Brewing Up Creativity

EP55: Writing Popular Fiction Books with #1 New York Times Bestselling Author, Lisa Jewell

September 16, 2022 Lisa Jewell Season 2 Episode 17
Brewing Up Creativity
EP55: Writing Popular Fiction Books with #1 New York Times Bestselling Author, Lisa Jewell
Show Notes Transcript

In Episode 55 of Brewing Up Creativity, Danielle is joined with #1 New York Times Bestselling Author, Lisa Jewell to discuss her writing process, growing in the industry, her inspiration, and much more.

Catch What's Inside The Episode:

- When Lisa discovered her passion for writing and realized she wanted to be an author
- What inspires Lisa's current writing style and how it has evolved over time
- What inspired  Lisa's most recent novels such as The Family Remains, The Family Upstairs, Then She Was Gone, and The Night She Disappeared
- What's the biggest piece of advice you'd give for aspiring authors tuning in?

About Lisa Jewell:

Lisa Jewell is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of nineteen novels, including The Family Upstairs and Then She Was Gone, as well as Invisible Girl and Watching You. Her novels have sold over 10 million copies internationally, and her work has also been translated into twenty-nine languages.

Find Lisa Online:
Twitter @LisaJewellUK
Instagram @LisaJewellUK
Facebook @LisaJewellOfficial

Purchase and Read Lisa's Newest Novel The Family Remains here.
https://www.simonandschuster.ca/books/The-Family-Remains/Lisa-Jewell/9781668006337

Find Brewing Up Creativity Online:
@brewingupcreativity
https://brewingupcreativity.buzzsprout.com
www.daniellelabontedesigns.com/podcast

TAKE 50% OFF AN ENTIRE FLODESK SUBSCRIPTION FOR YOUR FIRST YEAR HERE.

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[00:00:00] Danielle LaBonté: Creativity is contagious. Pass it on in any way possible. Albert Einstein.

[00:00:12] Hi creatives. So happy to have you tune into our second season of bring of creativity. I'm your host, Daniela bonk, a Toronto based graphic designer and serial entrepreneur. Looking to spread awareness on pursuing your creative passions or endeavors, whether it be in business, a side hustle or hobby, you name it.

[00:00:31] Welcome back to an all new episode. I am joined with the talented Lisa jewel. Lisa is the number one New York time bestselling author of 19 novels, including the family upstairs. And then she was gone as well as invisible girl. And watching you. Her novels have sold over 10 million copies internationally, and her work has also been translated into 29 languages.

[00:00:54] Hi, Lisa, thank you so much for joining me. How are you doing today? 

[00:00:59] Lisa Jewell: I'm doing very well. Thank you so much for having me. How are you? 

[00:01:03] Danielle LaBonté: Thank you so much for joining me and I'm doing great today. It's pretty early in the am. I know it's a, a little into your day today, but I hope your day is going absolutely amazing.

[00:01:13] Super happy to be talking about how you write, how you work, how your mind works. I love the aspect of your books and the thrill behind all of it. So much depth into what you do and. I love your creativity, but before we hop into diving into your world a little bit, I wanna ask you an easier question first.

[00:01:34] okay. First one being, what do you drink? Is it coffee or tea? What do you go for? 

[00:01:40] Lisa Jewell: Ah, depends on the time of day and the season. My first drink of the day is a huge, huge, extra large Starbucks mug of Earl gray tea with milk. Um, and then I'll have an in, I love instant coffee. It's good. In the summer, I drink a lot of Coke, but in the winter I drink a lot of tea and coffee.

[00:01:58] And if, but if I'm in a coffee shop, I'll have a skinny cappuccino. 

[00:02:02] Danielle LaBonté: Oh, I love how you have a variety. It's yes, you've got it depends on the setting. it? It, it, you know what it does, it does depend on the setting. It does depend on the season. It depends on the time of the day. Exactly. I was asked that recently as well on another podcast and I thought, well, it depends what time of day you gotta, you gotta give me some time times, so I love the variety.

[00:02:21] Let's rewind. Go back a little bit. I'm I'm really curious to hear. Your early days. When did you discover your passion for writing and then realize 

[00:02:32] Lisa Jewell: like pretty much every author? I know I had a passion for reading as a child. I don't think there's an author alive, who wasn't a book worm as a child but always loved reading.

