Apr 10, 2015

Interview: Caroline Roberts


1.            Could you tell a bit more about yourself?

I really enjoy writing contemporary fiction; emotional stories about love, loss, betrayal and family, that explore how complex and yet beautiful love can be. I live in stunning rural Northumberland; its golden beaches, castles and beautiful countryside inspire my writing and provide the setting for my novels.  I dreamed of being a novelist from the age of 18, and have written for many years but went the long route, working in a bank, bringing up my family (I  have two children), and helping to run a holiday park, which I still do now.

2.            What’s your book, The Torn Up Marriage, about?

“The Torn Up Marriage” is about betrayal, complacency, love and loss, and that key instinct to protect your family. But what happens when you tear that family apart? Kate and Michael are about to find out as they cope with the crushing fallout of his affair, whilst trying to look after their two young children. This powerful and poignant novel captures the explosiveness of everyday life and what it is to be human; to make mistakes.

3.            It took a while for you to find a publisher, what's the most important advice you can give people who are in the same situation?

Persevere – the submission process can be long and hard, and rejection is never easy. Try not to take it too personally – easier said than done, I know - but keep going and try and learn from any critical feedback you might get.
Submitting – If publication is your aim, make sure you finish the book, polish up your first 3 chapters, spend time on your synopsis and cover letter, and only then start sending it out. Try and be as professional as possible. Do your research on who you are submitting to – and send exactly what they ask for. (Try the Artists and Writers’ Yearbook and Google). Do try and personalise your cover letter to show you have spent time finding out about them/their company. I spent a long time initially trying to get an agent, but never succeeded, so be aware that you can go to some publishers direct, especially the digital first imprints – they are definitely worth a look for debut writers.

4.            Your book is about a sad and difficult, but beautiful topic, is there a specific reason you've chosen to write about a marriage that is far from perfect?

Yes, I’ve always wanted to write about real-life love, warts and all. Life is messy and love can be hard, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t real love. And I wanted to show how everyone involved would feel, the betrayer as well as the betrayed, the children, the grandparents; the idea just grew. I have had close friends who have been through affairs and break-ups, and in any long term relationship there are ups and downs. I remember the early years when my children were very young being a difficult time. There are so many other factors involved, work, the demands of young children, feeling knackered most of the time, and suddenly you’ve been thrown from being a couple, with time and energy just for each other, into a whole new world.

5.            Writing a sad book that is a joy to read isn't easy, how did you handle that situation?

I’m so glad you found it is a joy to read! I didn’t think about it that much as I was writing to be honest, I just had this story about a really difficult time in a relationship that I wanted to tell. I did find myself crying at my laptop a few times when I had really sunk myself into the emotions of the story, but I also knew that I didn’t want it all sad. There is always light and hope in any situation; I wanted to get that across as well.

6.            What are your plans for the future? Are you working on a new book at the moment?

The next book is already written. I felt like writing something more uplifting with some flirty fun, as well as it touching on some poignant and serious issues too. It was inspired by the wonderful and quirky Tea Rooms at Chillingham Castle - again set in beautiful rural Northumberland. It’s about a girl in her mid-twenties leaving her safe office job in a city and going to run the castle tea rooms for a year, fuelled by her love of baking and her dreams. Of course, there is an extremely handsome estate manager and a gorgeous love story about to unfold.

7.            When and where do you write?

I write mostly at home in my conservatory, it’s very peaceful and I have a lovely view of my garden and country fields beyond that. But I can write anywhere if need be. I always write longhand with a pen and paper first, and then I edit that onto my laptop, every half chapter or so.

8.            How did you celebrate the release of your book?

I had a hectic and lovely publication day back on 5th March. I celebrated with family on my release day as it was my daughter’s Birthday too. We had champagne at home, then cocktails and a meal out, and there was so much buzz on social media, it was hard to keep up with it all. The next evening I celebrated with friends – lots of bubbly, chat and nibbles and they even brought me a cake made with the cover design of the book on! It was a fantastic two days. And a dream come true at last!

9.            The cover of your book is beautiful, did you have any influence on it? 

I was able to give my thoughts on cover design and Harper Impulse came back to me with 3 different covers. This one struck me immediately and it just summed up the “heart” of the book (no pun intended!) with the two hands, male and female, holding each side of the ripped heart. You know it’s going to be a messy love story, but the blue sky in the background also suggests hope and light. The cover design was bold and striking – I loved it straight away. This was the publishers preferred option too.


You can catch up with Caroline on Twitter: @_caroroberts
Facebook: www.facebook.com/CarolineRobertsAuthor
And on her Blog – which has some great advice for new writers:  http://carolinerobertswriter.blogspot.co.uk/
“The Torn Up Marriage” is available on Amazon: http://t.co/uqMDVX57UH
Also on Kobo, Waterstones and Sainsbury’s Online.


3 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. It was so much fun to do and I'm really happy with the replies. I think you'd love the book!

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