Saturday, 24 June 2017

Back Catalogue Book - Q&A with Karen Aldous

Back Catalogue Books is my new regular Saturday feature, focusing on books that are not the latest releases. There is going to be a mix of Q&As and also reviews, depending on what I have the space for. 

If you are an author wanting to take part in Back Catalogue Books then please do email on gilbster at gmail dot com and I'll whizz the questions over to you. 

I hope everyone enjoys this weekly look back at some of the slightly older books that are about but still great, going to aim to read books that have been out for at least 6 months, and that I eventually make a dent in my TBRs as a result of it!

Hi Rachel,

Thank you so much for inviting me along to your new ‘Back Catalogue Books’ feature. What a wonderful idea. Just so that your readers know a bit about me, I’ll give a *wave*, I’m Karen Aldous, author of five contemporary romances with HQUK/HarperCollins, which are set in some of the most beautiful locations, and as well as containing lots of emotional family drama, my strong, independent heroine will always find her happy ending.

Please tell me about your first book, and what started you writing in the first place

The Vineyard is my first book and it’s inspiration came from my first visit to Provence several years ago. I fell in love with the ambience of Provence, the landscape, the hilltop villages, the vineyards, but my character Lizzie was too young to live so rural, she needed the cosmopolitan vibe of Cannes to live and run her business and so Provence became her dream. The story was born. It didn’t actually reach fruition until 2012 though. I wrote the first half of it whilst my mum was undergoing her chemo treatment. I finished it the following year and sent it to CarinaUK, now HQUK.

1) How many books have you written and what are they?

I’ve just completed my fifth novel but both The Vineyard and The Riviera, are, as I mention above, set in Cannes and Provence, and follow the story of Lizzie and her three-year-old son Thierry and Cal and his son who lives on the US island of Nantucket. After falling for bad-boy Anton, Thierry’s playboy father, Lizzie then falls for Cal, her mother’s toy boy. Lizzie has difficulty trusting any man since Anton, so even when discovers the truth, it takes an exceptional man to win her trust. 

The Chateau is set around the beautiful Swiss Riviera on Lake Geneva where Gina meets Ollie and is immediately disturbed by a figure on the lake. As more is revealed of Agnes-Francesia, an unrested spirit at the Chateau, the quest to settle the spirit becomes Gina and Ollie’s fascination. 

My fourth novel, One Moment at Sunrise is set on the path and beside the stunning Canal du Midi, also in the South of France. My main character Evie appears to have everything, the elegant villa, the rock-star boyfriend and his gorgeous little girl, Charlotte, but Evie is extremely unhappy. When she researches the building of the canal for film director Ben, she finds herself identifying with one of the characters and discovers more about herself and where her own life should be leading. 

My fifth and most recent title, will be released 14th June, is called ‘Under a Tuscan Sky’.

2) Which book are you most proud of writing?

This is so tricky to answer because each makes me proud. It’s been a journey on which I am still learning and so each one is a testament to learning something new from the last. I suppose, it’s like asking me to favour a child. I can’t!

3) Which book was your favourite to write?

The Chateau was inspired by a dream soon after my mum passed. It was an extremely vivid image of a woman being dunked in the deep waters outside a medieval dungeon. I woke up sweating and quickly wrote the scene. I felt her spirit needed to settle, and her story told. I think it was my favourite to write not just because it was so close, but because Gina, my character was on a quest to discover the relationship between the spirit Agnese-Francesia and what she needed to do to settle her. I enjoyed that mysterious side to it. 

4) Who are your favourite characters from your books and why?

Relative to the above. I really loved Agnes-Francesia in The Chateau because as a spirit she had to enter different eras to find the person who would help her settle that spirit, and find ways of engaging and communicating with them. Arriving in the twenty-first century from the seventeenth century, she is exposed to so many changes, not just the landscape but material and technological changes. So from a more primitive era of road tracks and horse and carts, she has to endure the staggering changes to roads, as well as the unfamiliar, the speed etc ., of cars, trains, aeroplanes, and then decipher what phones and tablets etc., are, and how to make them work for her. It was entertaining and a particularly absorbing task. Imaging how lost we’d feel leaping forward or back four hundred years!

