Carole is the bestselling author of 20 novels including Wrapped Up in You, which I reviewed last November and kindly agreed to answer a few questions ...
Can you describe Summer Daydreams in 20 words or less?
It’s about a woman who tries to pursue her dreams while juggling the demands of a family and relationship. It’s fab!
After writing 20 successful books, how do you manage to keep yourself motivated?
I still love writing even after all these years! I’m never happier when it’s just me and my story. Now that I write two books a year, I use an awful lot of material. Which, in turn, means that I have to go out and do great things, so that I can write about them. Feeble excuse to behave badly in the name of research, I know. But I think that it really does help to keep you motivated. If you always have a story that you’re itching to tell then it’s not that hard. I think I would probably just go nuts and wander round talking to myself if I didn’t write, so that’s a pretty good incentive too!
Have you got a favourite out of the 20 books you’ve written? If so, which one and why?
I can’t really pick out one favourite, as I like them all in different ways for different reasons. It’s also a bit like asking a mum to pick her favourite child! I’ll always have a soft spot for Let’s Meet on Platform 8 as it was my very first book. And I think The Chocolate Lovers’ Club and The Chocolate Lovers’ Diet are high on my list of favourites. They were such fun books to write and I don’t think I’ve finished with those girls yet! Judging by the amount of email I get about them , they’re also very popular with my readers. Wrapped up in You, was a lovely romantic book and my first with Little, Brown who did a great job with it. The book was also shortlisted for Romantic Novel of the Year which made me very proud. I think that my readers will like my new book too, Summer Daydreams. It’s a story that’s very close to my heart as it follows, loosely, the trials and tribulations of my friend, Helen Rochfort, as she tried to make it in the big, bad world of fashion design. I think it’s also a lot of working women will empathise with. One American review called it momtrepreneur lit!
How hard is it to keep coming up with fresh ideas for new books?
I like to use a regular theme, so my stories all tend to feature contemporary women juggling with a problem that is very current. I keep a big filing cabinet full of cuttings from magazines and newspapers. I draw my inspiration from all around too. Fortunately, I have a lot of friends with complicated lives who are happy to share their tales with me! I’m generally planning two or three books ahead. That’s the joy of doing two books a year. You have to be jolly organised!
If you could write another style of genre, what would it be and why?
I love vampire novels and would so love to write one. I have one nearly completed in my desk drawer, but my agent tells me they’re ‘so last year’. I doubt that it will ever see the light of day. I also love to read historical novels, but I don’t think I’d have the patience to do the meticulous research they require. I’d rather someone else do that. My research tends to involve nothing more strenuous than a lot of chocolate and wine. Hurrah!
If you could have any of your books made into a film, which one would you choose and why? Who would you cast in the leading roles?
Oh, I think that it would most definitely be The Chocolate Lovers’ Club. It’s like Desperate Housewives, Mistresses and Bridget Jones all bound together with chocolate. It’s my most fun book, I think. And Hollywood loves a sequel, so they could follow it up with The Chocolate Lovers’ Diet.
I’m a massive True Blood fan and think Anna Paquin (Sookie Stackhouse) would make a great Lucy Lombard. Alexander Skarsgard (Eric the vampire in the same series) would also make a very good Marcus. Crush is the tricky one. He’s so adorable, I can’t think of anyone scrummy enough to play him. Maybe Ryan Gosling comes close.
If you were going to be stuck on a desert island and could only take 3 books with you, which ones would you choose?
First choice would be One Day by David Nicholls. I just think it’s a fabulous tale that takes a snapshot of a relationship on a particular day of each year. I think the fact that my ex-husband was so like Dexter makes me empathise so much with the story! It portrays perfectly the mood of that time.
Second choice would be The Time Travellers’ Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. An excellent book that I wish I’d written. It jumps all over the place, backwards and forwards in time. I would like to know how she kept track of that timeline!
Then for my last choice, I’d take pretty much anything by Philippa Gregory. Though my favourite books of hers are definitely the ones that cover the Tudor period. If you were really mean and only let me take one, then I’d have to choose The Other Boleyn Girl. She writes so vividly about the Tudor court that I can just imagine that I’m there.
If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?
Find time to write. If you really want to be a published author then you have to give yourself the time and space to develop your voice. Too many people bang out a book in a rush, send it off before it’s properly polished and then get despondent that it isn’t picked up. It’s tough getting a foot in the door, give yourself the best possible chance. Keep going! In reality, very few people are lucky enough to have their first attempt at a novel published.
Can you give us a hint about what your next novel is about? And when is it likely to be published?
I do one summer book and one Christmas book every year now. So the next one will be out at the end of October and is called With Love at Christmas. It’s the story about a family’s chaotic and heart-wrenching Christmas - perfect for that time of year. It features the same family that were in That Loving Feeling which I wrote a few years ago. It’s the first time, I’ve done that and it was nice to spend time with the Joyce family again.
My review of Summer Daydreams will be posted next week so make sure you check back to read it. In the meantime Carole's lovely publishers have have offered me 5 copies of this book to give away to visitors to my blog. For the chance to win a copy - sorry restricted to UK residents only - simply fill in the Google form here. Entries will close at 6pm on 24th May and the winners will be contacted shortly afterwards.