Thursday, 31 December 2015

What a lovely review - Becca's Books blog

Thank you so much to Rebecca for her fabulous Book Blog - Becca's Books.

As a debut author with my novel The Torn Up Marriage, getting a really thoughtful, considered review that is so positive is truly wonderful. It makes all those years of trying to get published so worthwhile when someone reads your book, really gets the story and the characters, and has enjoyed it.

So, here's a taster: "There are so many words fluttering about in my mind, words to describe this novel with, it's hard for me to choose just one.PainfulRawAgonisingHeartbreaking. But then at the other end of the spectrum, hopefulpromising and golden-centred... Punchy and unwavering, the focus on marriage and intimacy within this book absolutely took my breath away."

If you'd like to see the full review and take a look at Becca's Book Blog please go to this link:


Monday, 21 December 2015

News, Glorious News!

Hello! Sorry I’ve been away a while -  it has all been amazingly and wonderfully hectic.

Back in July, at the Romantic Novelists’ Association Conference, I had a great (if slightly nerve-wracking) pitch with the lovely Hannah Ferguson, aka Agent Fergie, who is with the Hardman & Swainson agency. I was only a few chapters into my third novel, which she loved, but as it was still at a fledgling stage, I needed to get cracking, get writing, and show her what a great novel it could be.

And, after years of trying, I now have a literary agent -  and a very experienced and lovely one at that - to represent me! Thanks Hannah, I am so looking forward to working with you.

Me at the fabulous Book Wall at the Harper Collins offices

Earlier this month, I went down to London, like a real author, and went to meet my team at Harper Collins and have a look around their amazing offices, which are in the News Building right next to the Shard in the London Bridge area. Off I set on an early train from Berwick-upon-Tweed (up north in the border between England and Scotland) for my Big Day Out. And what a day out that turned to be! My second book “The Cosy Teashop in the Castle”, which is a contemporary romance set in a fabulous if quirky Northumberland Castle, was mid edits. The Harper Collins team said they loved it and felt it had such commercial potential they wanted to do a print run straight away and promote it big time like their more traditional titles. I’m under a digital first/print on demand contract for them at present. So wow – more dreams come true stuff!  And, icing on the cake, I was taken to a gorgeous chocolate-themed restaurant at the Borough Market which was looking all lovely and Christmassy,  and was wined and dined. Yes, it was a day for pinching myself! (I’m still pinching myself writing about it all now.)

With my lovely Harper Collins editors, Charlotte and Charlotte

Later that same day, I headed over to Marylebone to a chic pub, to meet up with my new agent Hannah and some of her fabulous authors, where we chatted and got to know each other over wine. I had a great couple of hours, and made some lovely new friends. Whizzed back to Kings Cross, got on my train, and felt a bit like Cinderella. Had that all really happened?! But yes, I have the photos to prove it.
Author meet-up with my fab agent, Hannah Ferguson

So, I am now working on the paperback proofs for “The Cosy Teashop in the Castle” which will be published in February 2016, and I need to write the rest of the third book, I’m now at 50,000 words and cracking on for a New Year first-draft finish. It’s a beautiful love story about hurting and healing, set on the stunning golden sands of Bamburgh beach in Northumberland, one of my favourite places to walk the dog. I’m still keeping up with the day job at our holiday park, and a busy family life too.

“The Cosy Teashop in the Castle” is all about striving for your dreams, and after all that hard work over many years, 2015 was the year my writing dreams came true! If you have a dream, work hard, stay positive and KEEP GOING! It can happen.

Good luck, and have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy 2016 to you all!

Best wishes,

Caroline x

Sunday, 19 July 2015

What a Difference a Year Makes!

Oh my word – this just happened!

The Torn Up Marriage in Waterstones Newcastle-upon-Tyne

My debut novel is sat next to David Nicholls' “One Day” and a host of other famous authors on a “Summer Reading” table-top display at Waterstones, Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Did I really just write that? Yes, this is true! Wow.

