About Colette as an author
What inspired you to write your first book?
That was a burning desire to have something to do. I had been made redundant, and the first thing I did was build my father-in-law a website for his artwork. My husband had been promising to do so for a few years but hadn’t gotten around to it. My father-in-law, to this day, is very proud of what I did, though it is somewhat of a struggle to keep it up to date due to not seeing him any more than once a year. Due to that I still had a burning desire to do more creative things. I’ve never been a proper student, only learning what I needed to know for each job I have had, but if something takes my fancy, I go hell for leather. Writing was something I enjoyed at school, something that I ventured into around 15-16 years ago (and that book still sits in a cupboard waiting to be re-visited) but funds, following my redundancy were tight. I also had loads of ideas for businesses and found that by writing about those, I could quell two urges with one stone. I gave my protagonist the ability to set off on her own, without my having to find the money myself to make these come to fruition! Having said that, and my books have been likened to hers, I absolutely adored Sophie Kinsella’s Shopaholic Series, having read each and every one, though I haven’t read the most recent. Don’t get me wrong though, I have my own style, and so though my books have been likened to hers, I have my own voice, and it seems to be well received.
What genre do you consider your book(s)?
Ok, this is a tricky question as if you go by the companies that supply ISBN numbers, the range is limited so they would be classed as Contemporary Female, though by American standards they’d be classed as Chicklit. Thus far I have strong female protagonists, but there is more depth them than just being girly. GiGi is a strong character, though still has her flaws but does her best by not only her friends and family but her clients as well. I’m not entirely sure there is a definitive category for my books, and there is also an element which has been considered inspirational. There are also more friendship elements than Romance, though of course, that is present too.
How long does it take you to write a book?
My first book (Blue and Green), in total, took around six months from start to finish or thereabouts. Between writing, editing, running it past my husband from time to time, finding a copy editor and cover designer, I guess that is about right. My second, though it is a prequel is only a Novella so took less time. Having said that, to qualify for becoming a member of The Romantic Novelists Association in the UK, I added to that to qualify.
My current three WIPs have taken about a year and a half or so thus far, due to the length of time it took us to sell our home, find a new one and deal with any modernisation that was needed…those things all took me away from writing. This year though, I hope to release at least two books, with a bit of luck. But I’m still being kept pretty busy due to selling our Buy-to-Let property, which we no longer have the energy or inclination to deal with. We only bought that four years ago, while we were waiting to sell our own home, after releasing a small amount of our equity, but now things are not the same, and we need to sell it.
What is your favorite scene that you’ve written?
The most fun scene to write was my character, Timothy who had somewhat of a shoe fetish.
At that, we (my husband and I) had been laughing out loud while I wrote or he read, as I had to come up with a plausible way that GiGi could deal with it.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Write, edit, edit, edit and then edit again. Find a good copy editor, as well as cover designer and never show but tell. Not much more can be said in that regard, from my point of view. Though I now use Grammarly software for my initial edits but certainly don’t trust everything it throws up, you have to follow your instinct too.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
You mean other than to go out and by my book to satisfy their curiosity? Of course, I hope that the fun and laughter that filled my household, while it was being written, comes across. Which from the reviews I’ve already received I seem to have achieved. My books are written to bring enjoyment to others, and there is nothing better than seeing a new review, all of which have brought tears to my eyes, but fantastically. I wholeheartedly thank each and every person who has taken the time to write a review, though can’t do so personally as most I’ve not had any knowledge of.
How do you beat writer’s block?
Writer’s block is a nasty beast… I usually throw myself into something else, such as my cooking, or general household stuff. I also might turn to editing the books my husband writes, if he decides to translate them from Italian into English. That is how I got over the hump of the WIP that I am furthest along with. I hadn’t figured out how to dig myself out of a hole that I had written it into, but, by taking a step back and reading and editing my husband’s book, the answer sprang to the foreground. I’m now itching to get back to writing that one, but due to various things, though predominately my terminally ill friend and marketing, I’ve not resumed that yet. It won’t be long though so watch this space.
Are any of your characters based on you?
Most of my characters are loosely based on either myself or family and friends. GiGi, my protagonist, has the drive that I had when I was still in employment, along with my love of friends, fashion and cooking (though her attempts failed – that part was based on my husband and not myself!). Having said that, I mixed things up a bit so though there are elements of myself, I’ve mixed in and parts of others too. If you want to know more, you shall have to ask specific questions and wait for the answers as though my book is fictional, many elements are not… I did, however, embellish at will, so no part of the story is entirely memorial, more a means to an ends to bring a lovely story to life.
