What is your genre? Why did you choose it?
My genre is ‘contemporary women’s fiction’ and it probably chose me rather than the other way round. When I started writing One Night at the Jacaranda I just intended it to be a novel about a group of single Londoners, with a medical twist to the tale. It covers a few darker issues, so it doesn’t quite fit the chick-lit mold.
Yes. I’ve currently got two books on the go: a sequel to One Night at the Jacaranda, and a second textbook for medical students. The textbook uses case histories, so in a way it’s fiction too.
Do you work with a writing/critique group?
I used to attend a critique group, but my working life is a little too chaotic to make it a regular thing, so it’s gone by the wayside a bit. I now go to London meetings of the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi), who are a brilliantly supportive and group of colleagues. I’m delighted to be a part of the Indie Author Fair on November 16 in Chorleywood, which will feature a wide range of writing.
Can you remember your first reading book?
It was a lovely book of fairy stories, edited by James Reeves. I read it again and again. I also coloured in the pictures, very badly, in purple and brown. All the other pencils were broken.
Do you nibble on snacks while writing? If so, what is your chosen treat?
I have a passion for cheese, but I get up and walk to the kitchen to eat it there. That’s exercise, right? It also saves me from dropping feta all over the laptop.
Tidy desk or a bombsite? Describe your writing area with us.
The whole flat is a bit of a bombsite, to be honest, even though my twins have grown up and moved out. The sofa is where I do my best writing. I usually begin with paper and pencil because it seems to flow better, and I transcribe it a bit later.
Are you published in the traditional manner or self published? Share your journey.
I’m a so-called hybrid author because I’m both traditionally and self-published. All my non-fiction was commissioned and is traditionally published, but my fiction is self-published. At university I wrote music reviews for student rags. It was a good way of getting into the best gigs! When I qualified as a doctor, I began writing articles about the lighter side of medicine, and soon I was writing for the likes of Punch magazine (now sadly gone to that great newsagent in the sky). I’ve been writing non-fiction books, mostly about parenting and child health, for a couple of decades, and I’m the doctor for The Sun newspaper, which means I get asked to produce pieces on topical health stories at very short notice, any day of the week. It’s always been my ambition to write a novel, and, when the plot for One Night at the Jacaranda came to me while sitting on a plane, I knew I finally had an idea that could work. I relish the responsibility and the control that come with being an indie author, and I didn’t want to spend time finding a publisher, so it was an easy decision to self-publish.
Who would you say have been the three most influential authors in your reading/writing life?
Mary McCarthy for her novel The Group, Kate Atkinson for almost everything she has written, and Ruth Rendell for telling me on a writing course that I write great dialogue.
What advice would you like to share with other writers/authors with regard to preparing a manuscript?
Keep writing and polishing until you’ve got a beautifully crafted paragraph, one that employs the full range of your dazzling vocabulary and shows off your virtuosity with language. Then cross it out and write something simpler. The best style is the style you don’t notice.
If the movie rights to your novels are purchased, who would you like to play your main characters?
No roles for Benedict Cumberbatch, I’m afraid, but Armaan Kirmani would be perfect as cancer patient Sanjay (check Armaan out here http://bbc.in/1wSy43h). With suitably ageing makeup Nina Wadia could be his mother.
I see Julia Sawalha as Laure, a beautiful lawyer who is half British, half Lebanese, while the pre-op version of Renée Zellweger would be my first choice for freelance journalist Harriet.
Jessica Biel is much more glamorous than mum-of-four Karen, but maybe if she put on 10 kilos, got her clothes from Oxfam, and dropped some tuna bake down her front…?
As a mix of caring and curmudgeonly, GP Geoff is hard to cast. Perhaps James Murray from Cutting It? But there’s no doubt Jason Statham is the ideal pick to play ex-con Dan. I know, it’s going to be an expensive movie!
I was on my way to the supermarket, when … Do you have a tale to tell relating to an everyday, boring event?
Not yet, but I live in hope.
Carol is well known for a string of health and parenting books, and as The Sun newspaper’s doctor. After an award-winning textbook for medical students, she’s turned her hand to racy contemporary fiction with a medical twist. Her romance novel One Night at the Jacaranda is a glamorous and sexy tale of dating in London. It was a finalist in the 2014 Indie Excellence Awards and quarter-finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award 2014.
Carol works as a family doctor in London. She also broadcasts on TV and radio and is president of the Guild of Health Writers.
You can get One Night at the Jacaranda for only 99p (Kindle edition) over the weekend of November 22.