Thursday, 3 March 2016

Q & A with Carol Thomas

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1) Did you always dream of being a writer?

I’ve had times in my life where I have kept notebooks and I have written the odd poem (that only my mum is proud of) and a couple of short stories. I don’t think I ever really imagined anything would come of my writing until Crazy Over You was well underway and taking shape as a novel.  Now I am a third of the way into my second novel, it all feels like a dream I am chasing again.

2) Your debut novel is called Crazy Over You, what is it about?

Crazy Over You is a contemporary romance. It is essentially an honest portrayal of one woman’s reaction to her husband’s infidelity, while also being a story of friendship, family and love.

3) What was your inspiration for the book?

I had read other stories about infidelity, one of the main themes of the book, and felt I had something different to offer. Rather than use the affair as the catalyst to a new life (and unrelated plot line), I wanted to explore and write about the emotional impact infidelity can have on those involved.

4) Can you tell us more about the main character(s)?

Wife, mum and teacher, Abby Turner has discovered her husband, Simon, has had an affair. In the wake of their separation Abby’s normally ordered life and mind are thrown into chaos. So when Simon, declares he wants her back, Abby’s aware she has to know her own mind and she has to know it soon! Feeling no match for Simon on a mission, being in advertising he can be very persuasive and knows how to get what he wants, Abby begins a personal quest for clarity. Through this quest Abby finds help and support where she least expects it and encounters challenges that test her both mentally and physically.

5) Where and when do you write your stories?

I tend to write in local cafés during the day when my children are at school. I find being out of the house means there are fewer distractions. Ideas pop into my head all the time though  – the shower particularly provides quite productive thinking time! And I occasionally sneak off to a local hotel where I can indulge in a full day of writing unrestricted by time and other commitments.

6) What do you do and enjoy when you’re not writing?

I enjoy spending time with my family; I have four children and two grandchildren who keep me busy. I love to read and to go to the cinema. I volunteer in our local Cancer Research UK shop and really enjoy it, as it is so very different to everything else I do.

7) If you could switch places with a character from a book, who would it be and why?

As much as I’d like to say someone worthy or fabulous it wouldn’t be true. If I had the chance for total escapism sneaking off into book world I would be somebody like Lady Pelham from Sylvia Day’s The Stranger I Married.  She is a strong character who certainly has a good time in the book.

8) What books have influenced your life most?

Oh gosh, that’s a big question. Those I read at college undoubtedly had a big impact on challenging my thoughts, opening my mind and teaching me that there is always so much more to know. But in general I have liked and been influenced by different books and authors at different stages of my life. The books I read are generally important to me in the moment, with that in mind, it’s really hard to pinpoint just a few. Sorry Simona!

9) What are you working on at the moment?

I am currently working on my second novel, another contemporary romance though unrelated to Crazy Over You.

10) What do you enjoy most about writing?

The escapism, I love to get lost in a story and to be lead places I never imagined I would go; to see a story coming together and the feeling when the words are flowing and I feel it is going well is really great.

11) Pick three authors you want to have dinner with and tell us why.

Judy Blume, to say thank you for Are You There God It is Me Margaret (the first book I ever really loved) and for the Fudge stories that have entertained my children and the children I have taught for years.
Lucy Diamond because I am a fan of her books and would like to chat with her about how she comes up with her ideas and achieves her writing pace. (She also knows some good cocktail recipes!)
Mhairi McFarlane, because I enjoy the sense of humour in her novels and think she would be good to chat book plots and inspiration with.

12) Imagine Crazy Over You would be turned into a movie, who would you cast for the main characters?

I was asked this question during a live chat recently and rather than change the answer I gave on the spur of the moment I am going to stick with it: During the 1980s / 1990s there was an American television show called Thirtysomething. I LOVED that show; it had quite a big influence on my life! If I were casting Abby and Simon I’d like them played by Mel Harris and Ken Olin, as they were when Thirtysomething was being made – only in clothes more suited to today!

13) I read that you are a copywriter for commercial websites and you’ve been a teacher. Can you tell us more about both jobs?

I started teaching in 1999; it is a job I love. I have worked in a small rural school as well as a larger, more urban, school with a more challenging intake. You never know what the day will have in store and no matter how well planned you are you have to learn to think on your feet and to face whatever challenges come your way. My proudest teaching moment was acting on the stage of the Globe Theatre with my year sixes who were studying Romeo and Juliet, closely followed by them performing an abridged version of the play in Shakespeare’s language to their parents. These days I just do a little supply teaching.

Being a copywriter is one of those jobs that came my way because of my husband’s profession. We have a business related to Internet marketing and lead generation. At times I research and write aspects of websites for the business. As I have become busier with my own writing the role has tended to be largely proofreading work prepared by others. I have learnt all sorts on a range of subjects doing this but I have to say it is not as exciting as writing a novel or as rewarding as teaching.

14) Do your real experiences have an influence on your writing?

Yes, definitely. I think it would be hard not to be influenced in this way. I like to write about what I know and to depict emotions that I, and hopefully others, can identify with.

15) How did you come up with the title for your first book and how was the cover developed?

My book addresses love, lust, loyalty and living happily ever after in a long-term relationship. I think most relationships go through phases; there are times when you can feel completely crazy, head over heals in love, and times when you can feel aspects of your partner or relationship might literally drive you crazy. I wanted a title that would reflect that. From the moment it popped into my mind Crazy Over You felt right.

My cover image was created by, the very talented illustrator, Drew Bristow. Originally it was to be a photograph of a woman with doodles round her head to represent the confusion in her mind. Part of the way through work on this I decided I wanted an original design, with an image that would work towards building a brand for future books. I sent a brief and Drew came back to me with the image of the girl I have now. Matador agreed the design and created the wording. I am really pleased with the overall look.

16) Coffee or tea?
Tea, with the only exception being when I am visiting my good friend Rebecca, who serves the best coffee!

17) Paperback or e-reader?
I do love a paperback but convenience and the fact I can read at night without keeping the light on (keeping my husband awake) means e-reader has won me over.

18) Mountains or the sea?

19) Summer or winter?
Winter, though Autumn is actually my favourite season.

20) Sweet or salty?
Sweet always!
Author Bio:

Carol Thomas lives on the south coast of England with her husband and four children. She enjoys taking on a challenge and writing her novel, Crazy Over You, while looking after her children and working part-time has proved to be one of her most exciting challenges to date. Carol has taught in the primary sector for fifteen years and works as a copywriter for commercial websites. She has a passion for reading, writing and people watching and can often be found loitering in local cafés, drinking too much tea and working on her second novel.

To find out more about books by Carol Thomas:


To buy Crazy Over You:

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