[00:02:42] And then I kind of had this vague idea when I was a young teenager that I'd like to be a music journal. But then I just sort of lost track of that. I stopped reading books probably from the age of 13 to 21. I didn't pick, pick up a book for fun. Um, I didn't really think about writing again until, yeah. I would say my early twenties, I was in a ma my first marriage and he was very bookish.

[00:03:04] He got me back into reading. I read a lot of his books and because it was a man's library, there were a lot of male authors in there and I kept thinking, I really wanna hear. Female voice here, but I remember saying it to him and he said, I reckon you could write a really good book. And that was the sort of first seed, but I didn't do anything about it until I was in my mid twenties.

[00:03:22] And we'd split up by. I had taken some evening classes in creative writing, but I was still thinking it was something I would do when I was middle aged. I wasn't sure it was something that a young girl, particularly a young girl like me, who hadn't been to university who was working as a secretary. I didn't think it was something for me at that point in my life.

[00:03:40] But, you know, I was still interested in, in the, in the idea of it. And then I had a really drunk conversation one night with a friend on holiday. Um, so serendipitous. And so life changing where she made me a bet, cuz I'd said, oh, I'd like to write a book one day. And she said, we'll do it now. And I said, I can't, you know, gave her 10 reasons why I write a book now.

[00:04:00] And she said, just write three chapters. If you write three chapters of, of, of a novel, I will take you out for dinner to your favorite restaurant. And I did that. And those three chapters actually were the first three chapters of my first. That was published in 1999. So yes, it wasn't like I wasn't one of those authors who was driven from day one, who's got loads of sort of unpublished manuscripts under my bed and has been writing, writing, writing, writing.

[00:04:25] It was just sort of a, a slow drip thing. And then a very, very well timed conversation. 

[00:04:31] Danielle LaBonté: Clearly so, and glad that you know, it's not even glad. It's a lot of times when I talk to different creatives over here on the podcast, we don't always have, we, we are planted a seed, but we don't always know what that seed is right in the beginning.

[00:04:45] I mean, yeah, you love, you were a bookworm you love to read, but who's to say that you knew it was. Gonna be writing till the day you pursued it completely full time. You, you never know. So it's, it's always nice to hear that you kind of, you know, you worked as a secretary, you did, you did so many things in between, and then it was a drunk conversation and we don't even realize in the moment.

[00:05:04] Well, of course we don't, if we're under the influence, but it's, it's great how she influenced you in a positive way while doing so. And you wrote three chapters and that happened to be the first three chapters of your, your first book. Yeah. To be publish. 

[00:05:20] Lisa Jewell: I think it just goes to show that you don't have to have a burning ambition.

[00:05:23] Yeah. What you really need is a starting point, a diving board to jump in whatever that is be it that you, you know, your first child's just gone to school and you've got a bit, bit of time back in your life or whatever it is, you just need that sort of moment to arrive in your life and to recognize it and to think, okay, this, this is my moment.

[00:05:41] This is what I want to do. I think there is a, a sort of misperception that. Published successful authors have been writing all their lives and have had some sort of career plan and have been building up to it forever. But I don't necessarily think that has to be, it has to be that way. I think sometimes life just opens a door to you and you just can walk through it.

[00:06:01] And if you're talented enough and you've chosen your, your moment, well, it could, uh, that could be the moment, moment that turns you into a, into an. Absolutely. 

[00:06:11] Danielle LaBonté: And you said it perfectly. I have a kind of similar background, not identical. Of course. I am not a writer, uh, to give you a bit of a backdrop. I, I am graphic designer, uh, full time and I'm doing brewing up creativity as a, as a passion and years and years ago, I would.

[00:06:27] I was seen drawing on a piece of paper or I was performing all the time. I was going between two things my whole life, but at the same time, I didn't think, or I would pursue a podcast or I didn't think I would end up being a graphic designer and serial entrepreneur that was not. Something I anticipated, but you had those little seeds, those little droppings along life, and then you lose it.

[00:06:48] Like you said, you, you, you lost it a little bit along the way. You didn't pick up a book, you didn't do anything like that for a few years. And I did as well, but you end up kind of feeling a little empty during that time. I didn't feel like I was utilizing my creativity and the skill that I possessed, but I just didn't know at the end of the day, What was that skill?

