Dec 6, 2015

Australia Days: Interview with Carla Caruso

Australia Days interview – Carla Caruso, 

About Carla Caruso

Carla Caruso lives in Adelaide and loves fun, frothy reads. Check out her author blog (pretty please) or her other one,The Un-Italian Wife. Alternatively, peruse herbio. The choice is totes yours. (Yes, sadly, the word, "totes", was used...)


6 Questions by Tanya

1) Could you tell the readers a bit about yourself? 

Sure! I’m a romantic comedy (and sometime cosy mystery) author from Adelaide, Australia. My background’s in print journalism – magazines and newspapers. These days I write fiction whenever my two-year-old twin boys nap (only a few hours a day now!). I also love running, fashion, horoscopes, pop/R&B music, and trashy TV. Oh, and my rescue cat, Luca. 

2) What do you like about Australia? 

It’s home! Family, friends, and all that. Plus, sometimes I like the fact that it’s quite isolated from the rest of the world when scary things happen internationally! I think being one big island also means we’re naturally more casual, laidback kind of people. And I quite like the heat in summer. (Although it’s 38C as I’m writing this and that’s pushing things a little.) 

3) How do you find living with dangerous spiders? 

Haha. There are not that many crawling around in the ‘burbs thankfully. But whenever I spot one, I usually point it out to my husband and get him to dispose of it, ha. Though, I only let him kill it if it’s a nasty, dangerous one. Funnily, the bigger and scarier looking they are, the more harmless most often.

4) Have you ever wanted to live anywhere else? 

New York! I still haven’t got there yet. I’ve lived in Australia’s equivalent of a big city, Sydney. And it actually kind of put me off the big-city thing, though that’s what I’d always dreamed about as a kid. (Adelaide, where I’m from, is a small city – some say more like a big country town.) I’m hoping the Big Apple, when I get there one day, will live up to my movie-like expectations. I also dream of ‘summering’ in Italy or France’s south with the kids, but the long-haul flights are not so fun.

5) What writing process do you use?

 The ‘just keep writing’ process, ha! Having little ones has really made me focused about knuckling down and typing when I have spare time (which is not often enough, unfortunately). I try to write every day if I can manage it – a scene at a time. My background’s in journalism, as I said before, so I can be a bit impatient about working on long-term projects like novels. I want everything finished yesterday. And recently I’ve only been doing one edit of my books before sending them on to a publisher. But I think I need to slow down a little, refine the words some more. What’s the rush? Who am I trying to keep up with? It’s just working out what works best for you. Writing’s a continuous learning curve.

6) What advice do you have for anyone trying to write? 

I think just try to be yourself and don’t think about the market too much when you write or you’ll come across like a phony. Sometimes I’ve tried to fit into that ‘traditional romance/Mills & Boon’ style, because that’s what sells and is so popular, but I don’t feel like I do the emotional angst as well. I’m more of a chick-lit/rom-com kind of girl. I can’t really do serious, so I should leave it to the professionals!

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7 Questions by Suze

1) The female main characters in Pretty Shore are very different, what are the 3 things you like best about Celeste and what are the 3 things you like best about Flip? 

Good question! Hmm… I like that Celeste is a little bit neurotic (because it makes me feel normal!), hates clutter (me, too), and is kind to her friends and family (when they deserve it). Flip is her younger, sometimes surly assistant. I like her rebelliousness, her creativity (she doodles fashion illustrations in her spare time), and the fact that she’s dating a gorgeous polo player/model in book two! Who wouldn’t? 

2) Pretty Shore is set in a glamorous world, where did you get the idea? 

I live in a leafy, prestigious sort of area in Adelaide. But I’ve only spent half my life here, so I still feel like an ‘outsider’ sometimes and find the locals’ quirks amusing – the posh mums’ penchants for white jeans, their inability to drive their Hummer-sized SUVs, and so on. Astonvale’s based a bit around that! In a previous life, I also worked as a newspaper gossip columnist and fashion editor, so I’ve dealt with people from all walks of life who’ve proved inspiring. ;) 

3) Where did you get the inspiration to create the Astonvale series? 

As a writer, you often have little ideas for future stories whirling about in your head, and for some reason, I’d always wanted to do something involving a professional organiser (the kind who de-clutter people’s homes and offices for a living). My mum is also a super neat-freak, and hence, my parents’ house permanently looks like a magazine spread. So, when I read a feature article on local professional organisers, an idea about a clean-freak professional-organiser-turned-amateur-sleuth started clicking into place in my head. I think a TV series here, Mr & Mrs Murder (about a couple who run a crime scene-cleaning business and wind up solving the mysteries), also gave me a creative nudge! 

4) What are your 3 favourite Australian books? 

1. Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta – it’s about an Italian-Australian girl trying to find her place in the world, and really resonated for me as an Italian-Australian teen! (It’s since been made into a movie, starring Pia Miranda.) 

2. Mad About the Boy by Maggie Alderson – Maggie is a former magazine queen turned novelist, and this is a comfort read for me. A little bit of mystery and romance, my two loves! 

3. I recently read that Zoe Foster’s The Wrong Girl is being turned into a TV series here and I’m so inspired (and ultra-jealous). 

5) Mystery and intrigue are themes that are always part of your stories, what do you like so much about them? 

I do like my ‘cosy’ mysteries haha, particularly the TV variety! So long as there’s no blood or gore, and laughter at the end, I’m there. I think it was growing up on series like Murder, She Wrote and Columbo. As a writer, I also like that, by having a mystery or secret running throughout, it keeps a reader hanging on until the thing’s solved. It naturally drives the story forwards and keeps people turning the pages (hopefully). 

6) You write about the rich and famous, what do you like about them? 

My younger sister, Daniella, often buys celebrity-weekly magazines and passes them on. (Actually Daniella’s quite a cool fashion illustrator, like Flip, mentioned earlier – I can’t help devouring the glossies when she hands them over, though I try not to buy them myself or I’d never get anything done! Who wouldn’t want to be sunning themselves on a yacht in Barbados like Beyoncé, or wearing some frothy gown on the red carpet, or being torn between, say, Zac Efron and Tom Hardy? It all looks good from afar. It’s aspirational. Although as a journalist, having done many celebrity interviews, I’m definitely more comfortable hanging out with ‘normal’ people. But I like the idea of the celebrity perks. And the private jets!

7) What are your plans for the future? 

Well, there’s a third in my ‘Astonvale’ series now out, dubbed Pretty Famous – Celeste’s nemesis, interior designer Imogen Karmel, gets her day in the sun alongside Celeste. I also have a short tale, Six-Star Weekend, in a new ebook anthology, Hot Stuff: Surfing Love – And I’m waiting to hear back on a manuscript I’ve written, which draws on my Italian ancestry and market gardening heritage. In the meantime, I’ve been blogging about the research that went into the novel here: Thanks so much for letting me ‘crash’ your lovely blog today!


  1. Great questions Tanya and Suze! Loved the interview. I have looked up Carla's books and I will definitely follow her!

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