Journey’s End…

It’s always a relief to finish a manuscript. By the time I begin working on edits my mind is already well into sorting out the next story. Friday morning saw ‘The End’ become a reality as I e-mailed the final version off to my publisher.

I seem to have been working on this latest book forever. It’s not that I hit writer’s block or lost enthusiasm. It’s all been down to unexpected health problems. I’m hardly ever ill. Borrowing a phrase from one of my friends I haven’t got time to be ill. Over the last eighteen months, however, I seem to have experienced more than my fair share of health issues.

It started in Minorca on holiday in late May 2018 where we were staying with friends for birthday celebrations (mine). The night before the big day I received a text from Choc Lit offering me a contract for A Cornish Affair. As you can imagine this was the best birthday present ever and also an omen (or so I thought). It meant the coming year was going to be a good one. That lasted all of 24 hours. The next evening, before we left for the restaurant – before the cork on the pre-dinner bubbly had even popped – I stepped awkwardly off the bottom step of the villa’s staircase, twisted my ankle and broke it in three places. I’d just started to write a second book for my Cornish Coastal series and, of course, that came to a very sudden halt. Surgery, four weeks in plaster, two in an orthopaedic boot, physio and getting back to walking again took a big chunk out of the summer.  And when I did get a chance to sit in front of the computer (with my leg propped up on a cushion), I found it difficult to concentrate on anything. It was September before I felt ready to sit down and resume work on the project. The new year came, the word count grew and then in March I was called in for elective surgery (which had been postponed due to the ankle break). This wasn’t as intrusive as the ankle but, again, it took a couple of weeks before I could fully concentrate on my writing once more.

Then were the usual breaks and holidays in 2019 – Stratford on Avon, Suffolk, North Wales – and in between the writing continued. In September we had a week in Dartmouth. I had a sore throat for seven days and on our return this developed into a full blown bronchial virus making me wheeze like a heavy smoker. It took me three weeks to shake it off. I thought that was it. A mid-week break in Cornwall in October ended with another sore throat which quickly turned into a cold and yes…not wanting to be left out of all the fun…the dreaded virus joined the party!

Two weeks later, having managed to successfully get my twice cancelled flu shot, I’m hoping this is it as far as winter illnesses are concerned. I feel I’ve certainly had my share…and someone else’s too! But winter has only just begun so it’s a case of crossed fingers and a whole lot of hope.

So what’s next? Well I’m planning to take the weekend off, catch up with all the things I had to set to one side in order to get my writing finished – including social media. And then I’ve that new book to start…

TUESDAY TALK CHATS TO CAROL COOPER ABOUT DINNER GUESTS AND THE INSPIRATION FOR HER NOVELS…

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 img_0541Cambridge, 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 livejacaranda_ebook-cov_may2016 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 img_2053produced 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.

for-jd-1-resizedimageAbout Carol

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.

Social media

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

HAMPSTEAD FEVER

hampstead-fever-final-ebook-cover

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.

Purchase links

Widely available in UK bookshops and as an ebook:
Amazon http://mybook.to/HF
Barnes & Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hampstead-fever-carol-cooper/1123868072
Kobo https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/hampstead-fever
iBooks https://itun.es/gb/bmnZcb.l
Google Play https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Carol_Cooper_Hampstead_Fever?id=A6FJDAAAQBAJ