This morning I’m delighted to welcome Caroline James to Cafa Cala. Caroline is the author of five feel-good novels
Caroline is offering a giveaway of her first novel Coffee Tea The Gypsy & Me which is the first novel featuring characters from all the books. To be in the draw, just comment below. The winner will be drawn Thursday April 5th.
Welcome to Café Cala, Caroline. I really enjoyed The Best Boomerville Hotel and the fact that, like me, you choose to write about mature characters.
What made you decide to feature older characters in your books?
Characters in my books tend to pop up as I write and the older characters who
feature in The Best Boomerville Hotel, had aged naturally from previous
stories. I believe that there is a growing trend to feature older protagonists both
in literature and in films and TV and their popularity appears to be on the up.
You self-published your earlier books. What made you decide to sign with
a publisher for this book?
My debut book, Coffee Tea The Gypsy & Me, was self-published through
necessity not choice. I couldn’t find a publisher when I first started writing and
had to work hard to build my profile and content. Self-publishing was the best
thing I ever did as it gave me such an insight into what it takes to get a book out
there and this knowledge has become invaluable. It was thrilling to see this
book go straight to #3 in Women’s Fiction on Amazon – something I never
dreamed of when I started writing.
This is the third of your books featuring Hattie and Jo. What do you like
most about them?
I think this question should go to the readers as it is reader demand that keeps
them in the plots. I long to kill one of them off but I don’t think the time has
come yet. Readers seem to love or hate Hattie, who is a larger than life
character and never ceases to amaze me by her antics. Jo can be frustrating and
see the world through rose tinted glasses but I’m working on that.
You clearly have a gift for humour. Do you deliberately set out for your
books to be humorous?
Thank you. I want readers to escape with my books and feel that they have been
entertained in the time they spend reading. I set out with a story and let the
characters speak for themselves. Away from the page, I see humour in most
situations and love a good laugh.
If your book was made into a film, who would you like to see star in it?
Bill Nighy would be Sir Henry Mulberry, a humorous old boy with a twinkle
in his eye. Celia Imrie would be Lucinda Brown, an eccentric artist who
enjoys getting stoned. Hattie is a difficult choice – she might be played by
Lisa Riley, a brilliant actress who could bring Hattie to life.
The Best Boomerville Hotel has been described as the English Marigold
Hotel. Did you have that in mind when you wrote it?
Not at all. Hotel Boomerville is based on a real country house hotel in
Cumbria, that I used to own. A hotel is a revolving door and so many
eccentric and wonderful characters’ step over the threshold each day. I had
this story in my head many years ago but it has taken until now to write it in
How heavily do you draw on your own experiences in your writing?
Probably too much. Many of the antics in my books are based on situations I
have found myself in and I’ve toned a lot of it down! I was a media agent for
several celebrity chefs for many years, and travelled all over the world for a
vast variety of events. What went on beneath the celebrity pinny gave me all
the ingredients I needed for stories and out of this, ideas grew and soon set
my fingers typing.
Which authors do you enjoy reading?
I love anything by Rosie Thomas. I think her writing is wonderful. I’ve just
finished Iris & Ruby and loved it. My TBR pile includes books by Chloe
Benjamin, Clare Mackintosh and Joanna Cannon.
Which authors have influenced your writing?
The late Maeve Binchy was always a favourite, as is Mary Wesley. I love
how they weave characters in and out of their books so that they pop up
when you least expect it and it is like meeting an old friend again. Maeve
Binchy wrote with such warmth and for me, reading her novels was like
getting a hug from my mum.
Do you plot your books out carefully?
Yes, I do, but it always goes horribly wrong and the story nearly always goes
off track. I plan an outline very carefully before I start to write. James
Patterson is a great believer in this and says it makes writing the book much
easier. I guess it would if you stick to your outline but my characters seem to
have a life of their own once I start writing.
What is your writing routine?
Early mornings are best. I seem most focused then. I must have absolute
quiet and everything in place before I start. I wish I could write on the hoof,
perhaps in a café or while family life buzzes all around, but I can’t.
Which part of producing a book do you enjoy most? And which do you
I enjoy typing THE END most. The feeling of relief when the first draft is
done is huge. But of course, if doesn’t last as the editing begins and I am not
keen on the publicity work that must take place to launch a book. I’d sooner
What are you working on now?
Currently, a follow-up to The Best Boomerville Hotel. This is set in
Southern Ireland where Jo has opened a new Boomerville. I am enjoying
myself with a virtual stay in the lovely old manor house, partaking in plenty
of craic and wonderful Irish hospitality.
Maggie, thank you so much for hosting me and The Best Boomerville Hotel
on your wonderful blog. I so enjoyed answering your interesting questions.
Warmest wishes to you and your lovely readers,
The Best Boomerville Hotel is a rollicking tale featuring a motley of larger than life characters thrown together in a hotel catering for lonely people in midlife.It;s full of feel good, down to earth characters and English humour and has been described as described as Britain’s answer to The Marigold Hotel.
Let the shenanigans begin at the Best Boomerville Hotel …
Jo Docherty and Hattie Contaldo have a vision – a holiday retreat in the heart of the Lake District exclusively for guests of ‘a certain age’ wishing to stimulate both mind and body with new creative experiences. One hotel refurbishment later and the Best Boomerville Hotel is open for business!
Perhaps not surprisingly Boomerville attracts more than its fair share of eccentric clientele: there’s fun-loving Sir Henry Mulberry and his brother Hugo; Lucinda Brown, an impoverished artist with more ego than talent; Andy Mack, a charming Porsche-driving James Bond lookalike, as well as Kate Simmons, a woman who made her fortune from an internet dating agency but still hasn’t found ‘the One’ herself.
With such an array of colourful individuals there’s bound to be laughs aplenty, but could there be tears and heartbreak too and will the residents get more than they bargained for at Boomerville?
You can connect with Caroline here: