Author Interview with Caroline Mitchell

I am SUPER EXCITED to be welcoming the marvellous Caroline Mitchell to Becca's Books today! Before we get to the author interview, I'd just like to take a moment to wish Caroline a BRILLIANTLY HAPPY publication day! Her Bookouture debut novel, Don't Turn Around, is released to the world today, and since I've had the privilege of reading it already, I can tell you that it is FANTASTIC! A real, gripping, thrilling, unsettling read that had goosebumps prickling my skin as I read. 

So, I really don't want to hang around with this one, as I'm excited about having the author on Becca's Books, so let's get this interview started right away! 


B ~ Caroline, at what age did you begin writing? And at what age did you decide that you wanted to take it seriously? 

C ~ Thanks for having me Becca! English was my favourite subject in school and my reports often commented on my daydreaming. I was a voracious reader but I never thought of myself as a writer until a couple of years ago, when my husband Neil nagged me into writing a book of our true story, Paranormal Intruder. 

B ~ Was finding a publisher ever something that you'd considered? 

C ~ Certainly, although I'm very happy I self published Paranormal Intruder. It gave me a real insight into the book industry. 

B ~ Before signing with Bookouture, you self-published Paranormal Intruder, which is a novel based on real paranormal experiences that yourself and your family witnessed and experienced. Did you plan to continue self-publishing? 

C ~ Yes, I seriously considered it. It made sense, as I knew how to self-publish, and Paranormal Intruder had done very well. 

B ~ At what point did you decide to submit to Bookouture? How many attempts did it take, or did you catch their attention with your first submission? 

C ~ I had submitted to a handful of publishers when I found Bookouture online. Their ethos immediately appealed to me and I emailed my manuscript through their online submission page. A little while later I received full MS requests from the other publishers. I thought it only fair to let Bookouture know, and was delighted to hear that my manuscript had already been flagged to Oliver, who had taken great interest in it. It all went from there. 

B ~ What were you doing when you received the news of your book-deal? How did it feel to be told that you were going to become a published author? 

C ~ News kind of trickled through, I had emails of interest, then their crime editor, the lovely Keshini Naidoo asked to meet, but it wasn't until she uttered the words that they wanted to sign me for three books that I dared believe it. I felt a mixture of emotions, as my mum had passed away very suddenly the month before. I was thrilled to be signed, but sad I couldn't ring her up and tell her about it as she was so supportive of my writing. I like to think she was with me that day, giving me the thumbs up. 

B ~ What have your main fears and worries been in the build-up to the publication of Don't Turn Around

C ~ My main concerns were that people wouldn't get it, as it is a crossover of genres. I was asking my existing base of paranormal fans to give it a chance as it was mainly crime, and trying to win crime fans around when they may not have considered such a mix. I was very relieved when the very positive early reviews came in. 

B ~ Don't Turn Around is within a dark, disturbing and unsettling genre, intertwining crime-thriller with paranormal, something which I've never read before.Was it interesting, being able to mix these two genres together? 

C ~ They say write what you know, therefore as a police detective who has experienced the paranormal, it made sense to infuse it into my writing. I really enjoyed it, as you never know where the story will take you. 

B ~ Your heroine, D.C. Jennifer Knight, was a fantastically real and flawed character, who was able, amazingly, to hear voices from beyond the grave. What did you mainly want to focus on when creating Jennifer? Was there anything you desperately wanted the reader to grasp about her? 

C ~ I wanted it to reflect upon my own experiences with the paranormal. Although I'm not blessed with any special gifts of communication to the other side, when you encounter something like this in your everyday life you feel very alone. You doubt yourself, and at times wonder if you're losing your mind. Slowly you find the strength to deal with it, and come out a stronger person as a result. 

B ~ Your interests within the paranormal have always fascinated me, Caroline, and I know that they partly stem from your own experiences. Were you interested in the paranormal before your experiences took place? 

C ~ Not really. I had a mild interest in spirituality, but nothing prepared me for the onslaught of paranormal activity that invaded our quiet rural home. 

B ~ There are some seriously chilling scenes in Don't Turn Around that had goosebumps appearing on my arms whilst reading. Tell me, what do you think a writer really needs to nail when wanting to spook their reader? 

C ~ That's a really good question. You have to be able to imagine yourself in that situation. Go on a ghost hunt, or failing that, turn the lights off and close your eyes. You hear breathing but you know you're alone. The breathing is accompanied by scratching noises coming closer. How do you feel? Are the hairs prickling on the back of your neck? Do you stand your ground or run? We had many witnesses to our true-life case and it was interesting to see how people reacted in different ways. Bring your characters into the room, and see where it takes you. 

B ~ How long did it take you to completely finish Don't Turn Around? How did you find the editing process? Was there anything that you struggled with? 

