Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Author Interview - Caroline Sandon

I recently read Burnt Norton by Caroline Sandon and enjoyed it so much that I asked Caroline to come along to my blog and talk about her writing. Caroline very kindly agreed.

Welcome Caroline 
What was the thing that influenced you to start writing?

From early childhood I had written children’s stories and poems, but I needed the final push to get me started on the long and arduous journey to complete my first novel. Firstly I moved with my husband and my seven children and step-children to Burnt Norton, the house and gardens which inspired TS Eliot to write the first of his Four Quartets ‘Burnt Norton.’ The poem deals with time and redemption and it intrigued me. It is also one of the most famous poems of the 20th Century. The second influence was a framed newspaper article, which hangs in our downstairs loo. It was taken from a contemporary account of the fire at Burnt Norton, when the then owner Sir William Keyt set fire to his mansion, killing himself, and burning his brand new mansion to the ground. I wanted to know what drove a highly respected family man, landowner, aristocrat and Member of Parliament for Warwick to throw it all away for a young woman who worked in his household? The results of my research were fascinating and I was on my way.

Tell me your success stories in terms of publishing/self publishing?

Once I had written the first draft, I submitted it to an agent, and I was extremely lucky because it was picked up immediately. My agent is one of the most respected in London and fortunately for me she believed in the book even though it was in need of significant work.
With her advice I began a long stage of rewrites until finally she felt it was ready to go to a publisher. To get a publisher to take you seriously, your manuscript really does need to be presented professionally with minimal punctuation and spelling mistakes. Fortunately all this hard work paid off.

What are your top writing tips for any aspiring writer?

You need to have absolute dedication and be willing to take knocks because there will be several. Unless you are famous and you are doing one of those autobiographies probably ghost written anyway, the journey from your mind to the actual book will take years and many tears, and if I am totally honest, so many talented authors never make it at all. It is a combination of hard work, luck and sheer determination.

What are you working on now?

Alessandra’s war. This is a story set in England and Italy in the Second World War. It tells of a family torn apart by war. My hero is a Spitfire pilot fighting in the skies about England in the Battle of Britain, while his mother and sister live in Italy under a fascist regime.

What do you draw on for inspiration?

For me it is real events and places that I know. Italy with its extraordinary history and colourful past has always fascinated me. The people are passionate, flamboyant and yet fiercely loyal, and though the countryside can be exquisitely beautiful, the climate can be harsh and unrelenting. The Second World War changed Italy forever and my novel, once again a romantic tragedy tries to show Italy as it was then.

Please tell me anything else you'd like the reader to know about you.

I read law but gave this up to get married at 19. Shortly afterwards I was scouted to be a model, but with young children I found the increasing modelling commitments too time consuming and I gave it up to became an interior designer. Always however my passion for writing was never far away, and at last my novel is on the shelves.

It is out in hardback at the moment but the paperback comes out in April. 

Hardback Cover
To purchase Burnt Norton please click here
To find out more about Caroline Sandon, please click here.

Paperback Cover

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