Tuesday 28 November 2017

BLOG TOUR ~ Know Me Now by CJ Carver ~ Q&A

Hi Everyone,

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for CJ Carver Blog Tour where I welcome CJ to my blog where she has kindly taken part in a Q&A session with me. I was thrilled to be asked by Emily Burns from Bonnier Zaffre Books to take part along with some other fab book bloggers. You can find out who else is taking part in this fabulous Blog Tour at the end of the guest post so without further ado, here is the Q&A:

When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?

When I was ten, on holiday in Scotland, I announced to my parents that I was going upstairs to write a book.  Neither looked up from their Agatha Christies, but I remember my father saying, ‘That sounds like a good idea.’  I started my “book” but after the first page realised I didn’t have much of a story and how difficult it was going to be!  I gave up.  When I toddled downstairs after about an hour, Mum and Dad never mentioned it, which meant I didn’t have to get defensive over it! 

I eventually fell into writing, but only because I followed my dream: to drive from London to Saigon.  On my return from the 14,500-mile journey, I was asked to write an article for Car Magazine, so I trotted to my local Waterstones and bought a book How to Write and Sell Travel Articles.  It was probably the worst article I ever wrote, but it got published and, amazingly, I got paid.  I’d enjoyed writing it so much I approached other outlets with my story and ended up becoming a travel writer which eventually led me to writing my first novel.

What is your work schedule like when you're writing?

I find I settle into a routine that works pretty well for me, which doesn’t exhaust me and allows for some creative space.  My morning walk is the most important time, when I find ideas really start to flow (I always take a notebook with me).  Back home, I clear my desk of admin (or I start thinking about tedious things like paying bills instead of writing) and get stuck in.  I write for 5-6 hours and by then evening’s drawing in and I’m pretty tired.  I always finish mid-sentence, or in the middle of a scene, so I can get back into it quickly the next day.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I have a quirk, but I don’t think it’s particularly interesting!  After I’ve re-read and had a swift editor of what I’ve written the day before, I am about to start writing … just about to start that first sentence of the day … and I have to go and make a cup of tea. I have no idea why I do this!  (Maybe it’s a creative pause?  Or am I just thirsty?!)

Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

I glean things from newspapers, real-life adventure stories, and also use things from my own experience.  For example, I found myself on the horns of a dilemma one day when a friend of mine turned up on my doorstep wanting to hide from the police.  It turned out they were an addict – which I’d had no idea about – and had broken into an office to steal money.

My friend was a mess.  I brought them in, made them a cuppa, and talked.  Boy, did we talk.  I was fortunate that I didn’t have to call the police because my friend turned themselves in. But if they hadn’t… what would I have done?  How would I have felt if I’d called the police, or if I’d continued to harbour a criminal?

These questions inspired the friendships in Know Me Now, where I explore the dynamics of long-life friendship especially how loyal people can be and what they might do when the chips are down.

How do you develop your plots and characters?

It’s a bit like cooking without a recipe.  I start with the main ingredient, say someone is arrested, or there’s a murder, then I start to add the other ingredients like how they were arrested (did they run and were captured?) or how they were murdered (was it particularly brutal?).  I like to know who the main villain is at the outset, so I know their motivations and how far they’ll go to protect themselves.

Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

The best mail I got was from a lady in Bristol who asked if I minded her calling her new-born daughter after my character, news reporter, India Kane.  She said if her baby girl grew up with half of India’s attributes, she’d be a happy mum.  Amazingly, twelve years later I met her daughter -  the real India! – and she wants to be a reporter!

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