Here we are, back for another Neverland Blog Tour for Karen Aldous. I actually love this authors writing. Her books are brilliant and it kills me that I don't have enough time to review all the books for authors blog tours I take part it, BUT I always add them to my TBR list and get around to them eventually. Today though, as you can tell, I have an interview with Karen;
Escape to Tuscany this summer with Karen Aldous’s brilliantly uplifting read. Perfect for fans of Erica James and Cathy Kelly.
A summer she’ll never forget…
When Olivia Montague’s grandmother passes away, she decides it’s finally time to make some changes in her own life. So she breaks up with her ‘going nowhere’ boyfriend and embarks on a journey to her Nonna’s home in Tuscany.
Until now, Olivia has always believed that she’s incapable of love, after being abandoned by her parents as a baby. But with each day spent at the gorgeous villa nestled in the rolling Italian hills, she feels her heart begin to flutter…
And when handsome antiques dealer Hugh St. James arrives on the scene, she realises things might be about to change forever!
Hi Karen, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
Thank you so much for inviting me her Rhianne, I do love your website. I’ve only been writing seriously since 2012 because finally, I could focus. Having a husband, three children, studying for a degree and working full time zapped my energy and nothing I wrote got finished. Now, even though I look after my grandchildren some days and run a small business, I manage my time better and write most days. With just hubby and a golden Labrador at home in Kent, and travelling a few times a year, I’m really loving the combination of having the family still around me, but with the benefit of time to indulge in what I’ve always dreamed of doing.
1. What are your ambitions for your writing career?
To date, I’ve written five novels and they are all currently in e-book with HQDigital/HarperCollins. My ambitions are to continue growing my career. Like most writers, I’m always seeking ways to improve my writing and storytelling so that more readers want to read my books. The first step is for my current books to go to print and reach a wider audience, and longer term, create an epic with a fantastic hook which more readers notice – and one day reach the Sunday Times Bestseller list.
2. Where do your ideas come from?
I’m often inspired by places I visit. The Vineyard and The Riviera’s characters came to me when I visited Provence. Lizzie loved the hilltop Provencal villages, but building a business and bringing up a child alone, wasn’t particularly suitable for her character, so I placed her in cosmopolitan and glamorous Cannes where she could easily access the beautiful landscape. Evie, my character in One Moment at Sunrise spoke to me when I arrived in a villa close to the Canal-du Midi in the Languedoc, still in the south of France. She was very unhappy and I questioned her as to why, and her story emerged.
Agnes-Francescia in The Chateau came to me in a dream. She was a historic character who was repeatedly being immersed in deep water by a prison guard. The scene I pictured taking place showed the guard leaning out of heavy iron gates, like a dungeon. The first place I thought of was the Chateau Chillon on Lake Geneva in Montreux, a place I’d often passed on the train or car on the way to my friend’s home where we ski. Of course, I immediately returned to research.
For years, each time I holidayed or visited a place, I discovered new characters and whilst I had a cast. I didn’t think to ask them questions. Now it’s a requisite.
3. Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
I always begin with an outline, but often the characters take you in a new direction. These moments can be daunting and take you out of your comfort zone but rewarding as you explore new aspects of a character or place.
4. How did the idea for your current book come about?
My latest novel Under a Tuscan Sky was inspired by the stunning Tuscan landscape I visited in October where my daughter is getting married this May. Again, I asked my character Elena who I imagined owning the villa and farm, why she was angry. She was living her last days and she told me she didn’t want her daughter to inherit the farm, she was adamant that it should be entrusted to her granddaughter’s hands. Then the big question was why?
5. What is your writing routine like?
Once an the idea is formed, I like to build on the character’s profiles and research the ideas in more detail to see where it can be enhanced or what can enrich the story. Then I make a list of all the major scenes and build on it from there. Once I have a strong story, I’ll make a start on the body of the novel, aiming to write 2000 words a minimum of 3 days a week or 6000 per week over 20 weeks. Most of my stories are around 100k.
6. If you had to pick a real life actor/actress to play your main character who would it be?
An actress who grew up in my area would fit the character of Olivia perfectly. Although Gemma Arterton is younger than Olivia, she would show her persona and vulnerability so like hers.
7. Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?
A Surface keyboard, in the main. Some scenes and initial planning is in a notepad. The Surface fits in all my bags and I wouldn’t go anywhere without it.
8. For your own reading, do you prefer e-books or traditional paper/hard back books?
I love both. My Kindle is great for travelling and reading at night but it’s also lovely to hold and smell an actual book. I can’t wait to hold my own.
9. What book/s are you reading at present?
I’ve just finished The Butlin’s Girls by Elaine Everest, it’s a lovely nostalgic read which I found both warm and compelling. Elaine is my creative writing tutor, so I’m still learning. I’ve just started Erica James new novel Song of the Skylark which I bought and had signed when I met her at Market Deeping Literary Festival recently. I love her writing. We lunched in a lovely little tea room where she chatted about her many, many lovely books.
10. What do you think of “trailers” for books?
They don’t do it for me. I’m not particularly swayed by a moving ad.
11. What’s the best advice you’ve received that you would give to other writers in your position?
Get that novel down and finish it. Just keep writing and filling those pages, at least you can edit it. Neither you or an editor an edit a blank page.
Thanks so much Karen!
About The Author:
Karen Aldous enjoys village life on the edge of the north-downs in Kent with easy access to the buzz of London. Not only does she love the passive pleasures of reading and writing, she also craves the more active pursuits with her family and friends such as walking, cycling and skiing especially when they involve food and wine!
Karen gets much of her inspiration from her travels and if she had to choose, France, Greece, Switzerland, Italy and the USA would be her favourites. However, wherever she goes, she discovers a new character emerges in 'Karen's World'. She likes to write about strong independent women who can direct their own lives - but struggle to control them! And, of course there's always a gorgeous hunk or two!
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Giveaway UK ONLY:
1st prize: £10 Amazon voucher, eCopy of Under a Tuscan Sky & a signed notebook
2nd & 3rd prize: eCopy of Under a Tuscan Sky & a signed notebook