2 November 2011

Blog Tour: Carole Matthews Interview!

Today, I'm taking part in my first ever blog tour (eek!), and I'm absolutely delighted to welcome the ever-lovely Carole Matthews to the site! Carole's latest novel, Wrapped Up In You, came out last week, and it's a lovely festive tale to enjoy on these cold, dark winter nights! So without further ado, I introduce to you my interview with Carole Matthews! Thanks go to Sally at Little,Brown for inviting me to be part of the tour :)

Q1. Please tell me a little bit about your latest novel 'Wrapped Up In You'.

It’s my nineteenth book and probably my most romantic to date. It features Janie Johnson a thirty-something hairdresser who feels that life is passing her by. To try to create some adventure in her life, she books her first solo trip and goes out to Africa. Not only does she fall in love with the sights and sounds of the Maasai Mara, but also with the man who’s her tour guide - a fully-fledged Maasai warrior named Dominic. My readers are saying that it’s my best book so far, which is lovely. 

Q2. The setting of Africa is one you don't expect to find in many chick lit novels, especially Christmas ones. What made you choose Africa, and how was it visiting the country to find out more about it?

I wanted to do a Christmas novel, but not a standard one. So I looked for something that would provide a contrast to the typical English snowy chocolate-box cottage and a Maasai village in Africa seemed perfect. You can’t get much more different! I also wanted to explore how relationships work when they’re long distance and with people from very different cultures. It was a lot of fun to write.

Q3. Dominic was my favourite character in the book, he's so kind-hearted and lovely. Was he based on anyone you met in Africa? How much research into the traditions and things relating to Maasai warriors did you have to do for his character?

My partner, Lovely Kev, and I spent a week out in the Maasai Mara , on safari and visiting a Maasai village. The villagers were so kind and showed us their homes and how they live on a daily basis. Lovely Kev was very brave and joined in with a jumping ceremony, something that the Maasai men do on a frequent basis. They were very impressed by his prowess!  Dominic isn’t based on anyone in particular, but his warmth and charm reflects perfectly the villagers we me when we were there.

Q4. You recently moved publishers to Sphere after many years with Headline Review, Are you enjoying the experience of working with a new publishing team? And is it true you will now be publishing 2 books a year - a summer read, and a winter/festive read?! 2 books a year must be such hard work!!

It’s fantastic being with a new team. The move was very difficult as I’d been at Headline for so long, over 16 years,  and loved everyone there. But already, I feel so at home with Sphere. They’ve made sure that the transition was very easy for me. They have so many plans for the books that I feel it has injected new life into my writing.  I’ve done two books a year for some time now. I just work standard office hours  9 to 5, or maybe 6 or 7. It’s amazing how much work you can get through by being disciplined!

Q5. The cover for Wrapped Up In You is gorgeous. Do you like the new design you've been given, and how important do you think book covers are in this day and age with such a large market out there?

The new cover look has had a fantastic reception, so I’m thrilled by that. Covers are always important. It’s the first thing you look at on a book. I think the new trend is to build a brand, but refreshed the covers more frequently so that they don’t become stale.

Q6. I've seen you really enjoy using Facebook and Twitter to connect with your readers. Do you think social networking is a good tool for authors to use to keep in contact with their readers, and do you think it's growing more important in this technological day and age?!

I love Facebook and Twitter and it’s great to be able to connect with so many readers. It’s lovely, they become friends and it’s now led to several ‘real life’ friendships too. I do think it’s important as a writer, just as it is to have a website. But it also eats up masses of time as it’s very addictive! 

Q7. This is a question I like to ask authors at the moment due to its prominence in the media - what do YOU think of the term chick lit, and how do you feel about your books coming under this genre?
I don’t mind the term at all. The only thing that I mind is the assumption - usually by people who haven’t read any - that chicklit books have no substance to them. In my books I’ve covered bankruptcy, single parenthood, bereavement - all subjects that women have to deal with these days. I do it in a light-hearted and funny way, but it does reflect life.

Q8.What would be your top three desert island reads? And do you have any favourite chick lit authors yourself?

Current favourite is David Nicholl’s One Day, closely followed by The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger and, last but not least, Philippa Gregory’s The Other Boleyn Girl.

There aren’t many chicklit books that I read that I don’t enjoy. But among my favourite chicklit authors are Katie Fforde, Marian Keyes, Jenny Colgan, Lisa Jewell.

Q9. Finally, can you tell me a little bit about your next book, presumably a more summery release!

Yes, the next book is called Summer Daydreams and will be out in May 2012. It’s the story of a woman who’s trying to make her way in the world of business whilst juggling the demands of a young family and a relationship. I think it’s something a lot of women will relate to. Plus it features lots of gorgeous handbags! 

Thank you so much Carole!

You can buy Carole's book Wrapped Up In You on Amazon in both paperback and on Kindle/eBook (Links go to Amazon)


  1. Lovely interview.
    I love chicklit and do not find the term offensive. I would love to still be called a chick LOL

    I agree, we can get a lot from chicklit and identify with many of the situations explored in this genre. We don't get this label for the soaps on tv or chickflicks!

    5 star read, Carole, many thanks.


  2. thx for this wonderful interview i'm sure her book is great ..it's in my to be read in emergency pile

  3. Great interview! I've recently read Wrapped Up in You and really enjoyed it. Think the Chocolate Lovers series was my all time fave tho!

  4. I bought this last week, so very eager to read it, Love the interview and new book sounds very good.