Carole Matthews Interview
Posted by Michelle on February 14, 2008
Carole is an international bestselling author, with a warm sense of humour that shines out of her books. Her most recent publication is Welcome to the Real World, and The Chocolate Lovers Club has just gone on sale in the UK.
Q. I can’t think of a better place to start than chocolate! Tell us a little more about your latest book, The Chocolate Lover’s Club, which is due out in February in the UK, and August in the US.
A. This is the story of Lucy Lombard and her three fellow chocolate addicts – Autumn, Nadia and Chantal. Together they form a select group known as The Chocolate Lovers’ Club. Whenever there’s a crisis, they meet in their sanctuary, a cafe called Chocolate Heaven, and with a cheating boyfriend who promises he’ll change, a flirtatious boss, a gambling husband and a loveless marriage, there’s always plenty for them to discuss!
Q. Is chocolate one of your personal addictions?
A. Do you know, when I started this book, I had just a passing interest in chocolate. I like to eat it – certainly! – but I wasn’t that concerned about where it came from or how it got to me. Now I’m a complete chocolate anorak! I’ve developed a taste for fine, dark chocolate – the richer the better. I have a little bit of Lindt 70% cocoa every day after my lunch. Yum.
Q. Your current book, Welcome to the Real World, is set around the world of opera and tv talent shows. Do you watch any of the tv talent shows that are on, or do you avoid them?
A. I adore them. I’m completely addicted to The X-Factor, which I think the US has as American Idol. I love the fact that you only have to watch five minutes and you’re completely hooked. I thought it would be a fun thing to base a book on – lots of opportunity for tears and laughter. I contrasted that with the world of opera where it can take eight years to train your voice to get a job in the chorus! People want instant fame now and, sometimes, it just can’t happen like that.
Q. What can we expect next from you?
A. I haven’t done a series before, but I’m writing a sequel to The Chocolate Lovers’ Club – called The Chocolate Lovers’ Diet. I had such fun with this subject and the characters of my book that I couldn’t let it end there! Maybe there’ll even be a third instalment.
Q. Where do you get inspiration for all your storylines.. do they often come from your own experiences?
A. Far too many of my storylines are from my own experience! I wish they weren’t! I’ve had a varied and full love life – which has given me plenty of material.
Q. How about your characters, are they based on people you know, or do they live purely in your imagination?
A. You know, you have to know your characters so much more than you know real human beings. Sometimes I borrow little characteristics, but I’ve never used a whole person. I do a detailed background history for all of my characters – I never use it in the books, but it helps me to get into them.
Q. Some of your books have different titles when published in the US. Is this something you decide on, or the publishers, and can you tell us some of the reasons for the changes?
A. The publishers do that and I hate it! I know my readers don’t like it either – it’s very confusing. Particularly when sometimes Amazon sells two different titles as a special offer that are the same book! Drives me mad. Sometimes though, the publishers feel that the titles won’t work in the USA. They thought A Whiff of Scandal was too nasty and changed it to The Scent of Scandal. A Compromising Position they hated and changed to Bare Necessity. I think I’ve managed to hang onto the rest of my titles.
Q. You’re a very successful author, with many published books.. do you have a favourite?
A. I do have favourites! Should an author do that? It’s like saying that you like one of your children better than the others! My favourite books are A Minor Indiscretion – this was the book that I felt I really found my voice. With or Without You – every now and again in an author’s life a book just writes itself, this was one of them. Welcome To The Real World – this also wrote itself. I love Let’s Meet on Platform 8 because that was my first book. And, of course, The Chocolate Lovers’ Club – I think this is my best, so far.
Q. Congratulations on selling the film rights to two of your books. How is that progressing, and who would you like to see in the leading roles?
A. I’ve sold the rights to For Better, For Worse and A Minor Indiscretion. They aren’t progressing at all! They’ve entered that big, black hole called development hell and I have no idea if they’ll emerge unscathed at the end. Hugh Grant and Johnny Depp would be perfect as any of my heroes! I wouldn’t say no to Keiffer Sutherland either. My leading lady would have to be Julia Roberts, simply because of the amount of bums she puts on seats.
Q. Do you get time to read yourself, and if so, who are your favourite authors?
A. I adore reading – always have! My favourite authors are Marian Keyes, Sophie Kinsella, Sarah Mlynowski (great teen books). I love Harlan Coben’s thrillers and always dash out and buy the new Philippa Gregory historical in hardback. But I have very eclectic taste and, frankly, read anything.
Q. When you’re not writing, what else do you enjoy doing.. what are your other passions in life?
A. My partner, Lovely Kev, and I enjoy travelling and we’re lucky enough to have been all over the world in the last few years – China, Nepal, Cuba, Italy, The Galapagos Islands. All over the place. Hopefully, we’ll continue to do that. We both love walking and cycling. I do yoga and aerobics. I like to cook, though I’m not great at it. That’s about it!
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