Tuesday, May 20, 2014

I'll Drink to That!

Today we meet Karen Aldous 

Karen lives with her husband and dogs in the beautiful Kent countryside where they brought up their three children. She enjoys activities which can be shared with family and friends walking, cycling and skiing.

Inspired initially by Jilly Cooper, Karen continues to adore great stories and writers. She attributes her passion for writing to three Ps - People, Places and Property. Her career allowed her to indulge in them all, providing useful material for her debut novel, The Vineyard.

What gave you the idea for your book and how long did it take you to write?
Provence and the Riviera and imagining how lovely it would be to live there, but I didn’t want my main character to inherit a vineyard in France. That would have been too easy for her. I wanted her to be a completely independent single mum who was inspirational, creative and determined to provide for her child. It took me ten months to write altogether if I count the time actually writing and editing but it was in my head for about ten years.

Why did you decide on that particular location?
I chose the location simply because Provence is stunning and I would love to own my own vineyard there.
Cannes has a cosmopolitan and glamorous appeal, not only for my character but also to readers. I know I would want to escape there in a book. I actually used Meopham, my home village in Kent, as my setting. It has a vineyard, it's beautiful and one of my favourite walks goes down through a lovely valley. 

How did you carry out your research?I used the information I gathered whilst in Provence and revisited Cannes staying in the apartment which became Lizzie’s home. It was perfect because it was located within a community rather than the touristy areas. I also did a week-long Wine Growers course at Plumpton College in Sussex. The Internet too is an invaluable research tool; if there is anything it can’t answer, it will lead you to the experts that can.

How did you learn your craft?
I read a lot and over the years I’ve been writing on and off, starting novels or short stories but never really sending anything out. I completed a BSc Hons majoring in Psychology with literature because there were very few creative writing courses around at that time but I subscribed to Writing Magazines and read books on writing. There are so many more nowadays. However, in the last two years I’ve been much more focused on my writing, joining the Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writers’ Scheme (NWS) and a novel class at The Write Place Creative Writing School, both of which have been invaluable. My weekly class improved my skills and motivation and the critiques I received from the NWS guided me to the professional standards I needed to attain. Both have been huge contributors to my writing confidence too; the helpfulness and friendliness of fellow writers has made learning my craft a real pleasure.

If your book was turned into a film who would you like to play the main characters?
Jessica Brown-Findlay or Emily Blunt as Lizzie, Jude Law as Cal, Sheridan Smith as Sophie and Emma Thompson as Lizzie’s mother Caroline.

Can you tell us something about your next book?
My next book is set both in London and, the beautiful Lake Geneva, the Swiss Riviera. Gina is fascinated by the Chateau de Chillon and its past haunting inhabitants. As she discovers more from one in particular, her life begins a path she could never have imagined.

If you were to take part in Desert Island Discs what would be your choice of book?
I would probably take the largest notebook I could to write in and write as small as I could because I wouldn’t know how long I would be there. But I know that’s not the point. I think it would have to be Pride and Prejudice. Jane Austen provided the best template for women writers and it never fails to entertain as well as teach me

Thank you for sharing with us today, Karen

Amazon UK: The Vineyard

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1 comment:

Karen Aldous said...

The Vineyard was launched yesterday as an eBook on Amazon and other major eBook sites so, I am so happy to be here today. The RNA and it's members as well as it's unique New Writer's Scheme have given me so much advice and support. Please ask if you have any questions or just leave a comment.