U.K. author LB Griffin is celebrating the release of her brand-new novel, The Twenty-One-Year Contract. A sequel to her debut, Secrets, Shame and a Shoebox, it’s getting great reviews and is filled, like all of LB’s work, with “women don’t see themselves as courageous, strong, or survivors, but they certainly are.”
Only a simple shoebox, but full of secrets…
Kathleen Gray—talented, a little wild, at times rebellious, but always popular—has a fun, easy life in rural Somerset, with a doting family.
Suddenly, they are gone, everything is changed, and she has only Uncle Jack. Try as he might, he cannot be father and mother to her—he has a business to run and his own life to manage.
Kathleen takes a chance and becomes Kate Westfield, fending for herself in London, with a new life built on her hopes and dreams and new friends. She could hardly have imagined that one of those friends has a shoebox full of answers.
LB stopped by to answer a few questions about the business of writing and of being a writer. Please welcome her to Write Despite.
Why do you write? I love writing. It’s as simple as that. I get an idea and I have to put it down. But when I hear back from my readers, when they tell me something positive about themselves or the book, it really makes my day. One reader wrote after reading Secrets, Shame, and a Shoebox: “I’m so glad Harriet was fired from her job. At least she didn’t have to put up with that dreadful employer!” Another person: “I hated that CJ. What a monster!” My heart sang. It’s such a compliment, and so heartwarming to know that they’ve enjoyed my book. It means that I have done my job. What more can I ask? I’m truly humbled to think my stories provoke thought and emotion with characters that readers can identify with.
How do you come up with your stories?
Coincidences. How many times have you been on holiday and bumped into someone you know in a far-flung country? Or met someone that you knew as a child and found has lived for years just a stone’s throw away? What are the chances? But they’ve happened to me. I bet they have happened to you. Or maybe you know someone who has shared their experiences anecdotally at a party or over coffee.
Plus, my characters are really bossy! They often wake me up in the middle of the night shouting, “Hey listen, I’ve got something to say, come on write it down. Now!” How can I possibly ignore that? They are real, honest, lovely hardworking people, but of course, there’s always that pesky villain that shines and everyone loves to hate.
What’s the fun part of writing and why?
I love the way the characters grab me by the hand and lead me along paths I could never have dreamed of. They tell me what they want to say, and what’s going to happen next. Who would have thought it? I love that, and I love them. They are survivors, though they don’t see themselves that way, they sure are!
Why did you write The Twenty-One-Year Contract?
I’m an observer of life. Like most writers I imagine, and I’ve been fortunate to travel and to have worked alongside and taught some amazing people. And those I taught, taught me so much more! I’ve admired their strength of character, their courage, and will to live. I learned so much from them, it has been astounding. I needed to share their experiences in a way that doesn’t affect them, but hopefully shows others they can be brave, too. Just read my books.
What’s the most difficult part of writing and why?
Okay, well let’s get down to brass tacks. Finding time and that difficult word: Marketing! It stops me doing what I love most. Writing!
For me marketing is a real issue. Unless you are a natural born salesperson, which I am not. Some people can sell snow to the Inuits or send sand to the Sahara! But I’ve never been good at bragging about myself, and that’s what it feels like. Selling my brand, telling everyone I’m great, my books are great. Go out and buy my books. Really, that’s not me. I’m shy enough as it is! But it would be wonderful if you did buy my book! My sincere thanks go to every reader who has or is considering buying my book. Without you lovely readers, writers wouldn’t be needed. So, thank you from the very bottom of my heart.
How do you get to know your readers? What do you learn from your readers?
Reviews are brilliant. They tell a story. I learn from that and thank them for their valuable time and effort who have shared their kind thoughts.
I also blog. I offer simple writing suggestions for budding authors and share what I’ve learned and am still learning!
I offer to host authors, new and experienced, to give my readers a chance to see who else is out there and listen to how they work.
LB Griffin has been happily married for over 40 years and is surrounded by her family in Wiltshire. She has always written around the full-time paid job. She’s held a range of jobs from cleaning, barmaid, childminder, social worker and is proud to have lectured for 21 years. She absolutely loves writing fiction. Her stories touch upon social issues and are filled with gentle hints of romance.
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