Welcome to Port Jericho! Today we are interviewing Caroline Cairn, author of Forever and One Week, available here:
Getting to Know You
*Caroline, where are you from?
I’ve lived in France for the first twenty-two years of my life, but I’ve been settled in Scotland since 2001.
*Tell us a little about yourself: education, family life, etc.
I am married, and have two children of primary school age. I had studied hotel management and I had planned to travel around Europe for a short while to improve my level of English, and thus, my chances of employment in France. But I met my husband, who is also French, while we were both working in a hotel in Ireland. That put a spin on things, because neither of us have returned to our home country since (apart from holidays that is).
*What hobbies do you have, other than writing?
I am a very open person and I love discovering new and original things. Quirky stuff and quirky people are the most interesting to me, so I enjoy finding out about music that isn’t played on the radio (mainly symphonic metal and alternative rock, but I also like slow and heartfelt songs) for example. I enjoy reading (obviously), digital fantasy art and baking.
And even though I had to put a stop to it since having kids, spontaneous travelling, whether close or far, is still one of my favourite activities.
*What are your favourite TV shows/films?
I tend to favour comedies such as the Big Bang Theory and Family Guy. Movies on my best loved lists are the Green Mile, Muriel’s Wedding, the Lord of the Rings trilogy and the Life of David Gale.
*Is there one person past or present you would like to meet and why?
Despite admiring some celebrities like I would any other man or woman I know personally, I’ve never been a proper “fan” of any of them, so I would pick a member of my family: my grand-father. He died when my mum was seven and I’d love to meet him.
*If you could have any superpower, what would it be and how would you use it?
Maybe not a superpower as such, but having never-ending luck would be awesome. Luck defines everything. You can never lose, never fail, never get sick. I would use it each and every day, and would gift it for specific event to friends and family!
*Are you a pirate or a ninja?
Without a doubt, a ninja. I think they’re way cooler.
*Who is your favorite author? What is it that really strikes you about their work?
I’d have to say Agatha Christie. She might have written books decades ago, but her stories still flow perfectly. There are no long-winded, boring description or complicated, headache-giving plot line, yet the atmosphere is undeniable, and the characters full of life. Her writing style looks deceptively effortless, which makes reading just as effortless. And that’s what I think makes a great writer.
*Do you recall the first book you ever read?
My mother encouraged me to read from a young age, and I was fluent at six (cue smug face), so I don’t quite remember my first book…
*What are your favourite books? Why?
The ones whose storyline surprises me. If it reads too closely to another book I have already read, I will be bored to tears, even if the novel is written well. I also tend to prefer character driven rather than plot driven stories, so if the characters are well fleshed out and multi-faceted, I will forgive a weaker plot, but I won’t forgive cliché and unrealistic characters, even if the plot is sensational.
Sci-fi and historicals are the only two genres I avoid.
*What book(s) are you reading now?
The Daydreamer Detective by S. J. Pajonas
*What new authors have captured your attention, or captivated your heart?
Simone St James. I love how she mixes the genres: her novels are set in 1940’s England, and are built around a central mystery tied in with paranormal elements and romance. Her characters are realistic, mature and engaging, and the pace of her stories is flawless. My favourite book of hers is Silence for the Dead.
*What’s your favourite word? Why?
Holidays! Do I really need to explain why?
*Are there any words you absolutely loathe? Why?
I can’t think of any. Words are words.
The Write Life
*What books have most influenced you?
Every time I need a boost for writing, I read passages of Pet Sematary. Stephen King’s style has taught me so much about how to make scenes and characters come alive on the page.
*Do you have a mentor who has shepherded or encouraged your creativity?
Not as such, no, but many people have encouraged and helped me along the way, and their experience and advice have been invaluable.
*Who has been your strongest support for your writing?
My husband. His words of encouragement have paved my writing journey, and he always keeps my spirits and motivation up. He also reminds me to be patient in this competitive business.
*When, and how, did you discover your love of writing?
As a teen, when we were asked to write essays which at the time, were nothing less than very short fiction stories. They developed my interest for writing and I drafted a few short novels in my bedroom, pen to paper (no computer in my time!).
*When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I finished my second full length book. It proved to me that I was serious about the craft, and had gone further than a whimsy attempt at a first and final novel.
*Tell us a bit about your writing style?
I tend to prefer short sentences, staccato style, and my descriptions are to the point rather than long-winded.
*What inspired you to write your first book?
I wrote a contemporary romance with some fantasy/paranormal elements woven through, because at the time, I couldn’t find anything like that to read.
*What challenges do you face in your writing?
