Ooh I’m so excited about this one. I have the complete honour of interviewing Julie Caplin today. I’m such a huge fan of hers, and I love how she writes.
As an author myself, I am always on the lookout for new authors I can discover whose work is the style of writing I love to read and write. One day while getting ready to board a flight to Qatar and then Spain from South Africa (a twenty-three hour flight), I discovered my first Julie Caplin book and I WAS HOOKED!! I barely noticed the amazing business class air hostesses, the delicious food or grueling long flight. All I recall from the trip was being transported to ‘The Secret Cove in Croatia‘.
I can honestly say that besides her amazing books, getting to know Julie as an Author has been even more phenomenal! So many times you meet an Author and they are nothing like the books they write. Julie in contrast is AMAZING and so kind and supportive of everyone. So its my absolute honour to interview her today!! P.S … Thanks for your time for the interview Julie, in spite of your busy schedule.
Q: What inspires you to write your books?
A: I’ve reached a point in my life where I can’t not write anymore. I find I have ideas and stories in my head all the time and am often listening to the dialogue of my characters unfolding in my head.
Inspiration strikes from all sorts of places, for me it’s mainly listening to the radio or overhearing something some one has said. Often with friends I threaten them that I’m going to put something in a book, which I don’t think they always take seriously.
Q: Is there any truth in the storyline of any of your books that relates to your own life?
A: The storylines of all my books are made up but in The Little Café in Copenhagen, I did use the experience of taking journalists on press trips to Europe as the basis for the book. As a junior public relations executive, I arranged quite a few very memorable trips to Turin, Antwerp and Amsterdam. On one occasion I did lose a journalist in the airport and included that. With my romantic escape series, I have usually visited the places, so I use my personal experience extensively. In The Little Brooklyn Bakery, Smith Street where the bakery is set, is a real place that I’d visited while in Brooklyn.
Q: What have been your favourite moments of being an author?
A: Seeing the front cover of a new book for the very first time, it makes it seem real. Then there’s the moment when you see your paperback for the first time and smell that lovely new book smell. One of the absolute best bits of being an author is when a reader contacts you to tell you that you book helped them through a difficult time. There’s nothing quite like that, knowing that you’ve given someone a lift when they needed it.
Q: What motivates you to keep writing?
A: As I said earlier, I can’t not write now. Even if I take a break, new ideas start to pop into my head. I’ve got dozens of ideas, I’m not sure if I’ll ever have enough time to write them all.
Q: How do you come up with the plots of your books?
A: That’s a tricky one as I’m not a planner. I tend to have an idea of the characters and their problems and how they need to develop to resolve those problems and that’s my starting point. The plot tends to evolve as I write, which is the most efficient way of working, I promise you! I have a rough idea of where I’m going but what I love about writing is the magic moment when an idea pops into your idea and it ties up something you’d already written. That happened this morning while I was out for a run and it was a real eureka moment!
Q: Of all the books you have written, which would you say is the most special to you or your favourite and why?
A: Oooh. It’s like having children, you’re not supposed to have favourites! Or rather they change according to what else has been published. I think if I was being held to ransom on this it would be The Little Brooklyn Bakery because Todd is one of my favourite characters and I also got to visit the Hamptons on Long Island which is one of my favourite places. But then I recently wrote The Little Swiss Ski Chalet and I love the characters of Mina and Luke.
I can tell you what my least favourite book is… it’s always the one I’m writing at the moment! It’s a standing joke with my agent now, that I’ll email her and tell her that my current manuscript is the dullest book I’ve ever written. She and my husband both ignore me now when I complain about how bad my latest book is.
Q: Are there any characters that have felt so real to you that you feel you could keep writing about them?
A: When I’m writing a book, the characters are very real to me but as soon as the book is finished, I leave them to get on with their own lives. I’m in the lucky position that in the Romantic Escapes books, I get to have them pop back. I really enjoyed writing the final scenes of The Little Tokyo Teashop, as I brought together a lot of the characters from The Little Café in Copenhagen, to find out what they’d been up to and that was a lot of fun and of course a couple of the characters, Sophie and Fiona went on to have their own books.
There are two characters who appear in The Little Paris Patisserie.
Some friends of mine ran a charity quiz one night and I said that as part of the evening’s prize draw I would put the winners’ names into a book. By complete coincidence the winners were on my quiz team and as I’d got to know them a little that evening, I gave them a much bigger role in the book than I would normally have done. Funnily enough since then, they’ve gone on to become quite good friends and I ended up giving them a second appearance in The Northern Lights Lodge. I’m quite entertained by the idea of putting them in another book too.
Q: If you could choose to have an exclusive book club with three authors, dead or alive, who would you choose and what would be your ideal discussion to have with them?