[00:07:03] I feel creative, but what was it? I had no clue, but if you look back on previous moments of your life, it is there and it's there from the 

[00:07:10] Lisa Jewell: beginning. Yes. It's always been there and it is only when you look back that you can see that it was always there and there is that cliche about, you know, do, do what you love.

[00:07:19] And a lot of people don't get the chance to do that. Yeah. And, but everybody's got something they love. And if you can harness that, that enthusiasm for something and bring it to your professional. Your professional life, then you are. 

[00:07:35] Danielle LaBonté: Yeah, it worked out it worked out if that's the way it went and it works out, even if it landed as a hobby as well, any, any way that it works out, worked out great for you when it comes down to your inspiration and your writing style.

[00:07:47] When I read all of your books, I mean, I know it's you, um, uh, there's a tone to it, but what inspires your writing style and has it evolved over. 

[00:07:56] Lisa Jewell: Oh, that's such a good question because, um, I started off my career many years ago. Well, as I just mentioned, 1999, my first book came out and my earlier books were sort of quirky, kind of edgy, romantic comedies and cause so completely different sort of genre.

[00:08:13] Yes, but I, I find that if I pick up one of those books now and read a section from it, it still sounds like a Lisa jewel novel. It's still the same voice. It's still the same tone. It's still the same way of structuring a chapter. Um, you know, the short chapters and the sort of little bursts of sort of, uh, in, in internal thoughts that my characters have.

[00:08:34] And the way I describe things is still the same. It's just the same voice and the same. Tone, but put into different worlds and different stories and different plot lines. So, yeah, so that hasn't really changed. And so that, that makes it almost impossible for me to answer the question of what inspires that, because it's just, it's the same thing that inspires the way that I've sort of, you know, I.

[00:09:00] Make a cup of tea or relate to my friends or, you know, what toppings I like on a pizza or whatever it is. It's just intrinsically part of who I am, the way my words appear. I don't really think about it or control it while I'm doing it. I don't think, oh, what would the reader think if I use this word? Or what would the reader think if I sort of cut this paragraph up into two chunks or what would the reader think if I sped this piece of dialogue up and you know, I don't think like that the words.

[00:09:28] Come out with me and appear on the page, but what I can control is the plot, the structure, what that is all building up to create. What sort of story I'm trying to build? 

[00:09:40] Danielle LaBonté: Let me just start off by saying your writing style. I. Find myself going in waves of reading books. Okay. So I might have months where I can't put down books and then I'll have months where for some reason I'm not feeling it as much, but when I read yours, I know it's yours and it keeps me captivated.

[00:09:58] Lisa, because your chapters are short. Yes. So I feel so much satisfaction after finishing a chapter, even if I'm half asleep, um, you know, reading before bed and I think, oh, you know what? I read a chapter. I feel good. Yeah. And so you're. Style is nice because you do feel immense satisfaction as a reader after every chapter.

[00:10:17] If you even just read one and it might have just been three to four pages and not too, too much, uh, to read in the moment and you can say you read a chapter two or three before, before bed, or before you started your day or on your lunch break. I do really like that style of yours. So I just wanted to put that out there so that you're aware that I love the way you.

[00:10:36] Intrinsically, right. Like you said, like it just it's, it's natural to you. Yeah. You can't even say there's specific things that inspire the style, but it's how you relate and it's how it comes out of you naturally. So I actually really appreciate hearing that it's really, really neat when it comes to the family upstairs.

[00:10:52] I think I wanna hit the family upstairs because your recent book just came out. The family remains and the sequel to it, which I need to. Still, let me just say that. So I don't want any spoilers from anybody I'm trying not to find any spoilers, but when it comes to the plot of that, you said you're able to inspire and plan out a plot.

[00:11:11] And when it came to the family of stairs, when inspired you to write it, was there something different that happened in your life? Is it personal? Is it just imagination? Like what happens. Yeah, 

[00:11:23] Lisa Jewell: well, each book, um, because I'm not the sort of writer who carries a notebook of like ideas for novels around with me.

[00:11:30] I haven't got that sort of brain. That's constantly bursting with amazing things that I want to write about. So I have to kind of, my radar has to be on high alert the whole time for anything that I think I could grab hold of and make. Turn it into add layers to it and turn it into something that, that could end up being a book.

