Born Yorkshire lass, Caroline studied Law at the University of Manchester and stayed over the border. Caroline became a partner in a Solicitors’ practice and started writing when she deserted the law to bring up her three lovely daughters. In addition to the publication of her short story collection, Watching Horsepats Feed the Roses by ACHUKAbooks, Caroline has had short stories and poems published in a variety of literary magazines and anthologies. Her debut novel, Beneath the Skin, was published by Avon HarperCollins on 5 October 2017. My Husband’s Lies will be published by Avon HarperCollins on 3 May 2018
How are things in the UK? Greetings from Ohio!
Greetings from Manchester! Things are great, thank you, though you know that us Brits have to talk about the weather! We’ve had late snow and a lot of rain so far this year. Spring is trying to push through, but it’s still pretty soggy. Still, I can hear the evening birds singing as I type.
*What attributes best characterize your writing style?
The more I write, the more my conversational style of writing kicks in. I think this comes from writing in a close third person point of view. I hope this helps readers to become intimate with my characters and be able to get under their skin.
*Describe how you came to name your book Beneath the Skin and how it relates to the story.
This follows on nicely from your previous question! I felt Beneath the Skin was a perfect title on various levels and I was so pleased that the publishers didn’t want to change it. Firstly – for the reason I just mentioned – I wanted to explore what was going on inside the character’s heads – their motivations, their weaknesses, their fears and desires. The veneer of each character was different to how they actually were. For example (without giving spoilers!) Antonia was apparently ‘perfect’ but she felt damaged inside; David’s bonhomie hid a childhood tragedy; Sophie’s nonchalance concealed her real fear of losing her man; Sami’s arrogance and conceit masked the fat spoilt child he once was; Mike’s Irish blarney hid the black dog of depression; Alice’s impatience disguised her loss of identity as a individual rather than just a mum. Other title-related themes were self harming by cutting skin, beauty only being skin deep and the colour of skin/racial identity.
*What’s your process like for writing books?
I mull for a while and have some vague ideas of characters and where I’d like the story to ultimately go. Then I start to write, get beneath the skin (there we go again!) of the characters and let them take me on a journey to the end of the story!
*Do you have a fascination with secrets?
Clearly I must have. All my novels have them! However…Everybody has a secret. Yes, you do! A study revealed that the average person keeps thirteen secrets, five of which he or she has never shared with anyone. Go on, count them! They can range from those little things many people do that don’t really feel illegal, such as nicking a five pence plastic bag without paying, or exaggerating expenses at work, to major crimes such as hit and run incidents or even murder. Then there are affairs, betrayals and hidden relationships, with devastating consequences, to easy small lies to cover up mundane events such as covertly looking for another job or concealing the early weeks of a pregnancy. Or perhaps a person’s secret is simple unhappiness. Don’t we all do it sometimes? Put on our bright facade for the Facebook posts and photos to hide the occasional dissatisfaction with our lives?
Then there’s those family secrets which only come out when great Auntie Ethel has too much sherry at Christmas. You know, when you spurt out your bucks fizz in surprise – your Grandad was a bigamist; your dad and mum married when she was five months pregnant with your older sister, your cousin’s on the game…
*In your new book, My Husband’s Lies, who are Nick & Lisa?
Known as the A Team at school, Nick, Dan, Will and Jen have been close friends for years. Although Nick has an older brother, he found it difficult to break free from his parents until he met Lisa, a no-nonsense nurse. The story opens at Nick and Lisa’s wedding, a happy day which is thrown into chaos when a guest is spotted on the reception hotel window ledge, ready to jump.
*How do you create characters? Are they based off of real people?
I’m a bit like Frankenstein, I build my characters from scraps of people I know, people I read about and listen to, things I watch on the TV or read in newspapers, mixed with a huge dollop of imagination. They’re certainly not based on one real person, so if anyone out there thinks a character is them – no they are not!
*What’s the core dilemma in this book?
Making choices! Seminal events occur at Nick and Lisa’s wedding which causes their lives to dramatically change and secrets unravel. By the end of the story Jen, Nick, Will and Dan have to make touch choices. Though they are now in their early thirties, I see this as a coming of age drama in many ways – finally growing up.
*The title My Husband’s Lies says a lot. Can you say a bit more about this?
The title is generic – it doesn’t apply to one character! It’s a ‘domestic noir’ story, a compelling tale of friendship and love, secrets, betrayal and lies with an LGBT element. When the A Team gather for Nick’s and Lisa’s wedding, their ordinary lives are thrown into chaos. As the unstoppable chain of events ensues, untruths, family secrets, illicit love and perfidy are unravelled, pushing their relationships with their partners to the limit.
*Do you think you’ll ever write a legal thriller?
I have! I have written two books called Time is of the Essence and Truth is a Complete Defence which I would love to see published! The sardonic protagonist is lawyer called Natalie Bach who returns to her old law firm after a five year absence and a broken heart. Practising her self-styled feminism, she faces personal and legal conundrums. With the help of her old law college pal Gavin Savage, she eventually unravels complex cases and crimes!
Release date May 17, 2018 Pre-order now