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Having penned nearly 30 novels, Carole reveals her favourite character is Lucy Lombard because “she is a warm-hearted, accident-prone, chocolate fiend”.
We all know real life is messy. Carole, life expert extraordinaire, writes about love as it is – complicated with all its indiscretions, compromising positions and, not forgetting, those happy endings that are so hard to achieve.
Carole talks to Mary Hogarth about her prolific output, her latest novel The Chocolate Lovers’ Wedding and what she reads for fun.
How did The Chocolate Lovers’ Wedding evolve?
Some years ago I wrote two books, The Chocolate Lovers’ Club and The Chocolate Lovers’ Diet, which were my most popular books worldwide. I thought I’d finished with the group of friends who were the characters in the books, but they always seemed to be at the back of my mind and I kept wondering what had happened to them.
Then one day, a reader tweeted me to say ‘Write more about the chocolate lovers’ ladies’ and I forwarded it to my editor. She tweeted back to say ‘I’m in!’ and it was as easy as that.
It was lovely to pick up with these characters again. I feel as if I know them so well. I wrote The Chocolate Lovers’ Christmas and when I’d finished the book I knew there was more to come! Hence The Chocolate Lovers’ Wedding.
Your favourite character in the book is?
It has to be Lucy Lombard, a warm-hearted, accident-prone, chocolate fiend.
She is way too much like me. Always well-intentioned, never quite getting it right.
How do you craft your characters?
The way I start my novel is by creating big background stories for my characters.
I know who they are, how they were brought up and all their secrets. But I hardly ever use this information in the book. It just means that when I start writing I know them better than you ever would a real-life friend.
Will there be a fifth Chocolate Lovers’ novel?
I’m at the point, again, where I think I’ve finished with them.
Actually, I made myself laugh writing that, as I probably haven’t . . . The story could definitely go on and I do love these ladies. But I think I’ll do as I did before and put them aside for a few years and see what happens.
There are other books I need to write first!
What are you working on now?
I’m just finishing my second edit of a book that is due out in January 2017. I haven’t got a title yet and I can’t say too much other than that it’s been a joy to write.
Tell us about your daily writing routine?
People often ask me how I manage to write two books a year and the answer is always very dull! I start work about 8am then write to 1pm.
I have an hour for lunch during which I read a tabloid newspaper, which is a great source of stories. Then I work until about six.
I try hard not to work at weekends.
There’s no magic bullet to getting novels written. You just have to put your botty on your chair in front of the computer for a long time.
At the moment you are reading. . .
I’ve embarked on the whole Game of Thrones series which I’m loving as I’m a big fan of the television series, but I’m having to intersperse it with shorter books.
I’ve just finished Mr Mercedes by Stephen King. I was a big Stephen King fan in my teens, but haven’t read one of his books in ages and this was a choice from the book club I belong to. I’ve absolutely loved it.
Stephen King’s writing is beyond compare – it’s sharp, witty, gripping.
He’s the ultimate commercial writer. The way he draws his characters is second to none and I’m so glad I read this. Of course, I’m going to have to read the sequel now.
What would you like to be doing in five years?
Walking up hills in the Lake District with some sandwiches and a good book in my backpack.
A preview of Carole’s latest book The Chocolate Lovers’ Wedding is available as an eBook or in print. For more details about her books, life and recipes visit www.carolematthews.com