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May 6, 2011

Meet Sandy Noble: Mother of Elizabeth Noble

Posted by Anonymous

 An internationally bestselling author, Elizabeth Noble has published six books, including WHEN YOU WERE MINE this past March. Below, Elizabeth’s mother reveals Elizabeth’s (or Lizzie’s) early love of reading and writing, and how her writing gradually evolved. She also discusses her own involvement in Elizabeth’s process, and how these days she looks forward to the next novel with the same pleasure (and none of the angst) as everyone else.

bookcover2.jpgThere can be no greater joy than to curl up in a chair with a good book. To be able to while away the hours and lose myself in tales of other lives, whether they be depicted in thrillers, adventures, romances, or my personal favorite --- fat, generational, family sagas --- enables me to step outside my own experiences. I can vicariously live as other people, or travel without the hassle. And whether it makes me laugh or cry, or even just think, it is a required daily pleasure. That my daughter Elizabeth is able to bring those same pleasures to thousands of people around the world is a source of huge pride and joy for me.

At home we call her Lizzie. She is the middle child, and whilst her sister loved dollies and her brother cars, Lizzie always preferred a pencil and paper. As a little girl she had a love of words and a precocious vocabulary, often inventing a word of her own if she couldn’t find one to fit her feelings, some of which remain today in the family lexicon.

Lizzie loved books and being read to. The early characters she came to know and enjoy in her favorite stories often found their way into the stories she would then become inspired to write. Thus, Milly-Molly-Mandy (Joyce Lankester Brisley) would be paired with Pippi Longstocking (Astrid Lindgren) or Selina, the mouse from the country, as they pursued the ADVENTURES OF THE LITTLE WOODEN HORSE (Ursula Moray Williams), or took part in the naughtiness of MY NAUGHTY LITTLE SISTER (Dorothy Edwards). Early plagiarism, I suppose, although in fairness, there was plenty of original material too.

Not surprisingly, Lizzie quickly learned to read well, and so enjoyed reading to herself more. I remember less about her choices at that time, although Little House on the Prairie was a constant, and I think she still owns the original set. Her writing at this point often took the form of verse. We would sometimes find her little poems on scraps of paper, left in prominent positions if she wanted to say sorry or tell on her siblings, or just tell us she loved us. One of my most treasured scraps is a drawing of me with the words: ‘Where ere my Mum is, the sun is!’

As Lizzie became a teenager, her reading choices became quite adult. She would quite often read books that I had enjoyed. She read faster too! Sometimes, if I didn’t quite believe she could possibly have done more than skip through the pages, she would challenge me to open the book at any page and question her to prove or disprove the fact. I never won!

Her writing also became prodigious and very mature; her subject matter often quite somber. I remember a story about a man struggling with a decision to become a priest and later what can only be called a novella about a Jewish family riding in a train to a concentration camp. By now we had recognized that Lizzie was destined to be a writer.

She won a place at Oxford to study English and after her degree began a career in publishing. During these years I think she was too busy having fun to do much writing. She then married David and became busy having babies, but eventually her husband metaphorically encouraged her to pick up her pen again by giving her a new laptop and lots of persuasion.

Oh, how well I remember the excitement of that first book! It was a huge success and generated a TV appearance, radio broadcasts and book signings in many stores. How proud we all were! In the early days I was very involved in the process. The characters became very real, and Lizzie and I talked constantly about them and whether or not they would do this, that or the other. We talked often and I always knew how things were going, but with each successive book my involvement has lessened from reading as she wrote, to reading the manuscript, to reading the proof.

I no longer sit with my daughter during the labor and birth. Instead, I wait to be presented with the new baby. Still very, very proud, but not so angst ridden.

These days I can look forward to the latest Elizabeth Noble with the same auticipatory pleasure as everyone else.