[00:11:49] And it's usually tiny, tiny, tiny little things. Shreds of things, moments, you know, like a passing, a passing view of a building that, you know, I drove past once in my life and then never saw again, or quite often nearly, always in fact, is a person I've seen. And that was the case with the family upstairs. I saw a woman when I was on holiday and niece in 2017, dragging her children into the shower block of a beach club that was for members only.

[00:12:14] And she clearly wasn't a member I could tell from her body language and she was looking over her shoulder. So make sure that nobody had seen her bringing her children into the shower block. And there was something, I don't know, just something really intrinsically. Fascinating about her. She just looked like she had a story and that's always the thing.

[00:12:29] Some people just look like they have a have a story and she probably didn't have a story at all. If I'd actually managed to get her in conversation, I'd be very disappointed, but she just inspired all these weird little vignettes that sort of kept dropping into my head. I imagined her. Playing a violin in one of the big, the city centers.

[00:12:47] Mm-hmm squares in niece busking. I imagined her as a child running through the streets of Chelsea with no shoes on and a night gown in the middle of the night. I imagine this big house that she was running away from, and that's where it all came from. There was a woman living rough on the streets in niece who used to live in a huge house in Chelsea, in London, and ran away from it in the middle of the night.

[00:13:07] And what. What connects those two things, what story brought those, those events, um, into being, and, um, that's how it started. So I didn't have any big idea. I didn't think, oh, cults. I didn't think, oh, you know, what about what happens if a girl inherits a mansion has got a dart secret? I didn't think of any of those things.

[00:13:26] First. I had to kind of bring those things into the party as it were once I realized. What story I was trying to tell. So yeah, it's all kind of vague and higgledy, Ty, but it all works ultimately

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[00:14:29] I think that's so neat though. I mean, I am no writer, right. So I have no idea about the process and what little things you could see or interact or anything in relation to that. So it's actually really cool that it kind of evolved from that little moment of you watching somebody and funny enough that she probably has no idea that there's a there's that she inspired somebody just.

[00:14:51] Going to the showers over there. Yes. She has no clue, but meanwhile, you've written like in a book that was just stemmed from that little moment that you witnessed and that your, your mind was able to create a whole concept, a whole plot around it. And what you envisioned for this person that, like you said, probably didn't experience that ever and maybe , but it's cool that your mind is able to do that.

[00:15:16] I find since I was young, I've been able to create these random stories in my head. Uh, like you said, just from looking at something so random or assuming someone's name, I don't know if you've ever done that, but you look at someone and you think, oh, they look like, um, an Alex. Yeah. Meanwhile, their name is probably not Alex.

[00:15:32] And then you create something in your head about them, or when you meet somebody for the first time, you assume something about them based off of. Speak, how they walk, how they, anything like that. So I think that's actually really cool how it could have just stemmed from something that small yes. And from a person 

[00:15:49] Lisa Jewell: for, and, and these is the thing people often ask.

[00:15:51] If I use people I know in my books, are they based on people, you know, or people you've met and then they never are, because once you've met someone or you've got to know someone. All those little sort of flights of fan fancy, just go, because now you're sort of pinned down into the reality of this person.

[00:16:08] Um, and very few people are as interesting as a person, the imaginary person that you can create from a fleeting glimpse of someone that you know, nothing about when your mind is just full of like what ifs and maybes. And that's, that's the exciting thing to write about writing about someone, you know, lots and lots of things about already is not nearly as inspiring or as.

[00:16:29] Danielle LaBonté: It's very, that's a very good point and I can actually see that point. And it makes me think and leads me to think if you were to see a house or go to a gallery exhibit, are there little things and snippets of those that might inspire a book as well? Or is it seeing a stranger walk their dog across the street?

[00:16:48] Oh, it's 

[00:16:48] Lisa Jewell: all sorts of things. It, it, it can, yeah, it can be a building. Or it can be a place I visited 20 years, years ago. I could have this sort of sense of, I quite often bounce off the novel that I wrote previously in order to get ideas for the next novel, by trying to do something completely different.

[00:17:06] So if I've just written a novel that was set very much in an urban setting or in London, then my instinct will. I wanna go somewhere else. I've done London. I've spent a year writing about London or, or a city setting. I wanna go, I wanna go to the countryside. I wanna go to the seaside and then my brain will start worrying and I'll think, well, where, where could I set it?

