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Putting Authors in the Picture #22: Carole Matthews

Liz Robinson

By Liz Robinson on 6th July 2020

The photos for Carole Matthews Author in the Picture blog feature are just as warm, bright, and wonderful as her books. Carole Matthews is a LoveReading team favourite. Her books are ultimate feel-good reads yet they come with real life dilemmas and issues, ensuring they are as relatable as can be. Her description of her writing spot made me smile, brick wall and all. The Billy bookcase shelves are piled wonderfully high with books (who else knew that fact about the bookcases?)! My eyes are still boggling at the memorable book event picture, and all I can say is: “yum". If you’ve read or are planning to read her latest book, the totally gorgeous Sunny Days and Sea Breezes, then you’ll definitely want to see the photo of the location that has inspired Carole. Oh my, aren’t those boats a dream, the setting for the book really did help take me away on a virtual holiday. Finally, in her last photo, we would just like to say that of course we believe you Carole, and we love your coffee (or tea) mug too.

Carole Matthews is the Sunday Times bestselling author of thirty-two novels, including the Top Ten bestsellers Let's Meet on Platform 8, A Whiff of Scandal, For Better, For Worse, A Minor Indiscretion, With or Without You, The Cake Shop in the Garden, Paper Hearts and Summer Kisses, A Cottage by the Sea, The Chocolate Lovers' Club, The Chocolate Lovers' Christmas, The Chocolate Lovers' Wedding, Million Love Songs, Christmas Cakes & Mistletoe Nights and Happiness for Beginners. Carole has also been awarded the RNA Outstanding Achievement Award. Her novels dazzle and delight readers all over the world.

For all the latest news from Carole, visit www.carolematthews.com, follow Carole on Twitter (@carolematthews) and Instagram (matthews.carole) or join the thousands of readers who have become Carole's friend on Facebook (carolematthewsbooks).

Favourite book cover to date.

This cover for Paper Hearts and Summer Kisses. The book is based on the true story of my friend, Christine and her son. It was such a joy to work on and Christine and I did lots of lovely promotions together involving crafting – a passion that she introduced me to. It will always be up there amongst my favourites. 

Favourite reading or writing spot.

I would love to be one of those authors who can happily write in coffee shops, but I can’t do it. I’m too easily distracted by conversations from the next table! I also had a summerhouse built thinking that it would make me very productive to be able to work in the garden with a lovely view and all I did was fall asleep. So, it’s in my office, at my desk, brick wall in front of me, Radio Two on in the background, otherwise, I never get anything done. 

The bookshelf you return to again and again.

With over 110 million sold since it was designed forty years ago, it’s claim is to be the most purchased piece of furniture in modern history – the IKEA Billy book case. And I think most of them are in my house. I had my home re-vamped a couple of years ago and made a little snug where I go to read and watch telly. I’m a life-long insomniac, so it’s lovely to have a cosy place to go to where I can while away the wee small hours with my favourite books while the world sleeps.

A booky photo that makes you really smile.

My book Happiness for Beginners is based on a real farm called Animal Antiks. For part of the promotions, we shot a video there with a fab poetry and music duo called The Antipoet. Paul Eccentric, the one without the bass, wrote the poems for me that appear in the book and they performed one of them for the shoot along with a lot of my friends who’d been roped in for the day to hang onto misbehaving animals. It was a bitterly cold January day, but it was such fun. I’m currently writing a sequel to it, so I hope there will be more animal high-jinks to come! 

A location that has inspired you.

My latest book, Sunny Days and Sea Breezes, is set on the Isle of Wight. We rented a posh houseboat in Bembridge Harbour and had an amazing time. I fell in love with houseboat life and also the island. Such a beautiful place and is like an old-fashioned slice of England. I love the small scale of it all. Needless to say, I instantly wanted to set a book there and we returned again to do the research for the book. I did, however, completely mess with the geography of the Isle of Wight and Cockleberry Bay is a combination of a few lovely beach locations that I checked out there. I hope this will give my readers a virtual holiday if they can’t get away this year. 

The photo that best sums up your author journey.

A few years ago, when my publisher, Little, Brown, moved into new offices, they had a fabulous mural painted on their walls naming authors past and present. I had no idea when I started out twenty-three years ago, that I’d end up ‘immortalised’ on a publishers’ wall – unless they decide to give it a do-over with a tin of magnolia. I’m by the lift on the 5th floor, if you ever happen to pop in. 

Your most memorable book event.

For my book, The Cake Shop in the Garden, my publisher created an edible garden in Russell Square, London. The walls were made from fruit bread and Bourbon biscuits, the climbing roses were made by a celebrity florist in royal icing and the ‘soil’ was chocolate crumb. So delightful – and tasty! It was a glorious day, the sun shone, over a thousand of my readers turned up from all over the country, many of them in gorgeous floral dresses and bearing homemade cake. It was such a wonderful day and I still enjoy looking at the photographs. 

A photo that sums up your love for the written word.

This is the most camp author photo I’ve ever had taken but I love it. Surrounded by my books, it makes me realise how much I’ve written. I’m now thirty-four books and counting and need to update the photo. 

Your favourite reading or writing snacks and beverages.

I’ve been doing a daily Coffee with Carole chat on Facebook Live during lockdown as I know a lot of my readers live alone, It’s literally where I grab a five-minute coffee break to chat to people – about books, but all kinds of random stuff too. But what usually sustains me during the day is lots of Rooibos tea taken without milk. I probably drink over twenty cups of tea a day and we have our own ginormous tea urn for two of us! I also love chocolate and that’s my daily treat – usually Lindt A Touch of Salt Dark chocolate. However, I have some posh ones for this week – Sipsmith Gin Truffles. Gin is my favourite tipple once the writing is finished. I’d also like you to believe that I always have an artfully arranged rose on my desk.

If you enjoyed this why not check out our other 'Putting Authors/Illustrators in the Picture' Features?

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