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Putting Authors in the Picture #30: Caroline Bond

Caroline Bond writes the most fabulous novels with the focus on family drama. We have been fans of Caroline since her first novel The Second Child, and we also reviewed the emotionally haunting yet compassionate One Split Second. Her latest book, The Legacy is penetrating, intense and features as a LoveReading Star Book, it successfully cements Caroline as an author not to be missed. She finds and displays the little nuggets of humanity within a character that can be often be overlooked, but in fact make them as complex and believable as can be. I love her stimulating and dramatically readable novels, they come with a highly recommended stamp of approval from me. I am delighted to welcome Caroline as our Author in the Picture, her photos are full of personality, and having just read The Legacy, I can particularly appreciate Scarborough. I do love to peruse a good book shelf or two, I see there are some novels there that mirror my own. Oh, and Caroline, I’m sorry, but I will admit to doing a double take when I saw Richard, bless him!

Caroline is the author of four books. Her latest, The Legacy, is set in her childhood home town of Scarborough. She has been making up stories since she was a child. Her ambition to be a screenwriter lead her into writing novels after a long, interesting career in research which saw her spend time in a wide range of environments, from prisons to the Institute of Directors.

She writes about family in all its glory, complexity and awfulness.

The book that made me want to be a writer. 

That book was The Citadel by A J Cronin, which, as a teenager, I borrowed from our local library. It’s the first novel that truly stirred my emotions and encouraged me to think about what a caring society really means. It’s full of anger, compassion and commitment to a noble ideal. It proved to me that stories can be powerful. 

It was also the a narrative that shaped my political beliefs. 

A location that has inspired me.

I grew up in Scarborough, which I loved as a kid – beaches, all-year-round ice-cream, chips with lashes of salt and vinegar, what’s not to love - and left as soon as I could as a young adult - end of the line, no prospects, small town mentalities etc.  Yes, I was very up myself as a eighteen year old.

But it will always be my home town. 

It’s where I had my first kiss and was dumped for the first time - different boys before you ask - it’s where we took our own children on summer holidays for years, it’s where my parents ashes are scattered and it’s the setting for my fourth book, The Legacy

With age, my affection for - and appreciation of - the place has grown. It has a shabby grandeur and a wildness that makes me happy every time I return to it.

My favourite writing snack and beverage.

I’m with Joanne Harris on this one. It has to be tea. A Tetley’s tea bag, squeezed hard against the inside of mug, with no milk. I cannot be doing with Earl Grey or fruit teas. The sheer smell of Rooibos, as drunk by my husband, makes me nauseous. There is always a half drunk mug of tea on my desk. Oh, and very occasionally there’s also an empty mini roll wrapper, or two, if I’m having a bad day.

Inspired by Stephen King - having read On Writing - I did once try working with a open bottle of red wine, but I soon discovered that I’m random enough as it is without adding alcohol to the mix.

My favourite writing spot.

A lot of writing is really thinking and I think best when I run. We have some lovely, challenging, off-road routes near us. The muddier and hillier the better seems to be my creative equation. 

In terms of getting words on the page, any location will do; my room of my own, a café, a bench, a train, a waiting room. I find a mix of longhand first drafting and laptop editing works best for me.

The book shelf you return to again and again.

These are our ‘nice’ bookshelves in the dining room. The cheap Ikea ones are upstairs. As you can see we are double-layering. A carpenter is booked to come and build some new ones in the other alcove very soon.

I love buying, receiving and borrowing physical books, but my Kindle is equally backed up.  

An object that has inspired you.

This will creep many of you out, but let me introduce you to Richard. Yes, I know he’s looking a little battered and bruised, but he is in his mid-fifties now. He also seems to have lost his trousers!

Richard represents my first attempts at storytelling, namely playing with my dolls. I truly believe that the God-like experience of making up dramatic scenarios for my Barbies, teddies and Richard was a good apprenticeship for being a novelist. I vividly remember moving my created universes under the cover of darkness when I was about ten because I thought I should have grown out of playing with dolls by then. It took another thirty plus years for me to come out of the closet. 

Richard sits on the windowsill by my desk to remind me that making up stories is an instinctive human activity.

Keep up to date with Caroline Bond

Twitter: @Bond2Caroline

Facebook: @CarolineBondAuthor 

If you enjoyed this, check out more titles by Caroline Bond. You can also visit the Author Talk section of our blog to find more Author Q&As and 'Putting Authors in the Picture' features.

Recent Putting Authors in the Picture include:

#29 - Keith Stuart

#28 - Graham Masterton

#27 - Stuart MacBride

#26 - Joanne Harris

#25 - Bridget Collins

#24 - Chris Hammer

#23 - Michael Robotham

#22 - Carole Matthews 

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