Hello, Cara, and a warm welcome to Romaniac HQ. The weather’s been so nice, we’ve had the windows open and we’ve aired the joint. It’s so much more pleasant. Iced tea? Cheesecake? It’s got flaky chocolate on top and a Hobnob base.
Thank you, any kind of cake is my downfall but as this is a special occasion I’ll have two slices please.
In recent months, you’ve been posting advice on your blog about writing a magazine serial. Please tell us about your pocket novel and serial writing.
I guess I’m an object lesson in slow and steady wins the race!
I researched many magazines and publishers and decided as The People’s Friend is dedicated to fiction I’d try and write for them. I studied the magazine from cover to cover – they know what their readers like. They produce sweet, feel-good stories with a clear narrative. After a number of attempts, I managed to have around five short stories accepted. I always feel you should try and go up a notch so then read a number of the PF pocket novels which at the time were around 50,000 words. I had half a dozen pocket novels published by The People’s Friend and My Weekly: Safe Harbour, Healing Love, Tango at Midnight, Leaving Home, The Sanctuary and Take a Chance on Love. I was then approached by PF who said, ‘you can write short and you can write long, so would you like to try a serial?’ I believe in always grasping opportunities even if they scare you to death so I’ll never say no. The result was an 8-part serial called The Lemon Grove set in sunny Sorrento.
Serial writing is tough in that you have to wait for each episode to be approved by the editors before going on to the next. Maybe for more experienced serial writers they get it right first time but I had revisions requested for each instalment. The most important elements are to have enough characters to carry that many episodes. PF is a family magazine so I included all ages from teenagers to a beloved granny. You also need a cliffhanger every week. This can be dramatic – one of my characters gets lost at sea – or more low key but it does need to contain enough intrigue to make the reader want to buy next week’s mag. Whilst I was writing each episode I always had at the back of my mind the ending scene. I’ve put some tips on writing serials on caracoopers.blogspot.com.
How did The Sanctuary come about? How much of an animal lover are you?
It was prompted by many idyllic visits to the Isle of Wight and is set in a beautiful cove by the sea. I also set Safe Harbour by the sea, being a city girl I have fantasies about living next to the tranquillity of water. I love animals and am besotted by our beautiful black cat, she came from Battersea dogs and cats home and gives us endless joy.
I love both the sea and cats, Cara.
Some authors write whilst listening to music. Although I love music, I need silence in which to write – I tend to get carried away if music’s playing. Is music important in your life?
I’m married to a musician! However, like you I need total silence to write or else I can’t concentrate on the story.
The first time we met, you were giving a demonstration of the Argentine tango. It was very cool. This is the dance I love watching on Strictly. Please tell me about your dancing. And the glitter. There is glitter, right?
Oh my, there’s glitter with salsa and loads of shimmy and shake. Argentine tango is far more reserved but there are split skirts and fishnet stockings….
What’s next for Cara Cooper?
Safe Harbour and Healing Love are being released by Accent Amour, a new romance imprint. I’m also working on a full length crime novel with a smouldering romance.
Now for our Romaniac Quick Fire Questions:
Salsa or Tango? Salsa.
Classical or rock? Hmmm, tough but on balance classical please.
Beach or countryside? Beach every time.
Ice cream or ice lolly? Ice cream from my favourite ice cream and coffee shop in Soho or from Italy (but Soho’s nearer!)
Hot and spicy or sweet and sour? Either please.
Alhambra or Cavatina? I’ve heard my husband play both a million times and never tire of Recuerdos de la Alhambra.
Cara, thank you so much for dropping by Romaniac HQ. It’s been wonderful getting to know a little more about you and your books.
Thank you a million for asking me, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it.
You can follow Cara at caracoopers.blogspot.com and find her books at these links:
Safe Harbour here
Healing Love here
The Sanctuary here
Take a Chance here