April 25, 2011

Author Interview: ERICA JAMES

Today I am happy to welcome Erica James, author of the newly published The Queen of New Beginnings, a sweet and honest look at a male/female friendship, to Psychotic State Book Reviews. She has most kindly answered some questions about her new book, share her feelings on Love Story and her secret desire to be a Formula One driver.

Hi Erica! Welcome to Psychotic State Book Reviews. Thank you for taking the time to chat with me and my readers.  You are the author of more than a dozen books but I understand you didn’t start writing until you were in your late twenties. What inspired you to pick up a pen, so to speak, then?

EJ:   It’s true, I didn’t pick up a pen with intent until I was in my late twenties and with hindsight I can see I did it as a means to escape.  I didn’t realize it at the time but my marriage was going wrong and subconsciously I was looking for a way to keep myself from confronting the truth.

Many of your books deal with life changing events, such as infidelity and bereavement. What draws you to tell tales about such “heavy” subjects?

EJ:   When starting a novel I rarely set out with the idea to write about ‘heavy’ subjects – such as infidelity and bereavement - I simply write the story that’s inside me and which wants to be told.  On the other hand, I do like the two sides of the coin, in as much as I love light and shade, balancing a happy scene with a poignant scene.  After all, that’s what life is like.  One minute we’re laughing, the next we’re crying.

Your newest book, The Queen of New Beginnings, has both a male and female central character. Do you find expressing the male voice or female voice easier through your writing?

EJ:   I’ve always enjoyed writing from a male perspective, perhaps because I have a lot of very good male friends.  I don’t know how else to explain why it comes so naturally to me.

What do you most hope that readers will take away from your books?

EJ:    I receive a lot of letters and emails from my readers saying they’ve just finished one of my books and that it helped them to get through a bad time in their lives, that it took them to a better place.  I can’t think of anything better for an author to hear.

When you begin writing a book, do you have an exact concept and outline before you start or do you let the characters themselves shape the story?

EJ:   When I start a novel all I have in my head is the opening chapter and a feel for where my characters might end up.  I don’t have anything more tangible than that.  It’s the interaction of the characters that drives the story.  For me, working in this way ensures the storyline stays fresh and spontaneous.

Let’s talk about your work area! Do you have a devoted office space or do you write wherever the urge strikes you?

EJ:   When I’m at home in Cheshire, England, I have a dedicated work area, my study. It’s not a particularly large room but it’s full of books, files, photographs (of my sons) and mementoes. I like to be surrounded by what I call my creative clutter. The best aspect of the room is that it overlooks my garden and when I’m stuck for an idea I can pop outside and go for a wander to clear my head.

When I’m at my apartment in Italy – Lake Como – I have a much smaller dedicated work space, but even so I’ve still managed to cram in some book shelves and a couple of photographs. I have to work with my back to the view of the lake, though, as otherwise I wouldn’t get anything written!

Can you take us through a normal day in the life of Erica James?

EJ:    I’m afraid a normal day in the life of Erica James sounds very dull.  I try to start work at 8.30 in the morning and work through the day until 7.30 in the evening.  I stop for a short lunch break but often I eat at my desk and keep on writing.  See, I said it sounded dull.

Are you working on a project now?

EJ:  I've just finished writing my sixteenth novel.  It's called The Real Katie Lavender and is due to be published here in the UK in hardback this autumn.    

If you could take writing credit for one book of your choosing, be it a classic, chick lit or nonfiction, what book would it be and why?

EJ:    Without question, Love Story by Erich Segal is the book I wish I’d written.  It’s such a simple story yet so beautifully moving.

Physical book, e book or audio book?

EJ:   I’ve recently discovered the joy of the Kindle but it will never fully replace a physical book.  Sorry, audio books don’t work for me.  My mind wanders too much.  Not sure what that says about me.

If you weren’t a writer, what path would you choose for yourself?

EJ:   If I wasn’t a writer?  Racing car driver.  No, seriously.  To be a world class Formula One driver would be the coolest thing.

And lastly, what one word would you use to describe The Queen of New Beginnings?

EJ:   Quirky.  There are a lot of eccentric characters in the book and I love them all!   

Thank you so much, Erica, for taking the time to answer my questions. Best of luck to you with The Queen of New Beginnings!

For more information on author Erica James, please visit her website


Alice Shoemaker habitually goes to great lengths to avoid telling the truth about herself and her past. After agreeing to help out a friend, by shopping and cleaning for the unknown man staying at Cuckoo House, she soon becomes suspicious that her strange and obnoxiously rude client has something to hide…

Clayton Miller’s life is a mess. His career as one of the country’s best comedy scriptwriters has stalled and his long-term girlfriend has left him for his ex best friend and ex writing partner. Just when he thinks his life couldn’t get any worse, he commits a spectacularly public fall from grace and with the press hounding him, his agent banishes him to the middle of nowhere until the dust has settled. And there he meets Alice…

When Alice and Clayton discover the truth about each other they form an unlikely friendship – until Alice discovers Clayton has betrayed her in the worst possible way.

To purchase The Queen of New Beginnings, click here

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