About Colette’s future releases
What is the book about?
My most recent release is the prequel to Blue and Green, but I’ve already stated I’ve not written as much as I needed or wanted for the past year and a half or more. I have three WIPs currently, one is set in New York, one is the sequel to Blue and Green and the other, which at least in first draft form, is the one I’m furthest along with. The title of that one is likely to be “I Don’t Do Winter”, and I’m hoping that the title on its own shall encourage plenty of interest. The title, and therefore my protagonist, came from a comment that one of my old school friends posted on Facebook quite some time ago. She has read both my books and loved them and feels honoured that just from her comment, the title of a whole new novel has been forthcoming. Do I really need to spell out for you though where the story shall go? I hope not as where then would be the surprise, but a title like that sure does get your imagination running full steam, as occurred to me when I read her post…My mind was racing after that.
How did you come up with the title?
Blue and Green Should Never Be Seen! is a very old-fashioned saying that my mother and her mother before her often spouted when I was growing up. That added extra of (Or so Mother Says) is from my own mother being somewhat a forceful figure in my life, who was quite opinionated and so, despite being wholly independent myself, she had to have her say.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I guess the predominant feature of my books is friendship and how important that is to each and every one of us. Having said that, I also hope that I inspire others to either follow their dreams, even if only in a small way, or to help their friends when they need it. Shopping might be the central theme of my books, but having said that there are far more underlying issues that are dealt with but in an enjoyable, light-hearted way.
About Colette as a reader
What book are you reading now?
Currently, I’m reading The Green Ticket, by Samantha March. Having said that, I’m not long it to it so can’t comment too much other than I’m enjoying it thus far. My previous read was Grace Me With Your Presents by a relatively new author (much like myself) called Pippa Franks. I’m seriously looking forward to my next read though, which is one I’ve been putting off for a while in anticipation, which is Jackie Collins’ The Santangelos, which I purchased around the time she passed away. I’ve read the entire series from start to finish to want to relish this, her last book, so for some odd reason keep delaying reading it.
What books have most influenced your life most?
In my own youth, there were books such as The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and the whole series that followed. During my school lessons, there were the likes of The Merchant of Venice as well as many other classics. These days, books with a strong female character, after having had a foray into Horror during my early twenties the likes of which included Stephen King, James Herbert and Dean Koontz, I read Chicklit or Romcom. So I’ve read books from the majors such as Sophie Kinsella, Jill Mansell, JoJo Moyes as well as Donna Jane McDonald and a good few of other Indie authors, but those have mostly been for pure enjoyment. I did, however, most recently enjoy Tracie Banister’s novel Mixing it Up. It fed my foodie self, without taking away from the pleasure of reading so by no means does her book need to be enjoyed by a foodie…it is just plain fantastic in its own right.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
As mentioned above, Donna Jane McDonald and Tracie Banister have both done that for me. Also Pippa Franks and Jan Ruth, both of whose books I’ve read relatively recently. What I now have to delve into are books from my fellow Romantic Novelist Association authors. It was quite a task to become a member, and now that I am I shall, as well as my other Facebook author friends, support them as much as I can. What you have to bear in mind though is that despite being a trained secretary and having quite a fast typing speed, when it comes to reading I am far slower. I never hit any reading target I set myself.
Because Karan is random
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
That is quite a loaded question… I have a vast amount of outside interests, not least of which is my dogs and cooking…having said that those evolve year to year. If you had asked me this question a year ago, it would have been gardening to make our garden not only secure for our two dogs but also bring it to somewhere else other than just a lawn, as well as re-upholstering our dining and additional chairs and updating our new home. Having said that, during the latter part of last year, I joined a Jewellery Making course, which I enjoyed thoroughly, but was slow at making progress due to the size of the class! I had forgotten just how many years ago, while at Secondary School, it was that I had done any metal work!. I have rejoined that course though, which resumes in April.
Which question are you most sick of answering in interviews?
LOL, I’m not entirely sure how to answer that one. If you want the questions that I am asked most frequently, then that would be “What brought you to writing” or “what do you do to get over Writers Block”?. In all honesty though, I’m not upset by receiving the same questions, as each answer reaches a whole new audience and in turn, brings them to my books. If one or two items crop up a bit too often once in a while, then so be it. Usually, though, there are far better ones that bring more of myself out to the blogger’s audience, and so one or two repeat questions don’t do any harm, and at least I’ve answered the questions for that particular blogger’s audience.