Welcome to Clubhouse Chat page. Those of you who are not a member won’t be aware that the location of the Clubhouse is shrouded in mystery. The only way to visit it is via membership or an invite to the tearoom. Every few days, I’ll be sharing a conversation with all sorts of writers and authors at different levels of their writing careers. Over tea and cakes, or maybe a glass of something stronger, I shall be chatting with my guest about their work in progress, or latest book release.

Today, I’m welcoming Cara to the tearoom. Welcome.

Thanks for the opportunity to join you for a cuppa, though, my favourite beverage at the moment is Aperol Spritz.

Then if that is so, let’s order your favourite beverage, Cara. Now we have our refreshments can I ask you when you first begun your writing journey what drew you to your chosen genre? 

Because I was still working full time at the day job, I wanted to choose a genre which needed little research so I went for romance. 

Tell us a little about latest writing project. Is it a new idea, or one you have been mulling over for some time? 

I am terrible at plotting, I’m a pantster. This unfortunately results in me sometimes getting tied up in knots in the final stages. My latest pocket novel was started about five years ago and I simply got stuck and gave up. But, I never ditch anything completely. I find that often, the passage of time can result in my brain finally being able to get its act together. So, the pocket novel I’m working on at the moment has had a very long gestation but finally, I’m getting there.

Cara Cooper

Do you write a synopsis first or write the first chapter, or let the characters lead you?

 I just dive in. I’ve tried doing synopses first, planning, doing the whole postage note thing where you put the main elements of your story on a huge board and absolutely none of those methods work for me. So, I generally know the beginning and the end. It’s the middle that needs really working on. I get many of my ideas from stories in the news, the more bizarre the better in some respects as many of my pocket novels are cosy crime as well as romance, and I’m a member of the Crime Writers Association as well as the Romantic Novelists Association. If I can get that first chapter written, I find that the rest will follow, even if I have to drag it, kicking and screaming to a conclusion. 

When reading your work through do you ever find that your daily mood swings are reflected in your writing? 

Yes, all the time although I’m actually influenced more by place although that can induce a mood. I find that a lot of my romances are set by the seaside because I find the coast such a wonderful place to be. It’s also very conducive to inducing different moods. A stormy grey day, or one filled with light and sunshine can reflect what’s happening in my stories. I find that practically every time I go on holiday whether it’s abroad or at home in the UK I get ideas and I guess it’s partly because of the stimulation of somewhere new and partly that my mind is more relaxed and open to suggestions and the all important, what if question that makes a writer want to sit down and work through a story.

Were any of your characters inspired by real people? 

Only very loosely. It can be very dangerous to base your characters too closely on people you know, for obvious reasons. Though as I’ve said elsewhere I do get inspired by news stories. I also like true crime programmes and podcasts so there are some darker characters who have been inspired by elements of real people.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing? 

My writing brain is most fertile first thing in the morning and fuelled by quantities of coffee. So, I write in bed, in silence and I could never write later in the day.

Do you set yourself a daily word count? 

Only if I’m needing to meet a deadline. I don’t like to put myself under that sort of pressure because usually I’m motivated enough without setting specific number counts.

Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?

 If I ever moved away from cosy crime and into more gritty crime, I’d use a pseudonym. 

How do you select the names of your characters? Do you know everything about them before you start writing their story? 

Names are the absolute bane of my writing life. I really should keep a notebook of interesting names I come across but I’m not disciplined enough. I love it when I come across interesting names and both Thomas Hardy and Dickens loved an unusual and evocative name, Fancy Day, Bathsheba Everdene, Peggotty, Uriah Heep – they’re all gems in my opinion.  No, I don’t know everything about my characters before writing a story because I find they evolve as I go on. I get to know them at a similar pace to the reader, so sometimes they surprise me, though I am always a good few steps ahead. 

What was your hardest scene to write? 

The hardest scenes I find to write are the ones which wrap up a storyline. Have I tied up all the loose ends? Have I left any questions which should have been answered? Have I given the reader a satisfying and believable conclusion? Those are all the sort of questions which go through my head when I’m coming to the culmination of a story. I’m old fashioned in that I like a proper beginning, middle and end without anything left to conjecture and that can sometimes be difficult to do if you’re the sort of writer who doesn’t plan.

Thank you so much for joining me, Cara. If you would like to find out more about Cara’s work check out her Amazon Author’s page:

Blog Page: http://caracoopers.blogspot.com/

If you want to find out more about Clubhouse Members’ Books, don’t forget to check out the Clubhouse Bookshops, too.

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