I cannot begin to explain how this feels…  A little bit surreal, and me doing some happy dancing in the living room, is the nearest description. A year ago, I was wondering if all those hours and hours of writing were worth it, and if after 6 years of submissions, rejections and over 10 years of writing, I was actually a bit delusional. Was I any good at writing? Would I ever get a publishing deal?

After a lot of hard work, picking myself up, learning from my experiences and carrying on writing, it finally happened. I still remember that day vividly, just less than a year ago, when not just one but two publishing deals were offered to me.

The whole journey has been a huge learning curve. I am now trying to get on board with promotion and publicity for my debut “The Torn Up Marriage”, (must have done something right with getting in to Waterstones!) as well as starting to write Book 3, and tackling edits for Book 2. Along with doing my first ever library talk (stomach like a washing machine, but seemed to go okay), the day job, and everything else.

And what has been so lovely is that I have met some wonderful people on the way, made new friends, and been supported in such generous ways by my old friends, my family and my local community. I’m on a new journey, and boy, I’m so glad I persevered and held on to my dream of becoming a published author.

THANK YOU, and if you are still writing and dreaming of that publishing deal KEEP GOING!

Very best wishes,

Caroline x

Saturday, 30 May 2015

Award Trip to London & My Paperback is Out!

I had an amazing time on my trip to London for the Romantic Novelists' Association Summer Party and the presentation of the Joan Hessayon New Writers’Award.

First up was meeting my author friend, the lovely Jules Wake, who I’d got to know at the last two RNA Conferences, for coffee and a catch up at Waterstones Piccadilly, before we were due to meet our publisher for the first time. We headed across the road to the swanky Le Meridian Hotel, to meet our editors Charlotte Brabbin and Charlotte Ledger from HarperImpulse, for prosecco, nibbles and a chat with the other Harper Collins authors (5 of us in all) who were also nominated for the award. Hello to Nikki Moore, Brigid Coady and Kathy Jay! (As well as me and Jules). It was really lovely to meet you all. 

It was soon time to walk down to the gorgeous building of the Royal Overseas League. The next hour passed in a whirl of having photos taken, thanks to Katrina the professional photographer, meeting and chatting with other authors – the room was buzzing - and having a glass or two of wine to settle the nerves a bit! It was wonderful to talk with other recently published authors, and some more established - the lovely Katie Fforde was there, and hearing their writing journeys.Then it was time for the nominees to go up to the front and be introduced with an image of us and our book on a big screen behind us.

And the winner was… Brigid Coady with the novel “No-One Wants to be Miss Havisham”! Though it wasn’t me, I hadn’t really expected to win, after all 15 talented new authors were in the running. But it was wonderful that it was an author from our team – go HarperImpulse! And like me, she’d had a long journey to publication, and gave a lovely speech which was very moving. Well done, Brigid!

The rest of the evening flew by. I suddenly realised the room was emptying and I hadn’t taken a single photo of the event at all. So I gathered my Harper Collins team as best I could for a couple of photos, enjoyed a glass of G&T, met some more authors, and then headed next door to another very swanky hotel for more prosecco and some late evening snacks - with all the buzz at the award ceremony few of us had managed to eat anything much at all.

All too soon, I was on the train back to Tring, for an overnight stay with Jules (Thank you!) – trains back to Northumberland do not exist at that time of night! We were both shattered but managed tea, toast and more chat before bed. (Surprised my jaws weren’t aching from all that nattering!) And finally back to reality and Northumberland the next day.

And today, just a week later, I finally got to hold my very first copy of my novel “The Torn Up Marriage” – here it is! Wow – what a feeling!

