AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Claudia Carroll
It's August, and we hope everyone's enjoying the summer! There are some fabulous new reads heading our way this month, including new novel Me and You by bestselling author Claudia Carroll. The book is about a heroine who one day disappears, leaving her best friend and boyfriend to try and work out what exactly happened to Kitty - or what would have made her run away...
We're absolutely thrilled to have Claudia stop by as part of her blog tour, to tell us more about her writing and Me and You.
Please describe your latest book in 15 words or fewer.
ME AND YOU is a love triangle centring around a heroine who completely vanishes into thin air. (Sorry, think I exceeded the 15-word minimum!)
What inspired you to write Me and You?
Of all things, I got the idea from reading an article with the Chief of the Missing Person's Division here in Ireland. He said that in over ninety percent of cases people who go missing do so voluntarily...which got me thinking. What is it that would make a person just walk away from their home, family, friends, career? And the rest of the story of just came from there really.
Where do you do most of your writing?
Kitchen table at home! I love working from home though and feel so privileged to be able to do it. I love getting up in the morning and my 'bed to work' commute taking approx. 3 minutes.
What is your favourite book?
Tough one! That's like asking a mother which is her favourite child. I'm a massive Jane Austen fan and will re-read each of her books every few years...or else every time a new film adaptation of one of her novels comes along and I fall in love with her stories all over again.
What are you currently reading?
I read anything and everything and tend to think that the book I'm reading now is just the best thing ever. Which at the moment is The Cuckoo's Calling, as well all know now, by J.K.Rowling . I'm really enjoying it so far.
Which part of Me and You was the most enjoyable to write?
All of it really! I've written ME AND YOU in the voices of both my leading ladies, Angie and Kitty and just adored writing for each. Just to tell you a wee bit about the book first, ME AND YOU, it all centres around a heroine called Angie, who's arranged to meet up with her best friend Kitty at a swanky health spa...only Kitty stands her up. No answer to her mobile or house phone, absolutely nothing. Which is so not like her.
So Angie of course, does what any concerned pal would do, spirals off into a complete tailspin of panic. Calls just about every mutual friend they have, who all say, 'but we thought Kitty was with you!' Turns out though that no one has seen her in days, so Angie calls Kitty's boyfriend Simon and between them they start searching, but yet again nothing. Just dead ends everywhere they turn.
Course, pretty soon their initial concern morphs into full-blown panic. So in desperation, Angie and Simon go to the police and pretty soon, a nationwide search follows. But bubbling under it all is a whole other development; Simon and Angie's ever-growing closeness. They say two people who suffer a mutual bereavement will bond so strongly you can't imagine, and coping with the trauma of a much-loved missing person is every bit as painful. Yet the closer they grow, the more Kitty is like a constant shadow lying between them. Almost like a latter-day Rebecca.
Next part of the story is the same day retold all over again, except this time entirely from Kitty's point of view. And we learn the whole reason why she disappeared when she had to and most importantly of all, the real reason why she can never divulge the truth to her former boyfriend and best friend. Two people she still misses so much it hurts.
By now, Kitty is living and working in Capetown, with a whole new name, identity, life. But the pull of home, even after all these years is still overwhelming. So when dramatic events suddenly propel Kitty back to her old life and when she finally has to face up to her past and loved ones she'd no choice but to walk away from...then what next?
And no, I'm not telling you any more! But just to chat about my two central characters a bit, Angie is a sort of everywoman character really and in many ways I probably found her the easiest to write. She's down-to-earth, funny, a little insecure about herself and has absolutely no confidence when it comes to guys, on account of her past experiences. (A lot of me in there, I have to confess!)
Whereas Kitty is the exact opposite. She's everything Angie isn't; she's wild, abandoned, and spontaneous, one of those characters who just live for the present and don't care about what tomorrow will bring. She has the irresistibly bright aura about her though and it one of those naturally charismatic people that everyone adores. The sort of woman that you look at and say, 'wish I could be a bit more like her.' Life would be a lot more interesting if there were more Kitty's roaming the Earth, I can tell you.
Who is your favourite heroine?
When I was younger, I loved Lizzie Bennet from Pride and Prejudice, for her feistiness and that fierce intelligence and also Scarlett O'Hara for her strength of character and for going her own sweet way and not caring what anyone else thinks about her. Whereas now, I think my favourite character is Anne Elliot from Persuasion. She's been disappointed in love and which of us hasn't felt like that before?
Do you have any tips for readers who are looking to become published writers?
First tip, Persevere, persevere, persevere! And write every single day, as every day that you do is a day that your work is improving, trust me.
Second tip? Be brave too; remember it's highly unlikely that a publisher is going to knock on your front door and ask if you've any manuscripts lying around they could publish. Nothing will happen unless you take the first step and get your work out there.
Third tip, an agent is your best friend though, and I'd advise anyone starting out to secure and agent first and the rest will follow.
Fourth tip, I know it's tough working a full time job and writing on the side, but it can be done. So many authors (myself included,) stared out doing completely different jobs and still wrote in their spare time. If you have a story to tell, no matter how busy your life is, you'll find the time. Even if it means the dreaded early morning alarm going off every morning, you'll find a way. so many would be authors say to me, 'I'd love to do it...if I had more time.' And I always say, you'll never have more time, this is it. This is all we get. It's up to us to make the time. Somehow.
My last and final tip is to enjoy. Love every precious minute you get to spend with your characters, because if you do, then your reader will too.
Are you working on anything else at the moment and if so, can you tell us?
Yes I do, and I can even give you the title of my new book; it's called THE HELLO GOODBYE HOTEL. It's set for publication next year and I really hope you'll have me back here to tell you all about it!
Lastly, can I just say a huge big thank you to all the lovely ladies at Trashonista? You're always so supportive to authors and I hope you realize how much it's appreciated!
You can find out more about Claudia on Facebook (Claudia Carroll Books) and Twitter (@carrollclaudia).