Guest Author Showcase: Karen Aldous

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Today's Guest Author Showcase in my weekly series features Carina author Karen Aldous. Welcome, Karen, and thanks for coming by for a visit!

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Please tell me about yourself and your book(s).

Thank you for inviting me Katlyn, it’s a pleasure to be a guest on your lovely Blog and I wish you every success with your new title. I write Contemporary Romance and was first published eleven months ago although it’s been a dream for years. My careers have been mainly in property and travel which continue to play a large part of my life but I’ve now increased my writing time. I live close to my family in a Kent village where part of my first novel The Vineyard is set. My main character Lizzie is a single mother who has settled on the stunning French Riviera, in the city of Cannes. When visiting her mother back in Kent, she meets her mother’s toy boy who is suddenly following back to Provence for reasons unknown to her!! The second novel is entitled The Chateau which is set in West London and on the beautiful Swiss Riviera, Montreux. Gina discovers more than she bargains for when she meets the gorgeous Ollie Martin but will he be instrumental in her quest to free an unsettled spirit? I’m currently writing my third and planning my fourth to be published with CarinaUK this year.

What tips would you give to a writer who is just starting out?

Write from the heart the book you want to write and, complete it. Edit, then send it out. No editor or agent can read blank pages. And it doesn’t have to be a work of art. Make it as professional as you can. I would also recommend joining an organisation such as the Romantic Novelists’ (RNA) Association New Writer’s Scheme (NWS) or go to an appraisal service offered by agents and editors in the Writers & Artists Yearbook. Both around £120.00. The RNA will also offer lots of other author support and networking opportunities/events. I continue to attend and, now feel in a position to be helping other new writers. I would also thoroughly recommend a local writing class. The one I joined and, still attend is based in Dartford. The Write Place, run by author Elaine Everest, has not only provided many of the skills I needed to improve my writing but again, the support and encouragement writers so need.

What would you say has been your biggest challenge as an author?

Writing my second novel. The Vineyard received such lovely reviews so my biggest fear and challenge was writing the next one, which is The Chateau. I was so fearful it wouldn’t be received as well as the first.  I didn’t want to disappoint my readers. Now the same is happening with my third!

What would you say has been your biggest success as an author?

Readers enjoying my books! There is nothing more satisfying than hearing a reader say or, a review to say they ‘loved it’ or ‘enjoyed it so much I’m reading it again’. That to me is success, although I can’t deny the buzz I feel when a book reaches #1 in a category on Amazon and climbs the rankings. It can be a very rewarding occupation.

What books and/or authors would you say have been your biggest influence?

Earliest - Barbara Taylor-Bradford’s – A Woman of Substance, Jilly Cooper – Riders.  More recent titles, Jojo Moyes – Ship of Brides, Victoria Hislop, The Island, The Thread, Numerous titles - Jill Mansell,  Freya North, Fiona Walker, Carole Matthews, Leah Fleming, Annie Groves, Sue Moorcroft. I could go on!

What genre would you like to write for that you’ve not tried yet?

I have to admit, I have difficulty with genres as you can see above, I love a good story with drama, emotion,  a sense of place, history, family and romance so I would probably have to write the story and then decide where it fits. As long as I write a gripping read, it can go anywhere!

Do you plan your books out from start to finish in advance or do you let the story and characters take you where it will?

I begin with a framework so that I know the beginning, the pivotal moment and the end; understanding the main characters internal and external conflicts.  From there fill the gaps gradually working with a timeline and chapter/scene list.

Where do you get the inspiration for your characters and books?

It usually begins with a sense of place. A location can really inspire a character. Lizzie in The Vineyard came into my world when I visited the stunning landscape of Provence and wouldn’t leave my head until her story was penned. A local walk across a valley also provided the setting for the Kent Vineyard. The Chateau was inspired by a dream, the spirit of Agnes-Francesca was struggling before my very eyes but instinctively I found out where she was and so, I returned to Montreux and the Chateau de Chillon on Lake Geneva to carry out more research. Nearly everywhere I go, a new character emerges from a building or a setting from which I build the character’s world.

Music or no music when writing?

A mix. I like to play something romantic when my characters get intimate. Something moody and bluesy to create emotion, something lively and sunny to brighten and lighten the tone and then, at times utter quiet. Just to concentrate my thinking.

Favorite snacks/drinks while writing?

Desperately try not to snack. Grapes or almonds if I have to. Tea, coffee or water for a drink.

Do you prefer physical books or ebooks?

Like most people, I Iove the physical book but I think after four years, I’m loving my Kindle more. I get everything on tap and it goes everywhere I go.

What are your thoughts on the current trend of making books into movies?

It’s great. A story is transported to a wider audience and, us writers can earn more.

Favorite genre that you like to read?

Commercial fiction, romances mainly but I’ve read many classics.

Who is your all-time favorite book character?

Jane Austen’s Lizzy Bennet, a sharp witty, strong woman who knows her own mind.

What three things must you have with you if you were stranded on a desert island?

Notebooks and pens for writing and an ipod for music.

About The Vineyard: 

 

  It’s been five years, and Lizzie Lambert has decided it’s time to try to make things right with her estranged mother.

She’s made a success of things in Cannes, she’s bringing up a lovely little boy on her own, and she’s ready to put the past behind her.

But it seems Lizzie’s mother has moved on as well. She’s moved her toyboy – a muscle-bound vintner named Cal – into the family home, and given him the run of the land that was meant to be Lizzie’s inheritance!

Cal’s wine business frequently takes him to France, and suddenly wherever Lizzie goes, he’s already there – meddling, giving unsolicited advice, saving her little boy’s life and stealing her heart. But none of this changes the fact that he’s her mother’s lover… 

 

About The Chateau: 

 

 Can young hearts ease a restless spirit? On the shores of stunning Lake Geneva, Gina Remy is celebrating her brother’s wedding – when the figure of a woman appears hovering above the water, beckoning to her. Ghostly visitations do not happen to Gina - a self-confessed control freak with her own successful property business, she prides herself on being level-headed. But as she is tormented by dreams and visions, her perfect life begins to unravel, and she knows she needs to help this ghost find peace if she’s to get any of her own!

Enter Ollie Martin, an Anglo-Swiss property developer who’s sexy as hell and knows it. His arrogance annoys Gina, but he’s the only one who will take her seriously… and the closer they come to understanding the quest the ghost has set for them, the closer they get to one another…

Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble

 

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 and Italy would be her favourite. 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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