[00:17:26] Say it was gonna be the seaside I could do the south coast of England, which is a particular sort of coastal geography or, and then I'll think, oh, what about that amazing little fishing village that I drove through in 1992 with my first husband, when we were doing a road trip. Remember that Hial Ty one.

[00:17:42] Set it somewhere like that. So it's all you just sort of things just float around in your head and it's just having that sort of instinct pick out the right thing. So that was the case with, I found you, which is a previous novel of mine. Yes. Where I wanted to set it in by the seaside. And I thought, oh, that little town we drove through.

[00:18:02] Um, and then in the night she disappeared. I decided I wanted to write a book set in a boarding school and I remembered a boarding school that I'd driven past in the car about five years earlier when we were driving down to the countryside to collect our puppy from the breeder. And I remember looking at it and thinking.

[00:18:20] Cool place to go to boarding school, beautiful village weeping, willows village pond, and just noticed it in passing. And then when it came to the moment where I thought I'd like to write about a boarding school, I just plucked it out, but that'll do I'll base it on my vague memory of that. School, I drove past five years ago.

[00:18:37] So it's all sort of such, just like a big melting pot. It's like a big VA of soup with lots and lots of different ingredients in it. And some are old and some are new and you pick things from the top and you pick things from the bottom and just, yeah, it's just all there. It's just all there. You just need to have the instincts to find the bits.

[00:18:55] That you need that 

[00:18:56] Danielle LaBonté: changes it for readers personally, like knowing this, even for myself as a reader, uh, when I was reading the night she disappeared or then she was gone, at least with the night that she, uh, she disappeared that, that book for me, I come from a town outside of Toronto, in Canada, and it's a bit smaller and it has that really historical.

[00:19:15] Fact that I kind of envisioned with the boarding school or even the one, the one house and I speak vaguely, but these, I was envisioning so many things in my life. Yes. That I've seen, even though you've seen something completely different. And in your mind, it could look a certain way because you've seen it.

[00:19:30] But for myself as a reader, I'm envisioning something nearby myself. And I think that's so great about books versus movies, because we're able to interpret it in different ways. Exactly. And visualize what we, um, relate to almost. And we, we characterize, although you provide great details and I love that about you, uh, with the hair, the skin tone, how they dress all the, you, you envision them.

[00:19:53] And I oftentimes don't even know them, myself. I try sometimes I think, oh, would this be someone I know? Does this sound like somebody? I know. I never know. I never, when you describe them, I actually cannot put a face to them, but I have these characteristics in my mind. And even locations that you set, I do relate it to places that I've been to, or I've seen in my little town outside of Toronto.

[00:20:14] So that's why I love sometimes books more than 

[00:20:16] Lisa Jewell: movies, because it is a, it is a kind of magic doing that. Yeah. It's a kinda magic. The fact that I've got a world in my head that I'm trying to describe, but in describing it, somebody will read that description and, and create a different world in their head.

[00:20:30] I quite often get sent people's people like to put sort little, um, fantasy casts together for if they ever made a movie or a show at one of my books. And it's so interesting to see the actors who were in their heads when they were reading the book who looked nothing. Like the, the, the vague faces of the people who were in my head when I was writing the book, but yet to them, it was just absolutely that's who was there, that actor that face and yes, and it, it is a kind of magic.

[00:20:57] And I think that's part of why writers get so excited about the concept of adaptations of seeing, because it's, then you can see. What's, you know, for example, inside your head, when you're reading the night, she disappeared and you're picturing your, the, the, the, the school near where you live, you, you are actually able to see what somebody's visualization of your words is there on the screen.

[00:21:21] It's come to life and it's not yours. It will never be yours. It will never be the way you saw it as an author, but it's somebody. And that's just super exciting and I think that's why we all so, so badly want our books to be, be adapted because of it's that it is another sort of magic happening all over.

[00:21:38] Danielle LaBonté: I could only imagine. Yeah. And that's why I felt like I, I had to say that to you. Cause I feel bad for the people around me who, uh, live with me. Um, because I'm like, yeah. You know, I I'm, I'm explaining like a character, like to Lula to somebody, you know? And, um, and they're like, I don't know who you're talking about or what, what you're even saying right now.

[00:21:54] And I'm like, I'm so sorry. I just like, you know, I really like this character and this is how I'm envisioning it. And I guess what just happened to this person and in the book and they think, okay, I haven't read it. Like, I don't know why you're talking to me about this, but you end up getting into that world so much.

