It’s the start of half-term week here in the Book Problem household which means a break from homeschooling for myself and the offspring, so we are all in fiesta mood! It is also The Irishman’s birthday (I won’t reveal his age), so even more excuse for a celebratory beverage and I am delighted to be joined for a tipple tonight by author… Caroline James.
Welcome to the blog Caroline, you’ve found us in party mood here tonight so thank you for joining me for drinks this evening. First things first, what are you drinking?
Good evening Julie, how great to be here. My tipple of choice is Boodles Mulberry gin with Fever Tree tonic, and a sprinkling of fresh raspberries and crushed ice.
Sounds delicious, I will join you if I may. If we weren’t here in my virtual bar tonight, but were meeting in real life, where would you be taking me for a night out?
I’d take you to pretty Kinsale, a fishing port, known as the Gourmet Capital of Ireland, to their annual food festival which takes place every October. We’d start in Acton’s hotel for a cocktail then join in with the craic and shenanigans at the many wonderful pubs in the town. During the evening we’d grab a bite to eat at Fishy Fishy – one of the gorgeous restaurants in the Kinsale Good Food Circle and end up listening to live music at The White House Hotel, in the heart of the town.
Fabulous, I absolutely love Ireland but haven’t managed to visit Kinsale yet. If you could invite two famous people, one male and one female, alive or dead, along on our night out, who would we be drinking with?
Without question it would be the eponymous celebrity chef, the late but great, Keith Floyd or Floydy as he was known. For many years I was a media agent representing many celebrity chefs and Floyd was much loved in the business. Floydy loved to drink and have fun and adored Kinsale so much that he made his home there for many years. We’d also invite Lady Gaga and slide into her flamboyant slip stream, indulging in conversation with the multitude of admirers who’d beg to join our party.
That would be some combo! So, now we’re settled, tell me what you are up to at the moment. How and why did you start it and where do you want it to go?
I started writing nine years ago having decided that if I didn’t glue my rear to a chair and get typing, I would die wondering if I could ever have published a novel. Unable to find a publisher initially, I self-published my first book and was astonished when it went to number three in women’s fiction on Amazon. I have had several best-sellers on Amazon since then.
I’m currently writing my eighth book and my road to fulfilling my writing dream has been a roller coaster. Being both self-published and traditionally published I’ve learnt so much during these years and today I help run a business that mentors aspiring authors, www.thepublishhub.com Writing gives me a purpose and sense of well-being to know that my books bringing pleasure to current and new readers.
Gluing my rear to the chair is an approach I definitely need to adopt! What has been your proudest moment since you started writing and what has been your biggest challenge?
I think writing about older protagonists has been my proudest moment as so many middle-aged and above readers tell me how much my books inspire and make them feel-good about themselves. The Best Boomerville Hotel is a retreat where mature guests get up to all sorts of capers and this is followed by Boomerville at Ballymegille where the mischief continues at a new venue in Southern Ireland. The challenge is to write more Boomerville books and keep them as fresh, funny and feel-good as the first.
What is the one big thing you’d like to achieve in your chosen arena? Be as ambitious as you like, it’s just us talking after all!
To see a Netflix series of Boomerville at Ballymegille and have viewers fall in love with my characters and share some of the crazy experiences they get up to.
What have you planned that you are really excited about?
It’s very difficult to plan anything in this current pandemic and priorities change. What mattered so much a year ago now seems unimportant and the only thing that matters to me is being with my precious family once again and having them close, healthy and happy.
I love to travel, and I’m currently drawing up a bucket list of things I’d like to do in the future. Where is your favourite place that you’ve been and what do you have at the top of your bucket list?
I’ve been lucky in that I have travelled quite a bit in my life but there are always places that I dream of going to. India is on my bucket list, as is Nepal. I like to trek and have trekked in some exotic locations and Nepal is certainly on my hit list. Closer to home, as soon as we are able, my hubby and I will be pointing the car north and heading to Scotland to do the North Coast 500, which is a route of just over 500 miles of stunning coastal scenery in the far north of Scotland. I love the highlands of Scotland and can’t wait to do this.
The Irishman is quite keen to do the North Coast 500 too, and I will happily go along as I adore Scotland. I have just made the request to do a small detour to visit Plockton and the Kyle of Lochalsh so I can visit the home of Hamish MacBeth!
Tell me one interesting/surprising/secret fact about yourself.
I love wild water swimming.
Books are my big passion and central to my blog and I’m always looking for recommendations. What one book would you give me and recommend as a ‘must-read’?
My feel-good book of 2020 was Saving Missy by Beth Morrey. I listened to this on audio and thought it totally absorbing and engaging and didn’t want it to end.
Missy Carmichael’s life has become small.
Grieving for a family she has lost or lost touch with, she’s haunted by the echoes of her footsteps in her empty home; the sound of the radio in the dark; the tick-tick-tick of the watching clock.
Spiky and defensive, Missy knows that her loneliness is all her own fault. She deserves no more than this; not after what she’s done. But a chance encounter in the park with two very different women opens the door to something new.
Another life beckons for Missy, if only she can be brave enough to grasp the opportunity. But seventy-nine is too late for a second chance. Isn’t it?
I have a copy of this lurking on the TBR! So, we’ve been drinking all evening. What is your failsafe plan to avoid a hangover and your go-to cure if you do end up with one?
Having grown up on the Cheshire/Staffordshire border, a staple in our diet were Staffordshire oatcakes and at the weekend, should my sisters and I have over indulged, a grilled oatcake with cheddar cheese was a fool-proof cure for any hangover. I still eat them whenever I can.
After our fabulous night out, what would be your ideal way to spend the rest of a perfect weekend?
Walking. Getting the hiking boots on. Taking Fred, our westie, along too. Fresh air, open spaces, lovely views – what could be better?
Caroline, thank you so much for joining me tonight, it has been an absolute pleasure to chat to you.
Caroline’s latest book is Boomerville at Ballymegille and you can buy a copy here.
Join Hattie and Jo as they head to Southern Ireland to open Boomerville Manor, a holiday retreat for guests of ‘a certain age’. There’s Irish craic and shenanigans aplenty for the colourful cast of characters as everyone gathers for the grand opening.
Meet Melissa, an ex-cabaret singer running from her abusive husband, and Bill, a bachelor bullied from beyond the grave by the ghostly voice of his mother. Along with local bobby Harry the Helmet, ageing aquatic team the Boomerville Babes, eccentric artist Lucinda Gray, and heartthrob Finbar Murphy, they gather in Ireland and the fun begins. But murder is in the air and there’s mischief afoot. Will the residents get more than they bargained for at Boomerville?
Set in the beautiful Irish countryside, Boomerville at Ballymegille is a heart-warming story of friendship, fears and new beginnings.
Best-selling author of women’s fiction, Caroline James has owned and run businesses encompassing all aspects of the hospitality industry, a subject that often features in her novels. She is based in the UK but has a great fondness for travel and escapes whenever she can. A public speaker, which includes talks and lectures on cruise ships world-wide, Caroline is also a consultant and food writer. She is a member of the Romantic Novelist’s Association, ARRA, the Society of Women’s Writer’s & Journalists and the Society of Authors and writes articles and short stories, contributing to many publications. Caroline also runs writing workshops. In her spare time Caroline can be found walking up a mountain with Fred her Westie, or sipping raspberry gin with her head in a book and hand in a box of chocolates.
Caroline is the author of Hattie Goes to Hollywood, Boomerville at Ballymegille, The Best Boomerville Hotel, Coffee Tea the Gypsy & Me, Coffee Tea the Chef & Me, Coffee Tea the Caribbean & Me, and Jungle Rock.