Born Yorkshire lass, Caroline studied Law at the University of Manchester and stayed over the border. Caroline became a partner in a Solicitors practise and instigated her jottings when she deserted the law to bring up her three lovely daughters. In addition to the publication of her short story collection, Watching Horsepats Feed the Roses by ACHUKAbooks, Caroline has had short stories and poems published in a variety of literary magazines and anthologies. Her debut novel, Beneath the Skin, will be published by Avon HarperCollins on 5 October 2017.
No-one remembers your past. But you do.
Three women. Three secrets.
Antonia is beautiful and happily married. Her life is perfect. So why does she hurt herself when nobody’s watching?
Sophie is witty, smart and married to the best-looking man in town. She likes a drink, but who doesn’t?
Olivia is pretending to be a happy wife and mother. But her secret could tear her family apart.
Their lies start small, they always do. But if they don’t watch out, the consequences will be deadly.
Were you born and raised in Yorkshire?
I was born in Sheffield but was sent to a Derbyshire boarding school at the age of eight! It was a struggle to turn my Yorkshire accent into ‘received pronunciation’. Even now it’s a strange mix of the two!
I’ve been to England once several years back. London and Cambridge. Cambridge was beautiful!
Name at least three catalysts that made you a writer today.
Hmm, an interesting question. It’s like being in The Psychiatrist’s Chair! My enjoyment of reading, praise for my writing from when I was small and my inherent work ethic are three I can think of.
I love asking this question. It’s fascinating to see the evolution of each writer and what influences that had early in life.
How did you get into poetry?
I won a poetry competition at school when I was nine. Boy, did that feel good! I was in a sort of ‘poetry society’ in Sixth Form, exchanging silly ditties with the boys. I continued to write more serious efforts, especially at low times. A few of them even got published!
I’ve always enjoyed reading poems (especially out loud). As a school girl I was riveted by Ted Hughes’s poetry and the icing on the cake was seeing him perform live. I can still recall being mesmerised by his deep Yorkshire timbre when he read out The Thought Fox.
Wonderful. I started with poetry too, which reminds me I need to write more. Poetry is AWESOME. Keep writing and please do share.
Can you share with us one of your poems?
I listen as you wrap
me in your smile
but I don’t really hear.
A penny for them
I want to say, a coin
to climb inside, to
examine and explore,
to dig and delve, to
hold up to the light
and say what’s this?
What does it mean?
You show me yours
and I’ll show you mine.
But I know I’d renege
on the deal. I’m not
prepared to share the
murky depths of my
closest friend, that critical
cow, sometimes truthful,
rarely kind but always there,
outraged and smug.
I suppose I am as you are
but I don’t know that
for sure and so I’ll keep
the coin and invest in
something that’s a safer bet.
What area of law did you practice in?
Criminal law as a trainee, then divorce and matrimonial, then finally professional indemnity work, mainly representing other lawyers who may – or may not – have made a mistake in their job. In short, people at their lowest ebb, something that has very much influenced my writing.
Oh wow. Sounds interesting. I always find the law interesting.
Why did you decide to write a domestic noir?
I’m really interested in people, dark secrets, human desires, frailties, needs and ‘what goes on behind closed doors’, but I also like suspense and a mystery. ‘Domestic noir’ covers that combination perfectly! An author coined the phrase and I’m so pleased she did!
I interviewed another author who has written a full trilogy about her Noir. The Reykjavik Noir trilogy.
Who is Antonia?
She is a thirty year old character who bookends my debut novel, Beneath the Skin. On the surface she is perfect. Her husband describes her as a ‘chiseled honey marble statue’ but inside she’s alone, damaged and afraid.
That’s an interesting description!
Describe your process creating her wounds and flaws
Like with all my characters, I try and step inside her body and absorb how she must feel given her childhood, background and life events. If a character has suffered something I haven’t, I research other people’s similar experiences, talk and listen to those in the know.
I find this the most fascinating and difficult to write.
Do you outline your work or employ character arcs in your writing?
No! I wish I was that kind of writer. I’m not a plotter, I’m a PANTSER! I had to look that one up – I fly by the seat of my pants!
Does Antonia have a mentor?
It’s a little tricky to answer this without giving a spoiler. Not a mentor as such, but events change her life and help her start to come to terms with her past.
I guess I’ll have to do some detective work.
Where does the story take place?
In the area I live. South Manchester and Cheshire in the UK. But it could be set anywhere as it’s a universal story – flawed human beings struggling with life, hiding secrets, fears, illness and so on.
Hmm. I wonder what it’s like.
What did you learn personally by writing Beneath the Skin?
I learned that I was capable of writing a whole novel! So then I caught a bug that no medicine can cure!
Anyone who can write a novel is awesome. So, you’re awesome 🙂
What are you writing next?
My next novel, My Husband’s Lies, will be out on 3 May 2018! It’s already on Amazon, available to pre-order.
Looking forward to it!