[00:22:07] And. Actually, while I was speaking to somebody, um, a few weeks back about how, the way I decompress from my own life is through reading a book to get in somebody else's life. So I've been taking the opportunity to read your books to kind of. Get away from my work and away from maybe some things that are stressing me and hopping into a book where somebody's stressed out about something else.

[00:22:30] Exactly. So , I absolutely love that about your books, but the thing that keeps me on my toes is also your plot twists. You have a way of making me not put a book down, uh, at least like will throw the whole entire thing, but let me just say, as soon as I'm done, like once, once you hit the middle of your book, There's a part where I just can't put it down.

[00:22:49] Yeah. Because everything's changing so quickly. And because you interchange between characters, it's hard for me not to want to learn more into ex character's life. And then the next one and what, what just happened. I was not expecting that. Do you enjoy throwing in those little twists for people so that they don't expect what's coming.

[00:23:07] Lisa Jewell: Well, I kind of do it. I do it for readers, obviously. Mm-hmm cause I really want them to enjoy the book and not just enjoy the book, but be completely gripped. Yeah. And I'm able to put it down. That is kind of my ambition with every book, but I also do it for me because I don't plan my book. So it's not like I've got anything to refer to in the process of writing a book.

[00:23:26] I can't look at a notepad or look at a whiteboard and think, oh, I know what needs to happen in 10 pages time. So I know what I need to do now. Um, and you know, some people. When they plan a book, they plan in the action. They plan in the twists and they know when it's coming. And I don't. So I kind of have to create those moments for myself, kind of out of thin air, just to keep me going, because I can feel it.

[00:23:52] If it's dragging. If I haven't got something to refer to that says plot twist coming, or exciting moment of drama and tension coming, then I've got nothing to give me the momentum to keep going, and I can feel it dragging and I can feel it slowing down. And I just think quick, just throw anything in here.

[00:24:10] Just throw something in. Somebody's gotta find something well, worry about what it is later, but someone's gotta open that cupboard and pull out something and that's going to like, Then then in the next chapter, I'll have to work out what the thing is that they found in the cupboard and what it means for the characters and what happens next.

[00:24:25] But something has to happen right now. Otherwise this whole thing is just dying of death. So it's yeah, so I do it definitely for the reader, but also for me, because I can't carry on writing the book. If I'm just treading, treading, you know, water and. Sort of moving from non-event to non-event it just doesn't work.

[00:24:45] I would feel bored and I would feel very concerned that the book wasn't wasn't taking shape properly. So yeah, it's definitely part of why I like writing without a plan because. It's kind of as fun as reading a book sometimes not knowing what's happening until it's happening. So yeah, that's how I 

[00:25:03] Danielle LaBonté: do it.

[00:25:03] You actually answered my next question. Oh, what was probably without even knowing it. And I like that because I would've never expected that for some reason, in my mind, I thought that all writers. Have this plan written out, not necessarily by chapter. And this is a common misconception, I guess, that I totally had in my head.

[00:25:23] And I like that you kind of go as you please. Yeah. And you do what feels best and if you want it to be absolutely crazy in one chapter, mm-hmm you, you can't because you didn't have a plan. And I absolutely assumed. When a writer sits down, you don't plan out each chapter, but you planned out how you wanted certain plot twists to go and how you wanted certain events to happen and which characters didn't make it.

[00:25:48] And which characters did make it. Like, I totally thought that was all planned out ahead of time. So that's really cool to know that you work in a way that I actually did had no idea about. Yeah, 

[00:25:57] Lisa Jewell: it is. It is definitely a lot of writers do work that way and it is quite a sort of exciting, but slightly.

[00:26:03] Chaotic way of writing, but I, I have tried to work in another way and I can't, this is, this is how I write books. 

[00:26:12] Danielle LaBonté: And you probably have more creative freedom doing it this way so that you don't feel like you're constrained and in a box and you have to fit the way you planned it out. Like you can absolutely take it any way that you oh, 

[00:26:23] Lisa Jewell: absolutely.

[00:26:24] And I think a lot of people, when they talk about my books, they, they say that they're sort of creepy and unsettling and you know, they never quite know they feel wrong, footed a lot by the characters. A lot of the characters are very like shades of gray and what have you. And that's because I need to keep most of my characters.

