19 January 2012

Author Interview: Jo Carnegie

Jo Carnegie's new book Horse Play is due out tomorrow, and I was lucky enough to get an early reading copy of it, and it was a fantastic read that I'll be reviewing shortly! Jo was kind enough to agree to answering a few questions I had for her, so many thanks to Jo for answering them, and please enjoy my interview with Jo!

Q1. Please tell me about your new book 'Horse Play'.

Horse Play sees the return of the feisty Calypso, along with sisters Caro and Camilla and a fab new character called Kizzy. The book has an exciting racing storyline, as well as some sizzling romances and lots of trials and tribulations facing the three sisters.... I've also introduced a GORGEOUS new topical character; the dark and brooding Javier Hamilton-Scott, who is training Britain's great dressage hope for the Olympics.

Q2. This is the fifth book in the Churchminster series. Did you always intend the books to be a series, and what made you continue writing Churchminster books rather than stand-alone novels?

I always saw the book as a series, I love the characters so much I could let them run forever! I also think my readers have built up real relationships with them and they want to know what happens in their lives. Plus I hear so much good gossip, it's a shame to let it go to waste! The village I grew up in in Bedfordshire and where my parents still live is completely outrageous. I love going home and heading down the local boozer to hear the latest scandal.

Q3. How do you keep track of all the characters in Churchminster?! Have you always had their stories planned out or does it change for them the more books you write about them?!

There are a lot of characters in my books, but I guess that goes with writing about a lively fun village. I do always have their endings planned out, but I think it's fun to veer off into different situations along the way. It keeps people guessing!

Q4. I have to confess to loving the sisters Camilla, Calypso and Caro - who are your favourite Churchminster residents?

I love Calypso and I also have a soft spot for Clementine and the relationship they have. I also LOVE the Fox-Titts, I want them to adopt me! Every woman needs a Freddie in their life, I think.

Q5. Where do you get the inspiration for your stories? Some of them are quite outlandish!

From real life! I grew up in the country and it's certainly never boring. I live in Wales now and the Welsh are also a lively lot, so I'm always getting fresh ideas. In fact I might do a series one day about a village by the sea. My in laws live in a beautiful place called Mumbles and there's always lots of shenanigans going on there…. Welsh men are buff!!

Q6. You used to work at Heat magazine - what made you leave there and decide to become an author? Is writing something you have always wanted to do?

I knew I wanted to write for a living as a six-year-old. I loved being a journalist and working in the crazy world of heat, but there was always a book inside me bursting to get out. I still do interviews for heat though, in fact I'm off to interview Daniel Radcliffe after this!

Q7. Who are some of your own favourite authors and books, and do you enjoy reading Chick Lit as well as writing it?

Weirdly, seeing as my books are so fun and lively, I really love dark Scandinavian fiction. The plots are so masterful and I love the sparse, clean writing. But I think it's important to read right across the board; Jilly Cooper is my heroine and I love the George McDonald Fraser Flashman books. I'm reading Sophie Kinsella's new one I've Got Your Number at the moment and really enjoying it.

Q8. What do you think of the term 'Chick Lit', and how do you feel about your books being called 'Chick Lit'?

I don't mind being called chick lit at all. I think some people can be a bit sniffy and think it's fluffy, but under the remit you have a fabulous array of women writers writing about a wide range of issues. Interesting how there's no 'Bloke Lit', isn't there?

Q9. Are you working on a sixth book, and if so can you tell me more about it?!

Yes and I'm SO excited. It's still set in the Cotswolds, but this time in a gorgeous market town called Beeversham. Catherine Connor, one of my lead characters from Naked Truths is in it and I've introduced a whole cast of new characters I'm really hoping people will love. There's a few mentions of the Churchminster lot as well, popping up when you least expect it.

Q10. Finally, what is the best writing tip or piece of advice you have ever received?

Just start writing! The more you write, the better you become. Trust me, there is no perfect first draft. I've spent hours in front of my laptop, only to delete the whole lot at the end of the day. It's not always right first time, but have the conviction you'll get there in the end.

Thanks so much, Jo!

You can order Horse Play in both paperback and as an eBook now.

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