5) If you could go back and change anything from any of your books, what would it be, and why?

Oh goodness, I wouldn’t change any of the stories per se, but I would love to go back and re-edit them in terms of their language; changing sentences, phrases, grammar etc. I’d like to think I’ve developed as a writer and I’m sure if I went back and re-read them, my editing pen would soon run out of ink!

6) Which of your covers is your favourite and why?

I love my covers. The team at HQ have a great sense of what stands out.  I think the cover of One Moment at Sunrise is one which has a spiritual significance for me. Maybe it’s the mystical figure of the woman on the front walking into the unknown. She is following the light. I was talking to an author at an awards evening recently and we spoke about our previous careers; seeking locations for clients. We both agreed that our best finds are discovered when we are completely lost. I think that is what the image evokes for me, and it’s that stepping into the unknown and discovering what is out there which ignites me.

7) Have you ever thought about changing genres, if so what else would you like to write?

Yes. Apart from a contemporary romance, I enjoy psychological thrillers and historical or dual-timelines. I am currently working on some ideas for a dual-timeline. It is quite a challenge to create two stories which somehow weave together, but I feel ready for the challenge. There are some excellent authors out there who create wonderful dual-timelines and I would love to be among them. As I state above, stepping into the unknown can be a great adventure.

8) Looking forward can you let us know what you are working on next?

Under A Tuscan sky is being edited and set for 14th June release, just after my daughter’s wedding there, but I’m also working on characters and ideas for my next novel which is also set in Italy. Like France and Switzerland, Italy has so many layers and beauty, I find it inspiring in all aspects; landscapes, history, art, culture, culinary delights, not to mention the wine, so I’ve planned a tour for the research, and hope to meet some new characters and discover their stories. Nothing is ever wasted. I will also continue building on my dual-timeline novels.

9) I dare not ask for a favourite author, but is there any author’s back catalogue you admire and why?

Oh, there’s so many. Erica James is one of my favourite and among her back catalogue are dual-timelines. I like to read and learn from these experts; what strategies or vehicles authors use to create their different eras. I’ve been reading, Lucinda Riley, Santa Montefiore, Kate Moreton, Rosanna Ley, Kath McGurl, Iona Grey, and a new discovery recommended by a wonderful book-blogger, Katherine Webb. There’s probably more. I just love both the reading of the stories ,and working out how they’re all pieced together.

10)Finally, is there anything else you would like to say about your back catalogue of books?

As a writer, I want nothing more to inspire my readers and allow them to escape to another world so they can submerge themselves into the character’s mind. I ask only that your readers will try one or two of my back catalogue of books and if they enjoy them, to keep coming back for more, and recommend them to their friends.

Thank you so much Karen for answering my questions. I love your books and I'm looking forward to starting Under a Tuscan Sky when I get a spare moment.

Author Bio

Karen Aldous enjoys village life on the edge of the north-downs in Kent with easy access to the buzz of London. Not only does she love the passive pleasures of reading and writing, she also craves the more active pursuits with her family and friends such as walking, cycling and skiing especially when they involve food and wine!

Much of Karen's inspiration comes from her travels and meeting people. The UK, France, Greece, Switzerland, Italy and parts of the USA and Asia are just some you will experience in her books to date. However, wherever she goes, new characters emerge in 'Karen's World' screaming at her to tell their stories; past or present. She loves to write about strong independent women who can direct their own lives - but struggle to control them! And, of course there's always a gorgeous hunk or two!

Karen’s books published by HQUK/Harper Collins are available at most ebook retailers.

Here are the links to AmazonUK:

You can also follow Karen:
Twitter: KarenAldous_

Under A Tuscan Sky was published 10 days ago

Amazon UK
A summer she’ll never forget…
When Olivia Montague’s grandmother passes away, she decides it’s finally time to make some changes in her own life. So she breaks up with her ‘going nowhere’ boyfriend and embarks on a journey to her Nonna’s home in Tuscany.

Until now, Olivia has always believed that she’s incapable of love, after being abandoned by her parents as a baby. But with each day spent at the gorgeous villa nestled in the rolling Italian hills, she feels her heart begin to flutter…

And when handsome antiques dealer Hugh St. James arrives on the scene, she realises things might be about to change forever!

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