[00:26:42] Um, flexible and optional so that if I decide they need to do something really horrific, um, three quarters of the way into the book, I've kind of set them up for that. But then I might not, I might just decide at that point, actually, I don't think this character is capable of doing that, or it doesn't make any sense or it's not realistic if this character behaves in that way or.

[00:27:02] Bad thing, but up until quite close to the end, the bit that you are describing, when you start reading faster and faster, mm-hmm I do leave most of my characters. Obviously all my books have to have at least one or two characters who are unassailably good. And we don't need to worry about them. We know that they're decent people, but I like to have at least two or three characters who are a bit like, what is this person up to?

[00:27:24] What are their real motivations? Yeah. Are they as nice as they seem? Have they got, you know, dark and, and, and dastardly plans up their sleeves? Are they the killer? Did they do it? Um, so yes, and I love being able to do that with characters. And I think it does give my books this very unsettling, slightly sinister creepy kind of feel as well, which my readers like.

[00:27:48] Danielle LaBonté: Absolutely. That is exactly why I like it. and some people might call me dark for it, but, um, fell into your books a few years back around October autumn, you know, and you're get you get more into that eerie kind of mood you wanna, you wanna get cozy up and, and read those kind of darker novels. My problem was that's when I.

[00:28:08] Okay. I kind of like this type of theme and uh, all year round. So I end up getting stuck in a little bit of a trail of reading, like these thriller, darker, darker novels all year round, but it's what keeps me entertained to say the least. Yeah. Cause like in our day to day life, I would hope not to be surrounded by some of the characters.

[00:28:26] Um, so when you're reading the book, it's, it's more entertaining. Yes, because I, I truly would never wish any of my family members to. Past or into any, some of the, some of the characters in the books, but some of the, some of the characters you really are for them, they're a great protagonist. And, um, yes, but they keep said, I feel like you have a great way of making it light, but dark and you, you bounce around quite a bit.

[00:28:48] So I, I really, really like that. And I could talk to you forever about pretty much every single book that I've read because of all the detail that you put into. I love all of it, but for the aspiring or even current authors writers out there, what's the biggest piece of advice that you would provide for them.

[00:29:07] Lisa Jewell: Oh, see, it's difficult because. So much of the advice that I would give now is based on the fact that I've been doing this for so long and I've got really good at it, and my confidence is built and I'm selling really well. And I'm in a really, really good place. Yes. Um, so my advice off the back of that would be just don't overthink and trust your instincts, but those are those sound so simple.

[00:29:34] But they're not simple when you're at the early stages of a writing career or, or indeed writing your first novel or indeed, you know, writing your second novel when, when you've got a publishing contract, even. Yes. You know that the second it's the famously difficult, second novel. And when you're plagued with self-doubt and imposter syndrome and all of those things.

[00:29:54] So my advice is always to not overthink. and to, um, trust your instincts, but I realize how hard that is at the beginning of a writing career. And it is something that I have developed and built up over a very, very long time. And I wish there was some magic switch that a young writer could just flick and just be that like, oh, I know I'm not gonna worry too much about this.

[00:30:16] I'm just gonna type some words and see what happens and, oh, I'm just gonna write that. That'll probably work. Yeah. I'll worry about that later. And I can come back to that and fix that, and it's all gonna be fine and Whoopie. Which is sort of how I write , but yeah, I understand that that's not great advice for a younger writer.

[00:30:32] So I would just say kind of, you do need quite a thick skin. You need to be able to accept criticism, be it from your partner or from a literary agent or from a writing teacher and just carry on. Anyway, I just. You're not gonna get anywhere without a finished book. So just keep writing the book, um, until you get to the end and then you can fix it afterwards.

[00:30:57] I'm rambling now because no, 

[00:31:00] Danielle LaBonté: those are very good pieces of advice. Yeah. And makes me think, did you have thick skin in the beginning, Lisa? I 

[00:31:06] Lisa Jewell: did. And I think that was partly because I went, I stumbled into it in this sort of like slightly ditzy. Oh, I'm just a secretary writing a book for a bet sort of thing.

