Interview · Tea with Mrs B

Tea with Mrs B: Lia Spencer

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Welcome to Tea with Mrs B, an author interview series. Here to share a pot of tea and to chat about her brand new book, A Plan Unravelled, is Lia Spencer.

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Lia Spencer is a journalist, mother, wife, daydreamer, creative writer, online shopaholic and lover of the outdoors, good chocolate, strong coffee and most wines.

Lia grew up in a small town in the province of Saskatchewan in Canada and received a BA Sociology in 2006. Lia moved to Australia shortly after and received by BA Journalism from Monash University. She now lives in Melbourne’s southeast with her husband, two kids and six chickens (despite having a bird phobia).

Hello Lia. It is my pleasure to warmly welcome you to my blog, Mrs B’s Book Reviews. Thank you for joining me for Tea with Mrs B, an author interview series.  To set the mood for our tea infused interview, what is your preferred beverage, tea, coffee or other? And side accompaniment, scone, cake or other?

I love a soy latte and anything sweet- scone, cake, slice. I have a very serious sweet tooth.

Can you tell us what genres you write for and how many books you have had published?

I have only written one book so far, and it’s a romance/chick-lit.

Can you describe your latest book, A Plan Unravelled, in just a sentence?

It’s about getting back up on your feet again once you’ve hit rock bottom.

What came first in the creation of the novel – the title, plot, characters or setting when you first set out to write A Plan Unravelled?

The characters definitely came first. The plot took a lot of turns throughout the writing process, and ended up on a different path than first intended. Therefore, the title changed several times as well.

How long did it take you to write A Plan Unravelled?

I wrote the first draft in 18 months, but then I stuck the manuscript away and revisisted it about 12 months later. Several drafts, and five years later, it was finally complete.

How different was the experience of writing A Plan Unravelled, compared to your previous print media work?

I am a journalist for a newspaper and magazine, so I am use to writing about facts. It was very daunting to put my imagination on paper for everyone to read and critique. It’s letting people into your mind, and making yourself vulnerable.

Where did the inspiration for your characters come from?

I didn’t picture anyone or base them on anyone. They sort of just formed in my mind, and grew as I wrote the story. But I do think all the main characters – Ruby, her family, Lucas, Jack and Sam- have common characteristics of people we are all familiar with. The lost, the jaded, the womaniser, the loner, the businessman, the introvert.

Can you tell us more about the main themes of your novel?

The main themes are about losing your way, reconnecting, and self-discovery. We’ve all heard of the saying, ‘When one door closes, another one opens.’ I find this happening in reality all the time. It’s also about forgiving yourself, moving forward and making yourself vulnerable and open to love.

What ingredients do you feel are necessary to compose a successful contemporary women’s fiction narrative?

A relatable voice, an intriguing plot and an interesting setting.

What do you hope readers will take away from reading  A Plan Unravelled ?

I want them to feel like there’s hope when times are tough, and it’s okay to forgive yourself for your mistakes. But mostly, I hope they get a warm, fuzzy feeling! Afterall, it’s a love story, with its twists and turns along the way.

If A Plan Unravelled made it to the big screen, who would you like to cast?

Hmmm. Probably Rachel McAdams or Jennifer Lawrence for Ruby. Sam Worthington for Jack and Kit Harrington for Lucas. And Busy Phillips for Sam. The Americans would just need to perfect their Australian accent!

How did you make the transition to a published author?

I began writing fiction (short stories) when I was quite young, but this l was the first time I really attempted to write a novel. It was a personal challenge. Once I finished, I decided to reach out and see if any publishers were interested. Luckily enough, Elephant House Press presented me with a contract within a week of receiving the entire manuscript.

Do you have any advice for the aspiring writers out there?

Just keep pushing on! Rejections are part of the process. Grow thick skin, have a cry if you want, then keep pursuing!

What is the best part of being a published author?

Knowing that I achieved a long-time goal of mine.

What writers have inspired you along the way to publication?

I enjoy Jojo Moyes and Liane Moriarty, but I also draw on local authors (country Victoria) such as Honey Brown and Alice Robinson. It’s nice to know that where you live is not an obstacle for what you can achieve.

Aside from writing, do you have any interesting hobbies?

I love chasing my little munchkins around. I have a 6-year-old and 2-year-old and one on the way. I enjoy snowboarding in the winter. Swimming in the summer. I also do reformer Pilates and boxing for fitness and LOVE it!

What is next on the horizon for Lia Spencer? Do you have any writing projects you would like to share with us?

I am a freelance journalist, so I will continue writing for magazines and newspapers while juggling mum duties. I am also working on another manuscript, so watch this space!

What 2019 book releases are you most excited to read?

I still haven’t read City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert, but I’ve heard it’s amazing.

If you could slip back in time, what era would you travel to and why?

The 1920’s- 40s for the music and the fashion. I would love to experience life in that time for just one day!

Finally, wrapping up our tea themed interview, who would you most like to share a pot of tea with?

Maybe Oprah? Or Louis Theroux! I think they’d be fascinating to speak to as they have met and covered so many amazing people and stories.

Thank you for taking the time to visit Mrs B’s Book Reviews for Tea with Mrs B Lia.  Congratulations on the publication of A Plan Unravelled!

Ruby was only a child when she wrote out an ambitious plan:a plan unravelled small.jpg

Move to New York

Get an Acting Gig

Make money

She achieved it all by the age of 18.

Fast forward fifteen years and Ruby’s hit rock bottom. She’s broke, unemployed, and in the tabloids for all the wrong reasons. Her reputation is in tatters and her career is on the line.

Ruby’s publicist, Michelle, has a damage-control plan. She insists that Ruby move back to her lifeless, rural hometown in Australia to live with her dysfunctional family until the scathing headlines disappear and the scandal blows over.

Despite her initial reluctance, Ruby quickly embraces the break from the bustling, cab-ridden concrete jungle. She indulges in carbs, spends quality time with her family, and reunites with her high school sweetheart. But when Ruby strikes up a romance with the mysterious guy next door, she is confronted with dirty secrets, hard truths, and is forced to make a choice between a familiar past or an unchartered future.

And if Ruby’s learned anything from her mistake, it’s that one bad decision could instantly derail any well-thought-out plan.

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