Saturday 11 April 2020

The Hippo Hangs Out. . . . with Lelita Baldock

Today I'm hanging out with another lovely Indie author for #IndieApril. Lelita Baldock is not only a 'new to me' author she also lives not a million miles away from me so we might get to meet up in real life once things get back to normal.

Anyway, enough about my social life, let me introduce you to the lady herself.

Photo courtsey of Lelita Baldock

I have a passion for stories, especially those with a dark undercurrent, or a twist to be revealed. 

I hope to tell interesting stories that people will find themselves drawn into. Stories that are for entertainment and escape, and hopefully a little thrill of the unexpected.

I truly enjoy the experience of writing, exploring human traits and reactions as well as the darkness that can lurk unexpectedly inside anyone. I love stories that delve into uncomfortable places.

A good setting is my favourite part of a novel, a love I developed while working as an English teacher in my 20s. Now my husband and I run a web development business, and I make time for writing after hours and on weekends. It can mean long days and late nights, but I don't mind. It's something I love to do (well, except maybe the editing!).

My long term goal as a writer is to be able to publish my stories regularly and hopefully appeal to a wide range of readers, including those similar to myself.

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Welcome to The Hippo Lelita, pull up a chair and let's get to know you better.

What advice would you give your younger self?
Back yourself, you’ve got this.

I suffered greatly from insecurity and lack of confidence as a teenager, so I often shied away from things I would probably have enjoyed. I grew out of that though, and now approach life in a more, ‘let’s go for it’ way. Which is so much more rewarding and fulfilling – and guess what? It’s only made things better and more fun!

Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing etc come from?
Roald Dahl. As a young child I detested reading and would avoid it if I could. But my parents persisted and kept reading to me and bringing me new books to try. Then I read The Witches and I haven’t looked back.

Roald Dahl’s books were my gateway, but I think my parents constant encouragement and enthusiasm for reading ultimately got me there.

Hmmm, I wonder if that's where your love of dark undercurrents comes from Lelita? 😉

What did you edit out of your last book?
Chapters! I have a tendency to overwrite, or at least I did with this first novel. It was actually helpful as I wrote out thoughts on characters and back stories. Then when editing I removed some sections and replaced them with a key sentence to reference the relevant information – much more succinct and effective.

What do you think is more important: characters or plot?
Oh that’s a tricky one, they drive each other so much.
Realistic characters give the feel of a novel. As a writer you want people to be drawn into the characters lives and have opinions on their actions.
But I think ultimately I have to say plot – because no matter how interesting your characters are, if nothing interesting happens in the story then why is there a novel at all?

If you could spend time with a character from your book who would it be and why? What would you get up to?
Deborah Jenkins! She is a more minor character, but very important to driving the plot. She is fun loving and energetic. I think she would be a hoot to hang out with over a couple of wines.

We would definitely go dancing and enjoy some bubbles.

She sounds like my kind of girl, I look forward to meeting her!

If you were an animal in the zoo what would you be and why?
An Otter, because that was the first animal that popped into my head. And because they are energetic and playful, but also love a nap in the sun. 

You get a brilliant idea/thought/phrase at an inappropriate moment (eg in the shower or driving) what do you do?
Haha, I repeat it over and over in my head until I can get to a note book or piece of paper. I always carry with me something to write notes on. I find when I am doing random tasks is when I get hit by the most inspiration. I use this intentionally when I have writers block. I will go and do something completely different from writing, usually something physical like a work out or gardening, and bam – the ideas start to flow.

Do you have any bad habits?
I twirl my hair when I am reading a tense part of a novel. I have snapped off some of the top layers of my hair doing this – so I now have an accidental ‘layered’ hairstyle.

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Lelita's recently released book, Widow's Lace, is an historical fiction, mystery cross over and it sounds great.

A hundred year old mystery, the widow left behind, a fallen soldier, an unnamed body and a young student determined to find the truth.

In 1886 famous English poet Edward Barrington moves from Derbyshire, England to a farm on the Finniss River, in South Australia. Two years later he disappears.

25 years later Archie Hargraves abandons his fiancée Clara and travels from England to meet with Edward’s widow, Rosalind. He plans to write a biography and make a name for himself, independent from his wealthy father. Returning to England in 1914 he abandons his work to join the war in Europe. His journal of notes from Australia is never released.

Widow's Lace is availble to buy now and that's exactly what I'll be doing after I say goodbye to Lelita.

You can find out more about Lelita, her book and connect with her using the links below:

I'd like to thank Lelita for taking the time to stop by and chat today. It's been great fun getting to know you and I wish you all the best with your debut novel! 😊

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