Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Elizabeth Oldfield realises ambition

Yesterday was publication day for Elizabeth Oldfield's novel Vintage Babes, published by Accent Press.

I knew Elizabeth when we both wrote for Mills & Boon. When, last month, she asked if I would like to read her latest and very different book, I was keen to see what form her break-out had taken.

Here's our Question and Answer exchange.

Bookworm's first Question : As a reader (who has been happily married since I was 21), I find it difficult to empathise with characters in novels who have a string of unhappy relationships and/or a divorce behind them. Elizabeth, you and your husband are also happily married. Did you find it tricky to get inside the head of 55-year-old Carol, the central character in Vintage Babes, who thought she was happily married to a fellow journalist for more than 20 years until she found he was having an affaire?

Elizabeth Oldfield's Answer: Although I am happily married, I have several friends who are divorced and was able to tap into their experiences and recall their feelings. So empathising with Carol came easily.

Q : How much is Vintage Babes a reaction to writing 40 romances for Mills & Boon?

A: It is not a reaction, but a long-term ambition. Back in the Eighties my husband's job took us to live in Singapore - a great little island. I had articles published in magazines and newspapers in the U.K. and Singapore. Then I began to wonder whether, on our return to the U.K., I could make a living out of writing. I decided to write a book - mainstream women's fiction - but first I would practice on a small book. Simplistic, I know, but that's how it was. The small books which came to mind were M&B romances, which I had never read, so I bought a dozen, studied them and thought 'I can do that'. Amazingly, my first book was accepted. I had enjoyed writing it and so I continued.

Eighteen years and 40 novels later, I retired from romance. I wanted time to relax, go travelling with my husband, and, finally, to attempt my original ambition of writing a mainstream book. Vintage Babes is the result.

Q : When deciding to write a book very different from your backlist, did you consider other genres such as crime fiction, fantasy, literary fiction or even non-fiction?

A: I did attempt a 'cosy crime', which fell by the wayside, but fantasy, literary fiction or non-fiction held no appeal. My main interest - even in the crime novel - was women 'of a certain age.' Whilst a proliferation of chick-lit satisfies the younger female readers, there are few books targeted towards those of fifty-plus. Yet the majority of women readers are over fifty.

The age angle fascinated me. We all know we're destined to become old codgers one day, yet it is often a mental truth and not an emotional awareness. When the realisation dawns that you're close to being a senior citizen - or, heaven forbid, have hit sixty - we can feel shocked, cheated, traumatised. I was never meant to be OLD. How can I be when I don't feel any different to how I felt at forty, even thirty? But then look in the mirror, try running for a 'bus and listen to your conversation - there's the proof.

Q : As a former newspaper reporter, I was delighted to find the main character in Vintage Babes is a senior reporter on a small town newspaper. Your main male character is the new editor of her paper. On p 75 he says, "I've also taken a look at the wages bill…and it seems that you don't get paid overtime for the evenings nor for any weekend work." In my time on newspapers, there was no such thing as overtime. One of the pleasures of staff journalism was that it wasn't a 9-5 job. But times change and it may be that things are different now. Did you check your facts with a local reporter or editor?

A: No, I didn't research the overtime angle, I used author's prerogative. I reasoned that as the newspaper was owned by a disinterested and unaware proprietor and pretty homespun - and as Steve was allowed to do his own thing by a grateful Mr P-J - Carol getting paid overtime would be acceptable.

Q : Nowadays very few books are accepted on first submission. How many publishers did you approach before Vintage Babes found a home?

A: Umpteen.

Q : You don't have a website at present. Is there one on the drawing board?

A: No, but if Vintage Babes takes off I could be tempted.

Q: Can you reveal what the next book is about?

A: The highs and lows of women in their sixties.

Writing for women in their sixties

Readers aged 60-plus are a neglected segment of the market. I look forward to Elizabeth's next book.

Meanwhile, I wish her publishers, Accent Press, would re-design their site so that visitors aren't forced to download Adobe 8.


At 10 July, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It sounds like a good read and I'll look out for it. There is, indeed, a lack of books with older characters featuring. And yet, older people are the ones who often have the time and money to buy and read books.

At 10 July, 2007, Blogger Susie Vereker said...

