Welcome to Karen Aldous who is celebrating the publication of her third novel, The Riviera.
Thank you for inviting me along to the fabulous RNA blog. The Riviera. It is a sequel to The Vineyard but can so easily be read as a stand-alone novel. Settings, come from my love of travel. Wherever I go, I like to imagine myself living in these exotic places and dream up a life – who knows how we construct subconsciously - but my characters tend to be created from this process. I do know that most places I visit, a character comes to life and I’m often inspired by the sheer beauty of a landscape such as Provence in The Vineyard and, The Riviera. Cannes captured my imagination for Lizzie because she was young and drawn to a buzzy, cosmopolitan environment.
How much planning do you undertake before you start to write?
I generally write an outline or synopsis once the idea grabs. For example, when I visited the Canal du Midi last summer, I stayed in this fabulously spacious villa which inspired a character who, I imagined living there. Immediately I sketched the outline of a very lonely girl who, by choice becomes an island within her gorgeous surroundings. I began asking her questions as to why and how she made the choice she did and then asked her how she would find happiness. From there, characters emerge who have brought about her isolation and sadness, and, those who will help her discover a brighter path. This will lead to exploration of all the characters motivations and conflicts. Once the summary is complete, because it is subject to change at any time if another idea works better, I gather the major scenes on cards to begin my structure. More cards are added with important events and then arranged into order to create the time-line. This is added to excel on word so that I can easily manoeuvre scenes, dates or anything new from research which needs to go in. This process can take weeks, months even, but, builds over time and, can be added to as I’m writing another project.
Can you tell us how you promote your e-books and meet your readers?
Before I was published I had a Facebook account so naturally told my family and friends as well as my writer friends. Many were lovely and bought my book and from there it’s been rather organic. When I first published The Vineyard last year, I hadn’t been on Twitter long but to my surprise, there were lots of wonderful readers, book bloggers and reviewers who, from their own love of books, were keen to read it and blog about it. I was astounded at this community. Reading is their passion and they are only too happy to write an honest review and, interview you. I believe book bloggers have such an influence. They have brought my books to the attention of their followers and fellow readers. Along with these, my amazing fellow authors from CarinaUK and many I’ve met online and chat or Tweet to have been hugely supportive.
I’ve also featured on travel, French ex-pat, Lifestyle blogs such as Pink Ink or LLm – who are other authors lifting other authors and, have been so generous. Admittedly, it took me a while to work out how it all worked but, I really can’t thank them all enough.
Of course, a major marketing tool for the ebook is a book tour. My Book tour for The Riviera begins on the 7th September. Amazon or Carina, my publisher also arrange price promos periodically too which I think help ebooks reach readers who wouldn’t normally take a risk on a new author at a higher price, so this strategy is a great help to both us writers and readers. It has been building on online communities which have helped me reach my readers.
What is your typical writing day like?
Gosh, there is no typical day. I’m constantly racing around with grandchildren and a small business I run but, I write anywhere so even when collecting my granddaughter from school, I have my notebook. I’m at my desk from Friday to Sunday and most evenings. Just now however, I have the luxury of writing most days with the children on holidays which is great. My mind can focus for longer periods.
Can you give us a clue to your current work-in-progress?
Yes of course. The house which is set on the beautiful Canal du Midi where Evie, my main character’s only mode of transport is her bike, and it’s a perfect setting for cycling. However, it is heart-breaking. Although she has a beautiful home, the man who has made her so many false promises is controlling her life. She is isolated in so many ways and has to find her way off of this figurative island. It is only after a near tragedy, when she meets the gorgeous film-maker, Ben that she begins to take a first step.
How do you see ‘Author Karen Aldous’ in five years’ time?
A very interesting question! When I began writing, my dream was to one day be read, to be published. That dream is now a reality. I have readers enjoying my novels. So, as any writer knows, the compulsion to write is something that’s within and, so is the compulsion to improve and aim a little higher; to reach more people and provide gripping entertainment. So that is the next step. First and foremost, I want readers to enjoy my books and so it’s important for me as a writer to not only keep writing but to improve it and offer them something more. I’ve learned so much from my wonderful editors and long may it continue. Learning is always beneficial and, for me, fun, so I do read a lot not only to enjoy, but to discover, how and why something another writer has created, makes it so good, and compelling.
I also love the many workshops and seminars with other writers which the RNA make so accessible. They’re full of new information besides reading books as aids. So, in the near future, I’d like the opportunity to explore a bit more. Become more adventurous, explore ideas and creep further out of my comfort zone. I’d also like to be helping new writers achieve their dream. Now is a good time to start planning a path for my writing future and increase my chances and my desire to reach more readers, so that within five years, I’d like to see Author, Karen Aldous on the Sunday Times or NY Times ‘Best Seller’ list and, dare I add, at the top!
Thank you Karen and good luck with The Riviera.
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