I love reading books which tell a compelling story: books with mystery, romance, suspense and emotional depth; books which keep me reading late into the night/early morning and then have a satisfying ending. That is what I try to write. I’m fascinated by human interest stories – ordinary people embroiled in extraordinary dramas and learning about themselves in the process.
When I’m not reading or writing, I love walking my two rescue dogs, spending time with family and friends, playing badminton and looking after my two beautiful grandsons.
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Who To Trustby Carolyn RufflesRomantic Suspense
The Girl in the Scrapbookby Carolyn RufflesPublish: Nov 01, 2018Romance
I was born in Suffolk, the eldest of four children all very close in age. My childhood was very happy. I grew up in the beautiful village of Woolpit, loved school and enjoyed playing with my siblings and friends.Why do writing and books hold such important meaning to you?
For me, reading and writing have always been a way of life. I was an avid reader as a child and read my favourites – Enid Blyton, Black Beauty, CS Lewis – over and over. The Headteacher at my primary school nicknamed me Charlotte, after Charlotte Bronte, as I was always writing stories and poems. Now, I read every night in bed, before I go to sleep. I love it when I’m reading a really good book and can’t wait to pick it up again. Writing fulfils me creatively. I have a very active imagination and am always making up different scenarios in my head. Now, I’m lucky enough, having retired from teaching, to have the opportunity to get those ideas down on paper.What do you love the most about books with mystery, romance, suspense and emotional depth?
I love books which touch my soul, books with characters who become very real to me. For that to happen, those characters need to share their conflicting thoughts, motivations and emotions. But books need to be exciting. That’s where the mystery and suspense come in. I enjoy books with hooks which make me eager to keep reading. The story has to be well- crafted and it absolutely has to have a satisfying ending. I’m also a romantic. I enjoy romances but prefer books where that isn’t the only focus. For me, a love story woven into a mystery/suspense narrative is a winner.Name a few books that have kept you reading late into the night/early morning and then have a satisfying ending.
Recent favourites have been Still Me by Jojo Moyes, A Week in Paris by Rachel Hore, We are all made of Stars by Rowan Coleman, Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell and Life After Life by Kate Atkinson. Older favourites are anything by Jane Austen and The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. As I’m writing, I can think of more and more. There are so many good books out there!What fascinates you the most about human interest stories?
I love people. Everyone has a story to tell. Since I published The Girl in the Scrapbook, I’ve lost count of the number of people who have said to me, ‘You ought to write my life story. There’s plenty of material there.’ I’m fascinated by ordinary people with extraordinary lives. And everyone has secrets!Where did you rescue your dogs from? What are their names?
My husband Mark and I have always had rescue dogs, usually from the RSPCA or Wood Green Animal Shelter. Over the past 35 years, we have loved having Casper, Bob, Ben, Tod and Max as part of our family. Sadly, they are no longer with us. Now we have Bud, a ten -year-old collie, and George, a five-year-old German Shepherd/Boxer cross. We are fortunate to live on a farm with lots of places to walk.How did you come up with the plot of your book, Who To Trust?
When my son read my first novel, The Girl in the Scrapbook, he said, jokingly, that my next book should have a car chase. Hence, in the opening chapter, the main character, Anna, realises she’s being followed by someone driving a blue Peugeot. The scene is tense, as her fear escalates, but doesn’t quite deliver on the car chase front. The book started with that idea and grew from there.Who inspired the character of Anna in "Who To Trust"?
Anna is a complex character. She’s smart, sassy, attractive but also clumsy and fearful, with anxiety issues stemming from her childhood. No one inspired her creation; she grew as I was writing her, as she responded to the drama unfolding around her. There are bits of me in there though (sadly, not the stunning, twenty-six-year-old blonde bit!)The Girl in the Scrapbook is a compelling, romantic, mystery novel of life, love and family. How did you begin writing the book?
The inspiration for The Girl in the Scrapbook was an old photograph of my grandmother, Nora, taken when she was a child in the 1920s. One half showed Nora standing beside her father; the other half was missing. When I asked my mum about it, she said that Nora had torn it off as it contained a picture of her much-hated stepmother. This intrigued me and the germ of the story was born. I’m a family-orientated person and the importance of family lies at the heart of the novel.What was your favorite part, and your least favorite part, of the publishing journey?
I love writing and editing, crafting my work until it’s the best it can be. I’ve learnt a lot about publishing and marketing in the past three years but I still feel like a beginner. It’s the part I like least, although I have to say I’ve made some fabulous friends along the way on social media. The writing community is immensely supportive.Do you have a specific routine for writing that you follow? Or do you prefer to write whenever and wherever?
I’d love to say I write every day but life often gets in the way. If I can, I write. Sometimes, I have to write as the ideas are bursting out of me. I tend to write on my laptop in my dining room which is the sunniest space. I dream of having my own writing office with a wall on which to pin post-it notes. I spend too much time checking back through my notes to ensure character/plot information is consistent. It would be much easier to have it laid out in front of me.What challenges did you face while weaving multiple people and time lines together in your debut novel, The Girl in the Scrapbook?
The biggest challenge was keeping track of everything – hence my desire for a writing/planning wall! I think that in any novel, with any degree of complexity, it’s important to retain consistency, even as the characters and plot deviate from your original plan, otherwise the writing loses its authenticity.How have negative and positive reviews helped you to write better?
Positive reviews are a complete joy. When I see someone has taken the trouble to write praise for my book, I’m filled with humility. A good review gives a writer a huge boost – especially during those moments of self-doubt when you think your writing is rubbish (and I definitely have lots of those.) I’m hugely thrilled that someone has loved my book enough to want to share it with others. I’m very fortunate that, to date and with fingers and toes all crossed, I haven’t received a really negative review for either of my books. Some reviews for The Girl in the Scrapbook contained some constructive criticism which, in hindsight, I agreed with. That spurred me into taking it offline and re-editing it – I think it’s greatly improved now but, of course, I’ll let the reader be the judge of that. It also has a lovely new cover and I feel very proud of it.How are you spending time with your family and friends during quarantine?
This has been a difficult time. Since just before lockdown in the UK, we have had my parents living with us. My Dad has advanced Alzheimer’s so, in the absence of any form of respite time for my mum (as these closed as soon as lockdown began), I am supporting her in looking after him. My family and I also agreed that this would be the safest place for them at this time, especially as we live on a farm and are fairly isolated from civilisation. Lockdown has meant that I haven’t been able to cuddle my two gorgeous grandsons or hug my son and daughter which is tough. We’ve kept in close contact via Facetime and regular evening, family quizzes but it’s not the same. I miss them terribly. I also miss my friends whom I haven’t seen since this all started. Thank goodness for WhatsApp!How were you first introduced to AllAuthor? Do you have any feedback?
I first became aware of AllAuthor via social media, especially Twitter. Then writer friends began asking me to vote for their book cover and I signed up. I asked one of my writer pals what she thought of you and, luckily, she gave you a good recommendation so I then felt happy to pay for AllAuthor’s services. So far, I’ve been impressed and would also recommend you to other Indie authors out there. Thank you for all the support you give me and my books.
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