Good morning Carol and welcome. Can I start, as always, by asking you a little about yourself?
Good morning, Jo, and many thanks for inviting me round. I live in London and Cambridge, with my new husband and our ginger cat, and I’ve got two novels to my name, the latest being Hampstead Fever. My novels came after a string of non-fiction books, most of them on health and parenting. I have three sons, including twins, which obviously inspired some of my books. “The boys” are all grown up now, and they haven’t turned out too badly.
You qualified as a doctor, are a medical journalist and have published several parenting guides. How did the switch to writing fiction come about?
I’ve always wanted to write fiction, but I was busy with non-fiction books and health journalism, not to mention being a doctor, so it was difficult to find the time. The creative urge was there all along, though, and eventually I could ignore it no longer. By the time I set out to write a novel, I had a reasonable grasp of the process of producing a book. But, of course, it wasn’t plain sailing. The proof is a drawer full of manuscripts that will never see the light of day.
Your novels are set in London. Are you planning to use this as a base for future stories or would you ever be tempted to use another city?
I enjoy using London, especially North London, as a setting for my novels, but as I also live in Cambridge, you can expect a little more of East Anglia to feature in a future book. I prefer writing about what I know, so I’d never use somewhere I didn’t know well as a location. One of the books I am planning at the moment will be set mostly in Egypt. I grew up in Alexandria and my memories of it are still vivid.
There are a few well known writers who have switched genre – Rom Com to Thriller or Crime is one example. If you were asked to write something other than Contemporary Fiction, what would be your choice?
I’m in awe of anyone who can write a good thriller. I’m not nearly devious or clever enough myself. If I were to choose another genre, I’d go for something completely different. I love writing dialogue, so I think it would be a screenplay.
Can you tell us something about your current WIP?
I’m actually writing two more books. One is the novel I mentioned which is set mainly in Egypt. Unusually for me, the story will unfold from just one point of view. The other book I’m working on will take many of the characters from Hampstead Fever and let them experience changes in their careers, their relationships, and their family lives. Like my first two novels, it’ll be a multi-viewpoint story, with both male and female voices. I like getting inside people’s heads. Maybe that’s the doctor in me.
Describe your writing room. Do you prefer to write in silence or with background music? If the latter, have you any favourites?
I have in the past written under all sorts of conditions. Some of my parenting books were produced two feet away from a computer where my children played Command and Conquer, at full blast. At times I’ve found it productive to write with music on, especially choral music, but nowadays I prefer utter silence. Because I write my first draft in pencil on paper, I can do it in most places. That usually means on the sofa in my living room, but in good weather it can equally be by the banks of the Cam.
And lastly, you’re holding a dinner party and can invite four famous people. Who would they be and why would you choose them?
Barack Obama, Prince Harry, Howard Jacobson and Kate Atkinson. Three of them (Obama, Jacobson and Atkinson) are terrific writers, and they’re all warm, witty and articulate. I think they would each have some great stories to share, which would make for a memorable evening.
Carol Cooper is a writer and doctor. She is a journalist for The Sun newspaper, broadcasts on TV and radio, and has a string of non-fiction books to her name including an award-winning textbook of medicine. Now she writes novels all about complex characters looking for love.
Blog Pills & Pillow-Talk (URL: http://pillsandpillowtalk.com)
Facebook author page Carol Cooper’s London novels (URL is https://www.facebook.com/onenightatthejacaranda/)
Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram @DrCarolCooper
Summertime and the living is…. complicated.
Ex-con Dan should be blissfully happy. He has the woman of his dreams and a job in a trendy Hampstead bistro. But his over-anxious partner Laure, engrossed in their baby, has no time for him.
After surviving serious illness, Sanjay’s got his life back. Now he wants adventure. Where does that leave girlfriend Harriet?
Casual sex with the football coach makes up Karen’s love live. As a single mum of four, romance is on her to-do list, just below laundry.
Stressed doctor Geoff finds solace in the arms of a mercurial actress. But why does she seem intent on upsetting everyone?
In a London heatwave, six people’s emotions rise to boiling point. And the fever spreads.
Widely available in UK bookshops and as an ebook:
Barnes & Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hampstead-fever-carol-cooper/1123868072
Google Play https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Carol_Cooper_Hampstead_Fever?id=A6FJDAAAQBAJ