I’m honoured to be taking part today in Carole Matthews blog tour for her 20th novel, Summer Daydreams.
Paperback: 464 pages
Publisher: Sphere (24 May 2012)
What if you had always dreamed of something more . . . ? Nell McNamara has a happy life: her boyfriend Olly adores her, their four-year-old daughter Petal is the centre of their world and Nell has a steady job in the local chip shop. When the chippy needs a makeover, Nell jumps at the chance to unleash the creativity fizzing inside her. Inspired by what she can achieve – and encouraged by the best friends a girl can have – Nell is determined to try something new. Waving goodbye to the chip shop, she starts up a new business making her own line of must-have handbags, which are soon flying off the shelves! It seems Nell’s dreams are finally coming true, but her success doesn’t come without a price. Before too long, Nell has to ask herself if it’s really possible to have it all . . . Full of fun, love and laughter, soak up the sunshine with Summer Daydreams.
Welcome to Carole!
Having been a fan of her writing for a long time before my blogging days, I am delighted that I was able to ask her the following questions:
How would you describe Summer Daydreams to someone who does not read this genre?
It’s a fun, light read but with a core issue at the heart. All my books deal with something that affects a lot of modern women. This one is about a young mum, Nell McNamara who works in a chip shop but dreams of something better for her and her family. She takes her courage in both hands and sets out to become a handbag designer. But juggling a young family and her relationship is more difficult than she ever imagined and it’s a steep learning curve for Nell. I think it’s something that a lot of women will empathise with these days – having to cope with the demands of their family and a home. It’s not easy. But Nell does have some fun along the way! An American reviewer called in ‘mompreneur lit’ – which I quite liked.
What was the most interesting research you did for Summer Daydreams?
This is probably one of the most interesting books I’ve researched as it’s loosely based on the life of my good friend, Helen Rochfort, who is an accomplished and successful handbag designer. Over lunch one day, she told me how she’d achieved her dream and the pitfalls along the way. It was a story just waiting to be told. We collaborated quite closely on the story and I hope, because of that, it has a real authenticity at its heart.
You recently saw the whole process of your novel being printed. What was the one memory that will stay with you?
It was an absolutely fabulous day out and I can’t believe that I’ve had twenty books out and yet hadn’t seen this! At one point we were standing in the middle of the factory and copies of Summer Daydreams were literally whizzing all around me. It was a surprisingly moving experience. I also never knew that books came off the first presses as two books top to tail, it’s only afterwards that they’re cut into individual books. Had no idea! There’s a photo diary on my Facebook page if anyone’s interested to have a look.
(You can also read more about Carole’s ‘Day Out’ on her website)
Summer Daydreams is your 20th novel. What is the greatest change in publishing that you have seen since you began writing?
Gosh, I think that has to be the introduction of e-readers. There’s been talk of them for ten years or more and then, all of a sudden, e-books are taking over the world. For the first time, it gives a lot of writers a chance to publish their own books easily and cheaply. I’m a big fan of my Kindle – I took over thirty books on holiday this year. Such choice! Before it was a toss up between books or shoes. They’re fantastic for travelling. But, at home, it’s always a real book – you just can’t beat that whole experience.
What is the greatest challenge you have faced in your career as an author?
I think it was changing publishers last year. After seventeen years with the same publisher, I had the opportunity to switch to Little, Brown. It was an awful decision, exactly like going through a divorce, but I steeled myself to move. I’m so glad that I did though. Little, Brown have given a fresh, new look to my books and an energy behind them that’s really impressive. The team are so lovely too and have made me feel very at home already. They rock!
If you could be one of your characters for a day, who would it be and why?
I’d definitely be Lucy Lombard from The Chocolate Lovers’ Club. She has two fabulous men in love with her and eats lots of chocolate to distract herself from the trials and tribulations of life. What’s not to love?
Anyone following you on Twitter/Facebook is probably aware you are also an avid reader too. What are you reading right now?
I do adore reading. Can’t cope if I haven’t got a good book on the go! I’m just about to start Fifty Shades of Grey. I’ve heard so much about this book. Not all of it good, but I want to see for myself if it deserves the hype.
And finally, what can we expect next?
I do one summer book every year now and one Christmas book, so my next one comes out in paperback in October. It’s called With Love at Christmas and features a chaotic, heart-warming family Christmas. It catches up with the Joyce family who were in my book That Loving Feeling. I haven’t done this before, but I quite enjoyed the challenge. I think it’s a lovely story. Have the tissues at the ready!
Thank you Carole. I’m sure my readers will join me in wishing you every success for Summer Daydreams.
Have you entered the competition to design your very own Helen Rochford handbag yet? Head over to Little, Brown Book Group blog to check it out. Deadline for entries is 31st July 2012 with the winner announced on 1st August 2012.