As we gear up for this amazing event, I’ll be bringing you author interviews so you can get to know the attending authors in more detail! There are lots and lots of authors for you to discover, not to mention, hundreds if not thousands of books! Why not grab a cuppa and sit back and relax! All while hearing more about our writers and their writing lives, inspirations – and maybe even a secret or two!
What is the first thing people should know about you?
I’m a total newbie to this! This is my first time attending a signing as an actual author and I’m pretty petrified! There’s so many amazing authors at this signing and I’m feeling like a bit of an imposter to be honest!
Tell me which genre or trope you are most well-known for writing.
My debut novel is a second chance romance with a suspenseful twist. Romantic suspense is my favourite trope, and initially when I started writing A Hope For Us the suspenseful element wasn’t there. I knew there was something missing, so went back to the beginning and as an idea formed, I began to add the twist and it all just started falling into place!
What is one thing people don’t know about you?
My maiden name is Summersbee. When I began writing I was working as a TA in a primary school so knew I wanted to keep my author name separate from my ‘Teacher Name’. That’s where L Summers comes from!
Name a book you’ve written that you wish more people had read, and why.
A Hope For Us. It’s my first (and currently only lol) novel and I’m so proud of it. I was never a lover of writing at school, but this story was brewing in my head, and I was so passionate about it, about telling it and doing Ben and Emily’s story justice. There are elements of myself and my family throughout the book – Emily’s cake shop being the main one. I now run my own cake making business, and my dream has always been to own my own little tea shop, so I’m living vicariously through Emily a bit here!
What is your favourite book (not your own), and why?
Wuthering Heights. It’s a classic love story that spans over years and is full of pain, drama, sadness and a love so strong that it sends them crazy.
Are you one of those authors for whom music is EVERYTHING and without it you’d never write?
YES! Music is LIFE! I listen to music all day, pretty much every day as I work, when I’m driving, when I’m walking the dog etc. I’m a huge lover of old skool R n B, garage and hip-hop music, all of which feature in my book. I actually have a playlist at the back of the book which can be played on Spotify which features some of my all-time favourite songs.
Is your desk/writing space tidy or messy?
It’s mostly tidy, but I also do a lot of crafting in my office so it can get a bit chaotic and messy when I have projects on the go!
Who or what inspires you as a writer?
So many authors have inspired me to make the jump and write. Natasha Madison has been a huge inspiration to me. As well as being a friend she has also been an amazing mentor. She has talked me down off the ledge a hundred times and pushed me to keep going when I didn’t think I was good enough. Life also inspires me in a huge way. Life isn’t perfect, it’s messy, complicated and unpredictable, and I want the stories I write to have those realistic elements to them. I want them to be as relatable as they can be.
Are you an introvert or extrovert? Or something else…?
I’d say I’m an introvert, especially since the pandemic hit in 2020. I’m very much happy in my own company, I love being at home and can get stressed when I’m in busy places. Doing the food shop is my worst nightmare! So if you see me looking slightly panicked and overwhelmed at the signing, don’t worry, my lovely assistant and bestie Amo will know how to sort me out!
The literary world moves fast, but what’s the one thing that never changes?
The love of reading. Reading is what led me to writing in the first place.
What is your advice to authors just starting out?
Ooohhh, that’s a tough one. I guess it would just be to stay true to your words, to the story you are building. Everyone will have an opinion, some will like it and some won’t. Just be true to yourself, write what YOU want to write, how you want to write it. And never give up! It took me 3 long years from first putting pen to paper to self- publishing A Hope For Us last year, and every second was worth it to hold that book in my hand for the first time!
Where is your favourite place to go on holiday?
The rest of my family would say Orlando because they all love the fast pace and energy of the place. But I would have to say Greece. It’s such a stunning place, with every Greek island offering something different. Ultimately, I want to go on holiday to relax, take in some sights and enjoy the sun with a cocktail!
If you could live inside any fictional world, where would that be?
It would have to be Kristen Proby’s Boudreaux universe or her Bayou Magic world. They’re both set in New Orleans which is a place that’s on my bucket list to visit. I’m fascinated by the history and magic of the place. The Boudreaux clan are a family I’d love to be a part of or be involved with in some way, but I also adore the spookiness and suspense of the Bayou Magic series, it would be so cool to be a witch like the sisters, all while hunting a serial killer!
Your favourite place to read and/or write?
It depends on my mood. If I need quiet I’ll go to my office, but otherwise it’s in my super comfy cuddle armchair in the living room.
When you’re as old as Gandalf the Grey, how many books do you think you might have written?
Oh hell, I really don’t know! I have 2 in the works for this year, as well as ideas for another 10 books! But honestly, if I can write a handful of books that people enjoy reading, I’ll be over the moon!
Who is the most famous person you’ve ever met?
Prince Charles when I was around 10 years old. He came to one of the universities here in Oxford.
What did you always want to be when you were growing up?
Hahaha, well for many years I wanted to be a professional dancer, I can’t think why that never happened!
If writing is your full-time job, have you ever been told to get a “proper job”?
I actually run my own cake making business which takes up a lot of time, so I don’t get to write as much as I’d like unfortunately.
Who is your biggest cheerleader?
I’m lucky to have a number of friends and family who are always cheering me on.
BONUS Q. Tell me a secret about one of your books that nobody else knows yet!
The logo I designed for Emily’s cake shop in the book is actually the logo I use for my own cake business now!
Thank you so much for your time, Layla! Keep in touch with the author…
If you want to meet Layla amongst others, click the graphic below! Authors at the Armouries is about inspiration for all!