Saturday, 26 April 2014

The Otherside of Morning by Joanna Lambert

What They Say:

Charlotte Kendrick’s ill-fated relationship with rock star Christian Rosetti still haunts her. The new man in her life, handsome, rich Italian restaurateur Marco D’Alesandro, is everything she wants. But when beautiful heiress RossanaCaravello arrives to spend time with his family as their house guest she wonders whether history is about to repeat itself. Marco insists he loves her and that he has no interest in their guest, but how can Charlotte believe him when everything about his behaviour around Rossana indicates he is lying? 

Giving him the benefit of the doubt, Charlotte wonders whether his ruthless stepmother Thérèse may be involved, and decides to find out more about the young heiress. However, far from putting her mind at rest, what she discovers leaves her feeling more unsettled than ever about her future with Marco… 

From rural West Somerset to the glorious rolling landscape of Tuscany and the Italian lakes THE OTHER SIDE OF MORNING is a story of love, betrayal, deception and ultimate sacrifice.

What I Say:

I would like to thank Brookscottagebks and Joanna Lambert for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Charlotte or Lottie Kendrick was in a relationship with rock star Christian Rosetti until he went on tour but his increasing erratic behaviour had driven them apart.

Lottie then meets the gorgeous Italian Marco, their relationship doesn't get off to the best of starts but eventually they realise how much they want each other. 

As with all love stories things don't run smoothly and they have the erratic Christian trying to drive a wedge between them along with Marco's stepmother Thérèse.

This book keeps you gripped wanting to know what happens, not only with Marco and Charlotte but with Charlotte's extended family.

How can you go wrong with a rock star, a sexy Italian, various venues across Europe and a wicked step mother,  it is an gripping read and I can see the series turning into a blockbuster, in the likes of Woman of Substance. 

I read this as a one off but there are other books set before this and will definately be reading them and any more that follow.

4.5 out of 5 stars 

An Interview with the Author

Hi Jo , thank you for you time to answer my questions.

Can you tell us about your book?

With The Other Side of Morning I’m drawing to a close my series of books following the lives of the Kendrick and Benedict families. However, this story has been written so that it can easily be read as a stand-alone novel.  As with all the other books in the series it’s a multi-layered plot wrapped around one central story. It is now 1996 and the turn of twenty-something cousins Charlotte Kendrick and Lucy Benedict.  Born within a year of each other they are so similar in looks they could almost be twins. However this is where the similarity ends.  Lucy is fun loving and capricious whereas Charlotte is more responsible and grounded.  They fall in love with very different men and it is the changes those relationships bring to both their lives on which the book focuses.  One of the key aspects of my writing is that I always put my main characters through a lot of challenges before I’m able to type THE END.  This book is no exception; Lucy has the easiest pathway to her eventual happiness; for Charlotte the journey will prove far more difficult.

How old were you when you started writing?

I must have been about 9 years old before I ventured into writing anything beyond an English essay. Reading for me was magic; it gave me access to other worlds where you could lose yourself and spend time with all sorts of amazing characters.  I loved Enid Blyton’s Famous Five so for me this naturally became the sort of story I wanted to write when it came to creating my own fantasy world.

Who are your favourite writers?

That’s a very difficult question as over the years I’ve read so many good books.  I have been a long term fan of South African writer Wilbur Smith. His multi novel sagas of the Courtney and Ballantyne families cleverly blended South African history with great fiction. I also love Phillipa Gregory another writer who has done a similar thing with English history.  Val McDermid is another favourite author and George R R Martin’s Game of Thrones had me completely addicted.  As you can see I have a fairly eclectic taste in reading.

What books did you read as a child?

Very early on Noddy and Janet and John books.  As I got older it was Enid Blyton’s Famous Five and Secret Seven series.   I also had an uncle who sent me books for Christmas and birthdays so I got all the classics – Alice in Wonderland, The Jungle Books, Children of the New Forest, The Heidi series, Black Beauty and Wind in the Willows.  

Your favourite book and why?

It has to be Penmarric.  Not only did reading it kick start my writing again, I absolutely loved this huge epic saga.  Set in Cornwall it ran from Victorian times to the end of the Second World War, it was dramatized for TV in the late 1970s.  I read somewhere that Susan Howatch based the structure of the family on the Plantagenets and the struggle between the houses of York and Lancaster. The whole book became the inspiration for the kind of novel I wanted to write – emotional family driven drama.

Do you have a favourite place you like to write and why?

We have an office in the house which my husband also uses but I get the lion’s share of time there.  Because I touch type a laptop slows me down so I need continued access to the desktop.  The room, facing south has wonderful views down a river valley – an absolutely ideal place to write.

What inspired you to take up writing?

My earliest attempts as I’ve described above were down to wanting to emulate Enid Blyton.   However, my writing dried up as I moved into my teens.  I switched all my energies into my education, then work and finally I got married. However, the desire to write never really left me, it was always there lying dormant simply waiting for the right trigger.  That came in my mid-twenties when after reading Susan Howatch’s saga Penmarric I was so taken with the book that I knew I had to get back to writing once more. This time, of course, when I began I was in new and uncharted territory. No more Famous Five style children’s adventures, I was moving into the more complex world of the adult novel.  If there is a connection between my childhood and adult writing life I guess the inspiration behind wanting to write is the actual creation of a parallel universe of fictitious people.  People whose lives you direct and control as they act out the story you have set them in.  As a child this was purely for my own entertainment.  Now as a published writer I do it for an audience.

