This afternoon I am delighted to be chatting to the author of ‘Christmas Child’, Carol Rivers. Before we get down to business, here is a little bit more about Carol’s book, as well as the all important ‘to buy’ links:
Christmas Day, London 1880
Snow falls … a dying Irish girl clutching her new-born baby drags herself to the sanctuary of an East End orphanage and throws herself on the mercy of the Sisters of Clemency. The nuns raise little Ettie O’Reilly as their own and provide her with the love and education she might never have had. But the lives of the nuns and orphans are soon crushed by a powerful and greedy bishop.
The heart-breaking outcome separates Ettie from her friends and family, luring her into a world of male dominance and the fickle nature of intimate relationships. In her naivety, with her faith in the goodness of human nature severely tested, she doesn’t know who to trust. And when the boy who has promised his undying love and loyalty betrays her, Ettie’s world starts to crumble.
She must finally accept the hard-hitting truth – happiness comes at a cost! Does she have the courage and wisdom to face the demons she long ago learned about from the Sisters of Clemency? Will the resolution of an undiscovered and painful secret be her making – or breaking?
About the author.
“Were there’s muck there’s money!” If my family had a royal crest I’m sure those are
the words that would have been hewn into the stone above it.
Mum and Dad were both East Enders who were born on the famous or should I say the then infamous Isle of Dogs. They were costermongers selling fruit, veg and anything else that would stand still long enough!
Their family were immigrants who travelled to the UK from Ireland and France, while others emigrated to America. As a child I would listen to the adults spinning their colourful stories, as my cousins and I drank pop under the table.
I know the seeds of all my stories come from those far off times that feel like only yesterday. So I would like to say a big heartfelt thank you to all my family and ancestors wherever you are now …UK, Ireland, France or America, as you’ve handed down to me the magic and love of story telling.
TWG sits down to talk to Carol Rivers….
Have you always been a writer?
I think it’s safe to say I’ve always been a storyteller. It’s in the
genes! A huge cockney family, a tribe of East Enders, survivors
of the Blitz, evacuees, totters, costermongers, seamstresses,
dockers, factory workers, you name it – the stories were told! I
gradually transferred the family secrets to the writing, then to
technology and then to books.
Have you been published for long?
I’m lucky enough to have been part of the traditional publishing
industry for many years. Hales, D.C. Thompson, Mills and
Boon, the lovely Magna who publish my books in audio and
large print and my current traditional publisher Simon &
Schuster. However, I’m now known as a hybrid author,
independently publishing in a brand new world on Amazon –
and loving it!
You say “the lovely Magna” – why is this?
I’ve been with Magna for well over a decade and have never
known them to produce less than the perfect product. Their
liaison with authors is second to none, the artwork and covers
exemplary. But above all, these wonderful publishers provide
books and audios for our precious libraries, the lifeblood of our
reading communities. The ailing or blind can listen to audio, the
short-sighted like me can read large print. What a joy!
What are your most memorable books?
Without doubt, Christmas to Come, my single ebook, and Lizzie
Flowers and the Family Firm. Two (as the late great Jackie
Collins would say) feisty heroines who kick ass! Though I qualify that by saying this year’s book CHRISTMAS CHILD has
blown me away. My first Victorian novel, a coming of age saga
that I have so enjoyed writing. I plan to take the heroine, Ettie
O’Reilly, into a series.
What made you decide to write in the Victorian era?
I wanted a fresh challenge and a new kind of leading character
and when Ettie O’Reilly made her presence known in a dream –
many writers will tell you a dream spurs them on – and I saw her
little figure almost lost on the streets of the East End, calling out
for life and love, that was it. I was off!
Do you write a certain amount of words in a day and have
you a strict regime of writing?
I’m often asked this, but all I can say is, I begin writing by
reading a fav book, just a few minutes – Edwin Drood at the
moment and I’m lost in an opium den! Inspired, refreshed and
invigorated, I’m off into my own story. I couldn’t tell you how
much or how long I write – I don’t like rules and don’t stick to
them. But I always write a book in nine months and publish one
a year. Slow in comparison to some, but I get there.
Can you give a description of CHRISTMAS CHILD?
Indeed I can.
CHRISTMAS CHILD is my 2019 Victorian romance, a perfect
Dickensian saga for Christmas.
The story begins: Christmas Day, London 1880. Snow falls … a
dying Irish girl clutching her new-born baby drags herself to the
sanctuary of an East End orphanage and throws herself on the
mercy of the Sisters of Clemency. The nuns raise little Ettie
O’Reilly as their own, but the lives of the nuns and orphans are soon crushed by an unscrupulous bishop. The heart-breaking
outcome turns Ettie’s life upside down and Christmas will never
mean the same again.
So you’re back on the mean Streets of East London?
The story opens in Poplar, East London, but takes a turn to
Soho, another absolutely fascinating hamlet of the city in the
late 1800’s. I loved the diversion, but fate has a way of
interrupting the best laid plans and it’s no different for my lovely
leading lady, little orphan, Ettie O’Reilly, who finds herself
caught up in a desperate flight for survival.
If you could give advice to anyone wanting to write, what
would it be?
One word – read! If your read lots you can write lots. Read every
spare moment. Get into the heads of the characters. Examine
the plots. Notice the crunchy dialogue and how the writer uses it
to convey information that doesn’t end up in long boring
paragraphs of narrative. Lean new words, punchy, fresh
adjectives, hard-hitting verbs and watch for the stomach-
blipping tension. Have hundreds of holes for your main
character to fall into, just as in the books you read that turn you
on. READ. READ MORE. READ EVERY DAY and love
And last of all, Carol, what do you do to relax?
Other than reading, it’s all about nature. Walking, watching
birds, being part of this amazing universe and breathing the
fresh air. We live by a river and walk its banks or go to the sea
and the cliffs. The water, the fields, the trees, the wild animals,
the sky and the great beyond; bring it all on I say!
Good luck with CHRISTMAS CHILD Carol.
Thank you so much TWG for this
opportunity to connect! Love Carol XX