I am so pleased to be welcoming Carole Matthews back to Novel Kicks. Her new novel, The Chocolate Lovers’ Christmas is published today by Sphere. Hi Carole, Can you tell us a little about your latest book, The Chocolate Lovers’ Christmas? What is it about and what themes are explored?
This is a follow-up to two of my most popular books, The Chocolate Lovers’ Club and The Chocolate Lovers’ Diet. It features the same ladies, Lucy, Chantal, Nadia and Autumn – all brought together through their love of chocolate, they share the trials and tribulations of their relationships. But, if you’re new to my books, then it’s not necessary to have read the first two. The theme is generally about the enduring power of friendship. It’s a lot of fun and I love to write about these ladies. To combine the joys of chocolate and Christmas was a dream!
What elements make up a good novel do you think?
You have to have great characters that your readers fall in love with. If you’re not rooting for them then it really doesn’t matter how clever your plot might be or how fancy your setting.
Which fictional world would you like to visit? What would you do?
I’d love to be in A Game of Thrones by George R R Martin. I’d like to be one of the good guys and I’d try very hard to keep my head on my shoulders, which could potentially be quite difficult!
Do you cast your characters and if so, who’d you cast for Lucy, Nadia, Chantal and Autumn as well as Aidan, Jacob and Ted?
I used to do that, but not so much anymore. I have a very clear idea of what they look like and that doesn’t really match any actors. I think that’s one of the reasons films can be disappointing as the actors never quite look how you imagined the characters. Take Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher – WRONG on every level!
Like me, I know you like Christmas. What would be your ideal christmas day like?
I’m a big Christmas fan, especially since I started to write my Christmas novels about five years ago. My best day would just to be at home with family and friends. I love to cook my Christmas dinner – it’s my favourite meal of the year. Then we’d go for a long walk before kicking back and watching a cheesy film with heaps of Christmas chocolate. Nothing better.
If you were only allowed to own three books, which three would you pick and why?
The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory: I’m a Tudor nut and I never tire of reading her books. She brings the Tudor court to life for me.
Us by David Nicholls: I love David’s writing and found this book to be word perfect. Fabulous. I like his mix of comedy and pathos. It’s what I aim for in my novels, but he does it soooo much better!
The Girl with all the Gifts: a very commercial debut by author M J Carey. Fabulous written and a real page turner. Soon to be a film. I loved it.
What part of the process of writing do you enjoy the most and which part not so much?
I’m lucky that I really enjoy most of it. I love most the feeling of starting out and getting to know new characters. The only time I gnash my teeth are when the copy edits come in. I hate doing those. Everyone thinks they know better than the author. Sometime they do!
What one piece of advice would you give to someone wanting to start a novel?
Finish it! Sounds corny, but write what comes from your heart and don’t follow a trend. Then get to the end of it. The process of completing an entire book is quite taxing and that’s what sorts out the men from the boys!
Which three things would you want with you on a desert island?
Suntan lotion. One of my three chosen ‘must have’ books. A five-star hotel.
Carole is a writer of romantic comedy, drinker of champagne, baker of cakes and eater of chocolate. She lives in the Costa del Milton Keynes with her dearly beloved, Lovely Kev, in a minimalist home with no carpets, curtains or ornaments. She likes walking, dancing, Zumba, movies and watching rubbish telly.
About A Chocolate Lovers’ Christmas:
Nadia hasn’t let herself get close to a man in a long time, yet she can’t help feeling drawn to Jacob. Will he be her last chance for a happy ending?
Chantal and her husband, Ted, are besotted with their baby daughter Lana – but she’s not sure that’s enough to base a marriage on.
Autumn is dealing with a tragedy that has hit too close to home. But when she doesn’t get the support she needs from her fiance, will she look elsewhere for comfort?
(The Chocolate Lovers’ Christmas is published by Sphere, 22nd October 2015.)