Just a short post here to say that my new novel Boomerville at Ballymegille is only 99p/$1.20 this weekend. So, if you want to download a copy to your e-reader, grab the bargain while you can. The story has received some fabulous reviews, I am so grateful to readers for sharing, and seems to be a feel-good book all round – just what we need right now.
Today, I am joined by Carol Thomas – a successful author of women’s fiction/romance, who also writes for children. Her new book Being a A Friend at Christmasis now available and is absolutely delightful. A book that I will be putting in all the Christmas presents for the little ones in our family this year.
The book is beautifully illustrated, by Carol, and I am delighted to chat to this very talented author about her writing life.
What inspired a successful writer of romance to create a children’s book?
I didn’t set out to write a children’s book, but my first, Finding a Friend, came to me almost fully formed. It was one of those moments, as a writer, you know you should note down. I had been reading my son a bedtime story, looked at a picture of him and our dog on his wall, and just started saying it. It then took just over a year to complete and publish the book, with the illustrations being done by the very talented Drew Bristow, an illustrator living in Brighton.
Being a Friend at Christmas, is the second in the Little Pup series, though each can be read as a standalone story. In this story, Little Pup is looking forward to his first Christmas in his new home, but he remembers the dogs he left behind in the shelter. He has a plan, but he needs Father Christmas’ help to make his wish come true. I can’t resist happy endings, maybe it’s the romance writer in me, but I knew I wanted to write this book soon after the first came out. It became a labour of love during lockdown, especially as I illustrated it too.
The illustrations are delightful – have you had any formal training?
That’s very kind of you. No, though for some time I doodled and kept sketchbooks, partly because I like drawing and find it relaxing, but also because it was encouraged as part of my teacher training. I must admit that having the illustrations in Finding a Friend as a guide helped and lockdown gave me the time I needed to practice and create the pictures.
What age group is the book marketed to?
It is written for under 7s. As a teacher, I wanted to write books that could be shared and enjoyed again and again. The text is purposefully rhythmic and rhyming to engage early readers, while little ones can join in and anticipate words and phrases. The illustrations are colourful and each story can inspire a conversation about the puppy’s thoughts and feelings.
The story and verse are charming, did it take long to put together?
For Being a Friend, I was writing to an idea and wanted to ensure I followed the same rhythm and rhyme scheme as Finding a Friend, and so it did take a little longer to complete. For a long time, I had most of it written but couldn’t make a couple of verses fit. I stepped away for a couple of months and returned to it afresh. I am thrilled with it now.
Going forward: Children v Adult writing – what do you prefer?
I enjoy both. Ruby Fiction, an imprint of Choc Lit, publishes my romance books, and so I have to prioritise time for them, but I also love creating children’s books, that I self publish. The process is different for each but ultimately rewarding.
Did you find the self-publishing process difficult?
I’d say challenging rather than difficult. There are still things to do with the process I’d like to be better at and to know more about but I am proud of what I’ve achieved. Being traditionally published too, I think it’s good to have the insight into both routes to publishing.
What can we expect from you next?
I am marketing Being a Friend at Christmas. I have a novel currently with my publisher, Choc Lit (fingers crossed they like it) and I am writing a Christmas novel that I hope will come out in 2021. I am crazily busy as I have also recently taken on a new teaching role working in year six, and, of course, must ensure I have quality time with my family and dog too – especially as they keep me sane!
Carol Thomas writes for both adults and children: Her contemporary romance novels, have relatable heroines whose stories are layered with emotion, sprinkled with laughter and topped with irresistible male leads; while her children’s books have irresistibly cute, generally furry characters young children can relate to.
Its been an absolute pleasure to chat to Carol and don’t forget that you can purchase Being a Friend At Christmas now, I think it is a perfect book for children and not just at Christmas.
September has arrived and I managed to take a much-needed break to beautiful Scotland. travelling along part of the Northern 500 – a route around the coast that begins and ends in Inverness.
It was wonderful to go walking in the hills in Highlands and on some truly stunning beaches on the west coast. Too chilly to swim but warm enough for a paddle.
A really interesting town north of Inverness is Cromarty, situated at the tip of the Black Isle on the southern shore of the mouth of Cromarty Firth. Here you can see at least 14 huge oil rigs that have been towed into the estuary due to the collapse in oil demand caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Locals I spoke to object to the rigs being there and hope that the situation is short-lived and the rigs will return to work when drilling resumes in the North Sea. I thought that there was something quite captivating about them and found the view fascinating. Cromarty is a gorgeous little place and well-worth a visit.
I am thrilled to announce that my next book Boomerville in Ballymegille will be published on October 6th. The book is based in southern Ireland, in a fictional town based on the fishing port of Kinsale – a place that holds many happy memories for me.
For those readers who enjoyed The Best Boomerville Hotel you can now travel to the Emerald Isle and virtually stay at Boomerville Manor in Ballymegille. Join in with the shenanigans at the opening party where guests are sure to get more get more than they bargained for. Early reviews are great and you can pre-order the book here:
Join Hattie and Jo as they head to Southern Ireland to open Boomerville Manor, a holiday retreat for guests of ‘a certain age’. There’s Irish craic and shenanigans aplenty for the colourful cast of characters as everyone gathers for the grand opening.
Meet Melissa, an ex-cabaret singer running from her abusive husband, and Bill, a bachelor bullied from beyond the grave by the ghostly voice of his mother. Along with local bobby Harry the Helmet, ageing aquatic team the Boomerville Babes, eccentric artist Lucinda Gray, and heartthrob Finbar Murphy, they gather in Ireland and the fun begins. But murder is in the air and there’s mischief afoot. Will the residents get more than they bargained for at Boomerville?
Set in the beautiful Irish countryside, ‘Boomerville at Ballymegille’ is a heart-warming story of friendship, fears and new beginnings.
We continue to live in a difficult time with the pandemic very much still in evidence. I wish you all, wherever you are in the world, a safe and healthy passage on this journey. Please stay safe and look after each other.
Whenever I get together with other writers there is often a debate that starts with the question, ‘Do men read romantic fiction?’ As an author of this genre it is fascinating to know where my readers come from, their age, reading tastes and of course gender.
I gave a talk in a library recently and having arranged my book display, I stood back whilst waiting for the audience to take their seats. A man, whom I’d noticed in the computer area, came forward and started flicking through the books. He made some derogatory comments about never reading ‘chick lit’ and ‘fluffy silly stories with no depth,’ and I was amused to listen to several ladies, who were already seated, engage him in conversation, telling him he was cynical and should listen to my talk. Later, when I was book signing, guess who bought three of my books? Yes, the cynic who never reads romantic fiction.
Below are a couple of comments that have been mailed to me recently, by men:
“After over half a century of only reading murder mystery novels I was drawn to the book cover of The Best Boomerville Hotel. I certainly did not regret my choice. What a wonder and so very well written, this book caused me to go to bed an hour earlier than usual just to read it in peace. Thank you, Caroline, for such a great read. Hattie has got to be the person I would love to get drunk with and have a curry.”
And this from a gentleman on Amazon:
“I’m a man, 71 and read the 4 books in the set and thoroughly enjoyed all and found them very moving, each difficult to put down and I read into the night, 5 stars to Caroline”
I’d like to think that my work appeals to both women and men and aim to write books that have a serious message, taking the reader up and down emotionally as well as providing plenty of love interest.
What do you think? Are you a male who reads romantic fiction or a female who has an opinion on this subject? I’d love to hear your thoughts, please comment below.