I can’t tell you how precious it feels to hold my real book in my hands. It’s the culmination of a long journey, my love of writing, hard work, a huge learning curve and meeting some lovely people along the way! I DID IT!( I’ve even written that in the front of the book). Hmn, just wondering whose book to place it next to on my bookcase? Someone famous, naturally. Could wedge myself between Jo-Jo Moyes and Shakespeare? David Nicholls, Emily Bronte, Thomas Hardy, C S Lewis, Maggie O‘Farrell? I might just have to keep swapping it about. But it’s HERE!! A DREAM COME TRUE!

Thanks for all the support along the way everyone!

Best wishes,

Caroline x

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Posh Frocks and a Trip to London – I’m a Contender for the Joan Hessayon New Writers’ Award!

So, lovely people, guess who’s one of the final 15 contenders for the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Joan Hessayon New Writers’ Award with “The Torn Up Marriage” – me! I have a train ticket booked for the award ceremony at the RNA Summer Party night, 21st May, at the gorgeous-looking Royal Overseas League in London. Canapes and fizz, and I believe a new posh frock is the order of the day.

Who knows what the result will be, I can only cross my fingers and wait and see, but the wonderful part will be to meet up with other just-published, those still trying to get published, and some very established authors. In my many years of trying to find an agent and publisher it was the support of the RNA that really helped me to persevere; providing friendship, advice, inspiration, laughter and lots of tea, cake and on occasion fizz.

If anyone is writing away at home, and not sure whether to join an organisation such as the Romantic Novelists' Association, I would absolutely say GO FOR IT! There are local chapters you can link up with, so it’s not all down in London if you live elsewhere in the UK, and I wasn’t aware initially, but if you haven’t yet managed to get into the New Writers’ Scheme (as there is an annual membership application time from 1st January each year and you need to get your skates on for one of the 250 places!), you can still go along to most of the local groups, and join in events even as a non-member. You need to be writing some form of love/relationship story, but it’s not all “Romance” in the narrower sense of the genre, saga writers and women’s fiction, historical, erotica, also young and new adult, are also at home there. Full details are on the RNA website, see link below.

Here’s a picture of my local RNA Chapter. For two years running we’ve had a fantastic Writers’ Retreat Day at Shepherd’s Dene, a wonderful country house in stunning gardens, set in the Northumberland countryside:

In my experience over six years with the RNA, writers are a friendly, supportive and generous bunch. Even longstanding published writers remember what it’s like to be trying to find that break with a publisher, many of us will have a pile of rejection letters or e-mails under our belt – me more than most!!

Writing is a very different occupation – you probably won’t earn a penny for years, it’ll take hours and hours of your time, your house will degenerate to a dusty hovel, your family may think you are a little nuts, your friends will be really interested but then imagine you are making a mint the minute you get a book deal – very rarely the case. So come along find your tribe and get some fantastic support and a few new friends along the way!

Wish me luck for the Joan Hessayon Award on the 21st – and look out for the photos on my next Blog – wonder if there’ll be a Red Carpet?! And, before I dash off to buy my frock, a big THANK YOU to the Romantic Novelists’ Association, and in particular to my support group of friends with the Border Reivers RNA Northumberland Chapter.

Best wishes,

Caroline x

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

The Life and Times of a Published Author!

Well then, it’s now nearly two months since my e-book publication of “The Torn Up Marriage”, and the paperback is due out next week! I will really get to hold a copy of my book in my hands – can’t wait.

So what’s life been like? Have I been swanning around thinking of new plots and characters, sipping bubbly, fine dining and mixing with the literary elite? Have I heck (though I did squeeze in a little bubbly). It’s been absolutely hectic.  As well as the day job – I’m not making millions from my writing yet folks. I have had to become my own promotion officer, trying to get publicity for my debut novel in local newspapers, magazines, blogs, Facebook, Twitter. I'm featuring in our Living North lifestyle magazine as “Author on the Doorstep” for the May issue! And here's the link to my recent Q & A with the same magazine:

Also, I've had to brave my fear of public speaking and firstly do a Village Hall Talk, a nice chatty event to find my feet amongst friends and neighbours (with tea and cake supplied in bulk – to keep the crowds happy), and secondly, a ticketed Library event for World Book Night on a panel with four other local authors. Well that struck fear and dread like never before, having to stand up in front of over 40 people reading extracts from my book and answering the audiences' q’s. I survived  - stomach like a washing machine - and I must say it wasn’t half as scary as I imagined. Readers are actually very nice people who love reading and are genuinely interested in writers, and they were partial to a glass of wine in the interval. So I have taken the plunge and offered to do more events with libraries in the future.

