Today we welcome Caroline Roberts to the blog. Caroline is another of our talented contenders for the Joan Hessayon Award.
Congratulations on graduating the RNA New Writers’ Scheme. Can you tell us when you first decided that you wished to become a romantic novelist?
I have always loved reading and have written since childhood; keeping a journal, writing poetry. I wanted to be a romantic novelist from the age of 18, but went the long route - working in a bank, bringing up my family and helping to run a holiday park. I am intrigued by relationships. Love is such a powerful, beautiful and complex emotion. The Torn Up Marriage is about messy, real-life love, warts and all, where life gets hard and relationships crumble - but the love here is no less intense than in traditional romance novels.
How many years were you a member of the NWS scheme and did you submit a different book each year? Which year’s book did you graduate with?
I have been in the NWS scheme for 6 years, and I have submitted 4 separate books, so two were edited and then re-sent. I first submitted “The Torn Up Marriage”, which was then titled “Live, Love, Learn”, in 2012, and my 2013/2014 novel submission was also taken on by HarperImpulse in the same book deal and should be out later this year, so I graduated with two novels from the NWS Scheme!
How did you find your publisher?
I found my publisher through attending the RNA Conference 2013 where I pitched in a 1:1 interview with Kimberley Young (Harper Collins), who had come to chat to the RNA about their recently launched, digital-first Romance imprint, HarperImpulse. It was nerve-wracking but she was lovely, and at last I had found someone who believed in my work.
Promotion is a big part of an author’s working life. How did you promote your novel?
Promotion is ongoing! It’s been a steep learning curve, as most publishers expect you to do a lot of self-promotion.
I use Twitter @_caroroberts, Facebook: www.facebook.com/CarolineRobertsAuthor and I have a blog. Reviewers and book bloggers have been a great help too. I have been featured in my local newspaper and interviewed by the NE lifestyle magazine, Living North. I have recently taken part in an author panel for a library talk, and am always on the look-out for promotional opportunities.
What has happened to you as an author since that first sale?
It’s been such a busy time with promotion and proofing the paperback version which comes out on 7th May, as well as keeping up with the day job. I have been writing a further novel, set on beautiful Bamburgh beach in Northumberland, and any time now the edits for my second book will be hitting my e-mail box.
How did you celebrate your first book sale?
I had a hectic and lovely publication day back on 5th March. I celebrated with family as it was my daughter’s Birthday too. We had champagne at home, then cocktails and a meal out. It was a fantastic day, and a dream come true at last!
Family, friends, food, a glass of bubbly and, of course, a good book make me smile. I love writing emotional stories about love, loss, betrayal, and family, that explore how complex and yet beautiful love can be. I also like to write romantic comedy, letting the characters have a bit of flirty fun too! I believe in following your dreams and working hard towards them, which led me to Harper Impulse (Harper Collins) and a publishing deal (woop!) after many years of writing. Stunning Northumberland is my home – sandy beaches, castles and gorgeous countryside that have inspired my writing.
Thank you, Caroline and good luck with your writing career.