Today, I’m thrilled to be talking to Honno’s Caroline Ross, the author of one of my favourite books, The War Before Mine
Who or what inspires you?”
A lot of things. Historical events, in the case of ‘The War Before Mine’, when I had the good fortune to ‘bump into’ history through meeting survivors of the WW2 raid on St Nazaire. I love history – especially medieval history, though I have never written about it. I’m also inspired by what happens to me and who I meet. ‘Small Scale Tour’ was inspired by living with members of a touring theatre company in the 1970s early 1980s.
Why do you write?
I think my best writing comes from strongly held feelings – so my desire to set down my own ‘truths’, usually based on my experiences.
Do you have to plan to write or are you constantly jotting ideas down?
The best plans fall apart quite often! I try to jot things down and sometimes succeed.
What does your writing space look like?
It’s a converted outside loo, but much nicer than that sounds! It’s at the bottom of the garden, has a heater, a kettle, computer, a battered Roget’s Thesaurus. It’s lovely. You can see it on my website: www.caroline-ross.co.uk
Tell us about your next/new book,
My last book ‘Small Scale Tour’ was about a touring theatre company in 1970s Newcastle. I am now writing a novel set mainly in the 1950s and 1960s on the Isle of Wight. It starts with a plane crash that actually happened in 1957.
What keeps you writing?
To be honest, a need to make myself a bit more interesting to myself! To have something else besides work and family (fulfilling as they are)
What do you think it takes to stand out from the crowd?
A brilliant idea – one that someone else has not had – or at least not had for a good while.
What is the ultimate goal you hope to achieve with your writing?
I suppose having my work read by as large an audience as possible.
What are your three favourite books including the authors?
The Inheritors by William Golding, Middlemarch by George Eliot – either Catch 22 by Joseph Heller or Persuasion by Jane Austen
Is being an author your dream job? If so, how long have you been chasing the dream?
It sounds lovely but I’m not sure it’s good for your writing. Better to do something else as well. I’ve been writing, as a journalist and then as a writer of fiction, for 30 years.
What has been your best moment as a writer?
Hearing people laugh at the funny bits.
What challenges have you faced in your writing career?
Greatest challenge is getting down to it.
How do you find the promotional aspect of being an author?
I think, like most writers, I feel ‘I’ve written the bloody book; why do I have to do all this stuff?’ But I accept that it is now an essential part of being a writer.
How much time a day do you spend on social media
Maybe 20 minutes
What is your preferred genre to read?
I’m an English teacher so I am into what is called ‘literary fiction’ and aspire to write it – but I have had a great time reading in other genres, science fiction, for example. Lots of people writing so-called genre fiction are very great writers – John Le Carre for instance, who is seen as a writer of spy thrillers, and Cormac McCarthy, who writes what are sometimes called Westerns. Both of these are brilliant, superior to most in the ‘literary’ category.
Do you read your reviews and if so, how do you cope with a bad one.
Certainly I read them. If I recognise a critic has a point, I just have to suck it up. If it feels unfair the result is rage!
Please give us a random fact about yourself.
I’m married to a Vietnam vet.
Links to Caroline’s books:
You can link up with Caroline on Twitter