Author Q&A

Q&A with Lizzie Chantree

Lizzie Chantree talks about her process with her latest book, Shh… It’s Our Secret, releasing May 6, 2021. Read about her insights, inspirations, and the special interpersonal relationships between her characters.

Violet has a secret that could change the lives of everyone she knows and loves, especially the regulars at the run-down café bar where she works. After losing her parents at a young age, they are the closest thing she has to a family and she feels responsible for them.

Kai is a jaded music producer who has just moved outside of town. Seeking solitude from the stress of his job, he’s looking for seclusion. The only problem is he can’t seem to escape the band members and songwriters who keep showing up at his house.

When Kai wanders into the bar and Violet’s life, he accidentally discovers her closely guarded secret. Can Kai help her rediscover her self-confidence or should some secrets remain undiscovered?

“Lizzie Chantree creates unique characters you truly root for and unique plots that keep you turning the pages. In the romantic fiction world she is top of her game!” 

Isabella May, Author of Oh! What a Pavlova

Interview with Lizzie Chantree

Violet is a woman who needed to find her own inner strength. What inspired you to write her story?

I was inspired to write Violet’s story because the character has had a rough start and is a shy person, but she looks to the positive in life and is a really good friend to those around her. She is upset that her sister and those close to her, see her as a failure, when the makeshift family that she has grown to love at the café bar where she works, all think she is talented and amazing for running the café, even though they don’t know about her secret. Violet wants to take care of the community she lives in and say thank you to her sister for bringing her up. I wanted to write a story about a person who has anxieties and troubles of her own, but who pushes through them to reach for her dreams and be there for those she loves. It’s never too late to follow your dreams. Each day is a new beginning.

What draws you to write about friendships, especially friendship between the young and the old as we see with Violet’s relationship with Doris and Esme?

I really enjoy writing about friendship between varied age groups. My own family is huge (and slightly eccentric at times), but we all love and support each other and my grandad and gran were as much a part of that merriment and excitement as spending times with my cousins or my sister. There is so much to be learnt and a lot of fun to be had by sitting and chatting to other generations and people with different backgrounds and life experiences. Doris and Esme are there for Violet when her world comes crashing down, but they also bring sunshine and laughter when she needs it the most.

Photo by Suvan Chowdhury on Pexels.com

What drew you to music as the backdrop of this story? Did you like the idea that music has the ability to connect to and reach us all in a community?

I love how words and music can reach out and touch our souls. A beautifully written melody can brighten a day and an evocative song can make us feel that someone else understands our pain and that we are not alone in the world. Music can bring people together and unite them. In Shh… It’s Our Secret, music connects Violet to her family and then to the local community. In a way it wounds her, but it also heals the past and offers her a new future.

The theme of family is so prevalent in this story. Tell us more about why this is important. What do you hope readers will take away from your exploration of this theme?

Violet is at the centre of her community, but she doesn’t have the confidence to realise how much she means to them all. She’s an introvert who feels that she’s a burden to her sister. She has a burning desire to repay the debt of her care whilst growing up. She loves her sister completely and wants to prove to her she has something to offer in return and that she is not a failure.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

With her café bar regulars, she can be herself, but her secret prevents her from doing that too. The story explores the theme that we don’t always completely know someone close to us, even though they may have been in our lives for years and that shyness and anxieties can have a huge impact on someone’s life, in so much that they can stop a very talented person from reaching their potential. This is where true friendships, however strange they might appear to others, can be a lifesaver.

When writing the novel, were you surprised to find that there were characters that had something in common you didn’t originally expect, that connected them?

My characters always surprise me! They are mischievous and cheeky. Especially ones like Danny and Trina. Danny was incorrigible! Half of the time I wasn’t sure what he would get up to next. I didn’t expect Violet and Trina to interact the way they did, but as the story flowed, certain jealousies and then unexpected connections linked them. Violet would never have had the confidence to speak to someone as feisty and opinionated as Trina at the start of the book, but as their worlds collided, they had more in common than they could have ever known.

“A story that’s both heartwarming and heartfelt…you’ll be rooting for Violet to find her voice in this 5 star modern romance.” 

A.M. Castle, bestselling author of The Perfect Widow

About the Author:

International bestselling author Lizzie Chantree enjoys writing books full of friendship and laughter featuring women with unusual, adventurous businesses, who are far stronger than they realize. In addition to writing, she is also an award-winning inventor. She started her own business at the age of 18 and became one of Fair Play London and The Patent Office’s British Female Inventors of the Year in 2000.

Lizzie’s work has been featured in Writing MagazineWriters’ Forum MagazineEssex Life Magazine as well as BBC Essex, Essex Radio, and many more.

A believer in kindness, Lizzie also works as a business mentor and runs a popular networking hour on social media, where creatives can support each other. She lives with her family on the coast in Essex, UK.

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