abroad when I was growing up. I have travelled a little in adulthood. Two cruises, which were brilliant. Paris I love. Also Lisbon… quite similar cities in many ways, but Lisbon is warmer! I have visited Poland, and went to Auschwitz, an experience that has stayed with me. The atmosphere was palpable, quite eerie, and an incredibly sad, moving place to visit. I’m glad I’ve been.
Top of my bucket list is New York. I will die extremely disappointed if I never go there!
I love New York! Tell me one interesting/surprising/secret fact about yourself that people might not know about you.
I love Michael Buble. I absolutely think he is the bees knees. My fave kind of music is punk/alternative/”serious” music…so this is rather an odd departure…!
Books are my big passion and central to my blog and I’m always looking for recommendations. What one book would you give me and recommend as a ‘must-read’?
Without hesitation, the book I recommend to everybody: Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively. It’s superb, truly one of the great novels. The central character, Claudia, stays with you long after you finish reading.
Claudia Hampton, a beautiful, famous writer, lies dying in hospital. But, as the nurses tend to her with quiet condescension, she is plotting her greatest work: ‘a history of the world … and in the process, my own’. Gradually she re-creates the rich mosaic of her life and times, conjuring up those she has known. There is Gordon, her adored brother; Jasper, the charming, untrustworthy lover and father of Lisa, her cool, conventional daughter; and Tom, her one great love, both found and lost in wartime Egypt. Penelope Lively’s Booker Prize-winning novel weaves an exquisite mesh of memories, flashbacks and shifting voices, in a haunting story of loss and desire.
I have to admit to not having read this, one for the endless list! So, we’ve been drinking all evening. What is your failsafe plan to avoid a hangover and your go-to cure if you do end up with one?
I will go to bed drunk, wake up feeling dreadful, and have about three glasses of orange juice and three cups of coffee. Then sit it out. Back to normal by tea time!
After our fabulous night out, what would be your ideal way to spend the rest of a perfect weekend?
Some reading time, a nice long walk, a film at the cinema if there is anything good on… or a film and a bottle of wine at home. Time with the kids, perhaps a nice Sunday lunch together. As long as I don’t have to cook it! In reality, I spend most weekends working… there is so much to do when you run an indie press.
Well, thank you for taking time from your bus schedule to chat to me, it has been fascinating.
Louise’s latest book is The Road To California, and you can buy a copy here.
Proud single parent Joanna is accustomed to school phoning to tell her that her fourteen year old son Ryan is in trouble. But when Ryan hits a girl and is excluded from school, Joanna knows she must take drastic action to help him.
Ryan’s dad Lex left home when Ryan was two years old. Ryan doesn’t remember him – but more than anything he wants a dad in his life. Isolated, a loner, and angry, Ryan finds solace in books and wildlife.
Joanna, against all her instincts, invites Lex to return and help their son. But Lex is a drifter who runs from commitment, and both Joanna and Ryan find their mutual trust and love is put to the test when Lex returns, and vows to be part of the family again.