Today I’m really thrilled to be hosting author Caroline James on Tuesday Talk…
Good morning Caroline and welcome to Tuesday Talk. Can I begin, by asking you a little about yourself?
Hi Jo, lovely to be on Tuesday Talk today. I was born in Cheshire and have spent my working life in the hospitality industry having run businesses that encompass all aspects. I started life pot washing and waiting table and in time ran my own pub and restaurant and before owning a lovely country house hotel in Cumbria. I am based in the UK but like to travel as much as possible.
How did your writing career begin?
I’ve always wanted to write but never thought I was good enough. I hated school and left at the first opportunity. I’ve had stories in my head all my life but about six years ago, when one refused to go away, I had an epiphany and realised that if I didn’t get it written into a manuscript and publish I would go to my grave wondering what might have been. So, I glued my rear to a chair and grabbed any spare time I could and eventually, Coffee Tea the Gypsy & Me was born and, unable to find a publisher, I self-published and the book went straight to number three in women’s fiction on Amazon. I’ve never looked back and five books later am signed with a brilliant publisher.
What inspired you to write ‘The Best Boomerville Hotel?’
My hotel in Cumbria inspired me. The property was beautiful and set in a lovely village. In my writing, it becomes a fictional hotel that features in some of my books. As I get older I realised that many of my friends struggled with their middle years and beyond. Research told me that one in three people in the UK live on their own and I thought it might be good to create a place where this age group could go and stay and indulge in courses that would enhance their later years. Guests can take pottery, creative writing and cookery etc. or do something whacky like getting stoned with the Shaman in his tepee or learn about clairvoyance in an old gypsy caravan. Since publication I constantly get asked to open a real Boomerville Hotel and if I had the hotel today, I wouldn’t hesitate!
Hattie and Jo’s characters have been central to several of your books. Will we be seeing more of them?
Yes, I am afraid so. As an author, I get the urge to kill off my characters at times but these two refuse to go away. Hattie is a real favourite for so many readers and her larger than life character, zest for life and naughtiness certainly gives me plenty to write about. Jo is drifting into a comfort zone that she longs to burst out of so I will undoubtedly be waking her up going forward.
Can you tell us a little about what you are working on at the moment?
I am currently writing the follow up to The Best Boomerville Hotel. A new Boomerville is opening in Ireland and is full of lots of craic and shenanigans. There are many new characters to get my teeth into and I hope readers will enjoy this as much as I am enjoying writing it. I am also penning a novel with Hattie in a detective role, a ‘cosy mystery’ and it seems to be writing well so that is something that may surface in the future.
As you’ve had a career involved with food, it seems a natural choice for me to ask the dinner guest question. So, if you could invite four famous people (either dead or alive) to grace your fantasy dinner table, who would they be and why?
My perfect dinner table would be with chefs, who would also cook the courses. Sorry to be so indulgent but it is a ‘fantasy’ dinner party!
First off, I would invite the late, great Keith Floyd, TV Chef and personality. For many years, I ran a business representing celebrity chefs and Floyd was always an idol. My book Coffee Tea the Chef & Me was inspired by Floyd’s time in Kinsale, in Southern Ireland, and by following his footsteps there I learnt a great deal about the man and why he loved Kinsale so much. Something that was reciprocal by all the residents in this gorgeous foodie haven. He was tremendously entertaining chef. I’d have Floyd preparing the main course, which he would cook as he enjoyed his notorious slurps, whilst regaling us with his entertaining tales.
My next guest would be the chef Martin Blunos. Martin is one of the finest chefs in the country, having held two Michelin stars for more than 17 years. He currently has a lovely restaurant, Blunos in Bangkok and I would love him to bring the east to the west and cook a variety of oriental appetisers from his vast repertoire.
Martin’s background is Latvian and he is a Baltic giant of a man, a man with panache and presence and fabulous dinner party company.
Andrew Nutter would take the next place. Another brilliant chef, Nutter has businesses in Rochdale and never ceases to amaze me by the creativity of his cooking and style, which makes his restaurant a number one destination for so many. Nutter is crazy and you never know what is going to come next. He would create a dessert for the occasion that would blow us away. I’ve enjoyed memorable times with this chef and as a dinner companion there is little chance that we’d leave the table before dawn.
Finally, Michael Moore. This lovely chef is based in London and I enjoyed superb meals at his restaurant in the West End. Michael’s mum was born in Basheba on the east coast of Barbados, an island that has many connections for me. Basheba is one of my favourite places in the world and inspired my novel Coffee Tea The Caribbean & Me. Michael’s eclectic style of cooking has been described as modern global cuisine and as this dinner party will have many courses, I would ask him showcase his style.
Thank you so much Caroline for coming along to chat
My pleasure Jo, thanks for hosting me on your lovely blog.
Happy reading to all your visitors,
Let the shenanigans begin at the Best Boomerville Hotel …
Jo Docherty and Hattie Contaldo have a vision – a holiday retreat in the heart of the Lake District exclusively for guests of ‘a certain age’ wishing to stimulate both mind and body with new creative experiences. One hotel refurbishment later and the Best Boomerville Hotel is open for business!
Perhaps not surprisingly Boomerville attracts more than its fair share of eccentric clientele: there’s fun-loving Sir Henry Mulberry and his brother Hugo; Lucinda Brown, an impoverished artist with more ego than talent; Andy Mack, a charming Porsche-driving James Bond lookalike, as well as Kate Simmons, a woman who made her fortune from an internet dating agency but still hasn’t found ‘the One’ herself.
With such an array of colourful individuals there’s bound to be laughs aplenty, but could there be tears and heartbreak too and will the residents get more than they bargained for at Boomerville?
The Best Boomerville Hotel Links:
Caroline James Links:
Caroline James has owned and run businesses encompassing all aspects of the hospitality industry, a subject that features in her novels. She is based in the UK but has a great fondness for travel and escapes whenever she can. A public speaker, consultant and food writer, Caroline is a member of the Romantic Novelist’s Association and writes articles and short stories and contributes to many publications. In her spare time, Caroline can be found trekking up a mountain or relaxing with her head in a book and hand in a box of chocolates.
TUESDAY TALK is taking a break during May and will be back on 5th June with author Kathryn Hall…