[00:31:15] I wasn't taking it terribly seriously. And when my friend who made the bet with me, it told me I should send out my three chapter to some agents. I just did it to a piece, her to shut her up. . Um, and so when I actually got an agent, I did get quite a lot of rejection letters, but when I actually got an agent, that was the first point at which I thought, oh, okay, this is sort of serious now, but I felt like I hadn't invested.

[00:31:40] I don't know. Like I was saying earlier, it wasn't like I'd spent my whole life dreaming about being a published author. So I didn't feel like I had a lot to lose. And in fact, how I thought of it at the time was when I realized that this agent wanted me to write the book was I'm gonna take a year out of my real life to do.

[00:31:56] And if it doesn't work, it doesn't work. It's just a year off for my real life. And if it doesn't work, I will go straight back to my real life. And I won't, I won't get upset about it. So it wasn't like a thick skin. It was more a sort of realism. I think about what I was setting out on, which I think is probably quite important.

[00:32:15] Absolutely. 

[00:32:16] Danielle LaBonté: I like where you. You're doing great, Lisa, then you probably, I am doing great. You are doing great, Lisa . Uh that's so that's so nice to hear, and I think it's, it is a really great piece of advice and I think it's a great story for people to hear as well from your end. So it's such an amazing opportunity to have conversations with everybody from different walks of life and different parts of their.

[00:32:40] Whether they're at a really great part in their career, whether they're just beginning there's, there's so much that comes from everybody's different parts of their lives. And that, that I'm happy to have heard about your journey to end things off though. Is there anything the listeners should be looking out for?

[00:32:56] With you, 

[00:32:58] Lisa Jewell: what you mean in what's what's 

[00:32:59] Danielle LaBonté: coming up? Anything coming up? Projects, books, 

[00:33:03] Lisa Jewell: anything? Yeah, I'm usually, usually when I, when I'm asked this question, I'll just go. No, just another book. Just another book. Um, yeah, there's some stuff going on. So the family remains came out. This. Yes, late summer and is out there out and about, and, um, is getting very well reviewed.

[00:33:18] And I'm very, very happy about that publication, cuz it was quite nervewracking writing a sequel to a book that had been, you know, quite popular. So that's out and about. But since delivering that book in December, I've written another book, which will be my 21st novel and it doesn't have a title at the moment, but it's coming out again late summer next year and that's a novel, it is setting.

[00:33:42] Having written, the family remains, which is set all over the world. It's um, like I was saying earlier, I've come back to sort of a smaller, a smaller setting and it's in a tiny bit of north London, just up the road from where I live about two women. So it's a much smaller story, more psychological and intense.

[00:33:59] So that's finished. And then. In a couple of weeks time, I am starting a top secret, second novel. Uh, so it's not for my traditional publishers. It's for a different publisher. And I can't say much more than that, except it's, it's quite a big deal. It's a real novelty. Uh, it's not been done before. I'm very honored to have been asked to do it, but it will be a full length novel that my readers will enjoy reading.

[00:34:25] So in 2024, My 22nd novel, which I haven't written yet will be coming out. And shortly thereafter, this top secret outta genre, exciting novel as well. So in 2024, there'll be two full length novels for Lisa to get their hands on. So that should keep me quiet for a while 

[00:34:47] Danielle LaBonté: trouble. Well, I'm just excited for it, honestly.

[00:34:52] And I'm glad to have those little, top secrets of what you're working on, what's happening and when to expect it, we'll mark it down in my calendars. And so we're upstairs. And for everybody listening, the family remains and all of Lisa's contact information websites handles. Everything will be down in the show notes.

[00:35:09] Should you want to buy all of her books as you should and get on these new things that are coming out very, very soon. And in the next few. Thank you so much, Lisa, for joining me, I absolutely loved talking about your journey, your process, your mind, and how you work. Thank you so much for coming on and opening up about all of this.

[00:35:28] Oh, well thank 

[00:35:29] Lisa Jewell: you for inviting me on. It's been a fantastic conversation. I've really enjoyed it. Thank you.

[00:35:38] Danielle LaBonté: Thank you for tuning into today's episode, we're always brewing us something new for all of you to tune into and love hearing from you. Our team over here on brewing a creativity would love it. If you joined our community in any capacity, whether it be checking us out on Instagram at bring out creativity or leaving a review to help us better serve you as listeners.

[00:35:56] If you're looking to join or sponsor an episode, reach out to us through email, which is linked in our episodes. Show notes below. Thanks, creative.