Alan Parks: Good morning WLM’ers. Todays Spotlight Sunday falls on our very own Tottie Limejuice!! This is your chance to ask her anything you can think of. Good luck Tottie!!
Tottie: Gosh, is it that time already <yawn> Just making a bucket of tea, then I’m all yours.
Liz: Hello Tottie, what the heck is the origin of yhe name of the Billinge Lump place in England. It sounds like something a dermatologist should be removing….
Tottie: LOL, doesn’t it just? It’s really called Billinge Hill but lots of locals have always called in The Lump, or Billinge Lump, and certainly my family always did.
Angela: Hi Tottie such an a usual name so I guess this is a pen name? Is it ok to ask do you live on Spain?
Tottie: Hi Angela, yes a pen-name, the origin of which is explained in Sell the Pig. I live in France and hold dual French/British nationality.
Judi: Somebody has to ask, and I’m sure you have answered this before here, but I am relatively new, or in your book which is on my list, but where did the name come from?
Tottie: Tottie is a creation of my Auntie Ethel. All is revealed in Sell the Pig
Joanna: We know where the pen name came from, but what made you decide to adopt a pen name at all?
Tottie: It started with Twitter. I wanted a personal account, different from my work one, so picked that, for fun. Soon so many people were calling me Tottie, even in real life, that it just sort of stuck. It makes me very easy to search on as I am the only one!
Helen: How long did it take you to nurture the idea of writing your stories Was there anything in particular that made you think I have to write this?
Tottie: I write for a living, it’s my profession. So words tend to be swilling round in my head all the time. Whenever I told people about some of Mother’s funny sayings, they loved hearing them, which made me decide to put it all down on paper.
Also the story about healthcare in the UK was a good and current one. So many people these days are experiencing, or will experience, the worries of dealing with elderly relatives. I wanted to share our experiences.
Helen: How long does it take to get a tale that is long enough. Do you know instinctively when you have reached the end?
Tottie: I tend to have an ending in my head before I start to write anything. I roughly draw out a timeline of what period I want to write about and what happened during it. I also think a book is as long or as short as it needs to be. People get hooked up on the 70k figure but really, if you’ve written 50k and they’re good enough, people will like it just as much. Not in favour of padding for the sake of it.
Helen: I am a teacher and as such have tried to teach children to read for the love of it. Writing seems to be different. It takes a different sort of love and is harder. Do you agree?
Tottie: That’s a very good point. Writing is a craft, like any other, and the mechanics of it can be learned. It just comes much more easily to some than to others.
Bambi: Hi Tottie! I was wondering how your brother feels about the books. Did he take offense to the way he was portrayed, or did he suck it up and admit it was an honest accounting?
Charlotte: I loved both books. When can we expect to be treated to more Tottie adventures?
Bambi: And how is your brother, by the way? I hope he is well.
Angela: Love France lucky you space, peace, and quite perfect for writing
Tottie: He’s bought the books but I doubt he’s read them He does very kindly share all my posts. We are still in contact, we e-mail every day and meet occasionally and I think we get on better now than ever. I’ve just sent the first book to my last surviving aunt, will be interesting to get her feed back.
Bambi, he isn’t well, he will never be well, but he is as good as he can be, thanks for asking.
Tottie: Charlotte, I’ve nearly finished book three, just about half a dozen chapters to write before the big edit starts. Hopefully out in late spring.
Helen: I live a double life in all the books I read. How do you cope with the double life as you are writing about one time but living in another. I get so upset when I finish a book I love as I miss the characters who have become a part of me. That is why I love this group and Facebook as I am able to actually tell the authors how much I got into it and it makes the parting less traumatic.
Tottie: Angela yes, very peaceful here but of course not all of France is, it has its big cities and sink estates like every other country.
Charlotte: That’s good to hear Tottie. will look forward to it.
Tottie: Helen, that’s assuming I have any touch with reality I think because writing is my profession, that helps to keep me a bit detached from what I am actually writing in a way.
Cherry: Do you enjoy writing or is it a chore?
Savannah: Loving your comments Helen Lehmann! And thanks for joining today Tottie Limejuice, I’m really interested in what you have to say.
Tottie: Cherry most of the time I love writing, which is why I chose the profession. Sadly in my professional work, clients seem to get more difficult and unreasonable and then it can become a chore at times.
Cherry: Thanks Tottie. I suspected you love it…it does show!
Tottie: Thanks Cherry, that is very kind of you to say so.
Helen: Thanks for the conversation folks. The sun has gone day on a very hot day here so I am going up on the hill to watch the sun set and have a beer.
Cherry: I know you’ve very happy in France, Tots, and are thrilled to be a French citizen now…but is there anything you miss from Britain?
Tottie: Thornton’s brazil nut toffee
Actually, as a recently diagnosed Coeliac, and I didn’t see that coming at all, it has to be said that the range of gluten free foods in rural France is still in its infancy.
Cherry: That must make it difficult. Do you send off for foods and flour etc?
Tottie: It’s very difficult. I’m a committed locavore, I prefer to do all my shopping in the community in which I live. Sadly that is simply no longer possible and I’ve had to resort to mail ordering specialist flours and the like from UK where the range is better and it is much cheaper. I don’t like it, but for the moment, I see no alternative.
Cherry: I’m sure you do your best in the circumstances. I know what you mean about trying to buy in the local shops and from local firms. I try to do that too but it’s a bit of a commercial desert where I live and mail order is sometimes the only option! Any other disadvantages where you live, Tottie?
Tottie: Yeah, there’s the very boring view from my garden
Cherry: That doesn’t look boring to me! Have you a big garden?
Tottie: The French consider it small but it is large by many UK area standards. I also have a 1220 sq metre plot of land just across the road which is part vegetable garden, part orchard and part wildlife reserve – home to some very impressive snakes.
Christine: As you know we live out in the sticks a bit in the wonderful Auvergne region too..& love it. However I am not sure I`d like to live here alone – I have a great husband. What is the best & worst thing about living alone in the countryside?
Helen: Here’s the view from our hill. cheers to you all.
Angela: Hi Tottie not read your book yet but I will as soon as I sort out my one click purchase on kindle had another card hacked Grrrrrrrrr is this a true story? Love to know
Tottie: Hi Christine <waves from deck> Best thing – I can do whatever I like without consulting anyone. Worst thing ….. erm, I’ll come back to you on that Oh, yes, now I’ve got arthritic hands, it would be nice to have someone on tap to unscrew jars and things I can no longer manage.
Angela yes, memoirs are all true stories.
Briannjulie: lol, where there’s a will, there’s away… you can get little gadgets for the little things you cant do too well Tots !
Tottie: Yes, I have one of those wonderful strap things so I manage most things. I wouldn’t say no to someone to bring firewood in on a wet day, though.
Angela: Tottie seems like you will be on FB all day interesting though and PS your view looks great