Lisa Bush’s debut novel, Hanging Tough, is about to be published by new imprint Britain’s Next Bestseller (BNBS), a company with an avowed mission is to shake up the way the publishing industry works.
It’s a kind of crowd-funding method where authors must demonstrate demand for their book by securing a set number of pre-orders. Hit their target and a guaranteed publishing contract, with royalties, will see their book go from manuscript to printed work in just 12 weeks. The more popular a manuscript is, the more resources BNBS throw at it to make it a bestseller. You can find out more about BNBS and its latest crime books here.
Writing as LM Bush, Lisa’s novel tells the story of East End boy Tony Hayes – a self-made man who has fought to get to where he is today. In a tale reminiscent of Martina Cole, we the twists and turns that have befallen this rough diamond and meets some pretty dodgy geezers along the way. We chatted to Lisa to find out more.
What is Hanging Tough about?
My novel is about a young boy growing up in East London and learning to fight for what he believes in. He has to deal with everyday issues of bullying, parents divorcing, his heart getting broken and learning to stand up for himself as well as being drawn into the serious side of things in the underworld of crime and gangland and so he has to suddenly grow up very fast to survive.
How long have you been writing?
Truthfully, not that long, a year tops…
What inspired you to write Hanging Tough?
I just love that style of book and also Hanging Tough is based on true events from family, loved ones and close friends so I guess my inspiration started here.
You’ve been a hairdresser, beautician, model, worked in magazine advertising and you’re a wife and mother – just how did you find time to write this book?
Haha, I have kind of tried and tested a lot of things haven’t I? I am now, as well as a published author, a director of my own business with my husband so I tend to be a bit of a nocturnal or weekend writer – but I enjoy it so much that I just seem to find the time and I’m lucky to have such a supportive hubby too.
How did you learn about crime writing. For example, did you do a course, join a writing group, get friends to read your work and feed back?
No, I’ve never taken any courses or anything like that, I enjoyed writing at school and was always quite academic in that side of things, I rely entirely on the honest opinion of good friends and I have a brilliant copy editor too. I’ve also had fantastic feedback from proof readers that all are eager for more.
What drew you to the crime fiction genre?
I love that genre of book for a start so I am always drawn into this area whenever I am looking for new books and authors to read, I`ll always head there
Are you a reader? Who are your favourite authors and why?
I love reading, I am a beach reader and I love nothing more than to lose myself in a good book on holidays. I have always loved Martina Cole, she’s the author whose books you pick up without even reading the back cover. That’s my goal, that’s where I want to be. I also enjoy Kimberly Chambers and Sandra Prior. These are very similar in style again, but I also love Dan Brown books. Since joining BNBS, I have picked up books from fellow authors friends in genres that I would not normally choose and have thoroughly enjoyed what they’ve written so my choice is much more varied now.
How did you go about researching and plotting the story?
I spoke to friends and family, I plotted out stories in a notebook. Some of the story has been exaggerated for entertainment purposes, while other parts have had to be toned down. Some parts are fictional, while certain people in my life will recognise and relate to some storylines, And of course I have had to change names to protect people’s identity.
Who inspired the characters?
Friends, family and just people who I have met.
Are you disciplined writer, working to a daily word count or do you prefer to go with the creative flow?
Nope I am completely a go with the flow type! I have days where I am on a roll, churning out chapter after chapter, all hours of the day then I might not do anything for days.
Britain’s Next Bestseller is taking a fresh approach to publishing. What made you choose them to publish your book?
Being honest, they came to my rescue. I have been rejected by so many literary agents. And as I had been advised this was definitely the only route to go, I was devastated and ready to write it all off as a bad idea and throw all my hard work in the bin, my hubby saw BNBS advertised and we decided to contact them and here we are…
The crowdsourcing element must have been both scary and exciting. How did you feel when your book reached its target?
Over the moon! We finished target ahead of schedule too so that was a buzz. I’ve had such amazing help from everyone, its been unreal, I’ve lots of people to thank.
Have you any advice for would-be authors?
Absolutely just go for it and never give up. If you can dream it, you can achieve it!
What’s next for you?
Well, Hanging Tough was deliberately left on a cliffhanger in case I wanted to carry on, so far I am almost finished with the second book in the series and it’s going to be a trilogy! I have got so much to pack in with the character’s storylines and I am enjoying writing it so much, I don’t want it to end.
I guess when this is finished, I’ll write another one, I’ve already got some ideas for a new series in the pipeline to be honest, similar sort of thing. I’d also like to do a series of children’s books, But we’ll see what happens in the future.
The launch event for Hanging Tough is on 22 November from 4pm at The Star Restaurant, Mill End, Thaxted, Great Dunmow, CM6 2LT. Lisa will be on hand to sign copies of her new book and hopes to meet and thank the people who have helped to get her novel published. All are welcome.