Are any of your characters based on people you know?

In my head I hold a whole library of people I have known over the years and there have been some really amazing characters among them.  I find this incredibly useful to draw on but usually I use personality traits rather than the whole individual.  However, when I wrote the trilogy I actually dipped into my memories of village life as a child and used one or two real people for characters in the fictitious village of Meridan Cross.

Do you have a support network for your writing?

Not as such but I do have really good writing friends I can bounce ideas off or ask for advice and I’m there to reciprocate should they need assistance. And, of course, I have an excellent editor who is always able to give me help and guidance if needed.

What items are on your desk/where you write?

The PC obviously, a pad and pen for notes and bottled water, although I do stop for coffee mid-afternoon.  I like my workspace uncluttered too – any files or reference books sit on adjacent shelves so are close at hand if I need them.

Do you have a routine for your writing? i.e. time of day.

I try to get all my non-writing things out of the way in the morning and then use the afternoon plus a short session in the evening after 7pm running over what I’ve done and planning for the next day.

Any tips for writers who are just starting out?

Be organised and professional in your approach to your work
Write something each day
Try to work through any problems you encounter,  believe in yourself, don’t be tempted to give up
Above all enjoy what you are doing

Can you share a sneak peak at what you're working on at the moment?

I started work on my current novel while The Other Side of Morning was away for editing.  The five books I have written have all been about the same families and I decided book six was going to be a completely new venture.  I had been running a few ideas through my head and which gradually expanded into a full story.  The book is in two time slots; 2007 and present day.  It is about two young people from completely different social backgrounds who meet and fall in love during the summer of 2007. Settling into a relationship they both feel has the potential to last, a sudden and unexpected chain of events one evening destroys their love and parts them forever.  Five years later they accidentally meet again.  Both are very different people but realise despite the time they have been apart their feelings for each have never really gone away. As they rekindle their love affair someone who was there on that fateful night is about to reveal something which is guaranteed to destroy their new found happiness.

Have you ever heard a strange/different story that you thought would be great in a book?

Actually strange as it may seem, I cannot think of anything. However I have incorporated some experiences and incidents from my own life into my writing. Apart from this I honestly don’t think I have come across something that has made me stop and think ‘Yes, that would make really good material for a novel.’  

What do you like to do when you're not writing?

I try to set aside time for reading.  Living five minutes away from open countryside means we have access to fantastic walks, a great incentive to get out for regular ‘fresh air’ breaks. I also take time out to meet friends for lunch in town. Now I’ve finished my regular nine to five job I’m very much in control of my time.  Bath has a huge selection of good restaurants, an ideal place to meet friends and catch up on news and gossip. 

Do you like it quiet when you're writing or do you need background noise? (Music or TV)  

Usually I find I can’t write without having music in the background. It’s very much part of my writing process.  However there are some occasions, normally when I’m editing that I do prefer to work in silence.

If one of your books was made into a film/TV series, who would you like as the leading lady/man? 

Although The Other Side of Morning has a lot of centrally placed characters, the story is principally about Charlotte and Marco.  For Charlotte Kendrick I think I’d choose Jessica Brown Findlay who played Lady Sybil in Downton Abbey.    As for my beautiful Italian Marco D’Alesandro, who else but the incredibly handsome Antonio Cupo.

Do you have a process for planning your books? i.e. do you talk over an idea with a friend or a partner?

My planning process is very much down to me. Once I get an idea I work at developing it to see whether it can be expanded into a full blown story. If the whole thing looks positive I work out an outline and then talk it through with my publisher to get the final OK before beginning to write. Personally I don’t like to work within the confines of a set storyline; I prefer to use my outline merely as a guide.  For me it’s all about making the writing as organic and flexible as possible.

Non book questions

Favourite holiday place? – Italy, Tuscany and the Italian Lakes are favourite destinations
Favourite food? Thai
What kind of music do you listen to? I love guitar driven rock. However I love anything with great lyrics and melody
Favourite film?  Ryan’s Daughter
Favourite Chocolate? Thorntons
Favourite drink? – It has to be Prosecco

Thanks for a wonderful interview Jo. xx

About The Author

Born and raised in rural Wiltshire, Jo Lambert grew up with a love of books and a vivid imagination.  As a child she enjoyed creating her own adventure stories similar to Enid Blyton’sFamous Five.  Writing always stayed with her, but college, work and eventually marriage found it kept very much in the background as a hobby.  

In 2009 everything changed whenshe decided to self-publish a novel she had completedAfterWhen Tomorrow Comes, three other books - Love Lies and Promises, The Ghost of You and Me and Between Today and Yesterday followed.  

In 2013 she decided to give up full time work to concentrate fully on her writing.  Her fifth novel The Other Side of Morning was accepted by ThornBerryPublishing UK and is now available in e-book form with a paperback version to follow shortly.

Jo is married and lives in a village on the eastern edge of Bath, Somerset with one small grey feline called Mollie. Sheshares her husband with his ‘other woman’ Bridget - a 48 year old white MG Midget who keeps him occupied while she is busy writing.

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