Ready for the off - my unsuspecting audience!

So it’s onwards and upwards. I have just managed to get back into writing my next book, after several weeks writing press releases, blogs and Q & A’s for book reviewers.  I’m also waiting for the edits for Book 2 to hit my e-mail – it's yet to be re-named – HarperImpulse didn’t much like the working title and I wasn’t too impressed with it either. 

So it's busy, busy, but I’m still smiling. And I’ll have a great big grin on my face when the paperback is in my hand on 7th May! Here’s the Amazon link if you want to pick up a copy:

Chat soon.
Best wishes,
Caroline x

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Exciting times and Guest blogs

Hi All,
Sorry I've been away a while - things have got pretty hectic here after all the lovely launch parties and celebrations. I'm trying to be my own PR exec, still doing the day job, and busy with edits for the paperback proof of "The Torn Up Marriage" - which is due out very soon on 7th May!  - as well as the usual home, family events and day to day chores. So life has been exciting, full on and a bit crazy.
But I've still been blogging and featuring as a guest on some fantastic Book Bloggers own pages. So thanks to Shaz's Book Boudoir (what a wonderful name!) and the lovely Scintillating Suz (also known as Lavender) for featuring me. Here's a taste of what I've been up to:
Shaz's Book Blog Debut Spotlight:
Suzanne and Friends Author Interview: 

And if you are interested in buying a copy of "The Torn Up Marriage" here's the Amazon Link: 
Hope you enjoy the features and I'll be back soon. On the next leg of my new journey as an Author!
Best wishes,
Caroline x

Monday, 16 March 2015


“The Torn Up Marriage” is published! I am a real author and I had a bloody good 2 days celebrating publication. One with family, one with friends, and both days with lots of social media interaction and congratulations. So it’s been pretty hectic here really. And I’ve now realised I’ve got to become my own promoter and marketing agent… The learning curve goes on!

I have been getting some wonderful reviews and comments on the book. That has been amazing and the best thing – that real readers are enjoying the novel and getting involved with the emotions, the characters, and the themes of love, betrayal and forgiveness. If you want to take a look (or indeed buy the book, sorry for the shameless sales plug!) the reviews are all on


I also wanted to share some of the lovely gifts I had from fantastic friends who have supported me all the way - they even had a cake made of the book cover for me. And, THANK YOU to everyone for following me and my writing journey this far!

Best wishes,

Caroline x

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Reaching the Finishing Line…

So, this is really it, only a week to go until publication day for “The Torn Up Marriage” and here's my fantastic cover!
It’s been a busy couple of weeks, with a last-minute final proof read to do, which hit the deck just as I was working the day job. Then, a last minute glitch, and a panicky weekend waiting until my editor got back to the office, and could let me know that the proof hadn’t gone live to Amazon etc. And since then, my mind buzzing with promotion ideas. I’ve been busy creating my Author profile and adding my photo to Amazon both in the UK and US – oh yes, I’m going global!