A: Jane Austen would have to be one because I think she’s had such a huge, huge impact on the romance genre. I think Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion are the original chick lit titles, although I don’t like that term. Both books explore so many women’s issues and the characters are universal and still relatable to this day. I’d love to sit down with Jane and ask her who she based Caroline Bingley on. The character is the ultimate mean girl! Some things, it seems, never change. I’ve also recently read The Other Bennet Sister by Janice Hadlow about the middle Bennet sister, Mary and I’d love to ask Jane Austen what she thought of Hadlow’s interpretation of Mary’s character. It’s such a thought provoking read and I thoroughly enjoyed the book and Hadlow did a wonderful and totally believable job of retelling Mary’s story.
I’m lucky enough to know Katie Fforde and I have sat down and chatted with her a couple of times. She has lots of wonderful gossipy stories about people that she’s met and puts bits of them in her characters. I’d love to hear her and Jane chatting about their neighbours and who would make good characters.
And finally, I’d have the inimitable Nora Roberts, who is the ultimate story teller. Her output is phenomenal and I love the way she writes characters. I’d love to hear her and Jane exchanging their views. Roberts excels at writing brilliant male characters from their points of view, and I’d love to know more about how she does this. She also writes the futuristic ‘In Death’ series featuring Eve Dallas which numbers over 50 and I’d love to know how she keeps track of all the different character’s stories. I think the ideas she comes up with for 2050 would fascinate Jane.
Q: What books do you currently have on your bedside table?
A: I’ve just finished the most fantastic book by Anna Bell, The Man I Didn’t Marry. It was an ARC I was sent and its funny, poignant and so original. I literally read it in a day because I couldn’t put it down. It’s about a happily married couple who are put to the test when Max, the husband loses his memory, and has no recollection of the last five years. The pair have been married for four and he has no memory of being married to Ellie, who was his sister’s best friend.
I’ve also got The Secret Thread by Tracey Chevalier which I can’t wait to start as I’m a big fan of her spare, beautiful writing. In addition, I’ve got Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome which is a childhood favourite and I fancied re-reading it.
I’m also a big audio book fan so I’m currently listening to The Dark Angel by Elly Griffiths which is the tenth book in a series, which I love because it’s all about the character development over the series.
Q: What book is your latest, or releasing soon and can you tell us a little about it?
A: I’m very excited about my next book written as Jules Wake as it’s a complete diversion. The Secrets of Latimer House, is my first historical fiction set during WW2 and is based on true events which took place in a local manor house near to me. During the war, Latimer House was a top secret site where high ranking Prisoners of War were interrogated. What they didn’t know was that their cells were bugged and everything they said between themselves was listened into by German speakers. As a result, lots of useful information about weapons, strategy and future plans was gathered. My story is about three very different women who worked in the house and the friendship they develop. It’s a fascinating period because women were able to do interesting jobs that previously they hadn’t been able to access and at this particular site they were promoted for their ability and ended up having quite a lot of responsibility. At the same time, they went through personal loss and tragedy and as a result those bonds they made with other women became vital to their day to day survival.
Q: What is the kindest thing a stranger has ever done for you or said to you?
A: I always remember having a bad fall in the street when I lived in quite a rough part of London and the only person who stopped and helped was a young black guy, probably only about 17, came and picked me up, gathered all my scattered belongings together, while everyone else just walked past. People make comments about the youth of today but he was so kind and made sure I was alright and waited with me until my bus came. I’ve never forgotten him.
Q: Lastly, something fun that our readers might not know about you?
A: I’m a terrible singer! My children are both big musical theatre fans and have been in a number of amateur shows. They can both sing and often beg me not to. I usually let rip in the car when I’m on my own but I am truly dreadful. I can’t hold a tune to save my life.
Title of latest book: The Little Swiss Ski Chalet
Blurb of latest book:
It’s time to pack your bags and head to the breathtaking, snow-covered peaks of the Swiss Alps for velvety hot chocolates, delicious cheeses and a gorgeous love story…
Food technician Mina has always believed that chocolate will solve everything – and it’s just what she needs when her latest relationship mishap goes viral!
So with her bags packed and a new determination to sort her life out, Minna decides to drown her sorrows with the best hot chocolate in the world at her godmother’s cosy Swiss chalet. Chocolate: yes. Romance: no. Until she has a run in on an Alpine train with a mysterious but oh-so-gorgeous stranger…
About the Author:
Julie Caplin is the author of the light-hearted, fun, Romantic Escapes series. With her stories, she transports readers to various destinations around the world, where they find not only love but above all themselves. She also writes warm hearted romantic comedies under the name of Jules Wake
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