I think the biggest challenge is that I’m not a native English speaker. Even though I’ve been living in Scotland for the past 15 years, my mother tongue seems to take over when I’m searching for the perfect word to use in a specific sentence. I have no idea why the words come to me in French first because it only happens when I’m writing!
*What is your ideal writing time?
In the morning. I’m refreshed from a good night sleep, I’ve sometimes planned some scenes in my head while in bed and my motivation is at its peak.
*Do you have a special place to write? Tell us a bit about it.
Dare I say I write in my son’s bedroom because it’s the only room in the house with a desk in it? I’m surrounded with toys and football posters…
*What writing tools do you prefer?
I write on a laptop without any fancy programs (I use Word) and the Synonym Search on Google is my most used tool as I plod along on a first draft!
*Do you have any writing superstitions, or good luck charms?
I’m not superstitious at all. I also tend to be a pessimist rather than an optimist, so I wouldn’t trust good luck charms.
*What advice can you offer to other writers?
Inform yourself. Read writing blogs and books, scrutinize your favourite author’s style, and listen to impartial advice from beta readers and reviewers. There is a lot more to the writing craft than I first imagined and I’m still learning every day.
*How did you come up with the title Forever and One Week?
The series involve an eternal bond between a Spirit and his human, hence the “forever”. I had used this word in my first book, and I thought it would tie the whole series together. The “and one week” refers to the one-week deal offered by my heroine to her Spirit.
*Who designed the cover for Forever and One Week?
Bree Archer, from breearcher.com
*What are your current works in progress?
I am taking a break from the Spirits of Saoradh series, to pen down a contemporary romance, titled “Recipe for disaster”. I haven’t ironed out the details yet as I’ve written maybe ten per cent of the first draft, but it features a successful writer and his private chef. When they decide to pretend of a love relationship between them, they expect their lie to remain trivial and useful to the both of them, but their deception will soon spiral out of control.
*Would you be willing to share a little of this current work in progress with us?
Please bear in mind that this is a first draft. It hasn’t been edited yet.
Faded jeans and long sleeve top on, Lacey gathered her chef’s whites neatly on the bed, retrieved the shopping list, and set out for the exit.
“Elena is wonderful, Hunter,” the female voice said. “She’s smart, polite and very classy. Stop being such a mule. Give her a chance. And I’ve already organized a meeting, so you can’t refuse.”
An older woman, silver hair tied up in a neat bun, was smoking in the hall. Heavy lipstick marked the cigarette, and dark eye-shadow defined her eyes. Her chic grey suit and patterned scarf denoted money and style. Hunter stood in front of her, his annoyance visible.
“Grams, why do you keep insisting on pairing me up with every eligible woman who crosses your path? I told you, oh, a hundred times, I am not interested. I’m big enough to sort out my own love life, thank you.”
She shushed him with a dismissive wave. “At your age, I was already married to my second husband.”
“See how well it served you,” he grumbled. “And I’m not going to that freaking meeting. End of.”
She pulled on her cigarette and blew smoke high. “So you prefer banging your half-witted floozies rather than make an intelligent woman your respectable wife?”
Hunter crossed his arms. “One, you know why I don’t want to marry again.”
“Two, you have no right to tell me how to live my life. What I do and who I bang, as you call it, is my business, not yours. Three, you’re the most pathetic matchmaker I’ve ever met. Your taste in women sucks.”
“Sure, because your choices have been so enlightened.”
“That’s rich coming from you. How many men have you married and divorced again? Remind me.”
“I’ve loved them all, Hunter, which is more than I can say for you and your women.”
“Are you insinuating that I’m a cold blooded pig?”
Back hunched, Lacey lifted her heels to avoid the clacking of her shoes and prayed to remain inconspicuous by hugging the wall. She caught Hunter’s glance but he didn’t seem to care.
“There’s another reason why I can’t meet this Elena,” he said.
“Oh, really?” She pulled on her cigarette. “And what dumb new excuse have you found?”
“I have a girlfriend already.”
He had? Lacey couldn’t stop a weight falling on her chest and squashing her over-zealous hormones. So much for an eligible bachelor. Not that anything could have happened between them since he was her employer, but she hadn’t dismissed some light flirting, outside working hours. Why were handsome men always taken?
She sighed. Never mind. As long as he enjoyed her cooking and learnt to broaden his culinary experience, she’d be satisfied. She had her hand on the metal handle, ready to push it and leave, when she heard the next sentences.
“Her, by the door.”
*Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Apart from “I hope you enjoy the book so much that you’re going to tell everyone you know, including smelly Auntie Mary, your nosy hairdresser, and that new girl who started work today”? No…