It’s Friday, so I’m delighted to welcome another author to the blog. This week, it’s Caroline Mitchell.
Caroline lives with her husband, four children and two dogs in a pretty village on the coast of Essex. Born in Ireland, she moved to the UK twelve years ago and became a police officer.
Hi Caroline, and welcome to the blog. Husband, four kids, two dogs, and on top of that you’re a serving police officer. When do you find the time to write?
Thanks for having me! I won’t lie, it’s tough to find time and comes down to sacrifice and a love of the written word. I get up at 5.30 for work so most of my writing is done on my daily train commute or into the wee hours when the house is quite. The thing is, I don’t mind because I’d rather be writing than doing anything else (such as housework, oops).
Who wouldn’t! Your first book, Paranormal Intruder, is based your own encounters with
the supernatural. Can you tell us a little bit about what happened?
Where to start? It began like any other day back in January 2010. I was at work when my husband called me to say our home had taken on a life of its own. Crockery was smashed, knives were thrown, but it was nothing compared to what lay ahead. If it were not for my numerous police officer colleagues that witnessed it, I would have thought we’d gone mad.
Wow, that must have been incredibly disturbing. What made you want to sit down and write a book about it?
It was my husband’s idea. He said we couldn’t go through such a life changing experience without telling the world. I was reluctant and found some chapters harrowing, but in the end, it was quite a therapeutic experience. Looking back on that first book, I now see that my writing was quite raw and from the heart.
Your new novel, Don’t Turn Around, isn’t your average run-of-the-mill police procedural, as it too contains a strong supernatural element. Is the supernatural going to be a recurrent theme for DC Jennifer Knight in future books?
For DC Knight, yes it is. I wanted to infuse my personal experience in the two subjects closest to my heart; police and the paranormal. It’s an unusual mix to say the least, but I’m thrilled with the response.
Tell us a little about her – what makes her tick as a copper?
That’s a really good question. Jennifer has had a tough childhood, but she tries not to let it get her down. Her stress levels are matched only with her obsessive cleaning habits, and she works well with her level-headed colleague, DC Will Dunston. She does not welcome or understand the supernatural elements filtering through, but like everything in her life, she stands up to it and accepts the challenge.
Back on to writing, and a question about process. Are you a plotter, or do you write by the seat of your pants?
A bit of both really, I start off making rough notes in a nice new notebook, and once I’ve got a rough plot, I progress to my Macbook where it starts to take shape. My characters tend to speak loud and clear and have often gone in a completely different direction than originally expected.
Can you tell us anything about what you’re working on at the moment?
I’ve just handed book two over to my editor. It features a very dark character called The Raven, who forecasts people’s lives … and their deaths. I’m very excited about it and can’t wait for its release. I’m in the plotting stage for book three, and it’s completely different to anything I’ve written.
I’m intrigued and excited by that already! Tell us, what’s on your TBR pile?
Ooh too many, I’m scared to look! I’m currently reading Angie Marson’s Evil Games, and I’m half-way through Mel Sherratt’s Only The Brave, I have some books from Rachel Abbot, Cally Taylor, Mark Edwards and S J Holliday and of course Stephen King … can I stop now because I’m starting to despair!
Your TBR pile sounds almost identical to mine (and I’m also half-way through Mel’s book). I look at Facebook quite a bit, but don’t post much, although I’m a big user of Twitter. Social media is seen as a must for the majority of authors nowadays – what’s your relationship with it?
I totally agree, social media is very important, although I have to be careful, as I tend to spend too much time chatting my lovely Twitter friends when I should be writing. I also spend a more time on Twitter than Facebook, and love to hear from readers.
Finally, the whole supernatural encounter is weird enough, but do you have another weird or unusual fact about yourself that not many people will know?
Ha ha! I don’t want any more weirdness thanks very much, so no, not that I can think of. I remember in the height of activity returning to work and my police colleague asking me what I did for the weekend. My answer was ‘most people go out for a curry on their nights off, my husband and I went for an exorcism.’ I don’t think it gets any weirder than that.
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions, Caroline, and good luck with Don’t Turn Around, which is already doing well in the Amazon charts!
Thanks so much for having me, I really enjoyed your questions.