Welcome to Clubhouse Chat page. For those of you who are not a member of the clubhouse won’t be aware that the location of the Clubhouse is shrouded in mystery. The only way to visit the clubhouse is via membership or an invite to the clubhouse tearoom. Every few days, I’ll be sharing a conversation I’ve had with a guest over tea and cakes, or maybe a glass of something stronger, about their work in progress, or latest book release. I’ll be talking to all sort of writers and authors at different levels of their writing careers.
Today I’m welcoming Carolyn Belcher to the Clubhouse Tearoom. We’ll order our refreshments before I start. What would you like to drink?
Thank you, Paula. My favourite beverage is red wine, though if you insist on alcohol free, then coffee, but proper coffee not instant.
You’re okay to drink wine here, Carolyn as our driver will take you home. Now we have our drinks I’ll start by asking you when you first begun your writing journey what drew you to your chosen genre?
I think I chose my genre because of the books that I enjoy reading the most, although having said that, I love reading a good crime novel. I did try my hand at one, a couple of years ago but I wasn’t happy with it.
What writing elements do you think is your strongest points, and what would you like to do better?
I think my strongest element is dialogue. I’ve written several pieces for the theatre and had them performed at The Edinbugh Fringe Festival This was in the 80’s and early 90’s. I would like to improve my descriptive ability.
Tell us a little about latest writing project. Is it a new idea, or one you have been mulling over for some time?
I have two writing projects on the go. The 4th novel in the quartet is in its final draft. The other 3 I’ve already mentioned are part of a quartet which has an umbrella title of The Mirror In The Cathedral. Each novel is linked but also stands alone. The 4th one is called All The Lies We Don’t Hear. The second project is first draft. It’s called Michelin and is a novel for children aged between 9/11. It deals with bullying, racism, and abuse.
How many unfinished projects do you have on your computer?
I have several unfinished projects on my laptop. I’m not sure exactly how many.
Do you write a synopsis first or write the first chapter? Do you plan your story or let the characters lead you?
No I don’t write a synopsis first, nor do I plan. My work is character driven and often they decide.
Choosing only five of your favourite authors. There list them in order 1 being the top of your list, and say how have they influenced your writing?
Anne Tyler, Carol Shields, Carol Shields. Michael Connelly, Kazuo Ishiguru. The first 3 authors have influenced me because I believe in their characters and integrity in what I write is important to me. I also love the wry humour in Anne Tyler’s work.
Were any of your characters inspired by real people?
Yes, real people have inspired my characters.
Is there anything about you your readers might be surprised to find out?
I can’t think of anything in particular that might surprise people about me, unless it’s that I was offered a publishing contract the week before my 70th birthday.
What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
My work schedule is varied as it depends on the day and what I have to do. Quite often, I can write for several hours without a break, and I’m annoyed if the flow has to be interrupted. Sometimes writing on my laptop is mesmeric and I feel sleepy. Then I realise it’s time to take a break and do some gardening, which is my other big love.
How do you select the names of your characters? & do you know everything about them before you start writing their story?
Sometimes names for characters just appear and I know they’re right. At other times I have a struggle to find the right name. No, I don’t know everything about them when I begin to write. Quite often they surprise me. I’ve had various arguments with characters because of a direction they want me to go in.
Thank you for talking to us about your writing, Carolyn.
Thank you for having us.
It you want to find out more about Clubhouse Member’s Books don’t forget to check out the Clubhouse Bookshops too.