I bumped in to Carole while she meandered, notebook and pencil in hand, through the grandeur and beauty of Stowe gardens, soaking up the 18th century landscape like so many inspired writers before her.
I do like to start my interviews off with a nice easy question, so here goes...
1. What are your thoughts on the biomechanics of the Lagoon sea
I don’t know much about their biomechancis, but I do know that the finger-like growths around the edges of a lagoon sea slug’s body have many possible uses, from aiding respiration to defence against predators. If they were able to evolve to live on land then it would also enable them to be excellent at roller-skating.
Hmm... roller-skating sea slugs. I'm impressed by your knowledge of these weird and wonderful creatures and your vision for their future. However, we'd need some big skates for this one...
I was Miss Bournemouth Pier in my youth and won two tickets to see The Des O’Connor show.
Surely not the one and only Des O'Connor? My favourite song has got to be Dick-A-Dum-Dum...
enjoy walking, is this a way of getting inspiration for your books?
Yes. I do love a good long walk, particularly by a river or canal. Sometimes it’s a good idea to let your mind go into free-flow. I feel that’s when it comes up with some new plots or solves out a tricky bit that you're
working on. It’s also when my partner, Lovely Kev, and I find time to
talk properly rather than having snatched conversations.
A bit of both. They’re usually based on real places but prettified for the covers. I’m blessed to have a great artist, Alice Tait, who does my covers.
And they are very beautiful covers indeed.
5. A quote from your latest novel, A Place to Call Home, “The perfect escape (Woman)”. Where and what would be your idea of a perfect escape?
Yeah, looks ok I suppose...
To be honest - who the hell am I kidding - it's a beautiful place!
Any chocolate, any book! I am currently working my way through a box of Lindt Connoisseur chocolates - yum - and reading Charlotte Street by Danny Wallace.
there, just like Roald Dahl used to?
No. I’ve had to abandon the garden shed for writing. All I do is fall asleep in there. I need to be at my desk and with no view!
Have you read Marian Keyes’ books and if so, which one is your favourite and why?
Yes. I love Marian’s books. My favourite is still her first novel, Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married. I remember reading it and laughing my head off all the way through. I take that quote as a big compliment!
I love to bake and I’ve just been given a new gooey brownie recipe
which has the boys swooning.
Lol. Yes, I did manage to grate my finger as well as a carrot for dinner yesterday. Wine was involved. I eat salad twice a day - often finger-free
- as I think this helps to balance the amount of chocolate and cake I eat. It doesn’t.
Anything and everything. Much the same as now. Books I particularly
enjoyed were Black Beauty, Little Women and Jane Eyre.
People not saying thank you.
Hmm... I know what you mean so once again, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking part in this interview today Carole.
We bought her for her Diamond Jubilee as we were having an afternoon tea party. She sort of just stayed. Now we take her on holiday with us.
Sounds like great fun, I'm sure you must get some odd looks though. After all it's not every day that you bump in to the Queen jetting off to the Maldives.
Yes. He’s the first person to do so.
15. Are any of your male characters based on Lovely Kev?
He would like to think all of them. I think he’s most like Noah from A Cottage by the Sea.
Ah, the handsome and charming Noah - lucky you.
So many of them! I love telly. Escape to the Country is probably top of the list. Mainly due to Alistair Appleton.
17. You have sold over 4 million books worldwide, would you have believed anyone if they had told you this would happen, 20 years ago?
No. It’s great though.
I can never get past a fish cake on a restaurant menu. Love them.
I wouldn’t want dead people at my dinner table, so I’d ask Prince Harry as you’d be assured some royal naughtiness, Keifer Sutherland who I’d stare longingly at and Jeremy Vine from Radio 2 who would help to keep the discussion lively.
21. What household chore do you hate the most?
All of them. Have employed a cleaner for the last 20 years. Best money I ever spent.
Wouldn't you even consider doing a teeny-weeny bit of cleaning Carole?
Stay with someone who doesn’t treat you as if you are a princess.
I agree 100% with you Carole.
23. If you were granted one wish, what would you wish for?
Health, wealth and happiness for me and my loved ones. Maybe that’s more than one wish.
I'm sure your readers would be more than happy to grant your wish as a 3 for the price of 1 offer.
Wise choice Carole, you wouldn't want to end up looking like this...
So, last but not least, my final question for you.
25. Do you think there should be a mouse flavoured cat food and if so, what should it be called?
Tomendous! I'm sure that Tom Cat will be very pleased.
Thanks, Tara. Lovely questions! C : ) xx