Today, I have Caroline James, author of Coffee, Tea, The CArribean and Me, on my blog for a chat about her writing and her latest book.
Tell me a little bit about yourself.
I have worked in the hospitality industry for a great many years and done just about every job you can think of, from pot-washing and cooking to owning and running a pub and country house hotel. More latterly I ran a business representing several well-known celebrity chefs.
How did you first come to be a writer?
I’ve always wanted to write but never thought I was good enough, having messed up school and only gaining an education later on. About five years ago I decided that I would prefer not to die wondering and very firmly placed my rear on a chair and willed it to stay there until I had the draft of my debut book. It took a year, snatching hours where I could.
What is your book about?
Coffee Tea The Caribbean & Me is about friendship and loss and that it is OK to get older and life really can begin again. So many people live on their own today and through unforeseen circumstances loose the confidence to step back out and into life. The book is the sequel to my debut novel, Coffee Tea The Gypsy & Me but is also a stand-alone read. If follows two friends – Jo and Hattie as they embark on single life in their 50’s and through an unexpected holiday learn how to live life to the full when they least expected to.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
My background. The hospitality industry has a wealth of weird and wacky situations and I have loved every moment of my working life so far. Running a pub and a hotel was wonderful; you never knew who was going to walk through the door and what would develop next. Some situations seem unreal now and I think if I wrote about them the reader might think it was a plot too far…
What is your writing routine?
I love writing very early in the morning – before the world wakes up. I love the peace of an early start when there’s no phone’s ringing, no traffic and noise, just the birds singing to keep me company. I have an old oak desk in the corner of a cosy room and once everything is in place, with a big mug of tea and a slice of toast, I can start.
What’s your favourite book that you’ve read this year?
I’m reading The Lie by Helen Dunmore and the writing is quite evocative but also harrowing and it has me totally hooked. No word is wasted and the descriptions are stunning, you almost feel as if you are a part of every scene. Certainly the best book I’ve read so far this year.
Is there a question that you wish an interviewer would ask that you’ve never been asked? What’s your answer to that question?
I think most interviewers, like you, are very good at what they do and get the best by asking clever questions, so that’s a tough one. Perhaps, “Would you like me to help you win the lottery?” would be a no-brainer?
If you were to be stranded on a desert island, which three things would you want to have with you and why?
The sharpest of knives
An endless supply of chocolate
How can people connect with you on social media?
Twitter – @carolinejames12
Facebook – Caroline James Author
Coffee Tea The Caribbean & Me – myBook.to/CTTCM2
About the Author
Caroline James was born in Cheshire and wanted to be a writer from an early age. She trained, however, in the catering trade and worked and travelled both at home and abroad. Caroline’s debut novel, Coffee Tea The Gypsy & Me shot to #3 on Amazon and was E-book of the Week in The Sun newspaper. Her second novel, So, You Think You’re A Celebrity… Chef? has been described as wickedly funny: ‘AbFab meets MasterChef in a Soap…’ The manuscript for Coffee Tea The Caribbean & Me was a Finalist at The Write Stuff, London Book Fair 2015 and the judge’s comments included: “Caroline is a natural story-teller with a gift for humour in her writing.” Her next novel, Coffee Tea The Boomers & Me will be published autumn 2016.
Caroline has owned and run many catering related businesses and cookery is a passion alongside her writing, combining the two with her love of the hospitality industry and romantic fiction. As a media agent, Caroline represented many well-known chefs and is currently writing a TV script and accompanying book about the life of a celebrity chef. She has published short stories and is a member of the RNA. Caroline writes articles on food and celebrity based interviews and is Feature Editor for an online lifestyle magazine. When she’s not running her hospitality business and writing, Caroline can generally be found with her nose in a book and her hand in a box of chocolates, she also likes to climb mountains and contemplate life.