Friday, 2 November 2012

Author Interview: Carole Matthews

Earlier this year I interviewed bestselling author Carole Matthews as part of her Summer Daydreams blog tour and today I'm pleased to be able to welcome her back to talk about her new book, With Love at Christmas.

Can you tell us a little bit about With Love at Christmas?
This is my 21st novel and it features the Joyce family which I first wrote about in That Loving Feeling.  I wanted to write about a family Christmas and they seemed like the ideal family.  Juliet Joyce adores Christmas.  She just loves everything about it.  Already she's getting excited about it, which is just as well as this Christmas things are starting to get a little bit out of hand.

Her son Tom is out of work and is bring home a slew of unsuitable partners.  Her pregnant daughter, Chloe, has left her partner and has returned home, toddler in tow.  Her father is getting over a heartbreak of his own and her mother, eccentric at best, is behaving more and more erratically every day.  Then Juliet finds mystery texts from another woman on her husband's phone and wonders if the chaos has all got to be too much for him. 

With the big day fast approaching, Juliet wonder if she can stop everything from spiralling out of control, because the only thing that she wants is for her family to be happy and her home to be filled With Love at Christmas

Did you always know you were going to write a sequel to That Loving Feeling or did it just creep up on you?
It's not really a sequel, it just catches up with the same family two years later.  So it's nice if you've read That Loving Feeling as you'll know the characters but it's not essential.  I'd never planned to spend time with the Joyce family again, it did just creep up on me.  When I had the idea for a book about a family at Christmas, they seemed like the perfect candidates.

I know With Love at Christmas has only just been published but are you able to give us a hint as to what your next novel is about?
My next novel is called A Cottage by the Sea and it's a story of three old friends who go on holiday together, hoping to have a relaxing time together.  But, of course, things don't quite turn out as they'd planned.  I think it's going to be out in paperback in March.

Being a writer appears to be such a solitary lifestyle, especially when you're in the midst of writing, so do you consider the influence of social Media, Facebook and Twitter, a blessing or a hinderance?
I love Twitter and Facebook!  I think it's a fantastic way to connect with your readers and like to do that as much as possible.  As I write contemporary fiction, I see it as essential social networking.  Really, I do!  It's not a work avoidance technique at all.  Though I'm sure I could actually write another book a year with the amount of time I spend on there.

Do you have a set writing routine? 
Yes, I'm pretty disciplined in the way that I work.  I start at 8 in the morning and do my emails and admin.  Breakfast from 9-10, then I work through until 1 o'clock.  I have an hour for lunch when I read the paper or my book, then I write again from 2-6.  I do that 5 days a week and try very hard not to work at weekends.  Sleep and I have a very tricky relationship, so I'm quite often at my computer for a couple of hours in the night.

Would you say that any of your characters are like you?  If so, which one(s)? 
I am far too much like Lucy Lombard from The Chocolate Lovers' Club and TheChocolate Lovers’ Diet.

Do you have much spare time to read books?  If so, what was the last book you read or what are you currently reading?
Have just finished J K Rowling's The Casual Vacancy.  I really enjoyed it, but I wish there had just been one nice character.  They were all so horrible there was no one to root for.  As you can tell from my own books, l do like a happy ending too!

Can you describe With Love at Christmas in 20 words or less? 
Can an imperfect family ever have the perfect Christmas.  Juliet Joyce is about to find out.

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