This interview was such fun, loved doing it. I highly recommend my friend Lisette Brodey’s blog.
Do check it out: Too picky?…I think not!
My special guest this week is author Elle Amberley. Although a British author, Elle likes to dabble in French too and hopes to resume work on her French novel when time allows. She also enjoys writing articles on women’s issues and whatever she feels passionate about.
Hi, Elle. It’s an honor to have you as my guest this week. Please, tell the cool peeps about yourself.
I’m British. I love reading and writing. I am passionate and engaged. Most importantly I’m a mum to two lovely children.
How interesting that you have lived in many countries from an early age. How has that experience molded you into the person you are today?
It has given me a love for different cultures and languages but also means I find it hard to settle anywhere. I’m not sure how much of it has influenced my eccentric side.
I probably look at issues from a different angle and more empathy as I understand the difference between cultures.
You write in many different styles — both fiction and non-fiction. Tell us more about your writing.
I love writing and the freedom to write different things in different styles. I’m not one to fit into boxes and I don’t like to be restricted.
When it comes to non-fiction I mostly write articles in a knee-jerk reaction, issues that I’m passionate about.
In a recent blog post on your website, you wrote an interesting post called “Should we mourn the end of chick-lit?” Can you tell us about your feelings on the term “chick-lit” vs. “women’s fiction?”
LOL, I feel quite strongly about this. I certainly don’t like the term “chick-lit”, although I have nothing against that genre. Many women authors find themselves patronised in that way and resent the label especially if they feel their novel has nothing to do with the genre. Others will argue that we should not have such label as “women’s fiction” either.
I loathe labels and stereotypes of any kind but I recognise the need to label books for marketing purposes. Like it or not.
That said as a reader I don’t look at the genre and am quite open-minded about what I read.
Tell us about your novel, Nowhere Left to Hide.
Natasha is a young British student. She is tired of running scared and when offered the chance to study in California she jumps at the chance.
She finds love and friendship away from the ghosts of her childhood. But what will she do when her visa expires and her boyfriend asks her to marry him?
Santa Barbara holds a piece of my heart and became a life-changing experience for me. So, when Natasha popped up in my head, demanding to be written, I knew this was the place for her. A safe place, away from harm, where she could relax and drop her guard, find and be herself.
Natasha is very special to me because we share similar experiences. However, I did not want to write a story that was merely about living in fear. I wanted to show that many of us who have gone through dreadful events do get stronger, that we can all break the cycle. Sartre said that we always have a choice. Indeed how we react is up to us, we can lie down as victims or pick ourselves up, live to see another day and grow from it
This has been the story of my life. As a young child I thought of ending it all, I did not know the term “suicide” then but I knew about finality and deliverance. As an adult, grieving many years later I came close to that feeling again, although this time I just wanted to slide away. Being in so much pain that you want it stop just for a minute, but having too many responsibilities to allow this selfish act of giving up. Only two little blond heads carrying you through another day but enough already, that’s another storyline altogether.
Social media helps us make extraordinary connections, but it has a downside for many. What are your thoughts about the pros and cons of social media? Any advice for those struggling to use it effectively?
I’m by no means an expert. I have made such extraordinary connections that I’m very grateful about. People whom I would otherwise never have met.
When I started out on Twitter I never imagined I’d end up with nearly 4000 followers, especially since I used a pseudonym. It was only supposed to be a bit of fun with some friends of mine and my husband. Little by little I found some great people and it’s grown from there. I particularly like the fact so many writers are on it.
I’d always said I wouldn’t go on Facebook, yet, I’m on there too. My publisher nagged me about this and also insisted I used my pen name. I am stubborn but occasionally I do listen.
The advice I’d give? Be nice and don’t believe everything you read. Not every self-proclaimed expert is what he/she says. Don’t forget life and if you’re a writer, focus on that. Yes, I hear it’s all about platform but if you waste all your time on social media, what’s going to happen with your writing?
The world of publishing is changing so rapidly. It’s hard to keep up. Any thoughts about the ever-evolving landscape? Predictions?
It is hard. I believe people will always want to read and hear good stories. Ebooks are catching up but I still prefer paperbacks.
You said that you’re shy, but no so in the right environment. Can you elaborate? As an author, what do you do to overcome your shyness?
Me and my big mouth! I get very nervous when I do interviews or any public engagements. I haven’t found the magic trick to overcome that, I shake and wish to run away. I’m all right if people are friendly and start talking to me, it’s the first contact I dread. Otherwise it helps if somebody holds my hand, literally. I’ve done some interviews where my husband was right there by my side. OK, OK, don’t say it!
But saying that, I’m not scared to stand my ground. I have been in scary situations and roared very loudly, then shook and whimpered when it was over.
Elle’s private universe
Elle’s writing grotto — “Maybe I’m a hermit,” she says.
I was intrigued to learn that you’ve had to start your life over a few times. What was that like?
Scary and liberating. In the first instance I had to run away when I was a teenager and I lived in fear, it never really goes away completely.
Also, I nearly died a few years back. I don’t know how I survived, some instinct. Had it not been for my family, I would not have cared. I lost my unborn baby in the process. It was one of those moments where I wished I could have slid away and come back to life again. Which I sort of did, over a period of time.
When did you first develop your love of reading and how did it progress over the years?
I cannot remember a time when I was not reading. Apparently I picked up a book, aged three, and that was it. I haven’t stopped since. When living in France I was so desperate to read I picked up books from the local libraries and picked up the language.
Please tell us what it’s like to homeschool your children.
Rewarding, exciting, exhausting and time-consuming.
What do you hope to know in five years that you don’t know now?
How to do everything in record time and not be a perfectionist.
I’ve been forever called picky, but I maintain that we’re all picky creatures. What are you picky about?
I like things to be put away properly, I can’t sit down if I see something out of place and I can’t stand rude people…OK, stop me now.
Where can people find you online?
Any parting words for the masses? Any shameless plugs?
I hope you will have liked finding out a bit more about me and enjoy what I do.
Come and check me out, I always enjoy interacting with readers.
Thanks again for the interview, it’s been a pleasure.