Welcome, Amelia Chambers
How would you describe your writing style in only three words?
Amelia: Varied, with panache.
If you could have a relationship with one of your fictional characters who would it be and why?
Amelia: Not wanting to sound trite but I feel I have a very close relationship with all my fictional characters because I make an effort moulding them, getting to grips with their background, their way of life and their inner selves. However, I’d love to be good friends with Gladys in the It Out series. She will be back in the New Year along with William, Laura, Oliver, Karen et al to experience more mayhem in the village.
I wouldn’t mind having a hot, torrid affair with Lance in Reprehensible, but then I’d have to dump him very quickly. He’s really not my cup of tea for a long-term relationship. I think the professor in Make All The Difference would be more dependable.
If you had to exist for a week in one of your books … which one would it be? Would you be a central character or simply watch the story unfold from the sidelines?
Amelia: Oh, I’d love to haunt the village near Bury St Edmunds in the Puzzling It Out series. I wouldn’t want to live there or be a character, but drifting in and out of the pub, around the houses, into town and over the fields would be very entertaining and nobody would know I’m there. I suppose that’s what authors do; be an ethereal presence in the setting they create. I imagine myself as an invisible woman eavesdropping on conversations and watching events unfold.
Dead or alive literary dinner party: who would you invite, and what would you serve?
Amelia: I am the world’s worst cook so I would have to hire caterers and discuss a menu with them. It’s wonderful what some chefs can conjure up and make appetising. Who’d have thought chocolate and beetroot muffins would be so yummy? Many of my characters dine out and they usually eat what I’ve recently seen on menus in eateries I frequent. Wine is important though and I’d make sure there was a fine selection of red, white and rose wines, as well as whiskies, gins and vodkas. Oh to hell with it, I might as well have a fully stocked bar!
Now, who would I invite? Well, William Shakespeare would be first on the list. I’m a huge fan and I hope my guides to his tragedies are helping many students with their studies. I’d have to ask Enid Blyton and Agatha Christie too as they were the first authors I remember reading in my youth. Wilbur Smith is a must as Eagle in the Sky was the first book to make me cry and Robert B Parker as well. I just love his character, Spenser.
I suppose I’d be living dangerously inviting Steinbeck, Hemingway and Ian Fleming as I think they are all misogynists, but I do admire their work. Hopefully Shakespeare and Thomas Hardy would put them in their place. Hardy is my favourite novelist and the only male writer, beside Shakespeare, who has any clue about women. He has to be a guest.
The table is getting full and I’ve invited too many men, better even up the numbers, so I’m dumping Hemingway and Fleming. I met Jennifer Johnston fleetingly and didn’t get a chance to fully discuss her masterpiece How Many Miles to Babylon. I’d think she’d get on with Hardy too. A S Byatt and Margaret Attwood would be my final choices. I know nothing about either but I loved the books Possession and A Handmaid’s Tale. The former was very skilfully written, the latter gave me the heebie-jeebies long after I’d put it down.
If you had to write in a different genre which would it be and why?
Amelia: Sci-fi, without a shadow of a doubt. I love it. I just don’t know enough about science to write knowledgeably. I’m a huge fan of Philip K Dick, who I really should invite to my dinner party, but then I’d have to get rid of Blyton and I don’t want to do that. I’d rather go for a coffee with Philip and discuss conspiracies theories. I watch all films with spacecraft in them, even if they are rubbish. My favourite film is Blade Runner, a Ridley Scott classic, based on Dick’s story Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? What a title! A short story in the up and coming Take Another Ten includes my first attempt at sci-fi: Surviving Paradise. I’d like to think it’s an homage to PKD.
What do you dislike the most about being an author?
Amelia: Editing, editing and more editing. I don’t know how editors do it. I really don’t.
Favourite word? Amelia: Panache. Although I really like the ‘F’ word. It’s so versatile. It’s a verb, an adjective, an adverb, a noun and as an interjection, it just makes some things sound so much better or so much worse. It’s a shame some people find it offensive.
Amelia Chambers was in the chair, author of: Reprehensible, Puzzling it Out, & several non-fiction titles assisting student study in classic literature.