Thanks for joining us Karen. What can you tell us about your latest novel, The Chateau?
Thank you so much for your invitation Sophie, it’s a real pleasure to be here. I was so pleased when you won Romance Blogger of the year at the Festival of Romance Fiction’14. You really deserve it.
I am delighted to introduce my second book, The Chateau. It is still a contemporary romance but one character is a very unsettled spirit who is influencing the path of other characters – particularly the main ones, Gina and Ollie.
Where did your inspiration come from for The Chateau?
It sounds bizarre but I had a really vivid dream which almost brought me to tears. I woke up and wrote down the essence of it but it haunted me for days so naturally I felt, she wanted her story told. She was persistent in fact and so, Agnes-Francesia was created. It was pure coincidence that her story developed at a beautiful chateau in Switzerland. I have written a blog which tells the background in more detail here.
The concept of The Chateau is quite different from The Vineyard - was that intentional and are you nervous about the change, given the positive reviews The Vineyard received?
The concept is different but exciting. As you can gather, it wasn’t really intentional, rather an intuition. Gina’s story unfolds from her own contemporary relationship struggles and those which occur within her family but the impact Agnes-Francesca has on her changes the course of her life. Sophie, I am so nervous because it may be received differently. The Vineyard has had excellent reviews. I suppose every author goes through this with each book but I’ll have to wait until the reviews are posted – says biting her nails!
What did you find most challenging about writing The Chateau?
Just writing it. Again, I’m sure many authors writing their second book find it is their first real big challenge! After the luxury of years writing, or at least, playing with a first novel, time is a big issue with a second particularly when you are working to deadlines and you’re grasping having to learn how all the social media works to market the first book. Thankfully, I’m getting better at managing my time.
If you were casting The Chateau into a movie, and you had the whole acting world at your feet, who would you cast?
Was there a moment when you just knew you wanted to be an author, or was it more of a gradual thing? When did it all begin for you?
Once I began commuting to London, I had the luxury of reading more. I was eighteen or nineteen. I was reading a novel and naively thought I could do better than this! Of course, I couldn’t but it ignited my drive to write. I was married at nineteen and had my first child when I was twenty two, followed by twins sixteen months later so, although I never lost the desire, I only wrote when I could snatch the time.
Your books so far have been set in beautiful destinations – taking us to France and now Switzerland – which sounds like a good excuse for some holidaying (for inspiration, of course). How does the setting of your book fit in to the process of writing your book?
A setting often inspires a character. Many places I’ve visited over the years have a character and a germ of their story has been created. However, with The Vineyard it was the settings of Provence and Cannes which sparked Lizzie, the main character. With The Chateau, it was the character, Agnes-Francesia who emerged first. I didn’t have a clue where she was in my dream but once I had carried out some research, I returned to Montreux and visited Chateau de Chillon and the story came alive.
Did you learn anything from the writing and publication of The Vineyard that you took into your next book The Chateau?
From editing The Vineyard, and the comments from my editor, I tried to dig deeper into the character’s motivations first before I started writing The Chateau. There is still so much more to learn so I hope my writing improves with each book. With the publication, I’ve had to learn about marketing an EBook because it’s simply not on a shelf in the local bookstore or supermarket for people to pick up. Again, this has been a learning process and I have been better prepared for my next.
What are your feelings on social media? Do you think it's a help or a hindrance to your work, or both?
It is definitely a necessity for an author to be on social media as it’s a huge vehicle for raising awareness of their work. Having said that, it is time consuming when you are busy writing but, I’ve met the most amazing people through social media so, in answering your question, social media is both.
Do you get much time to read yourself? If so, what are some of your recent favourite books?
I don’t get much time to read but I could never stop reading. Like you Sophie, I love it and, continue to learn from other writers. I’ve recently enjoyed reading Sue Watson’s Love, Lies and Lemon Cake, Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mocking Bird, Rebecca Raisin’s The Bookshop on the Corner, Katie Oliver’s Prada and Prejudice and Billie Jones’ Mexican Kimono. All so adorable and, my TBR pile is growing!
What's the best piece of writing advice you've ever been given?
It was the advice from my Tutor, Elaine Everest at The Write Place, my creative writing class who very wisely told me, ‘You take all the time and trouble to write something, you should complete it and send it out.’
Can you tell us anything about what might be to come next?
So many readers have asked for it Sophie, so I’m currently planning a sequel to The Vineyard.
On the shores of stunning Lake Geneva, Gina Remy is celebrating her brother’s wedding – when the figure of a woman appears hovering above the water, beckoning to her. Ghostly visitations do not happen to Gina - a self-confessed control freak with her own successful property business, she prides herself on being level-headed. But as she is tormented by dreams and visions, her perfect life begins to unravel, and she knows she needs to help this ghost find peace if she’s to get any of her own!
Enter Ollie Martin, an Anglo-Swiss property developer who’s sexy as hell and knows it. His arrogance annoys Gina, but he’s the only one who will take her seriously… and the closer they come to understanding the quest the ghost has set for them, the closer they get to one another…
Amazon UK | Amazon US | Amazon AU | Kobo
Twitter | Facebook | Website | Goodreads
a Rafflecopter giveaway