Transita Books also feature older characters, of course.

At 11 July, 2007, Blogger Lesley Cookman said...

Also from Accent Press, my cosy crime Libby Sarjeant series is about 50-plus women.

At 12 July, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Elizabeth Oldfield - breaking news. Accent Press have submitted VINTAGE BABES for the Romantic Novel of the Year 2008 with the RNA.

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At 30 May, 2018, Blogger Dida ELhaik said...

عملائنا الكرام اذا كنت تبحث عن افضل واقوي شركة شركة تركيب اثاث ايكيا بالرياضفى هذا المجال كما انها تتميز بالصدارة بين الكثير من الشركات المتواجدة في الرياض
شركة تركيب اثاث ايكيا بالرياض
كما اننا نتميز عن باقي الشركات بأننا لدينا افضل الطرق وافضل الادوات والمعدات فى تركيب غرف النوم الصيني

كما اننا متقدمين عملائنا الكرام بتقديم افضل خدمات شركة تركيب باركية بالرياضمع توفير امهر الفنيين في تركيب اثاث ايكيا كما اننا نعلم جيدا تعدد حاجات عملائنا من احتياج الفنيين والمتخصصين في عمليات فك وتركيب اثاث ايكيا بالرياض واحتاجهم لتواجد المساعدين لانجاز مهامهم بدقة وعلي اكمل وجة ممكن
شركة تركيب ستائر بالرياض
كما اننا نقدم العديد من الديكورات المختلفة والتصميمات الساحرة واحدث الالوان العصرية التي لن تجدوها الا من خلال شركة تركيب اثاث ايكيا بالرياض كما اننا نوفرها بأحدث الموديلات التي تتناسب مع احتياجات جميع عملائنا
فأننا نحيط علمكم اذا كنت تريد تركيب اي اثاث في منزلك فلديك شركة تركيب غرف نوم بالرياضبالطرق الحديثة والمتطورة في عالم تركيب غرف النوم الصيني بطريقه سليمة وسريعه في نفس الوقت وبأيدي افضل واقوي متخصصين وفنيين وخبراء في شتي مجالات تركيب الاثاث والغرف الصيني في غاية الدقة والكفاءة
فني تركيب غرف نوم شركة خبراء المملكة لتركيب جميع انواع الاثاث الايكيا بأحدث الوسائل فأن خبراء المملكة لها تاريخ كبير في عالم تركيب ستائر بالرياض كما اننا نتميز بالصدارة لسمعتنا الجيدة والمشرفة وهذا بشهادة عملائنا جميعهم فنحن نقدم لهم جميع الخدمات المتعلقة بالمنازل والشركات ونحن دائما نعمل لتوفير الراحة الدائمة لعملائنا كما انك تجد الخبرة والجودة الفائقة بشركة تركيب اثاث ايكيا بالرياض

فني تركيب اثاث ايكيا بالرياضيقوم الفني بتركيب جميع الغرف الصيني الحديثة لخبرتة العالية والكبيرة في مجال تركيب الغرف الصيني فأ>ا كنت تريد شركة موثوق بها فأليك شؤكة خبراء المملكة لتركيب اثاث ايكيا بالرياض فنحن لدينا العديد من الخدمات المتنوعة التي تفيد عملائنا الكرام لاننا نسعي دائما الي التطوير وتحقيق كل ما يسعي اليه عملائنا الكرام عزيزي العميل اذا كنت في اي مكان بالرياض وتريد شركة تركيب عفش بالرياضبمنزلك او مكتبك فلديك خبراء المملكة من افضل الشركات التي تقوم بتركيب شتي انواع الاثاث الايكيا بالرياض
طريقة تركيب اثاث ايكيا
تعد شركتنا من الشركات العريقة التي لها خبرة كبيرة والتي تستخدم احدث الوسائل التكنولوجية الحديثة والمتطورة بمنتهي الدقة والاتقان بأسلوب علمي متطور وحديث في مجال تركيب الاثاث الايكيا بأرخص الاسعار التي لا تقبل المنافسة بين شركات الاخري فأسعارنا في متناول الجميع وليس لها مثيل علي الاطلاق
فني تركيب ستائر بالرياض


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