C ~ It took me about nine months with all the edits, although thankfully I'm getting quicker with my writing. The hardest part was not the writing but finding the time to do it. I work full time and have four children, so time can be frustratingly limited. 

B ~ You created a truly twisting, turning plot within Jennifer Knight's first book in the series. Was it hard to ensure that there were no plot-holes? 

C ~ I used writing software Scrivener which helped immensely. Their online cork board was a really useful way of making sure the structure was firm, and I was very lucky to work with crime editor Keshini Naidoo who was great at spotting any possible discrepancies. 

B ~ Where did the idea for Don't Turn Around originate from? 

C ~ Frank Foster came to me one sleepless night, as many of my stories often do. I have a notebook by my bed for this very reason. After I worked him out I had to create someone who could deal with him and Jennifer seemed to fit the bill. I can't really explain where the idea came from, I just sat down to write and allowed the story to flow. 

B ~ Did you find it hard when switching between the different time frames? 

C ~ It was tricky to begin with, and at times I wondered if I had bitten off more than I could chew. I've got a quote on the chalkboard wall in my writing room. "It always seems impossible until it's done." I must have looked at that quote a thousand times, but it helped me finish the book! 

B ~ What did you hope your reader's reaction would be like? 

C ~ I wanted readers to take DC Jennifer Knight into their hearts, faults and all. I ended the first book with a teaser for the second as I wanted readers to continue the journey with her. The feedback has been fantastic so far and I'm very happy that people are already asking about book two. 

B ~ Have you started work on book #2 in Jennifer Knight's series? Can you tell us a tiny bit about it or is that a strictly confidential area? 

C ~ I'm very excited about book two as it's even creepier than the first. I've just finished the manuscript and will be handing it over to my editor shortly. It's about a character called The Raven, a tarot card reader whose fatal prophecies seem to come true - you wouldn't want to cross his palm with silver!    

B ~ Do you have any plans for anything more after this series? 

C ~ I'm working on a straight crime thriller featuring a character named DS Ruby Preston. I don't know when she'll see the light of day but I'm enjoying developing her character in between writing about DC Knight. 

B ~ Caroline, if you were to choose another genre to try your hand at, which genre would you like to try? Could you see yourself as a romance writer, do you reckon? 

C ~ I used to think I could write romance, but I just know I'd end up veering off somewhere dark with my characters! My favourite genres are psychological thrillers, crime and the paranormal, I think my writing encompasses all three. 

 B ~ Who are some of your most influential authors? Any whose work you've adored? 

C ~ Stephen King is the master as far as I'm concerned. When I come out of reading one of his books I feel as if I've been transported to another world. My fellow Bookouture authors of course, and I hear there's a certain novel named Return To Bluebell Hill which I'm quite keen to read!

B ~ When not writing, where can we expect to find you? 

C ~ I'm either at work or at home writing. I also love spending time with my kids, hubby and dogs, and am lucky enough to live near a beautiful beach. 

B ~ How long would you say you spend writing a day? 

C ~ As much as I can. I usually write at night, and can often be found nodding off over my laptop into the wee hours. 

B ~ What do you like to do to relax? 

C ~ Relax? What's that? Ha! Okay straight answer, I find writing very relaxing. Being a police officer can be quite a stressful job and writing has been a very therapeutic way of dealing with it. 

B ~ Do you have any advice which you'd like to pass on to aspiring writers? 

C ~ In the words of Stephen King from his book On Writing, "Stopping a piece of work just because it's hard, either emotionally or imaginatively, is a bad idea. Sometimes you need to go on when you don't feel like it, and sometimes you're doing good work when it feels like all you're managing is to shovel shit from a sitting position." 

B ~ What are your hopes for the future in regards to your writing? 

C ~ I would love to write full time. Although I enjoy working in the police, I cannot think of any better job than getting paid to create adventures for a living. 

B ~ Any parting comments? 

C ~ I'd like to give some virtual hugs and massive thanks to you, and all the wonderful bloggers and readers that have helped me get Don't Turn Around out there. I'm more grateful than you could ever imagine. 

B ~ Caroline, thanks so much for taking the time to be on Becca's Books today! It has been wonderful to have you here and I'm seriously looking forward to what comes next for Jennifer Knight! 

~ Author Bio ~


Originally from Ireland, Caroline lives with her husband, four children and two dogs in a pretty village on the coast of Essex. Five years ago Caroline and her family encountered real life paranormal activity in their home. Paranormal Intruder is her best selling true story. Caroline's new novel Don't Turn Around has recently been published by Bookouture in a three book deal as part of her DC Jennifer Knight series. These edge of your seat crime thrillers are infused with Caroline's experience in both the police and the paranormal. 

You can find Caroline Mitchell on Facebook | Twitter | Caroline-Writes.com

You can find Paranormal Intruder on Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon US

You can find Don't Turn Around on Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon US 
(You can also read my review of Don't Turn Around here)

  


    

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