And then,  sat at home quietly at my computer, I searched Amazon for my book, saw it appear with my name on the cover (I love the cover, by the way), my Author page all done, pre-order ready, and out of the blue I had a few tears. This is real. I can now officially announce: I AM A REAL AUTHOR! Wow - I’ve really achieved my dream of becoming published… Ten years writing, at least five years submitting,  and here I am! They were happy tears of course, for what felt like the end of a very long journey and a dream come true.
Of course, it is also just the start of another journey – my life as an Author - and I can’t wait to see how that one goes! But here’s to my debut novel “The Torn up Marriage” – I just hope you all enjoy reading it. And if you do, please take a minute to pop a review on to Amazon, or if you blog, tweet or whatever, let people know. I would really appreciate that. It’s hard for a new author to get known and get out there, so any help will be fantastic.
If you’re a writer early on your journey, very best of luck to you, and keep going. There were times when being published felt just too far from my reach, however hard I tried, but hey, it can really happen! There’s a saying in the writing world which rings very true: “The difference between a published author and an unpublished one is that they didn’t give up!”
Thanks for reading my blog - I’m still going to keep posting here. After all, there’s always more books to write, I’m just at the starting line…
Caroline x

Monday, 5 January 2015

So you get the Book Deal, what happens next?

Well, it’s been all go for me! So, I accepted the book deal with Harper Impulse back in July, and I’ve recently heard that my debut novel “The Torn Up Marriage” has a publication date of 5th March 2015! 

But what happens after a writer gets the deal and signs the contract? I suppose every author’s experiences are slightly different - I did spend several days walking around with a silly grin on my face, chanting “I’m a real author” in a Pinocchio kind of voice to myself, then I realised I’d better crack on with the day job, the next novel, the housework and prepare for those impending edits. 

I was a little nervous at the thought of the editing process. My novel, which I’d worked on for a couple of years, was out there in someone else’s hands! It was going to be interesting and, to be honest, a little scary getting a professional opinion on it. Luckily, my fears of huge slashed out sections in red ink did not materialise. I have been working with my lovely Harper Collins editor, Charlotte Brabbin.  Her suggestions were spot on, it felt very much like a meeting of literary minds, and it was great was that I felt in control of my work all along. We worked together to enhance the story, and develop the characters even further, which was a really positive process and I’m sure will make for an even better book. So, the main edits are all done as far as my input is required. I think I get a further copy edit – final grammar, spelling checks etc. and then a final proof.  
Hard at work - tools of the trade pen, laptop, coffee, biscuit!
The next stage will be the cover. A cover is crucial to help readers decide whether to pick up and buy a book – be it an e-book or in print. I did get the chance to put forward my cover ideas to the publishing team, and have just got back 3 initial cover designs back. They were great, and it was really quite emotional for me to see my name on the cover of a book. There are still some design tweaks to be done, so I can’t share them with you as yet. But watch this space… very soon there will be a cover reveal. It’s all exciting stuff! 

Meanwhile, I have been busy cracking on with writing a third novel, (which is kind of my fourth or fifth really as I have a little stash of “learner novels” put aside). I told you I’ve been writing for a while now! 

Edits for Book 2 are due in shortly, so then I’ll have to put my mind back to those. And I’m also busy thinking about the launch for “The Torn Up Marriage” and supporting that with online and local promotion. So as you can see I’ve been a busy bee. 

I am still thrilled about my dream of being an author coming true and trying to savour every moment, even though it’s been hard work along the way. I cannot wait to hold a real book in my hand with my name on the cover and my words on the pages! It won’t be long now. 

So, if you are busy writing and submitting and wondering if it’s all worth it – keep going! Believe in yourself and your writing. Dreams can come true.  

And if you have any questions at all, please feel free to post them here, I will try and answer every one.

Best wishes,

Caroline x

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Happy New Year - Go For Your Dreams!

Just wanted to wish you a very happy and healthy 2015! Hope it's a wonderful year for you all!

2015 is the year I will become a published author with my debut novel "The Torn Up Marriage" - released with Harper Impulse on the 5th March! It's been a long writing journey, and needed a lot of determination and perseverance to get here. But if any of you have long held dreams and ambitions I'd recommend you just go for it. Do your research, take small steps if you need, and learn on the way, but dreams can really come true.

Work hard, keep positive and the very best of luck to you! Have a great 2015!

Lots of love,
Caroline x