Hi, Hey, Hello!
They’re baaaacccckkkkkkk. I say that actually, only one of them is in this actually. But yeah, in a general sense, they’re back. They kind of don’t leave me alone actually (which I’m not complaining about, but the ideas could maybe come at a more convenient time, like when I’m not half asleep and in bed) so they are gonna keep cropping up, at this point maybe even weekly. But I’m gonna stop talking now and get on with it.
I meet Lizzy (‘always Lizzy, never Elizabeth unless I’m in trouble or someone is being annoying) Maxwell just after the lunch rush in a quiet coffee shop in Chelsea and am surprised to see she’s beat me there.
Sitting in front of her is a fresh flat white, an uncapped pen and a closed notebook and I catch her in the middle of a conversation, mid laughing and staring out the window. There is an element of apprehension when I remember that I have to approach her but when she spots me she smiles brightly and waves me over cheerfully. I go about getting a coffee for myself and when I go over to her table she’s off the phone and has tied her currently ocean blue hair up into a ponytail and is holding her coffee in her hand. She’s smiling and is oozing happiness as I settle in at the table and it’s sets a friendly, welcoming tone for the interview and I gain a new surge of excitement.
JI: Firstly, just to get it out the way because when I mentioned I was doing this [interview] my Twitter feed became inundated with questions about Ryan…
LM: (Smiles and waves a dismissive hand) Oh it’s fine, ask away.
JI: Well I guess, how is he?
LM: Nice and easy (she breaks into a short laugh). He’s fine, in the middle of a promo tour so he’s just swanned through London for the day, so I caught him for lunch and sent him on his way before I came here.
JI: And has he read this book yet?
LM: Oh yeah, he was one of the first people to read it actually. Well I say that, he was one of the first to get a proof copy but one of the last to finish it. (She laughs again over her coffee cup)
JI: Does he give you feedback and stuff?
LM: I mean he’s honest which is nice. When he’s not a fan of something I did with certain characters or where I took a story line then he lets’s me know.
LM: Oh well I won’t give too much away but at one point he called me from Australia just asking why. He probably hasn’t quite forgiven me for it yet, Sometimes he just leaves questions on a Post-It note on the fridge or a text in all caps.
JI: Do you ever tell him anything?
LM: I give him almost nothing (she laughs loudly). I mean the people closest to me know a lot more of the back story to my characters than readers, but plot wise they know next to nothing. Dylan threw the book across the room and glared at me for hours once. It’s fun to see an immediate reaction like that.
JI: I have read it, I didn’t think it was throw the book across the room worthy.
LM: Thank you! Nor did I to be honest. But then again I’ve always know what was gonna happen. I have a five book arc for all of my characters so I know exactly where they’re going. I guess reactions are dependent on who you identify with most.
JI: So we’ve met all the characters then?
LM: Ummmm, there is one more that I’ve just started introducing in the next one, that’s what I was just doing actually. But other than that, yeah all the pieces are in play.
JI: Does that make it easier or harder? Knowing where they are all going?
LM: Both. It makes it frustrating because I know what I want and need them to do but sometimes I just can’t seem to get them to do it. But having a plan helps hugely, yeah because at least I always have a focus.
JI: When did you figure that arc out?
LM: Oh when I finally got the idea together. I scribbled it all down, linked everything up. Hoped publishers didn’t think I was an idiot for approaching them with a five book idea.
JI: Well it’s a good thing they didn’t!
LM: Oh, I know. I’m very happy that they were fully supportive of it and willing to give me that time.
JI: How does your writing process work, if you don’t mind me asking.
LM: I don’t. It’s pretty boring now. With the first one it was a notebook with a change of scene every 3 or 4 days which helped hugely with keeping things fresh and letting the creative juices flow. This one is still in a notebook, because I find it easier to see errors if I have to transfer it onto a screen, but I’m mainly just doing it in my room or in the kitchen. Sometimes if it’s the middle of the day and I’m feeling especially inspired I’ll come out to a coffee shop and just write, like I’ve done today. But otherwise that’s it, I just sit and write. That’s so boring.
JI: What about writer’s block?
LM: Well I experience it. I just take a step back, visit family, hang with Mel (her best friend) or just binge watch some TV show all day. I try no to beat myself up about it anymore because otherwise I run the risk of not writing anything at all and that’s worse.
JI: Was there pressure on you with this second one given the success of the first?
LM: Uh yeah! A huge amount. That first book reached heights I honestly never expected. When it reach Top Bestseller lists outside of the UK I was so shocked. And then it stayed there and I was like ‘shit, now I need to back that up’. There was so much self imposed pressure to do well with this one. So I definitely felt it.
JI: Well I think you definitely did back it up.
LM: Thank you so much. That means a lot.
JI: I feel like I should be thanking you, your writing is just amazing.
LM: Awww thanks. Seriously thank you.
JI: It’s my pleasure. Quick question because Twitter asked this a lot as well. Your name?
LM: Is Elizabeth Maxwell. Everyone calls me Lizzy. So Lizzy Maxwell is 100% my name. But I have a feeling you’re mainly talking about the whole Elizabeth Cline thing. (I nod). Yeah Cline is my Mum’s surname, my parents aren’t married, so we kids have my dad’s surname but she still has Cline. Ummmm I’m not really sure it started though. A combination of the media assuming my parents were divorced and Ryan randomly always referring to me as Elizabeth. I dunno I just never corrected it because I was focusing on other things, it never occurred to me it would confuse people when my book was released with my actual name. But it did and explanations were needed.
JI: So Lizzy Maxwell?
LM: Is my name 100%. My parents will attest to that and everything!
JI: Final question.
JI: What’s next?
LM: As in Book 3? That’s a wait and see thing. As in life, I’m driving to Birmingham after this to surprise Ryan.
JI: Well have a great time with both.
LM: And you have a great time with life too. It was lovely to meet you!
Parentheses count: 8. See you tomorrow!
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