Friday has spun around again very quickly this week, and I’m really ready for a drink after the past seven days. So, I am delighted that it’s time for Friday Night Drinks with this week’s guest, author… Lotte R. James.
Lotte, welcome to the blog and thank you for joining me for drinks this evening. First things first, what are you drinking?
I am having a nice dark ale. After moving to the UK, I developed a taste for ale, beer, stout – all of it! Some really lovely brews here, with lots of flavour.
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?
In real life, we would be visiting some of the pubs around Charing Cross & the Strand. Places like the Nell Gwyn or The Ship & Shovel – they are such lovely little historic places, and always feel warm and cosy.
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 probably have to go for William the Conqueror and Mary Shelley. I had to study William in school, and have a feeling he’d be a fun, interesting one to have along. (Also, I have many questions…) As for Shelley, I’m a huge fan, and I think she would have some great stories, and be up for a proper night out.
So, now we’re settled, tell me what you are up to at the moment. How and why did you start it and where do you want it to go?
In terms of writing, I am just getting into the third book of my Gentlemen of Mystery series, which will be out at the end of the year. This one will focus on Freddie (who we’ve met in The Housekeeper of Thornhallow Hall & The Marquess of Yew Park House). I’m just finishing up the outline, story summary, and I wrote a first chapter yesterday! I can’t tell you much about it yet, other than it will be another Gothic Romance, full of nice surprises hopefully, and with a little more of an urban setting than the previous two books.
What has been your proudest moment since you started writing and what has been your biggest challenge?
That might have to be a tie actually. When I first started out, I chose to self-publish, and one of the proudest moments was seeing that first purchase of my book. I was like – oh my God – someone is reading my words! It really helped me let go of a lot of personal things that were holding me back from sharing my work with people. A tie to that would be getting the call from Harlequin/Mills & Boon. It was a dream to write for them, and so getting to be part of the line, among so many incredible authors I admire and enjoy, was just… Surreal – in a very good way!
The biggest challenge so far, I would have to say, was self-publishing. I did not go about it in the most prepared way – I thought I was prepared and knew enough, but I was wrong. It has been a really rewarding ride, and I’ve learned so much, so I don’t regret it a bit.
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 mean the big big thing I fantasize about sometimes, is making enough money to start my own production studio for Romance adaptations & films. There are so many incredible books out there, I wish I could just have the power and means to say – yes, I’m going to make this into a film or series to share it with some more people.
A little less ambitious, and I’m not really sure it counts as me achieving it, but I would love to have someone do fan-art of one of my books some day. There is no real measure of success – beyond what success means to you – but fan-art does feel like ‘I’ve made it!’.
What are have planned that you are really excited about?
The next books I’m writing, obviously! Beyond that, I’ve got a couple trips I’m planning at the moment, one (see below!), hopefully for my birthday, and another in late Spring for a friend’s wedding. It’s tough at the moment with COVID naturally, but I’m really hoping things get to a point where I feel comfortable saying ‘yes, let’s do this!’.
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?
Favourite place is Scotland – which is why that’s the birthday trip I’m planning! I just love the atmosphere, the land is truly breathtaking, and when I’ve been there, I’ve truly felt a connection to it. (I mean, also, amazing food, drinks, and really lovely people!)
Top of the bucket list would probably be Japan (there are so many on the list!). It has such a variety of natural beauty to offer, and it’s a country rich in history, but also incredibly modern; futuristic in some aspects. And like any country on my bucket list, it has amazing food…
Tell me one interesting/surprising/secret fact about yourself.
Not sure if this is surprising to anyone who has read my books (because I use it a lot!), but I’m actually fluent in French! (As I’m half-French!)
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’?
Hm… That’s such a tough one because I like to recommend things based on people’s moods… I would say, the one book that has been there for me since I was a child, is The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi. The themes, story, and characters, are so infused in my creative being, I would definitely say it is one of the building blocks of my passion for books. And it’s just fun!
Thirteen-year-old Charlotte Doyle is excited to return home from her school in England to her family in Rhode Island in the summer of 1832. But when the two families she was supposed to travel with mysteriously cancel their trips, Charlotte finds herself the lone passenger on a long sea voyage with a cruel captain and a mutinous crew. Worse yet, soon after stepping aboard the ship, she becomes enmeshed in a conflict between them!
What begins as an eagerly anticipated ocean crossing turns into a harrowing journey, where Charlotte gains a villainous enemy… and is put on trial for murder!
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?
To avoid – stick to one type of drink – never mix! Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate, and have a greasy bite to eat before going to bed. If I do end up with one, ibuprofen, water, coffee, and lots of greasy food.
After our fabulous night out, what would be your ideal way to spend the rest of a perfect weekend?
I mean – that’s easy – I do love a cosy weekend of reading! A stack of romance books, comfy socks, soft blanket, tea, scented candles, some classical music in the background, my fake fireplace roaring, and I’m good for days on end! (Though let’s not forget the snacks…)
Thanks for joining me this evening, Lotte, I have really enjoyed our chat.
Lotte’s latest novel for Mills & Boon Historical is The Marquess of Yew Park House, which will be published on 17 March. You can pre-order a copy here, and watch out for my review of the book here on the blog around publication date.
A brooding marquess
And a mysterious widow
On the outside Henry Spencer, Marquess of Clairborne, has it all: title, fortune and dashing good looks, but inside he’s haunted by nightmares. Seeking sanctuary at his Scottish estate, his peace is disturbed by a new tenant, widow Genevieve de L’Omont. Her beauty and spirit lead to a growing desire that distracts him from his troubles, but as he unravels a mystery from his past, he discovers Genevieve has secrets of her own…
Lotte James trained as an actor and theatre director, but spent most of her life working day jobs crunching numbers whilst dreaming up stories of love and adventure. She’s thrilled to finally be writing those stories, and when she’s not scribbling on tiny pieces of paper, she can usually be found wandering the countryside for inspiration, or nestling with coffee and a book.
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