Today I am delighted to welcome along Caroline England for a guest spot here on Chapterinmylife.
Caroline’s debut novel, “Beneath the Skin” was published on the 5th October and is attracting rave reviews already!
“I was gripped immediately and I couldn’t wait for it to finish – perfect for fans of Into the Water by Paula Hawkins’ KATERINA DIAMOND, BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF THE TEACHER AND THE SECRET
‘Gripping, immersive, horribly believable, Beneath the Skin asks can we trust our friends? Should we believe our lovers?’ SANJIDA KAY, AUTHOR OF BONE BY BONE
‘Beneath the Skin is a startling debut. It slowly put me under its spell, until I was absolutely beneath its skin. With characters that pulsate off the page, complex relationships and dark mysteries, this novel follows the lives of four couples. Their dramas are revealed slowly, patiently, and beautifully, until the breath-taking climax. I can’t recommend this enough.’ LOUISE BEECH, AUTHOR OF HOW TO BE BRAVE
Born Yorkshire lass, Caroline studied Law at the University of Manchester and stayed over the border. Caroline was a divorce and professional indemnity lawyer and instigated her jottings when she deserted the law to bring up her three lovely daughters. In addition to the publication of her short story collection, Watching Horsepats Feed the Roses by ACHUKAbooks, Caroline has had short stories and poems published in a variety of literary publications and anthologies. She was shortlisted for the Impress Prize 2015, in the Pulp Idol 2016 finals and longlisted for the UK Novel Writing Competition 2017.
Her debut novel, Beneath the Skin, was published by Avon HarperCollins on 5 October 2017. Her second novel My Husband’s Lies will be published by Avon HarperCollins on 3 May 2018.
You can connect with Caroline on:
Thanks for joining me for a bit of a grilling Caroline!
1 You were a solicitor, what led to your change of career?
I very much enjoyed my career as a partner in a Manchester city centre practice, but when my daughters were born my priorities changed. I went down to four days, then a two-day job-share, then eventually to none! I didn’t have any plans to do anything other than the usual Mum stuff, but my ‘work ethic’ got the better of me, so I started writing short stories and poems and submitting them to magazines. I also wrote the first draft of a few novels but I didn’t tell anyone. They were my guilty secret! When an editor asked if I was interested in doing a short story collection, my writing confidence was boosted, so I went back to the novels. It’s great to hear you refer to them as a ‘career’!
2 Have you always written?
I always say no to this, but when I think about it, I was writing constantly as a solicitor – pleas of mitigation, divorce petitions, affidavits and statements, long reports to insurer clients! And I always wrote in my head before sleep. You know the sort of thing – grand romances with chiselled handsome heroes which go awry several times before the happy ending!
3 What is the inspiration behind “Beneath the Skin”
Just my fascination with human beings, really. What we’re actually like inside. All those fears and frailties we try desperately to hide! The characters first appeared in a short story called The Dinner Circle. Each character had a dark secret they were hiding…
4 “Beneath the Skin” is all about secrets and lies, what lies have you ever told?
Hm, where do I start! Most of us tell little lies all the time, sometimes to be nice (No really, it looks great! You have the cheekbones for such a short haircut!) or not to get into trouble (to husband – of course, I remembered to post your very, very important letter!) or maybe to cover up your ignorance (Yes, of course I’ve read Marcel Proust…) and of course there’s always the BIG lie about one’s age…
5 What’s the highlight of your career been so far?
When I got the call from my agent telling me Avon HarperCollins were publishing Beneath the Skin in paperback! It was really a dream come true!
6 Social media for authors – a curse or a blessing
Both! I was published four weeks ago now and it feels as though I have spent that entire time on social media when I’d like to do some writing! But having said that, social media is brilliant for spreading the word, interacting with other people, engaging with the public through lovely bloggers like yourself. So, I’m hugely grateful for it.
7 What genre do you read yourself?
I like to read contemporary fiction – I love Kate Atkinson and Maggie O’Farrell. I also read a lot of crime fiction too. Crime is always my first choice for holiday reading! Beneath the Skin is ‘domestic noir’, a combination of those two genres.
8 It can be difficult to get readers to leave reviews for books, what would you say to a reluctant reviewer to encourage them to consider leaving a review.
I’m getting so many lovely messages from readers saying how much they’ve loved Beneath the Skin. I feel awful when I ask if they could possibly post a review. As you say, a few people are reluctant to do it, perhaps because they feel it will take up a lot of time.
To any readers out there who’ve enjoyed Beneath the Skin, please do review! It takes only a couple of minutes. It helps authors enormously with promotions and also helps other readers decide whether to give up several hours of their time reading it!
9 In one sentence can you tell readers why they should read “Beneath the Skin”
Beneath the Skin is a tense dark tale about secrets, lies and complex relationships that’ll keep you mulling long after the story ends.
10 You are stranded on an island – who are the 3 people you would choose to have with you and why (and they have to be 1. a character from your book 2. a character from someone else’s book 3. A famous person)
Ooh! Good question!
- David from Beneath the Skin. He’s far from perfect and he’s made mistakes but he’s a sensitive, loyal and loving person beneath his bonhomie. He’d be great company – he’s personable, likes a drink and can do great impersonations. He’s also sporty and fit, so he can do the heavy lifting and build me a hut!
- Jackson Brodie from Kate Atkinson’s Case Histories (and other novels). Jackson is from Yorkshire, so that’s a good start. He’s physically tough (so can catch a wild boar and roast it for me) but he’s just a sweetheart inside! I loved these books. Jackson’s empathetic personality flew off the page and was fabulously captured on screen by Jason Isaacs. I think maybe Jason should come too. Don’t you?
- Today I’ll go for Kelly Jones of Stereophonics fame. Such a talented musician and songwriter with an absolutely knock out voice! He can sing us to sleep under the stars!
Thank you so much, Caroline, what fantastic answers! And yes, of course, I’d refer to your career as a writer as very much a job and a career! To all you readers out there, please take just a wee minute to leave a review, it really does make a difference! It doesn’t need to be screeds of writing just a couple of lines saying what you thought of the book!
“Beneath the Skin” is available to purchase from: