THE COSY CANAL BOAT DREAM Author Interview
Today I’m excited to welcome the talented Christie Barlow onto IF IN DOUBT READ to chat a little bit more about the lady behind the titles! So without further ado… Hi Christie welcome to IIDR, there’s lots of excitement surrounding your new book The Cosy Canal Boat Dream which is published today! So congratulations it must be an exciting day for you! So it seems like a great time to have a chat and get to know a bit more about you and your writing…
💁💁 Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m a 5ft 5in brunette born in the county of Cheshire and now at the ripe old age of 44, I lead nothing but a glamorous lifestyle: ironing, mucking out chickens and chasing after my mad cocker spaniel. I’m a mum to four, wife to one and my writing career came as somewhat of a surprise! Upon hitting my mid-life crisis (but dodging the tattoo and the sports car) after wholly dedicating my life to the care of my children, they asked me what I wanted to do in life while we were discussing their career options. ‘I’ve always wanted to write a book,’ I found myself answering, and so the notion was born. I self-published my first book, A Year in the Life of a Playground Mother which became the talk of the town and hit the charts. Within 3 months I’d landed myself an agent, a book deal with Bookouture and recently signed to HarperCollins imprint HarperImpulse.
🖊🖊How would you describe your writing style?
I would describe my writing style as fun, quirky and sprinkled with a little romance!
Choosing to write romance was a fairly easy decision for me to make. In my opinion, romance novels or romantic comedies are worth their weight in gold (and no, I’m not just saying that because I write them). Why? Because not everyone has that special someone; if I can make a reader fall in love with my characters or feel less lonely after reading one of my books, then my romantic novel has done more good than harm. I am a lover of happy endings!
📖❤️ What are your three favourite books and how did they inspire you or what do you like about them?
My three favourite books are Five on a Treasure Island, The Diary of Ann Frank and The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole! – maybe because I’m young at heart! These are books that have stayed with me since my childhood and I still have my original copies at home. The marvellous characters and the adventures of the Famous Five I will never forget and I have introduced my children to this series. These books are absolute classics and every child should have the opportunity to read them, they are truly fantastic.
😍❤️What is your favourite thing about writing and is there any aspect that you struggle with or find less easy?
I love that I can lose myself in the plot of a novel I am writing, as well as being able to live in the characters world whilst I am constructing it. In all honesty, being a writer can be lonely, so I love to interact with readers on Twitter and Facebook, which allows me to have conversations with real people instead of myself or my characters!
☕️🖊📖What are your three tips for aspiring authors?
1. Write and write often.
No amount of writing tips will help you discover the kind of writer you truly are, but to be a writer you have to write … often and every day! You need to write with passion and genuine desire. Stand out from the crowd. Start with a prologue that makes the reader think, that gets them hooked and gives them an idea of what the story is about. They want oomph, not the yawn factor, readers need to grab hold of something. And finally don’t over describe things. I’ve read numerous books and the descriptions are over-egged. Part of the reader’s enjoyment is building up their own picture from the clues that the author provides.
2. Make your characters convincing.
It may sound daft but my characters speak to me, I have numerous conversations going on in my head until the final edits are done. You need to make your characters convincing, make other people believe they want to be them, know of them, relate to them or have them as a friend. After each book I’ve finish writing I truly feel bereft. I have days when I’m subdued and need them back in my life. For the time I’m writing their story, they are a huge part of my life.
3. Develop a thick skin!
One thing I’ve learnt about being is a writer is only accept criticism if you respect the source. The second you do something different and stand out from the crowd prepare yourself for a massive outcry. You can’t please all of the people all of the time and don’t even try. Write what makes you happy and don’t get involved in on-line rows. Walk away, and don’t feed their negativity. Usually negative reviews comes from someone you know, maybe jealously, some people just cannot be pleased, who knows! But, I’ve learnt to turn any negativity into a positive, every review good or bad helps the amazon algorisms it shows your book is been bought and read … win win! Look at your sales figures and if your books are selling, then there you go … all publicity is good publicity!
🏡📝 Do you have a favourite place to write?
I love my writing cave, it’s an explosion of all things shabby chic! Every day I am accompanied by Woody my mad cocker spaniel and a life size cardboard cut-out of Gary Barlow!
☕️🍬🐶 Just for fun…
Coffee or tea? Tea
Sweet or savory? Sweet
Cats or dogs? Dogs
Paperback, hardback or kindle? I pondered on this on but I love my kindle because I can make the words bigger and sometimes struggle to see the print in a book!
👣👣 Can you describe your journey from writing to publication?
My journey has been quite a personal one as I decided to start writing to prove to one of my children that they could reach for the stars, if that’s what they wanted to do. Obviously, not every journey is plain sailing, but I like to think that I have put my own life experiences to good use along the way. Never in a million years did I think that I would be sitting here with several novels under my belt, but I went out and believed in myself. Dreams can come true.
📝💭And finally today’s the release date of your new title The Cosy Canal Boat Dream have you got another project in the pipeline or are you ready for a little rest before you start another?
I’m just writing my second book for Harper, and all I can divulge at this stage is it begins in New York, and ends up in England. There are secrets, hideaways and romance, but all I can say is there is always a happy ending!
Thank you for having me!
Love Christie xx